Cat 4 #2: progress. Of a sort.

Goals should be achievable, right?

by Dave Atkinson   August 20, 2014  

rainbow racing 2


Second Cat 4 race at Odd Down, under rain and beautiful rainbows, not that I was looking up much. I had a new bike to play with too, the Obsydian Invictus, designed specifically for this sort of thing. Did it help me stay in contact until the business end of proceedings? Well, not exactly.

To be honest I probably got spat out at a similar point to last time. The difference was I hadn't gone so far into the red to try and stay in, so when the inevitable happened I was able to hook up with the other rider who got spat out, another Dave, and work to stay somewhere near where the racing was happening, rather than blowing up and missing wheels. And If I say so myself, we did an okay job. We took turns on the front, worked pretty well together, and kept the rest of the race in sight until the very end. We didn't get lapped so I had the full 40 minutes + 3 laps, and we had a comedy sprint for not last which I pipped. Which wasn't particularly fair as other Dave had done the majority of the work over the last five or so laps as I started to tire.

So that's some sort of progress. Low-hanging fruit, I think people call it. I even managed to spend some time near the front for a couple of laps before the constant braking into hairpins and sprinting out of them wore me down. I just don't have the punch to accelerate out of those corners. Partly that's down to me needing to lose weight, and partly it's down to me needing to practice that skill. That means more getting dropped, probably: the best training for racing is racing, after all. There's other races round about – Castle Combe and various airfield circuits – where I'd possibly be able to sit in: the pace isn't really the problem, more the changes of pace. I might give them a go. A winter series has been more or less confirmed for Odd Down so I'll keep coming to the local races too. And the chaingang is beckoning with its grim-reaper-esque bony finger.

The Invictus behaved impeccably once I'd taken a 10mm allen key to the chainset which had loosened off. It certainly doesn't lack for stiffness or directness and it was right at home on the circuit, although I probably need to lower the position a bit. I need to get a lot more miles in on it in a variety of conditions to get a better picture of what its strengths are.

Thanks to Andy Stewart for the pic

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Keep at it Dave!

The race looked like it had quieter moments, once the first 10 minutes of adrenaline and excitement had been blown out of everyone's legs. Get through those painful first few minutes and you'll be in for the full duration.

posted by weenyd [20 posts]
21st August 2014 - 11:13


weenyd wrote:
Keep at it Dave!

The race looked like it had quieter moments, once the first 10 minutes of adrenaline and excitement had been blown out of everyone's legs. Get through those painful first few minutes and you'll be in for the full duration.

yeah, the middle 20 minutes of the race we were only off the back by a hundred metres or so. might as well be a mile though Wink

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7857 posts]
21st August 2014 - 11:33


Keep at it, Dave. I had a similar experience in my first few races, and then all of a sudden I stopped being dropped. I hadn't improved that much in terms of fitness, but my positioning in the bunch had improved enough that I no longer needed to accelerate quite so much out of the corners. In fact, I quickly found that I was putting in less effort staying in the bunch than I was when I was getting dropped and frantically trying to chase on.

posted by lc1981 [56 posts]
21st August 2014 - 20:00


I found it depends on the circuit too. Some circuits I keep getting dropped, cos there is a low speed hair pin and so every lap its a full on sprint out of it. Similar to you, the change in pace bins me off the back. Other circuits where the pace is more steady, I've done better and got the points to move up to 3rd cat (in my first season). But it started with getting dropped and lapped, then just getting dropped, then getting dropped but keeping with the other dropped riders, then hanging on the back of the bunch, then riding at the front (for the circuit that seemed to suit me) and getting some points. Its taken most of the season.

I still often get dropped on the last lap of chaingang too.

Its all good fun, and it still feels like i'm learning new stuff as well as working to get fitter and hang with the bunch through fitness as well as good race positioning.

Up North the race season seems to come to an end around now, so I'm going to put some effort in training for next spring and see what that does....

posted by mtbtomo [165 posts]
21st August 2014 - 20:52


Oh and there are some big lads out there who keep with the bunch so I wouldn't put it all down to weight loss. Its power and strength thats needed.

posted by mtbtomo [165 posts]
21st August 2014 - 20:54


You need to join in on the chaingang fun Dave, its by far the best spring board into racing!

We'll expect you there tomorrow

posted by Joel [20 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 14:57


Stick with it dave, im just coming back to road racing after an 18 year gap (I feel old now) and circuit races are tough especially odd down, more like a crit, try working on keeping your speed a bit more into the corners so its not such a frantic dash out. There is a good circuit just outside taunton on an old airfield which is better because the corners aren't so tight (cant remember the name of it though) .

posted by lookmanohands [120 posts]
24th August 2014 - 12:06


Ilton Smile

posted by Jez Ash [235 posts]
24th August 2014 - 18:52


That's the one. Ta

posted by lookmanohands [120 posts]
24th August 2014 - 18:59