I’ve pretty much been racing every weekend of late – and that gives me a great opportunity to sum up a few weeks in one post!
Stockton Riverside Criterium
A race that acts as a kind of support to the new premier calender event that starts and finishes in Stockton. Thanks to Aidan who gave me a lift down and a gilet…I forgot to bring my club jersey! Yep, I raced in a t-shirt and gilet – I’ll try not to do that again. This was a real crit because it was technical, having 3 hairpin bends and a roundabout. Brake hard down to 15mph, turn, sprint back up to 30 mph. That is hard work if you are doing it for an hour. This sort of racing really doesn’t suit me but I’m happy to give it a go because ultimately you have to work on your weaknesses – I finished in the bunch, which was a decent effort considering the nature of the course.
Garmin Data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/196962481
Gateshead College and SASMI Performance Circuit Race Series
Another criterium – this time on a circuit that was once used to test Nissan cars before they were deemed road worthy – thankfully we didn’t have to race on the skid pan, or over the mock hump back bridge! I felt pretty confident of securing a top 10 finish here, although the circuit is pan flat – certainly no climbers course! I rode well, maintaining a placing in the top 10 riders for much of the race. It was an odd one though because 1 mile was directly into an all mighty wind, nobody wanted to work here and so we crawled along. Once we hit the back straight we were flying along at 30-40mph but because of the howling wind, it was not easy to get away. Carl Donaldson did a great ride by going on a solo break for much of the race, and then getting 2nd in the bunch sprint. I was pushed out of the top 10 coming into the last bend, and then had to swerve round a nasty looking crash, I got home in 12th place but it could of been much more – that’s racing! Unfortunately my lift, Paul (Thanks!) was taken down earlier in the race and had to leave in an ambulance, with a nasty bruised shoulder. Carl took me home, top man!
Garmin Data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/199525389
CDNW Smithfield Road Race
Circuit races of 30 miles are probably not the best way of training for a 60 mile road race but that’s exactly what I had to do prior to this road race in Cumbria. Instantly I’m happier here, road racing is where it’s at. The HQ for the race was in Brampton, near Carlisle but we had to be led about 4 miles away to the actual start – a nice warm-up. Racing itself was quite nervous, riders were given a slight gap but then generally chased down – there was a 3-man group who got away for a lead of about 30 seconds but we then worked well to bring them back – which was fun to be a part of. I struggled a bit with tight muscles, having felt great for the first two laps I faded fast – I managed it but it held me back. I wish I could of got better form from more regular road races, maybe next year! Nick, again giving me a lift, attacked with another rider just before the last lap. Nick quickly dropped the other rider and then went full gas to obtain a lead of 35 seconds. I sat on, tried to disrupt the chase and hoped that he’d make it. He didn’t but almost as soon as he got pulled back he was away again in a 3-man break, which stayed away, Nick getting second and along with it his 2nd category licence. Top stuff! I held on and scraped a tenth place finish – I hesitated in the sprint but with the cramp I had it wasn’t too bad – I need more conditioning clearly, that can be fixed.
Garmin Data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/201852249