I haven't updated this blog for a while for one reason really, and that being me not doing too good in road races!
Luckily, I've got some publishable results since Otley.
First up is this week's race at Tameside on the Tuesday. Tameside is a very narrow and twisty circuit, and I've mentioned to a few people its like someone with a Scaletrix kit without any straight bits. In my first race on this circuit (the week before) I avoided two crashes and on one instance a rider fell onto my front wheel. Divine intervention must have been present because how I kept the bike up I will never know! The second crash happened on the last corner of the race. In had been raining and the rider in front of me kit the deck. The rider behind me panicked and forgot to turn, and ploughed straight into the perimeter fence. He was still KO'd when I came round on my warm down lap.
The next week, I went into the race with a few rules. The main one being stay top 10 at all times and on the last lap its better to go on the front than succumb to a crash and a broken collarbone!
The race was fast, very aggressive but also very elastic. All attacks were eventually brought back until an opportunistic youth A rider counter-attacked in the closing few laps. By the time we realised he was actually a strong rider it was too late and he won comfortably by 20 or so seconds. I came across the line 4th in the bunch kick.
The next day Wakefield beckoned for the Wakefield CC Midweek RR 2. Dirtwheels Cycles dominated this race from the off and half way through Graeme Rose and Matthew Bulmer snuck away on the fast straight and pulled out a demanding advantage over the short drag. Once they were out of sight the race was won. Alex Mitchell of We ♥ Mountains sprinted early and kept his speed to fnish 3rd. I was too far back to do anything and rolled across the line a disappointing 14th.
Today (Sunday), I travelled over to Boroughbridge to compete in Clifton CC's road race.
The circuit was flat, and had noticable winds in places. An early attack by Mike Marshall from the gun had the peleton flapping behind. Many people attempted to bridge but Mr. Marshall was too much of a monster and stayed away by himself for almost a full lap (8.9mile). Sensing that this may be a promising move I had a go at bridging. I opened up a gap and quickly got half way across. Then my legs thought better of it and gave up. My mind however was more determined and I fought claw and nail across the remainder of the deficit onto Mike's wheel. Here I took a few moments to compose myself but when I looked back to analyise the gap the bunch was breathing down our necks and I thought better of coming through. The next hour was fairly frustrating as the bunch refused to let anyone go. After a few early moves on my part and with no success I indulged into the armchair of the bunch.
Two more Dirtwheels riders had a bash at getting away and this time they succeeded. They disappeared out of sight and the bunch's hopes evaporated.
With two laps to go I followed a move by Nick Armistead (Yes, related to Lizzie) down a fast decent with a tailwind to a small group of hard working riders. Nick, however had other ideas and went straight past, in the hope that the bunch would be happy with the catch of the bigger group and ease off. A rider from the little break came to the front to do some work but completely overcooked a corner and kit the curb. I, sensing the confusion to come, powered round the corner and kept the speed up and me and Nick got a small gap over the non-plussed peloton. A few riders, including Giles Pidcock came across and I started barking orders to get everyone working smootly and quickly. We stayed away for half a lap but the bunch was more determined than us and caught us down a narrow wooded straight. Satisfied with their kill the bunch eased up. I was about a bike length off the front at this point and saw the opportunity. Slyly, I upped the tempo just a little bit and did a soft-attack (my favourite) and fairly quickly established an impressive lead for such little effort. Two riders, (Mark Perry of Dirtwheels and James Baillie of Langsett) came across and we started working as a solid unit. Three more riders (One being David Shackleton) bridged and I once again took up the job of drill saergant as I barked out orders to get everyone working. We built up an impressive lead and within half a lap had the two lead riders within our sights. Half a lap later we caught one of the leaders. Mike Marshall's previous efforts proved to be his undoing and could do nothing as his teammate Graeme Rose powered on. With about two miles to go David Shackleton attacked and took another rider with him. They caught the lone leader and continued. Knowing that this move was too dangerous to let go I attacked but only got half way across before the wind laughed at my mortality and eroded the energy in my legs.
The remainder of the break pulled me back and another counter attack came. I tried to latch on but the speed in my legs had packed its bags and left for drier climes. Undettered I fought back and we all came together as one unit to the bottom of the finishing hill. Graeme and David started the sprint and got a gap. No-one wanted to chase from such a long distance left to sprint so I wound mine up. I approached the tiring Graeme and sensed an acceleration from behind, so I kicked again. Unfortunatly the line was just a bit too close and I couldn't come round the last too riders. David Shackleton rode across the line a proud man with his arms in the air. Graeme Rose gasped across second and I grunted across 3rd.