Failure can never been seen as anything other than it is; however to have failed, is to have tried. No feelings of ‘what if’ are left to eat away at your psyche.
Last Sunday’s WrekinSport reliability ride saw my most recent cycling related failure, but even as I confronted the inevitability of my fate, I was happy. I had a given it a go, and for a while at least I was in the mix. And what a mix it was; Olympic 2016 hopefuls joined by a couple of UK based professionals, with the mass of local club riders making up the numbers.
The pace from the off was fast, and as the 50 or so riders in the ‘fast’ group streamed out of Wellington I was immediately aware that this group was riding at a level above the one I was used to. Most local riders will know the stretch of road that runs from Shawbury, just outside Wellington, up towards High Ercall. Just under 6km, and gently rising most of the way; I’d been warned that this would be the first real test of the day.
More through luck than judgement I’d found myself in the front half of the group, but just holding my position was proving to be difficult. The pace went up another notch, as did my discomfort. What helped however, was the sheer exhilaration of riding in a group at that speed. It really is something to experience, and unless you race regularly is a rarity, and something to savour. My plan was to hang on in there as long as I could.
Whilst those around me seemed to be pedalling with ease, I was beginning feel it, and I lost the wheel in front of me. This, as it turned out, was the beginning of the end for me. Losing a wheel means losing position, and also losing the advantage of the tow from the riders ahead. More riders passed, as I struggled to hold my position. The pace wasn’t easing either, and as I glanced over my shoulder only one rider was left behind me. One last effort to hang on, but this didn’t last long, and as one bike length became two, then five. It was over. He made no attempt to pass either, his failure complete alongside mine.
Dropped? Yes. But it was the most fun I’ve had in failure in a long time!
Vive la Velo