Yes you're as surprised as me. After 5 weeks doing hardly any km and any top end training, suffering from various ailments including tummy bugs and bad colds, today I won the Senior B (U 40's) Championship of the Department of The Vaucluse.
I woke up knowing the méteo was going to be crap and it was. Pouring with rain and blustery, I didn't even want to go after the lst two DNF's. Anyway the least I could do was turn up and help Bruno for a few laps before I climbed off. (Not trying to be negative here!!)
Here's how it panned out. 45 starters in the Senior B category (U 40's), 7 laps of a 13km loop. Each lap has a twisty descent from the start, 4km flat, 3km false flat up into a headwind, 5km flat with crosswind then 2km drag at about 3% up to the finish.
José, a good Cat 1 who won at Montsegur two weeks ago, was as usual very pro active and to my delight a counter attack by me after an attack by José on the second lap dragged 5 away. Then we worked hard together hoping the elastic will snap somewhere behind you. It did!! 5 of us away, in the rain, windy, we had to stay away. Flat out for 2 laps - merde!! 3 more joined us dragged up by an elite rider called Deshamps. At least the bunch was dead and buried somewhere behind. And then there were 8 arguing like mad! with 2 laps left no one wanted to graft so I put a dig in off the front and gained 100m straight away, then 200m then 300m. At the foot of the 2km drag I buried my self - 4 minutes of complete agony. I had decided that this was all or nothing. I was going to win or come 8th. The top of the climb was flat, past the finish, the bell, 13km to go. I'm a good descender so threw caution to the wind and went down the other side far too fast for the slippery conditions. Out of the bend at the bottom of the hill I was on the drops but standing up, 53-12, 60kmh, tailwind.
At the end of the 4km flat I chanced a look behind. They were gone but it was to early to smile. Up the 3km false flat, don't panic - pace yourself. 5km flat, no one behind me. At the bottom of the climb I looked over my shoulder and smiled. 53-21 turning nicely, legs good, 200m to go. Now I'm not smiling I'm laughing - delighted. Crossed the line, arms in the air with a 1m 30s lead. Shocked and amazed. Clubmate Patrick tells me I'm the first ever Brit to win the departmental Champs!!!!