Sunday, 12 June 2011

City Road Club (Hull) Road Race (2/3/4)

This was my first road race for a while, with my last one being the Bridlington Road Race back in April. Having got fed-up with just doing the mid-week crit, I persuaded my race driver to drive down to Hull for my latest bash at glory.
Luckily, the forecast of rain managed to stay away during the race, with a sunny start that gradually got worse and it eventually did start raining, but not till half an hour after the race. That was for the better, since the local council decided to put loose chipping along half of the course, so it was hard enough not falling over going round the corners with tyres that where just over a two centimetres wide, without having to worry about rain. Add the loose chipping flying into your face, the sharp corners and gradual climbs, the course was very technical and very hard. Eight laps of this was really going to test the legs

Hard racing started from the word go as riders surged forward to try to be near the front going into the first sharp bend, and my lack of warm up was felt during the first 2 laps. Attacks went thick and fast, and the pace was kept high and no breaks really stuck. On the 3rd lap, a determined trio of riders broke away, and stayed away, leading into the first promising break of the race. Other riders saw this, and one by one they joined the break until it contained about 6 escapees. Around the 4th lap, I attacked going up a hill with another rider, and we opened up a considerable gap on the bunch, maybe 30 seconds. Another rider joined us and we formed the chase group, successfully forming a chain gang to pick up stragglers from the break and eventually catching it. There was another chase group down the road but beyond that, the main bunch was no-where to be seen, and it remained like that for the rest of the race. This large break of maybe twenty riders formed a chain gang to heighten the pace and to discourage opportunistic riders from attacking. Coming into the last 2 laps, another trio of riders attacked, and this eventually turned out to be the winning break. 
Coming into the last lap everybody was shattered, maybe me more so because I had done a considerable amount of time at the front of the break, riding into the wind and chasing down the occasional attack. At this point in the race, the trio of escapees could only be seen on long straights, and it was obvious we were not going to catch them. Other people realised this and eased off the pace, saving their remaining ounces of energy for the inevitable bunch sprint. About a mile from the finish, I found myself second wheel, and i remained like that till the last corner, where it seemed everybody had been plotting against me and opened up their sprints at exactly the same time, leaving me helplessly trying to catch them. At the finish I crossed the line around 15th place. I will not know for sure until the results are posted on the British Cycling website.
And thats my race. In hindsight, I should have done less work at the front and let other people do the chasing, but its a learning curve and I'll get it sorted one day.

My next race is the mid-week crit at Tockwith in the (2/3/4) race, and my next road race is the Bikeline Tom Simpson Memorial Road Race near Doncaster, and that again is a (2/3/4) category race of 60 mile.

Thats all from me, and once again, thanks for reading this far.

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