Robin Parker writes…
9th June. Hoggenburg Classic – LVRC MSTina jersey series, Round 4 – A/B/C/D cats at Hog Hill (Redbridge circuit).
No race last weekend. This weekend was round 4 of the MSTina jersey series and I was hoping to consolidate my lead in the competition. The warm sunshine that we’ve been enjoying of late seemed to desert us for the start of this race but at least it stayed dry if somewhat blustery.
The race was run off at a brisk pace right from the start, with plenty of attacks flying off the front. I made it into a few moves but nothing was staying away with the large bunch closing down any dangerous looking moves. The bunch was very fluid. Each time I made it into an attack, I plunged into oxygen debt and upon recapture I slid right down the fast moving bunch to recover. Then I had to make my way but towards the front to keep an eye on things and keep out of the trouble that invariably lingers at the back of the bunch!
I was just starting to think that it might all come down to a bunch sprint when, as we approached the hour mark, 3 strong guys managed to drag themselves away from the marauding peloton. They never got much of a gap with the bunch was strung out in a long line in pursuit. Full credit to them as it was tough out in the wind, but they managed (just) to hold of the charging bunch to claim the top 3 spots.
I was reasonably well place in about 6th place as the bunch readied itself for the sprint. I got a little boxed as we reached the foot of the climb with about 400m to go, but managed to find a way out around the 150m mark. The sprint was already well underway at this point, but I had a clear run around the outside of the final bend and was able to take the bunch sprint by a bike length or so.
So 4th place, but significantly 1st B cat (45-50 year old) – which means that I have consolidated my lead in the season long (11 race) series. Attention now turns to the LVRC National Crit champs at Hillingdon next weekend. This is sure to be a keenly contested race. I would be feeling more confident if there was an uphill finish, but alas Hillingdon is flat. Still, it’s the same for everyone. My condition is still pretty good and I am hoping that I at least make some kind of impression on the race. And I’m looking forward to it…