An unexpected change to the work roster left me available to contest one of the weekly 'must-do' rides - the Tuesday Night World Cup.
This is a 35-ish kilometre out and back along a quiet but undulating road. Numbers vary, anything up to 80 people can turn up, and it will generally split into A, B and C grades - with the variant being the turn around point.
I rolled out with the intention of coming back with C grade - I haven't done this ride for quite some time (over 12 months by my calculation), my bunch riding / racing skills are not sharp, and I just wasn't sure what the pace would be like.
As it turns out we missed the C grade turn, and I ended up in a bunch of 4 trying to chase them down. The pace was strong, nothing much less than 40km/h most of the way home. The turns were pretty rapid, and as I mentioned before my race bunch riding skills, not so sharp. I was surging alot as I pulled out to the front, and if my turn came on a hill (as it did twice or three times) the elastic would break, I'd be off the front, and the other three would have to work to get back on my wheel. Considering we were supposed to be working together to reel back the bunch, this was not ideal.
We cleaned up about half of the field, mostly stragglers off the back, but couldn't quite get the rest of the field.
The finishing run in is a steady climb over about 1km, followed by a flat run in to the finish line. We dropped the fourth rider about 2km out. Somehow I got hung out to dry on the final climb up, but peeled off and took second wheel. Not quite sure where the finishing line was, I was hoping to take the cue from the other two. First wheel didn't contest, and the bloke on my wheel sprung out unexpectedly. I took off after him, but he had a good 5 or 6 metres on me that was going to be difficult to bridge.
But I dug in and really had a crack, and managed to wind up, and up and up.
I don't think he was expecting me to be there, and as he looked back to see if anyone was contesting, I was right there.
Got him on the line by half a wheel.
Road racing could be quite a bit of fun.