Today was the first of two 80km E123 handicap races at the Longcross MOD test track. The field was largely 3rd and 2nd cat riders with a single 1st and Elite rider. From TCC was myself, Graham Crow, Les Wuziak, Alex Toghill and Emma Towers.
For those who aren’t familiar with handicap races, they are started in groups with the weaker group heading out first and stronger groups later. The stronger groups have to catch any groups ahead of them in order to win. Normally the race comes together near to the end, so the majority of the race is smooth chasing.
As for today, I’ll try to keep it brief –
- Organisers struggled to select groups as most rides were cat 2 and 3. Had to give short time gaps as a result.
- 500m finishing straight into huge headwind. Very punishing.
- All the groups came together within 35k with the exception of the scratch (last) group. They never caught us.
- I attacked at the same time as a Kingston guy at 38k. Quickly attracted 4 other strong riders including Graham and created a 15 second gap on the bunch which we held for around 15 minutes.
- Sounds like Les put some good effort into disrupting some chasing efforts. Nice one Les!
- Settled into a strong rhythm in a tight formation and opened the gap up to 2 or 3 minutes by the end. Lost one of the two Kingston riders after 15 minutes.
Graham and I tried to set a nice fast pace into the finish but ultimately, it was a race to be won by wheel suckers (read: less stupid people) into that headwind and we took 5th and 4th respectively. I’m not too fussed; two TCC riders in the winning break is good on my book.
Les took a good position in the bunch sprint (14th over all – TBC) and Alex Toghill got stuck at the wrong side of a split in the bunch earlier in the race. Emma battled on to the finish. All the more points for TCC.
On to the next…