How to / how not to ride a cat. 4 Road Race

I rode the B race of the Davie Bell Memorial road race 2 weeks ago, and while it’s too late to review the day (and Martin and Ed from Veloresults have done that better than I could anyway) I thought I would recap a few of the reasons why I had such a stinker. I was dropped on the first climb and laboured over the two big climbs to 46th place, 10 minutes down.

Don’t get ill the week before
• Don’t do another race the day before
• Don’t contest a sprint prime before the first of two big climbs
Don’t waste energy by chasing down breaks before two big climbs

I have done a few posts on cat.4 tips, and why I did not follow my own advice I’ll never know! I did do one or two things well though and coming up to the first of the climbs, I thought I’d recovered enough after my sprint madness (didn’t know exactly where the line was, went too early, got caught) to get swept along with at least one of the main bunches.

• I had recce’d the route and knew when the climb was coming
• I was near the front
• I had checked my bike and knew it was working properly (a rookie mistake that undid me once last year)

Unfortunately though, I had failed not to do item 1 of the “dont’s” (don’t get ill) and my condition just wasn’t up to the tough Galloway climbs. A week out at the end of May knocked me back pretty badly and prevented me from keeping up my speed training, so any “top-end” I had was gone- essential if you want to keep up at the sharp end of a race- and a bit of a cold leading up to the race didn’t help either. My throat was left scorched the day after.

A full report of the A race, including Evan Oliphant’s win is on Veloresults.