Race 6 – Hillingdon

28 Jan

Back after a week break, mainly because my other goal for this season is to be able to hold my own in a 3rd cat road race, Hillingdon is great fun, but its NOTHING like riding 60 miles of Surrey lanes and ending with  sprint up a hill or similar!

So last weekends riding was mainly built around a 100 mile ride down to check out a Surrey :League circuit down in Milland (hants/sussex), it was a hard ride and with over 6000ft of climbing at over 18mph average it wasn’t easy. And although I felt fine after, it had a bit more of an effect that I thought and my legs have felt a bit off all week. But I still managed to get a decent training ride in mid week along with a few commutes.

Today was an alright day for racing, headwind from the north bringing a bit of a bite to the air but otherwise fine. Went up solo this week and met a couple of the other guys up there, decent showing from the KW lot again, really pleasing to see so many people in the same mindset as myself.

The race went off and it was evident that the pace down the back straight was going to be high all race, my bike felt good, for once, I’d put a new chain on it earlier and it was a world of difference! The pack was moving well together, not too many silly moves either. I felt pretty good, just moved up and down the pack for the first 25 mins or so seeing who was looking good. My eye was on Dom Clegg who positioned himself perfectly the whole race, and also last weeks winner Peter Hudson, there were a few familiar faces about, a few riders who were not very popular with the majority for their riding, but all in all, not too bad at all! I was thinking maybe people had just learned more race skills as there were not any spills last week either!

I made sure I was in the right place this week, and at one point I was in about 3rd or 4th wheel with Dominic as we and a couple of other guys strung the group out a fair bit, I was certain a break was going to form, but it didn’t really, I wasn’t up for killing myself with 20 mins to go and the bunch still looking strong.

We passed the 4ths just before our 5 lap board came out, however one 4th rider had broken clear of his field and was in front of ours, the checkered flag was being waved and in a moment of confusion I thought it was being waved for our race, so me and another rider both sprinted for the line haha! Imagine my embarrassment when the race carried on!

With 3 laps to go I made sure I was in a decent position in the front quarter of the field, it stayed like this with a few lone efforts but nothing stuck. Last lap bell went, and I was in a great position, probably 6th or 7th rider front the front, we came onto the back straight at a high pace (I’d imagine around 31 mph or so. My speedo is broken so don’t know) and I was pleased that so far I’d done everything I wanted to do, then something happened that ultimately made the race a good workout, and also cost me a result due to my decision process.

Jason (from KW) flew down the outside alone and went for it, he looked fast and passed the rest of us at pace, I thought that I would get on his wheel and tow us round for a 1-2, so I put in a big dig to catch him and get on his wheel, it quickly became apparent that although we had gone clear by a few bike lengths, it wasn’t going to be enough. Coming up the final straight into the wind I passed Jason giving it everything, and could feel the lactic getting too much, I was hurting, big time, I was leading probably until about 20 meters to go, at which point the rest of the guys (who I should have been with haha) made their sprints, and I think Peter Hudson won again. I might have scraped a top 10, but not hopeful.

So the positives I took from today were that I was a lot more confident in the corners and the bunch, it really helped when needing to get into a good position, I also now know that I should just sit in and make the best of a sprint, the effort required today to go clear and stay clear would have been vast and certainly beyond me. I’m confident I would have contested the sprint had I not been so rash, but that is now a mistake I won’t make again, so its all good learning!

Congrats to Peter for two in a row, and to Dom for making 2nd cat.

Hoping to have one last win in the winter series before the road race season starts, although I’m keeping an eye on my diary for summer Tuesday evenings as I think a crit in the sun with no wind would be great!

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