East Surrey Hardriders 2016

14 Mar

The East Surrey Hardriders was yesterday, 27.25 miles (taken down from a previous 29.9 due to roadworks) of fast single track, dual carriageway, and finally country lane fun over a rolling course. I’ve written about this event before, so if you’re interested go back to March in the previous year archives on the right hand side.

The upshot is that I’ve done this event 3 times, the first time I was 11th, last year I was 2nd, and this year I won and set a new course record for the course that has been used since 2014, and I think having looked I may well have taken the standard length CR had we raced it, looking at previous data. The attraction to this race goes beyond a generous smattering of prizes (£180 cash and £80 in vouchers better off after the win!), its about getting my name among some strong and well known riders not just locally by nationally, its a bit of a who’s who of testing in the UK, Prebble, Hutch (4 times!), Sean Yates, Sybrandy, Gethin Butler, Tim Stevens, Matt Bottrill and Steve Berry, (who set the CR on the normal course) plus many more – a lot of national champions in the list!

The lead up to this race was, as usual, less than ideal, the previous weekend I had been to Madrid for a mates stag do, of the 48 hours I spent there, I think I slept 8 and drank 35 of them, there are numerous photo’s of me smoking too, not ideal to be honest but there we are – I can confirm the gin and tonic they do is something to behold!I thought I would be ok but I didn’t feel normal until midweek really, getting old it would seem. I’d recently had another session at the velodrome with Xav so was confident that my position on this fairly quick course would be improved from previous years and even with similar power to previous years I may still go quicker.

On the startlist were many of the usual suspects, sadly owing to a team camp, last years winner was not present (Chris McNamara), but there was Maybank (past winner), Tadros (past winner), C.Yates, Paceline’s own Pat Wright who had a few wins under his belt already this year, and John Dewey who beat me into 2nd the other week on a sporting course. I knew I’d have to do a very good ride to beat an improved John, and of course stay ahead of the rest of the guys. I had a vague idea of what sort of pacing I would look to employ as its easy to get this one wrong being fairly long with a nasty sting in the tail with a hill at 22 miles.

Anyway, I got warmed up, had a bit of a chit chat to Connal who was complimentary of my progress, I put it all down to the aero gains, and joked they were likely harder to come by when you’re as tall as he is! Got up to the Heath and got off to a start – last year no sooner had I set off than I was stopped by a dithering driver costing me a few seconds, and then again at the next rbt, none of those dramas today mind you, clear run was the order of the day, lovely, save for the straining of my neck to see the huge amount of serious potholes between reigate and Dorking, very poor condition for what is a main road.

It was a tailwind start, and as far as I was concerned the race proper began after the climb from the ‘cock’ roundabout just outside of Dorking, I’d wanted to ride to this point at about the same power I’d managed last year (about 340W) – I’d basically done that to witin a watt or two, from there it was game on, push on until the top of the hill at 22 miles where the remaining few miles were quite quick (well, as quick as going through small Surrey Villages can be) and I’d just hang on. I’d passed many people, my minute man I think I passed within 5-10 minutes which is always a nice boost, and then was concentrating on pushing on until I could see another.

With the bulk of the quick part of the course done at the 20 miles point, I had avg speed over 28.5 mph, with the hill and a rolling finish I was confident I would beat my time from last year (26.9mph avg), I hit the climb, and had to get out of the saddle, 42-23 not ideal up there, low cadence, 500w, and creaking bike, not the best! Got back on top of the gear and carried on, soon after that I caught my 9 minute man – Dave, who I regularly see on my commute, he shouted something which was appreciated, even if he was cursing me haha! I knew I was going to get under the hour, which would mean I was nearly a minute faster than last year, I stopped the clock on my garmin with 59.43 – and was awarded that exact time, despite me starting 1 sec early and stopping after the line, but it didn’t matter too much. I later learned that Dewey had not started, I think it was best I didn’t know actually as I put it all on the line wanting to win. I think John would have gone well, but think I’d have stood a good chance with the time I did.

In the end the next best time was Pat’s who was 1.01.02 – so there was a bit of wriggle room, but I was pleased to have won and got my name up there. No pics have come to light as of yet, but I’m sure they will in time, I’ll edit this as they do. Rather stupidly I had entered a 70 mile road race in Petersfield after this event, it had a short 25% climb in it, I lasted 5 laps of 9 and called it a day with screaming muscles. I was barely out of breath and my legs were in agony, I did enough to not call it a wasted trip and then stopped to watch James Boyman win in impressive style riding away on his own for the last two laps to win by over a minute, more than just a tester it would seem…!

Next race is one down Winchester way next weekend – the James Atherton with Pat and Tom, so hopefully we can animate that race, I decided to skip the Wally Gimber and having seen the startsheet, that might have been wise!

2 Responses to “East Surrey Hardriders 2016”

  1. Ed Ashby March 14, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

    Nicely done mate. Podium at the Nationals looking ever more likely….

    Sent from my iPhone

    • sharland123 March 14, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

      Doing national 50 this year which hopefully might be a bit thinner of talent, and I can deal with position for that long, I live in hope 👍

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