A confession: after last week’s abandoned Category 4 25 lap race around the mile long circuit of the Olympic Velopark, The Wattmeister had resigned himself to the idea that perhaps his best days on the bike were behind him.
After a long career based on futile solo breakaways into a headwind, and often, torrential rain, (who can forget The Beast from the East 600 kms audax 2007), this week has been spent adjusting to the concept of being an also-ran.
But, deep within this cave of doubt, the remnants of a strain gauge was calculating how much power was left in the old legs. Thursday morning laps in the Park were inconclusive despite a mauling courtesy of Iron Mike and Lion King (and a couple of guys with rucksacks!).
Undeterred, a cold and windy Friday morning solo session produced a steady set of figures and a feeling that legs and mind were almost on the same wavelength, if not total agreement.
Saturday’s team of rouleurs were missing the attendance of Lion King, Wizard, Judge and Slayer, but Dingle Dave, Iron Mike, Doc, Killer, Big Mig, Long Tom, Wolf, SavilleRowAlex, Delboy and The Wattmeister led the charge of the carbon brigade up to Highgate and Hampstead before swooping down to the Park like a flock of lycra clad starlings.
A half-hearted warm up lap was dispensed with when a group of Islington CC youngsters careered past the well ordered squadron of Muswell Hill Peloton. Iron Mike and DingleDave gave chase like a pair of terriers hunting their prey. Bear in mind that Mike is close to claiming his free bus pass. The pace increased and stayed that way for another 45 minutes as the two clubs amicably jostled for position.
No one wants to be the first to drop off the back of a flying peloton. A whole spectrum of emotions flit through one’s consciousness as the mind and body wrestle with the demand for more power, more energy, more commitment.
Approaching the final two laps, The Wattmeister stayed vigilant in full expectation of Iron Mike and DingleDave delivering powerful counter attacks to dislodge the sprinters. As it turned out, Mike put in a tremendous turn on the front in the style of the PanzerWagen, Tony Martin, which towed the group to within 500m of the finish.
Who would make the first move after Physician’s Corner?
SavilleRowAlex came through hard on the outside followed by DingleDave. With 350 meters to go, The Wattmeister exploded from the group and led to within a few metres of the lamppost which marks the finish line before being gobbled up by a ravenous Wolf.
Another exhilarating Saturday outing in great company, and The Wattmeister had coaxed a semblance of form from yesteryear to banish the Velopark Blues
To quote Iron Mike: “…recovery starts in the head…”