Monday, 7 May 2012

Bridlington CC Road Race

Friday started with a greeting from the sun, much to the surprise and delight of many. Me more so since I was riding out across the country to Reighton where a static caravan was to become my home for the weekend. The cross -country trek was just short of 100miles and last just over 6 hours. Pleasant weather accompanied we all the way, and the terrain was perfect to get onto the drops and do some sustained efforts across the Plain of York. My nice average speed was then blunted by the sore thumb that is Garrowby Hill, stubbornly butting out of the horizon with its 17% gradient. It even has a cross at the top. Not the meanest of hills by Yorkshire standards but when you've been averaging 22mph for the last 2 hours it comes as a kick to the balls when you're zig zagging up it at 7mph. Undeterred, I got over the top and had a 20mile downhill drag to compensate for the undue pain. By this time it was well and truly dark but my 1200lumen retina-burning lights showed me the way all the way to the sea, where they were quickly trumped by Flamborough lighthouse. 

Saturday continued the run of pleasant weather, with temperatures peaking in the low teens. Last year, Brid was the only race were I had unzip my jersey due to the heat, luckily, this year would be a repeat. Of the heat of course, not the singularity. Well and truly shattered from the ride the day before, I only put in a short 30 miles around the circuit and surrounding areas. 

Sunday was race day, and as I nervously waited at the start line, big black clouds with familiar wispy trails of rain approached the bottom end of the circuit. A dirty race it would turn out to be as on the high side of the course the sun welcomed the riders whilst at the lower side the clouds pelted us with hail and rain and demanded that we leave its little patch of land. Nevertheless, the majority of the field finished, albeit with mud-specked faces and bikes.
The race started fast, as races do, to establish the early heir-achy of tractors, smart men and stragglers. I followed a few dangerous moves, but saved myself for the first ascent of the 1.5mile finishing hill. Last year, the race split in two here and it never came back together. This year, I was making sure that if this occurred again, I would be on the right side of the split. However, no determined attacks came after the prime sprints so half way through the race it became apparent it would come down to a bunch gallop.
A few more dangerous attacks happened on the downhills which I happily chased down with a tuck and a cadence of 200rpm. Second to last lap I followed the wheel of Mark Perry as he made his way through the bunch up the hill for the prime. With 300m to go I popped of the front, passed the lone escapee and got myself a tenner in the prime. Half heartedly I pushed on to cause some sort of break but everything was back together on the flat. I then sat it and at the bottom of the last hill was positioned comfortably 5-10 places back. Half way up the pace slowed down dramatically, caused myself to be swamped by the less tactically-astute riders. At this point, Nathan Wilson of Wilson Wheels jumped off the front and quickly got himself a gap. Nick Barnes, of Zepnat, followed soon after. Me, starting to panic, only managed to get free once the pace picked up with 500 metres to go as the bunch started to sprint. I ground myself towards the front and put in a huge effort to try and at least get second. I however had to settle for 4th, with Nick getting 3rd and wolfpack member Will coming in 7th. Not a bad race but I went away with the feeling I could have done better. 

Next race- Tockwith 

Editorial Note- Congratulations to local rider Joe Moses for provisionally winning the IOM Youth Tour (Junior) stage race! Those sprints we do up Embsay Moor must be doing you good! 

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