London Phoenix 2/3 RR Surrey League

27 May

Well, this week has been great for obvious reasons! Sun!

Sadly though with sun come beer, and I drank every day last week in one shape or form, which isn’t ideal, but meh, I’ve thought long and hard, and I’ve decided I’m just not up to going pro despite the many contracts landing on my doormat πŸ˜‰ So a beer here and there won’t hurt.

Had a couple of weeks off racing, mainly as there hasn’t been much about, I didn’t fancy paying Β£50 to enter the divs, and there were not any crits on so the last two weekends I’ve been training with the fast guys from the club. 2 100 mile rides both very quick pace and some good hills too. So I don’t feel like I’ve been neglecting my training. This week I also made sure I got in some decent riding and did a few hill repeats for the first time (although only little ones) and a few hard efforts in the park on the way back from work, given its so nice out there, seems a shame not to try and beat a few of the Richmond Park pro’s up one of the hills!

It was obvious today was going to be tough, the heat being the main factor, and also that the only time I’d ridden at 2nd cat level before (despite being one now) was at Bletchingly, which despite all the other guys claims of it being the hardest course around, didn’t ease my mind, as I got dropped like a stone in that race, as I posted back then, so the pace worried me slightly.

A good KW turn out as per, with around 6 of us today, including a recent convert to road racing (Pete M) who has shown massive promise, in weighing next to nothing yet having the power of a good 75kg+ rider. Lucky bugger πŸ˜€

I got there nice and early, and signed on, and we trundled over to the start line, which was down over the a24, down the finishing hill (which you only do once on the last lap, not a massive fan of that) and then onto the Henfold Hill course. I’d been told that the course was fairly rolling and only had one notable rise. Which was a fair call, but there were two rises and both were as small and almost a non entity. The thing that made them an entity (more the first one as it did ramp up a bit for a few meters) was that my chain was skipping in the small ring, so maybe the mech isn’t aligned or the tension isn’t being taken out of the chain… Anyway, long and short of it was that I had to use the big ring for the whole ride.

A lap in and I feel quite comfortable, and I’m keeping up and not feeling to bad, only slight niggle is the big ring thing and also whether I’ll have enough drink to last me as it was properly warm. I think on the second lap a group of a couple got away. Not sure who, but there were some very strong riders there today, so I think it was a small group of these maybe 5 or so that made the first dig, and got away. Then possibly a lap or so later, another split happened. Now at first they were so close that I was confident I would bridge over solo if needs be, but someone told me Andy Edwards was in the bunch, so we let them build up a lead. Fast forward a few mins, Andy is back in the main bunch and says he hasn’t the legs today to stick with them, which is fair enough as there were some super strong riders out there. So this got me thinking about bridging over, I made one attempt which was quickly chased down by the bunch, and then a lap or so later Pete had just started to go and they let him, I stormed up the outside and told him to grab my wheel, I thought with 20 or so up the road they would let us get away, but no, they didn’t, we got a gap and then I could see them sprinting to chase us down. Which is a shame as I think at that point we would have got over.

The concencus was that we could catch them and a few of us started doing turns to help bring it back, but the heat and the wind which was there, although not anywhere near as strong as yesterday made it bloodty hard work. The time gaps were increasing each time we went by the lap board, so what was once 30 secs was I think a minute by the end of things.

So last laps rolls by, I still feel pretty decent, so do a bit on the front, make sure I’m in a decent position just so I can maybe have another solo dig later on, we roll round to near the finish, and obviously the finish being off the circuit I got a bit caught out. I went hard up the outside and went by the bunch, to the front, only to see another 400 m of hill till the line. At this point I just carried it on to the line, probably in the top 15 of that bunch, not that it matters as the winners etc had already come through well before with I think a super fast Node 4 TT man winning, and second claim KW Francis Cade of vo2 taking second to get well on his way to 1st cat!! Someone also managed to crash at the finish line and it looked pretty horrible, face to the floor etc..

So in all I’m happy with it as I managed to stick the pace, which despite my initial thoughts of it being similar to a 3rds race, it wasn’t it was quite a bit quicker with over 26mph avg speed for the whole race. I felt I had the legs to do more, but it didn’t work out today. So it all looks good for the next few 2/3’s pace wise.

I’m racing again next weekend, but given the finish is the top of Leith Hill, and I’m 13 stone, its fair to say I will be bloody lucky or have to be in a break to get anywhere near the top. But its all good training eh?

Race stats then, 54 mi, 26.1 mph, top speed 45 mph

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