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LVRC Criterium at Gravesend Cyclopark – A&B Category

Robin Parker writes…

8th March. LVRC Criterium at Gravesend Cyclopark – A&B Category

Result=1st B cat. 1st overall.

It turns out that my 3rd place last week was good enough for 1st place in my age category (having been beaten by a couple of “youngsters” – less than 45!). So that was a nice consolation – but it’s not the same as crossing the line first and I have been keen to give my victory salute some practice as soon as possible!

Training this week has gone really well. I have been really hitting my intervals hard these last few weeks. Tim , a friend from work, having undergone a couple of operations on his bowl cancer , this week started what he calls his “Chemo Intervals”. There’s nothing we can do on a bike that can come close to how tough those “intervals” are, and it really puts things in perspective. Life is too short to waste on half-hearted, mediocre intervals. If you are going to do them – do ‘em full gas, flat out and to the max! Make every session count people. Don’t waste a day. They’re all too precious!

I travelled to Gravesend Cyclopark with Paul Winkley who was riding in the C&D Category race (I’ll leave him to report on that race). We arrived to find that it was a beautiful sunny day but that there was a fairly stiff cross-head wind blowing down the finishing hill.

My A&B category race once again got of to a fairly restrained start, I think with everyone nervous about that cross wind blowing across the circuit. But racing was soon underway with plenty of attacks flying off the front. But nothing was sticking and the bunch clawed everything back. I tried several times to get into a break and even at one point did a lap or so off the front on my own – never a good plan for someone of my (lack of) time-trialling persuasion! All to no avail.

And so with a few laps to go, I started to prepare myself for the inevitable bunch sprint. Stay near the front, stay out of trouble and be attentive to make sure no one slips away! Into the last lap and I’m feeling confident. Half a lap to go, someone puts in a big turn to string the field out. A big strong looking dude takes his wheel and I follow third wheel. This is looking good.

We round the final corner at the bottom of the uphill drag to the finish. The big dude looks back, sees that the field is strung out in a line around the corner and decides to go for an early one. He takes up the pace with me glued to his rear wheel. Mark Renshaw couldn’t have given me a better lead-out. It was perfect. I reach my sprint point at around 200m to go, click up a gear, jump out of the saddle and explode into my sprint. I’m around the outside and past the big dude in a flash. Nothing between me and the finish line. 100m to go and I look down under my arms to see nothing but clear air behind me. Awesome. Maintain form and cadence. Just a few more stomps on the pedals. Sit back in the saddle, arms in the air, yeeeesssss! It’s a win. That’s the way to do it!

That one was for you Tim. Hit those Chemo Intervals full gas mate and you’ll be back out on the road before the end of the season. This week’s prize money donated to Cancer Research . “Let’s beat cancer sooner” they say. Wouldn’t that be a race that would be great to see won!


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