My sprint race

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

The sprint race was in the afternoon.  I had a late start group and late start - 5.18 pm.  Like many major events in one's life, the time leading up to the race was a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  Periods of calm interspersed with waves of terror.

My approach was simple.  I know I'm not a super-speedy sprinter, so the aim was to have perfect flow and know where I wanted to go all the time.  Legs chasing the head the whole race.  The other thing I really concentrated on was looking up rather than at the front wheel (and map) all the time.  When one looks up you see the junctions more clearly.

Out of the start I was so slow that people commented on it.  I was too slow for what was needed, but I had planned the first 3 legs.  This was really interesting, for despite my slowness, I was relatively quick (for me) over the first couple of legs.  And I knew exactly where I was going.  So all went to plan.

The tracks were very clear, the area getting a lot of use by skiers, walkers and cyclists.  That was a welcome change from the invisible tracks we've been encountering.  It was a pretty steep course too.  Don't be fooled by how far apart the contours look.  It's 1:5,000!

Of course in the end I could have gone a little faster, but overall it was a very clean race for me.  From the start I could have safely gone off a little quicker (15 sec).  From 2-3 I should have come back out the way I came in (another 15 sec).  From 4-5 I took the right hand route and cut through the forest.  Left was best (30 sec).  To 9 I should have stayed on the road longer (15 sec).  But you'll notice these are mistakes you'd hardly count normally.  But that's sprints for you.

When I finished I was 27th, from there it was just to sit and watch my result go down the board.  The first 50 riders within 3 minutes of the winner.  That's one rider less than every 4 seconds!  But that's sprints.  You have to count every second.  Even turning your bike around slowly at a check point loses you time.

Today (Tuesday morning here) it's the middle distance and I'm just hanging out at the hotel waiting 'til it's time to go to my start.  The race is about 15 km from here and I'll ride there for a warm up.  We have a quarantine area all riders have to be in before 12.30 pm.  Then I start at 1 pm.  Hopefully I'll be back a a bit before 2 pm.  More than a bit!


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