Milland Hill 2/3 RR

31 Mar

Yep, its still winter…

After my last post which was all about the smashing I gave my shoulder, I was really not sure if I was going to be ok to ride this one or not, as riding out of the saddle was not without its pain earlier in the week, and slogging 10 times up a 25% ramp certainly would mean getting out of the saddle!
Still, with a few commutes under my belt this week, and the week previous just solidly on the turbo I was feeling OK. And despite only doing around 6 hours last week on the turbo when I was off the road, it was nearly all good quality and I was pleased I managed to make myself do it.

This race is one I did the 3rd cat only version of last year, its an area I know fairly well having lived in Petersfeild for a time and having a few friends round Milland area so was keen to go back this year and give the 2/3 a crack. I arrived probably 10 mins after the 3rds had finished and was pleased to learn our resident sandbagger Gareth Thomas had got second place, which is a great result. In the afternoon race it was just myself and Andy Lack again from KW, however I knew a few others riding, and there were some people on the startsheet who I would be keeping an eye on. The course is pretty straight forward with the exception of Milland Hill itself, its a 2 min climb that peaks at 25% or so, and you do it ten times, it certainly takes its toll. Last year I did it in 39-28 and felt fine, this year having sold that cassette as it doesn’t work with Q rings I had 40-25, which is certainly a few more gear inches than I was looking for, but needs must…

As we rolled out it began to snow ever so slightly, it was pretty cold, and with most of the circuit being downhill you really do feel it if you mid bunch. It didn’t take long for the attacks to come, nothing really of note at first, a few people went and got brought back. One guy went on his own quite early on and stayed away, but I think the bunch always thought he would come back. I went for a couple of early digs to see where everyone was at. I noted that people were really suffering up the hill and coming onto the dual carriageway still puffing, so this was a good place to test a few legs. Myself and AW Cycles rider Lawrence Carpenter had an early go but were chased down, its quite a hard circuit to get out of sight on as there are two very long straights, so that doesn’t help. Then a move of 5 went away, now I was not in the greatest of position when it did, but I noted that Lawrence and a few others that I was looking at were not in it, also that Meudon had nobody in it, and they had a lot of riders, so being logical I decided to wait and see what happened as it was still only half way through at this point…

Then a Peter Hansford rider went on his own, dangled off the front for what seemed like ages, but eventually got a gap (he later bridged over to the 5, so good work from him!). Another lap passed and we were getting time gaps of 35 secs or so, I was starting to worry a bit, and I said to myself that I was going to try and get over to it on the next lap, on the main road section. Just as I was hatching my plan we tackled the hill once more, I was in the 23 and shifted down to the 25 for maximum spin, at this point my chain went over the top of the 25 and into the spokes, luckily because we were doing 6 mph no damage was caused (I will have to get busy with limit screws!) but it meant I had to get off my bike to get it sorted, the bunch were moving out of sight, so not a good time. But I felt ok at this point and was able to ride myself back on, but it meant that where I wanted to make my move I was at the back of the bunch so couldn’t.

I postponed my plan for half a lap and instead went on the small incline after the decline, sprinted and got a gap, then settled in, but it was quickly obvious that though it didn’t feel like there was much of a noticeable wind in the bunch, when solo the back straight was a fair bit slower, I kept going for a few miles, but by the hill I was back in the bunch again, but I had managed to close the gap a bit, which was a minor plus. With two to go I was hoping someone would give a bit of a hand at the front, as really, as far as I could see it was only 3 or 4 of us willing to do anything to try and bring it back.

One of them being me, another a private member, all the while we thought that some of the bigger teams must have had people up there as they were contributing nothing to the chase and were seemingly happy to sit in and wait for 6th from the bunch (or 12th as it actually turned turned out according to their Facebook page) so it was a bit of an odd one. Onto the bell lap and the gap now was back out to a minute, and at this point myself, Ed Ashby and Tim Wiggins of Wightlink kind of starting working together along the dual carriageway, and it upped the pace, and we stated eating into the advantage, if there were a couple more helpers we’d have caught the break. But as it was, when we were about to hit the ramp the beak were maybe 8 seconds ahead just about to go over the top. I was pretty done in from my earlier efforts but tried to stay in touch up the hill, I gave it a good go and kept going to overtake a couple of people on the flat run up to the line for 9th. So not totally a wasted day out, but still not the best day of racing for me, but as I said to Ed, we tried, and we got something out of the race, and we actually cut their gap down drastically.

The winner was the lone rider from Lewes CC, good ride by him, followed closely by Mike Debney from Dynamo in 2nd.

The numbers tell the story a bit average power was 260 with a normalized of 340 for 2 & 3/4 hours (though the hill does flatter it).

Hog Hill tomorrow and Bletchingley next week, which I am looking forward to!

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