First race of the year

Last night was my first race of 2006 in Dinnington, near Rotherham.  There were about 100 riders out and many of them have been racing for a few weeks already so had their race legs on.  The race was run on a handicap with 5 separate groups, I was in the 3rd which meant we had some catching up to do.
I was pleased with the pace and despite an early error from some of the riders on the front taking a wrong turning the first lap was good.  However, we had 5 laps to do and each one got faster and faster.  We kept the pace fairly steady until group 4 and 5 caught us, these are the really fast guys and they whizzed past us in a blur of shiny metal, carbon fibre and lycra and we had to increase the pace to stay on.
We didn’t catch groups 1 & 2 until the very last lap and then once we had the pace notched even faster.
On the very last corner, one guy took it far too tight and caught his pedal on the ground – he was only a bike length in front of me when I heard the bang and saw the sparks but he managed to stay on.  It slowed us down and we had some chasing to get back to the front before the final climb to the finish.  I was eventually just a bike length behind the front bunch of about 15-20 riders so all in all I was pleased.  It was a great circuit and an excellent race.
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