Danny Mulholland - Johnstone Jets

Thursday, 7th May, 2015

In hindsight, it was perhaps foolish to base my whole season on one race. Even more foolish perhaps, to focus on getting a specific position in said race. After all, it is bike racing.

My goal for the race was a top five. It would be hard, I knew, but I was up for the challenge. It started off well enough, the first, long stage began with Lewis making his way to the front of the grid (and I following) after lining up at the back. I got off the line well and was on the back of the neutral car. A crash in this neutralised section made the bunch even more jumpy, but the race began and for the first few laps it was reasonably steady. I sat around the front of the bunch getting whooshed along (a very technical term is whooshed) and feeling not great, but coping. Then, it went wrong. At the foot of the climb I went straight into a nasty little pothole, nudging my front wheel. My front brake was now rubbing and I was not a happy bunny, so I rode up the climb blowing out my backside and got to the top, where I stopped to shoogle my wheel. I hopped back on my bike, and like a classic 'wee rocket' thought it best to smash it to get back on ASAP. I died. The bunch got away, I was dead, and I climbed off. That moment was the closest I've ever come to giving up on a race. Sure, I've crashed out, been sick and cramped, but seeing that bunch getting smaller and smaller was like my season, fading away into nothing.

I climbed back on. I didn't want to, believe me. I did it because Kenny asked if I wanted to go home. Home? And leave all this free food? Stuff THAT. Disasters happen everyday in cycling, it's what makes it interesting. While my experience may not have been on the same disaster level as say, Froome crashing out of the tour, I still must learn to keep my toys in the pram. Keep your cool, live to ride another day.

Now the rest of the tour really should've been my 'vengeance'. Of course, the crits were lewstu's domain (Third place is alright I suppose, but you really need to be able to put your hands in the air bro) but stage 4's bumpy lumpy death trap was my cup of tea, with a slice of cake on the side.

While I shall not divulge all the secret workings of team WOSCA tactics, (I'd have to kill you) I was planning to have a go, to attack. I needed to get something out of this race, and the steep climb through Strathallan school was the perfect ramp.

- However -

(There's always a however, isn't there?)

I came down. I was taken by surprise actually, for I was at the front of the bunch and on Stephen's wheel who isn't generally one to fall off (Unless he has a visor on). It was not a big fall, neither my bike nor my body was too damaged but I was raging. As I got back on the steed, I could feel the red mist descending. It wasn't fair, I grumbled to myself between lungfulls of air and drinks of water. But, it seemed that fate smiled upon me that day, as with the help of another rider I managed, over 10 laps, to gradually bring myself back into the contact with the main group. Of course, being the sneaky little rider that I am, I went straight to the front just as we passed three to go. I do remember, quite clearly in fact, the idea of a last ditch, Innes style attack, but my legs said no before I'd even asked them. They put a full stop in their reply, it read "No." Fair enough I thought, if I could chase the whole bunch down, surely that meant  I could do that same effort away from the bunch...

Oh, I do love bike racing.

As ever, WOSCA were en pointe. My Thanks to: Kenny, Martin, my team, the Braveheart Fund, the assorted parent helpers/cheerleaders and Strathallan school for having us.


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