Win for TCC today in Imperial Winter Series Cat4!
Ding ding! Round two. Only three riders from TCC in today’s Cat4 race, Chris fresh from fifth last week, myself and Andy in his second race. Another 60 riders with the same HUGE turnout from London Dynamo, more from Kingston Wheelers and a good showing from Thames Velo. A few have come futher afield; Watford, Stevenage and Henley. There is a new team afoot and that team is ABD – Anyone But Dynamo, and we are fully signed up members. Perhaps to make us inspired for the cross course so beautifully set out by Duncan, Martin et al, contractors have kindly created a stealth speed hump on the first bend by running a cable underneath the course. Other hazards we are briefed on include overtaking the novice ladies race (more later).
We start on time and set of at a modest pace. The three amigos are near the back and making good progress through the peloton. There is the usual reluctance to avoid the wind, but the riding is OK. Lap one of the ladies and there is a crash. Two riders down on the ground and an obvious hazard. Not a great start if that was your first race. Pace winds up and a few riders try for a breakaway. A few more laps pass and then a break is on. About 30 minutes to go. Three riders including Chris a Wheeler and a Dynamos make a jump. The strong headwind down the finishing straight, coupled with blocking sees them getting away. Another couple of riders try to jump but are brought back in. Andy is now up near the front and I’m sitting in. Duncan and Martin are cheering us on. I take Brian’s Bends too fast and roll into the grass. No problem, I rejoin the back and start moving trough again.
Five laps to go and the mighty lycra Mr Smiths are amassing on the front and riding strongly. Having seen last week’s performance, I accelerate and grab wheel looking for a lead out. Then onto the home straight. A rider peels across and into several riders. A wheel pings a spoke, we somehow stay up, but I’ve lost my nerve, and I’m not the only one.
Meanwhile at the FRONT… The group of three worked hard. Chris was in the red zone for the last half an hour but really bided his time and took the sprint and a well-deserved win. Promotion to Cat3 in his third race in TCC colours. I follow wheel at a reasonable pace about 20th as the pace builds. A lot of mixed pace but Dynamo are working hard and Wheelers are moving up for the peloton points. Last lap and I’m outside right again about 15th and following closely. The usual acceleration out of Brian’s bends and a useful flag at 200m to wind up a sprint. I’m middle 20 and Andy is not far behind. Unfortunately, I can’t hang around for the debrief so no tea and stories. But this was a superb performance in a race that was rather edgy. TCC, Wheelers, and Dynamo take the honours, Faster than last week, but not as smooth. The Kingston Wheelers lady who crashed is grazed but otherwise OK.
We now have three newly promoted Cat 3 riders, a good squad in Cat 4 and plenty of racing to come during the Winter months. The Imperial Winter Series is VERY popular but it is not too late to join in. Ladies are more than welcome. Speak to Emma. Good luck to all racing tomorrow”s cyclocross. The course looks great. I’d even prepped my mountain bike, but sadly I shall be away.
Kind regards, Daren