Luckily for us, we know some people that keep a static caravan at Reighton Gap and so we hired this for the weekend. What was even more coincidental was that the race HQ in Burton Fleming was just a mere 10minutes drive from where we were staying, so I didn't have to get up at 6!
The day before I took it upon myself to try and get to know the state of the local roads and do a bit of reconnoissance before the race. Unluckily, the organisers gave no information about the course details to first-timers like myself, so basically I had to ride round and hope I was riding the road the race was going to travel on. Fortunately, I happened to stumble across the finishing straight, albeit I went the wrong way.
That same day I got lost, but thanks to my trusty mobile/satnav, I managed to get back to the caravan 50 miles later.
The big day itself was very nice, a sunny and blissful 15˚C was to be the high during the race, but towards the ending stages of the ride, it soon felt like double that.
I started as a reserve, but I got to ride because there's always one guy that doesn't turn up. The line up of 70 riders where nearly mostly 2nd Cats, followed up by an equal number of 3rd Cats and just a handful of 4th's to fill the start sheet up.
The course itself was rolling, with a long (about a mile) uphill finish, that would soon put a stop to anyones chances of winning if they started their sprint up it too early. This route was roughly 10miles in length and we were to navigate it 6 times.
All this was unknown to me before, and during the race..
From the first hill I knew there was going to be a split, and the second cats where determined for this too. Knowing this, I actively stayed in the top 25th riders, and was consciously looking for any signs of weakness in the immediate riders in from.
Devilishly bad luck on my part, the one time I put my head down on the hill during the second lap, the break formed. And the break formed a mere 5 places in front of me.
By the time I put my head up and had realised what had happened, it was too late and the split was never to be caught.
So, for the next 50mile, I rode very puncheur like and attacked every lap, to try and bridge, but to no avail, and I was always reeled back in.
In the final 500 metres I attacked from the group I was in , and kept them off all the way to the line, and I bagged myself a satisfactory 24th place.
So in conclusion, my third, hardest and longest race has given me my best placing so far.
Unfortunately, I have no pictures to show to you, but check back to the following website to see if they have uploaded the images from the event yet.
Also, congratulations to Joe Moses who bagged himself an impressive 2nd place in the Wetwang 3rd/4th Cat race. He himself wasn't too happy with it, since he won cafe racing the day before, during which he offered me his wheel during his early attack, that I foolishly refused. (See, if I had gone with Joe, I would have probably won because I've got a better sprint!)
Once again, thanks for reading and check back for regular reports.