Having missed the Corby race due to illness, my next race in the East Midlands Grand Prix series was the fifth one in total, the Banbury 5, and I have to say possibly my favourite race of the series. Although it had just as much elevation gain as the other races, it didn’t feel too bad, and the course was really nice.
It was another rather bizarre start, beginning in the middle of a housing estate. Everyone lining up to begin as cars were trying to get through to get home after work. Throughout the series, I had always been less than a minute behind one of my fellow club members. At the start, he would break away and then I would remain roughly the same distance behind him for the entire race, as I could see him in front, just out of reach. Therefore, in the hope of obtaining a PB, my aim for Banbury was to match his pace from the beginning.
The difficulty that I always find with races is where to begin. In a chip timed race, this isn’t an issue, as the clock doesn’t start ticking until you cross the line. However, the only GP race that was chip timed was Silverstone, so if you didn’t start at the front, you were always going to lose time, although admittedly only a matter of seconds. This turned out to be the case again at Banbury. As the “are you ready?” signal was given, everyone was hustling for position and, as a result, I lost sight of my pacemaker.
Within no time at all the race was started, and we began the short incline to take us out of the housing estate and onto the main road, where there would be more space for passing others. As we turned the corner and headed downhill, I could see my target in the distance. The choice was either to push hard to catch him up and then remain with him, or to abandon the pre-race plan and run at my own pace. I wisely chose the latter and maintained my own pace.
The first two miles were consistent, 7:18 and 7:19. Miles three and four contained the majority of the course’s incline, although as previously mentioned, it didn’t feel as bad as the profile suggested, 7:37 and 7:27. The final mile was relatively flat as I posted my best split of the race, 7:12. Unfortunately, my fellow club member again finished less than a minute ahead, as I congratulated him in the finishing funnel. It certainly gives me something to aim for in future races. My time, 36:58, 8 seconds slower than Blisworth.