We only had two people in my category for this race. The category being Citizen, which is supposed to be a mixed gender, less intense beginner kind of racing. The other guy, Keith, was also part of my cycling club but he said he was only in this class by mistake. He was confused and could probably have been in the Mens’ Category 4. But there we were.

We got to start with the Women Cat 4 group which was awesome. They pushed me hard and did all the work so I just had to hang with the bunch. And I did. I went the fastest I’d ever done 40km.

And then boom, “Yipe!”, there was a crash in front of me, one of the women went down on the straightaway after the first lap, another rider hit her and apparently went over her handlebars. I slowed down. Do I help? But that’s why it’s a race, it’s organized there are paramedics. The indecision before trying to catch back up with the group meant I never could hitch back on.

I followed a rider who was a long way ahead of me for the first half? third? of the next lap. He was wearing a jersey like mine, and I was pretty sure he must have been dropped off the back of the Cat 4 Men. It was good to see him up there, motivating, and eventually I caught up. He was another VCC member, Sheldon, and we chatted. He’s 23 and he’ll be able to train his way up into hanging with those Cat 4 racers. Me? I think I’ll stick with the slowpokes if they keep offering the category.

On the final couple of kilometres Sheldon left me behind and I just rode my own ride to the end. Keith and Coach Kevin were waiting for me. I actually felt pretty good. I think I need to work on my fuelling strategy, because I did feel a bit weak nearer the end. But my knee didn’t go pop and I went over 5km/h faster than I did last year, so I think it was a success.