Runfold Road Race – Surrey League

13 May

Back to the Surrey League to see if I could get a result the day after the Milburys win. I made sure to stretch and get on the roller to try and make sure I made the best of what were always going to be tired legs. And actually on Sunday morning they didn’t feel too bad, it was only a short drive down the A3 to Elstead so it wasn’t such a hardship to race again.

Today was going to be a hybrid course that had a bit of the Cutmill circuit and a bit of the Runfold circuit, either way it was going to be a tough day out. I got there early to the great news that Gareth Thomas of KW had won the 3rds race in the morning, he will be a 2nd cat pretty soon, so looking forward to having him racing with me as he’s a strong rider who knows what he is doing. He said the surface was a bit poor in parts, and that there were a couple of tasty potholes. The weather at this point was lovely, but sadly the forecast was saying it would turn from sunny skies to pouring rain during our race. After cleaning the bike from the Milburys I really wasn’t filled with joy at this prospect.

There were a few strong guys racing, notably from Dynamo, with an on form Mike Debney, Chris Morrison who I’d been told was a strong guy, James Local who is always strong, and certainly a lot of riders from Meudon who were always trying to animate the races. Also Paragon, and Dulwich, Phoenix had a presence. We got going and it was clear this course was indeed harder than Cutmill, and also that my legs were going to get battered all day!

I was keen to watch a few riders as I knew they would likely be the ones making the move, and a couple of early moves did go, one of which looked promising with all the main guys in, but was brought back. The circuit had a lot of fast downhills which meant getting away was tough. At some point a couple of guys chipped off the front, Chris from Dynamo and another chap, I didn’t think much of it as it didn’t seem to be a circuit that would suit a small break, especially as there were so many riders really pushing the pace up the hills. The race was quite fast and only had small places to rest before it was another hill, or another sharp turn that was sprinted out of. I actually didn’t realise until fairly late on that Dynamo had one in the break, but it explains why they shut everything down, the reason it wasn’t that obvious is that they were not shy in attacking the hills. And at one point Mike called James and I onto his wheel as he let rip up the hill (at this point the break had 2 mins, so it was certainly safe to try and get away and we wouldn’t catch them), I clung to his wheel, which was HARD, we got a small gap, but it was never enough. The race kept on going, and slowly the bunch was whittled down as each time up the hill someone set the pace, I tried quite hard to go with something, but my legs were aching, and nothing seemed to stick. Liam Maybank from Twickers had a good go off the front for a lap or so, and looked like he was always able to go with a move, so on the last lap when someone really hit the hill hard, I made sure to go with it, I was literally on the limit here, and I don’t think Mike would disagree when I say I think he was too, he waved me through as we were the back markers in the split, but I couldn’t, we got over just about, legs packed full of lactic, and it looked like we may have done the right thing as we sped down the fast downhill. However it soon ended the way many others had and it all came back together. With about 4 miles to go I knew it was just going to be a gallop up the hill and I sat in to try and save energy and give my legs one last smashing up the hill to try and race for 3rd place.

It was maybe 1 mile to go as we approached the dead turn into the final hill, when I hit the pothole, the one that had killed off many people in the earlier race, initially I thought I’d got away with it, but about 10 seconds later the horrid realisation that I was riding on the rim on my rear wheel took hold, I put my hand up and slowly came to a halt, the noise and feel was horrific, I DID NOT want to be riding on a Zipp wheel with no air in the tyre. I eventually came to a stop and the bunch all went by. I was VERY annoyed, especially as I had missed the hole every other time and the last lap was the one that scuppered me, and so close to the finish too. But one thing I was glad of was to get a proper workout from it, I worked harder in that race by quite a margin than I did in the Milburys road race, and the powermeter tells me as much, 270 watts for 3 hours with numerous sprints out of corners and according to my data 40 minutes spent over 420 mins, which certainly gave my legs a kicking.

It was an annoying outcome, but its been a good weekend of riding, and hopefully can go into the SE divisional champs with a bit of good form, I will need it just to stay in the bunch on that circuit!

Race here

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