Westerley Crits 2/3/4 Hillingdon

14 Apr

Been a good week on the bike. Got some good miles in, and have ridden most days, and hard. This week I had tried to get into a Roadrace, but they were either full or too far away, so having not raced at Hillingdon for a few months I thought I’d go up there for a blast.

It was a 3/4 that ran on its own, so it potentially could have a massive field! I went up and met Jason there (he came 2nd there midweek) and another wheeler, there was a line of people out the door when we got there (an hour early) so we knew the field was going to be epic. We signed on, and were delayed a bit by some junior racing. I noticed just before heading out onto the track that a bloke wandered past us with number 81 on his back, so there were well over 80 people in this race. Which for somewhere like Hillingdon is massive, the limit is 100 riders, but I’ve only ever seen this amount when the fields are separated by half a lap, never one big bunch!

Anyway, we rolled up to the line, and got the race talk. This week I’d borrowed a clubmates powertap wheel to do some investigation into my power, and where I might be able to improve. So it was always going to be an interesting race for me, as I was keen to see what my numbers would be in the inevitable bunch sprint etc!

We got off, and to be fair with a couple of exceptions, the riding was OK, a few hairy moments, but for the amount of people it was not too bad. Jason and I tried to move up to the front, but it was hard work as the sheer number of people made it tough to get a look in. One team from Jersey (they had come over in a bus and were racing both races, and probably tomorrow too! Hardcore.) were driving well on the front. And about half way through the race a few digs went in. I’m not totally sure when it happened but 4 blokes got away from the pack, it was always tough to tell what was happening as there were a lot of lapped and dropped riders around, but still.

Time went quite fast today, and before I knew it I looked down at my garmin and we had done nearly 22 miles, and I’d not seen the lap board, sure enough it had been out and there were 3 to go. I set about trying to get close to the front, and made my way up as we crossed the line with 3 to go. Round to the fast downhill section I found myself actually on the front. So I carried on round at pace as I wanted to string it out a bit if we were going to sprint. I noticed that a gap had started to form by the time we hit the home straight (where the headwind was lurking, it had been killing the bunch all race, slowing to about 20 mph sometimes!) so I put a big effort in. I gained on the bunch and went clear, I kept digging and before I knew it I was clear of the pack by some distance. One other chap had come with me, a young rider from the Jersey team I think.

We had 1.5 laps to make it stick then, I was on the front a lot of the time for that 2nd to last lap, I waved him through when we went through for the bell lap, he came by me, panting, I was at a new Max hr so I was panting too! I let him carry us round the fast downhill and he waved me by on the 2nd to last straight by the clubhouse…Obviously at this point I thought we were leading as I had no idea about the break, so knowing I had the power advantage I drove hard into the wind (900w according to the wheel) and he was gone, I crossed the line arms aloft like a chopper thinking I’d won it.

Got back to the clubhouse and Jason broke the news that there were 4 up the road haha! Still, it was a good race, and I was pleased with my effort for those last 5 mins. The race not only had a huge field, but it was quite fast too, averaging just under 26 mph for the duration. Most pleasing was that the two laps I was away were the 2nd and 3rd fastest of the race for me with the highest power output too.

So now that leaves me needing around 15 points till I upgrade and am forced to ride with the seriously fast people, my season goal of Cat 2 is getting closer!

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