Hillingdon 2/3/4

10 Jun

After a decent couple of weeks on the bike, there seemed to be a lack of races locally, so thought I’d go with the tried and trusted up at Hillingdon, which meant I could have many many beers at a BBQ that Sat night!

It has obviously been pretty hit and miss weather wise of late, and after having been blown to a stop on Millbank a few times I was really hoping it would subside somewhat. Woke up the Saturday and had a look out the window, thought to myself ‘that tree isn’t normally horizontal’, balls, it was still stupidly windy.

Anyway, I spent the morning messing about with tyres as I didn’t want to risk deep rims due to the wind, and possible poor riding, so put my shallow rims on, and then had a bout of OCD and cleaned every inch of them and the cassette with baby wipes…3 hours later I was ready to roll. The headwind was a joke, and getting to the track was hard enough! Came across Francis Cade at the lights, so I knew at least who would be a good rider to follow as he’s been smashing it into the rest of the 2nds/3rds in the Surrey League, and is as good a crit racer as he is road, so that was one task made easier. The vo2 lads had a couple riding, there was one other wheeler – Track Beast John Coolahan who is an accomplished trackie and then the usual mix of people.

The race got underway and I saw Francis go straight from the gun (that was the last the bunch saw of him), I was planning to actually be a bit aggressive in this race instead of the bore fest that is sitting in waiting for a sprint as I was during the winter series, so about 2 laps in I put in a big effort and got clear, and a few others came with and before we knew it we were away from the bunch and it was all going well. There was probably about 5 of us, and I was happy to do turns, but did notice that each time we went up the home straight it was getting slower. I was really struggling to keep the pace when a Colbornes rider (Chris Spence) came through, he was a lot stronger than the rest of us by the looks of it and really made it hard work, but he was right to make it hard as we needed to stay away!

I think we were away for about 10-15 laps or so before we got caught, mainly down to fatigue I think, the wind was really taking it out of our small group on the bottom straight. John said that Francis had 4 others with him, and that it was touch and go, as the gap had not really come down on them, and we never really gained on them as a chasing bunch.

Had about 3 laps sitting in, and realized my fitness has come a long way, sitting in was EASY, but I needed a breather after the effort. So was mid pack recovering and another group went, John was in it this time, so I tried to move to the front to chase down any would be breaks, and felt I did a good job of this, it was like interval training!

Anyway, they did work well together, and I think they had 6 or so in total, and it was clear with 5 laps to go (from the 35 we did in total) we would not catch them, I was happy to just roll in, but then thought that I hadn’t had a flat sprint for ages, and also mistakenly thought the points went to 15th place (they didn’t, 10th was the last points placing) so I kept in position and drove hard on the last lap to stay in the right place, probably in the top ten coming round the last corner. I got boxed a tiny bit on the corner by someone who was going a bit slow after what was probably a big turn so after going round him, I found myself in a good position with nobody really in front but about 5 ahead of me on the left – they were taking the wind and my line was ok – a chap opened up and went quite hard, right from the early part of the straight, I went too (too early) and was about equal to him for what felt like ages, we quickly moved ahead of the rest, and I realized there was still another 50 meters to go, so got back in the saddle stuck it down to the 11 and tucked right over the bars in what must have looked like a descending position and just went and the extra gear and aero advantage of getting my frame out of the wind meant I went clear of this chap and won the bunch gallop by a bike probably.

Francis and co stayed away and he took 2nd, mega ride from him and the others in that group. John got 8th, and he said it was as hard as anything he’s ever done on the track.Which I tended to agree with when I threw up in my mouth (banana soreen just before a race is a no no)!

So was a good workout, got to work on my fitness as there were times when I couldn’t do my turn to the full speed it needed to be (could have done with the deep rims after all! 20 watts would have helped!), can easily stick the pace with some decent 2nds in the mix, and probably can score points at this level if I can stay in a break or it comes to a sprint as although I’ve not really worked on the sprint it still seems to be decent enough.

Want to get back to Hillingdon this Tuesday then again next Saturday in the absence of any local road races, good training too, then a weeks sunning in Turkey followed by a packed July full of 2/3 road races!

Race was 34mi, avg 25.5 mph (felt faster, but the wind killed it a bit)

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