Race Report: Surrey League Handicap #7 (Staple Hill)
Myself, Alex, Graham, Les, James Bradley, Phil, Alex Toghill making a welcome return after the crash, Miles and Andy (from Hounslow who were organising the event), Richard Anderson and Mark Oakley in his first race, meant that we were duty bound to do something in this race.
SIX groups were despatched at what seemed like big intervals. With a TCC rider in each group, Andy and Mark in the first, Richard in the second, myself in a third (of 3Vs and 3’s) and so on.
Our group of ten set about at a fierce pace with six of us doing a lot of work, myself included. Big pulls along the Longcross road, and again up Staple Hill. We catch stragglers off the first group and eventually pass the second, some of whom manage to stay with us. Kudos to the Wheelers who put in some big turns. I could feel Tuesday’s race in my legs, but a Normalized Power of 310 Watts can only be a sign of progress.
Meanwhile (from Alex Tinsley…) At the back of the race, Les, James and me were in a large scratch group of 10 or so riders. This group built up good momentum from the start and found Graham (somehow not in the scratch group) after a lap and a bit. The usual fears of the last couple of groups coming together and then stalling didn’t come to pass and despite a large time gap to the lead groups, we’d swept everyone up by about lap 6.
After that, it was just a bike race. I went with an attack on staple hill and started working with a couple of guys, but we never got very far and everyone was a bit hesitant to do a hard enough turn to get clear. A couple slip clear with a lap to go, so decide that I’ll use myself to try and bring them within reach before the finish, leaving Graham and James to content the finish. I give myself a good grilling, the two riders to get caught, Graham comes 6th, James realises that he’s not eaten enough food and runs out of legs on the climb and I roll in near the back of the pack.
(Daren again) Our group of thirds eventually threw in the towel on lap 6, with not enough commitment from the whole group. A pity as we were strong enough to stay away in my opinion. Anyway we are caught at the second roundabout on Lap 6 with two to go and I drift backwards to recover as we descent to the hairpin left hander. As we corner, there is a huge acceleration, my chain slips and I come to a standstill as the peloton get five bike lengths. Never sit on the back I hear myself saying as I sprint but the charge up Staple Hill (from Alex) sees the elastic slowly stretch and finally snap at the top of the common. I’m dropped. I time trial the last two laps to the finish passing five riders and earning another League point.
Daren and Alex