I'm not a great bike racer. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm pretty good at riding my bike, and I'm ok at winning races from time to time, but I'm not great at reading races, and I for one am of the opinion that right there is the difference between a great racer and a great rider. I like to think that because I came late to the sport I haven't quite developed that immediate instinct, that ability to instantly know which breaks to follow, how to time my efforts, when to let some muppet hang out the front and burn himself out.
This isn't to say that I don't get it at all. It comes to me, it just takes a while. And with each race I'm getting better at it. This is what has been happening with me down at the St Kilda crits over the past few weeks. I wasn't heaps enthused when I saw them written into my program, but a couple of races in and I'm starting to feel it. Last time I raced there - a couple of weeks back now, due to rain - I sat at the back and only did some work at the front in the last ten minutes, trying to chase down a break that was way too far gone. This morning I went out in a couple of breaks of my own, watched other racers, bridged to other breaks and helped another Brunswick member into what we thought was a winning position. I'm a while off the win just yet, but being active in the race, starting to understand its ebb and flow, and anticipating moves before they occur is a definite step in the right direction.