5 Aug

25 months.

No, I’m not trying to outdo a trapped rock-climber, rather that is how long its been since I won a race of any sort on my roadbike. For a rider who won his first two ever races and then went and won a few other races/stages of races etc that seems like a bloody long time to me. I get my fix for winning I suppose from time trials, but even still, the feeling of winning on the road, or a crit circuit as it was is still every bit as sweet as doing a personal best or winning an event by 3 minutes on the time trial bike.

People have always asked what I might concentrate more on next year in terms of road/TT, and I usually say the same thing, I’ll mix it up and see how I get on, I don’t feel like one has to suffer at the hands of the other, the only thing that perhaps changes is driving miles and miles for a road race when there is a TT nearby starts to look like a waste of a weekend, but there are times when it comes together and you know why you still do both, even if like me you’ve had quite bad luck on the road due to various things…

People far more eloquent and edgy than I have written blogs on Crystal Palace and its racing, what with references to the sun breaking through the dense tree cover to illuminate the last bastion of true crit racing the SE has to offer, so I’ll skip all that – basically its really fucking hard; and reasons for this are two fold, one: it has a selection of corners that require nerve and skill (or a lot of sprinting if you have neither), and two, even the most sedate people seem to turn into raging bulls when in SE19, attacking left right and center like their lives depend on it. All that coupled with a fairly decent and competitive field most weeks make it a hard but enjoyable Tuesday evening pursuit.

I’ve been going along most weeks this year, mainly as I felt like getting in a 4 hour day and 1 hour at race pace was good training, and also because the guys that race there are a decent bunch and riding there doesn’t push me to go all Michael Douglas in Falling Down, which I’m afraid traversing West London out to Hillingdon does seem to. This year most races have either been won by Ethan Hayter (who is on the UK national squad), Tom Hargreaves (who has won lots of races) or Rob Moore (who usually bulldozes his way to victory if he can), and a smattering of others. I feel like racing at palace is not really easy points, and that is what makes it a bit more special than Hillingdon and such. This week I really couldn’t be arsed to be fair, got to about 5pm and I raided the work coffee supplies for some enthusiasm and pulled myself together, I’d still got fairly achey legs from pushing on a bit on the Sunday, so was unsure of how I’d be to be honest.

We got started and it felt ok, I continued to feel ok, my back didn’t even ache that much (maybe that £200 saddle did the trick?), a lot of moves came and went, mainly with Ian Paine of Dynamo, Kendall Noctor of Feather, Tom or James Lowden of Neon Velo being the perps. I got away with James towards the end and forgot how strong he was, really wasn’t that pleasant getting over to him and coming through. We were brought back however, it was getting to the point where I thought it would likely be a sprint situation, thankfully it was up the hill which I don’t mind, and Ethan was frying bigger fish somewhere, so this was my best chance of winning. Tom had Ray from Dynamo lining it out up the hill and I saw a gap and just smacked it, I knew that if I got a gap then nobody would catch me, I looked back after a good 10 second or so effort and there was daylight, wonderful. I stuck one hand in the air (didn’t want to do an Armitstead after all) and crossed the line. Happy days. (maybe a pic out there somewhere of the finish – I’ve yet to find it).

Meanwhile there was this pre race pensive glance – credit to Alex Hewson – more from him here

One Response to “Finally…”

  1. Martin Sigrist August 6, 2015 at 8:25 am #


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