In addition to my usual toils with the London traffic I had
to contend a strong headwind on my journey to Hillingdon. I came across
another TCC rider Vince at Ealing Common and unbeknown to him I sat
on his wheel and sheltered from the wind for a while. I arrived at the
start surprising rested. We also met up with another TCC rider Andy
Brown who was in the E/1/2/3 race.
To the race – As always our number one objective was to stay out of trouble. I am pleased to say that the quality of riding was excellent and overall the bunch was well behaved. There were a number of initial attacks made on the opening laps but the windy conditions made it near impossible for a single rider to escape. After 15 minutes however two riders made a break and the main group did not react. Other individual riders then crossed the break and soon there were two groups with an organised bunch of about eight riders out front. The pace was quite intense during this phase as the following peleton set about closing the gap. Vince and I got involved and did some work at the front of the pack. May be the lead group sensed the gap was closing or it all became too tactical as suddenly the gap was closed and we were all back together.
The closing stages – The 3 laps to go board always sparks a reaction and on this occasion three riders set about another attack. The main group again did not react although a gap of about 20 metres was maintained. I was sitting in fifth place in the main group as we headed down the back straight on the penultimate lap. The gap to the break was now 50 metres and I knew that we had to chase them down as otherwise it would be too late. I moved to the front of the group and lifted the pace trying to balance the need to close the gap and not blowing up before the finish. Finally I got some assistance and a group of riders which included Vince took up the chase. I was really hurting now the pace was relentless and I seemed to be going backwards. The race now had three groups the original break of three Vince’s group of five and the final group in which I was desperately trying to hold on to. Down the back straight for the final time I found some shelter from the wind and took a breather. As we rounded the final bend I drifted to the outside of the track and followed a wheel. I accelerated past the rider as we went through the “S” bends and noticed that other riders were slowing. Unsure as to whether this was because they we out of the top ten or just tired I decided to go for the sprint anyway for training purposes if nothing else. I spotted Vince to my left as I crossed the line.
The Results – The breakaway group were within a whisker of being caught but managed to hang on to the top three spots. Somehow I had bridged the gap to Vince’s group and was placed 8th. Vince had done just a bit too much work in the final lap took 11th or 12th. We didn’t see Andy Brown in the E/1/2/3 race but we assumed that he had finished in the main bunch.
U16's - Rory Atkins 6th
- Darren Paice 8th
Vince Leon 11th
E/1/2/3 - Andy Brown (result to follow)