Twickenham CC was well represented, once again, for round two of the Rollapaluza winter series. I rode in the men’s event with V and Dorchie representing TCC for the ladies. Natalie Creswick offered valuable support throughout but could not be persuaded to race.
So to the qualifying.47 men and 11 women set about posting a qualifying time over the race distance of 1000m as opposed to the traditional 500m sprint and some fast times were soon achieved. I knew that, by the time I’d taken to the bike, I’d have to go under 50 secs and, although I was familiar with the longer distance, my previous best time was 50.7 secs. My tactics of going for quick start, easing into a steady rhythm before pushing hard in the last 500m worked and I posted a time of 49.28, which saw me into the knockout round in 11th place.
The women’s qualifying was much more exciting. Dorchie set an amazing time of 54.60 secs, nearly a whole second faster than any lady who had gone before. Then came V. V had arrived at the race venue having just visited her osteopath for treatment of a back injury, suffered at a recent cyclocross race, adamant that she wasn’t fit enough to ride. We, however, discovered that V was suffering from dehydration as six Jack Daniels later she was preparing to race. V would go head to head against her friend Max Crowe as she was the 11th and final lady to attempt qualifying. V had an explosive start and it was clear that she had every intention of maintaining a tremendous work rate throughout. The riders were neck and neck throughout the bout before V’s superior class showed through and in the final metres she rose victorious, punching the air in delight, shaming her friend and, with a time of 54.55, pushing Dorchie into 2nd place.
The Knockout. In the first knockout round I had been drawn against Matt Theobolds, a Rollapaluza racer with some pedigree and the current defending champion from 2009. I set about the task using my familiar strategy. The support I received from Natalie, V and Dorchie was fantastic and at half distance I knew that I had a lead. I dug deep and increased my effort but the cries from my support team told me that my advantage was diminishing. With gritted teeth I pushed again and counted down the final few hundred metres and arose victorious with a narrow 0.5 seconds margin and a personal best time of 49.03. My evening’s racing was to end in the quarter final round. My previous efforts had taken their toll and I was unable to match my competitor.
V was up next in the women’s quarter finals and literally cruised her way into the semi finals outperforming her opponent by 6 seconds. Dorchie also blasted herself easily through to the next round in 54.31 secs, proving to be the fastest ladies time for the night. Luckily because of their superior times in qualifying, Dorchie and V were not drawn against each other in the semis, so there was a chance of consecutive all TCC final. V was up against the current Rollapaluza champ, Rachael and Dorchie would once again go head to head against Estelle Rogers. Both races were incredibly tight and there was no separating the riders. V was a tyre width behind Rachael as she entered the final 250 metres. Dorchie’s race was equally tight and in both cases it looked like a photo finish would be required. V proved to be the victor in her race winning by 0.05 secs, shortly followed by Dorchie who set up the all TCC final with same slim but winning margin of 0.05 secs.
All TCC Women’s Final. So just as in the first round of the league, V and Dorchie lined up, head to head, to battle once more. Loyalties torn, Natlalie lined up to support V and I would shout for Dorchie. The race commenced and there was no separating either rider in the initial stages. V had opened up a slight lead with 600 metres remaining. Dorchie held her nerve and kicked at half way but V equally met this effort and the margin increased. V’s strength was incredible and it looked like she would take it all the way. Dorchie, however, dug deep and, in her now trademark style, found something extra to overhaul V in the final 100 metres, taking the win by a slim margin. What is the distance gap of 0.07 seconds at 67 kph..?
Current League Positions
Womens after Round 2
1st Dorchie Cockerell 20 Points
2nd Wiesia Kuczha 16 Points
Mens after Round 2
=12th Darren Paice 2 Points
Congratulations to both Dorchie and V. And thank you to Natalie for all your support throughout the evening. (I hope your voice has recovered.)
See the Rollapaluza Website for the official results, photos and more.
Round 3 is on Wednesday 3rd February at the Half Moon Pub, Herne Hill.