Kingston Wheelers 2/3 RR

9 Mar

The first proper road race of the season then. After my little warm up at Hog Hill I was confident that I was in decent enough shape for this time of year, and especially vs where I was last year! I’ve been a bit slack on actual training the last week or so, instead favoring hard commutes with a few intervals thrown in, and a bit on the turbo here and there.

Part of the deal with our race is that if you do race then you are expected to marshall the other race (there is a 3rds and a 2/3 run) so I spent the morning in one of the cars as note taker for the asst comm. I must say I am actually tempted to do the exams etc and get involved with that, as following the break(s) in the car was awesome, and it was a great place to observe tactics etc from. Sadly for us London Dynamo did a number on the 3rds race with a 1,2,3 so the task was on myself and Andy Lack to restore some honor in the afternoon!

Happily the rain stopped for today and actually as time went on the course started to dry out a bit. I had had a look at the start sheet to see who was who, there were many of the usual suspects, so I was aware of who and what to follow at least. But its never that simple. And with the finish of this race being a hill that you only do once its easy to get it all wrong regardless of where you find yourself on that last lap.

We rolled out and got our bearings, there were some proper craters on the course, so it was good to have seen those via the car in the morning as I quite liked my Zipps! The first few laps the pace was up and down and the usual digs here and there were going. I had a chat with a couple of guys in the bunch and we were of the opinion that it was a bit early to try anything so just saved ourselves a bit for a couple of laps while others went and then came back.

There was strong representation from VC Meudon today and from what I could work out they were wanting to keep it together as most things seemed to be covered by them. It was around lap 5 of 10 and I noticed a couple of the guys I usually mark having a chat and making it pretty obvious that they were about to nail it up the short hill near the finish, so I tacked on, and actually ended up sprinting straight past to get a proper gap. We quickly got a lead up, but by god it was hard work, its never easy riding in a break with only 3 people, but this felt really hard! We stayed away for a little while, but the bunch soon loomed and we sat up.

It was a sign of things to come though, and my lungs appreciated a bit of a beating I think. Another lap or so passed and it was getting to that ‘now or never’ stage, and the same guys and a few others went again, this time I chose to let it grow out a bit to see what happened, it looked like a good move, and there were plenty of riders working, so instead of drag the bunch along with me I let them go up the road a bit ad then sprinted to bridge over, nobody came with me, and the gap was decent.

Much shouting ensued and although it looked to be a good move, gradually the turns stopped, and people were everywhere, and obviously the bunch kicked it up a notch, I think this move lasted a little longer but once again we were brought back again. At this point the general feeling, from me at least, was that the race was going to end up as a bunch gallop, which wasn’t ideal as the hill at the end was hard to get right, had some holes, and is easy to get boxed in on!

It was after this I think that I noticed Andy Lack roll through, I knew what this meant, he was going to give it a good dig, and he did just that, he got away with one other, but sadly for him not many others went with so it was always going to be tough to make that one work, and after a while out front he got brought back.

We rolled round at a high pace with the bunch for a lap or so till the bell, and it was on that bell lap that the least likely move happened, same people again, and lots of others followed this one, I hesitated a bit on this one, I was of the opinion that it wasn’t gong to stick, but my opinion slowly changed as I noticed they were actually working properly and looked to be going well. Also it was at this point I thought to myself, all the known riders are in that break, if it does stick and I chose to ignore it I would be livid, so it was one last roll of the dice, I went again and had two others to help us get over, it was a hard slog but after a few mins of chasing we got over and this break had maybe 15 riders in it. Certainly had a good chance of staying clear, but we only had 1 lap to get a gap.

Everyone was working well, and everyone was very vocal with who needed to be doing what if we wanted to make it stick, and I think a combination of this and the fact the bunch gave up, or VC Meudon shut it down as they had 1 rider of their 12 in the break meant we got a good gap, and with about half a lap to go we had 40-50 seconds I am told, certainly enough that they were out of sight, though I still thought it important to not lift off too much…

The break was going strong, and I noticed a few riders stopped working, so the next move was always coming, with about 2 to go Richard Prebble attacked, and attacked HARD, he got clear with one other rider, it was looking bleak, this is what he is known for and had done this a few times last year to great effect. This was an issue, I didn’t really have enough to bridge over I didn’t think, and nobody else was willing to come through, we got to 1k to go and he was a fair way clear but still in sight, I looked back and it seemed that the other riders were not going to be coming through, so I cut my loses and stuck to the front and as we approached the final hill at speed thoughts rushed through my head, but it was those from a mate of mine (who knows his onions) that stuck “attack that hill from the bottom, you’ll go clear probably” – so as it flattened before the rise out I smacked it, at this point Prebble was already half way up the hill, I was going well, but paying for my effort for the previous few mins, as we passed Richard and co at speed I thought it was going to come together and I would win, it was with around 150m to go that Paul Sewell who had been the only rider who followed me jumped and I couldn’t respond to his dig, he played it perfectly, and looking at the data I can see that I went better for 40 secs than I ever have before (over 850w) so no excuses there!! The move almost worked but I had not banked on anyone keeping the wheel to be honest, so fair play to Paul a good way to start the season for him, and a 2nd place for me, which is better than a kick in the teeth in March

After the initial adrenalin had worn off I remembered I’d signed up to the East Surrey Hardriders TT tomorrow – 30 miles around the hills of Surrey at 8.41AM – joy indeed.

Ride from today here –

Will update tomorrow, though I expect to take a kicking

All credit for the photos goes to Jason from our club, flickr here –



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