Race 3 – Hillingdon

31 Dec

Race 3 Hillingdon 31st Dec

After missing a couple of races over xmas and seeing the chap from Redhill take some decent results (Dom Clegg) I was keen to get back in the bunch this weekend. As usual I’ve eaten far too much and have not done enough riding. All I’ve done this week has been a hilly 60 miler and then the race, but for once I actually didn’t feel like I had heavy legs. A sign of fatigue from the commute to work and lack of sleep no doubt.As usual, a couple of the guys from KW were going up to race the 3rds race so I had some company on the way up there, was feeling good, approaching Hillingdon the wind started to make itself known (is it EVER a still day there?) and it was obvious that the usual headwind after the corners would be present.

We started with the ladies this week which meant the 4ths got to race on their own, which given the recent crashes and what not was probably a good thing, gives people some more space! The pace felt quite fast as soon as we got going, I looked down and we rarely dropped below 27 for the first lap or so, it all seemed to come back together and settled down. As usual, there is a lull where not a lot happens, well, people go, they come back, and so on. I found myself on the front once or twice and put a little effort in up the hill to see that a good gap could be got at that point if the pack were not too bothered in chasing, which was useful later in the race… About 25-30 mins in another KW rider who I ride with quite often said to get his wheel and we attacked up that very hill, at some pace, but obviously the group wasn’t going to allow two KW riders off on their own!

I then found myself on the front again, and thought I should probably put an effort in, I need the workout after all, so I put a dig in and got a decent gap, I can’t quite remember whether there was a guy out front, or whether he followed me, but he and I at one point probably had a 20 second gap and looked to be working well, issue came about when we hit the wind, and this slowed us, me being a huge lump to draft probably helped, but this particular rider was probably sub 70kg so when I waved him through the wind really had an effect. I think we stayed away for two or three laps, and in the end he said he couldn’t work with me, presumably because he was at the limit, or he didn’t like me 😉 But it was great fun while it lasted, and really put ideas in my head for the future.

We eventually got caught by the bunch and a few of them stronger riders, including a chap from Zappi’s Dom from Redhill and a couple of others tried to get away again, this went back and forth for a bit untill I decided to catch a rest and sit back in, at that moment, one of our own went gunning off the front, and I chased, what I really did was tust bring the pack back to him (Sorry Gareth) and that was that. By now I’m looking at my watch as we’ve been riding almost an hour and I’ve not seen a 5 lap to go board, this was a bit irritating as the longer I rode the more energy I was using, I don’t take food on the ride as I know its going to be 50 mins plus 5 laps, but in this case for whatever reason we were racing for longer than we should have been.

Gareth went again and got a decent gap (which turned out to stay decent) I saw that Zappi and Redhill went with him and it was clear this was the group to be in, we came down the long straight and I probably was in the first 3rd of riders after the break and was going to bridge over when it was clear. And then something happened, which I still don’t know what, all I know is I was on the outside, I felt a strong push from the left, and then went down, crashed about a bit and ended up on the grass, there was lots of swearing and I saw that a fair number were down, maybe 10 riders? My bike was nowhere to be seen, turns out it was tangled around another bike and someone had ridden over the front wheel which has ripped the wheel off and shredded my new latex tube 😦 – I am pretty sure I didn’t cause it, and that it was something on the inside that shockwaved out that made us all collide but maybe someone else who raced has a better idea of how it happened…

The long and short of the crash was that I’ve ripped a skinsuit, a decent patch of roadrash, a buckled my front wheel (but the lovely chaps at Sigma sorted me out on the way home and he seemed genuinely upset that I’d smashed my bike and myself up!) and I’ve cracked the top tube on my bike. This was obviously the most annoying thing, its no super-bike but I can do without having to buy a new frame just after xmas!!! Still I had a play with it, pushed and pulled to see what the flex was like and it actually felt no different to normal (insert joke about cheap frame here), with that in mind I rode it home slowly and will try and sort it out in the week. I’ve been recommended a great carbon repairer who has fixed a club mates Cervelo, so I figure for £100 or so its worth a go before I commit to buying something else…

Bit of a shame as despite doing a lot of work and what not I still felt like I could have gone with the group that eventually did stay away and put in a sprint at the end, but that is just the way it goes I suppose. All I can say is the folk that bring their £5k bikes with £1500 wheels down each weekend are braver and or richer than I!

Hoping to be back for next week at a push if not then the one after, maybe with a £100 winter frame from Ribble, maybe with a £1000 Cervelo, maybe with mine fixed (doubt that one) depending on how everything pans out in the next few days, you never know Ribble might even replace mine for me!?

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