Robin Parker writes…
5th May. LVRC Hog Hill – A/B/C/D cats promoted by Ciclos Uno. 1 Hour + 5 laps.
Result = 8th place. (4th in bunch sprint).
Short sleeve jersey and shorts! Wow, summer must almost be here. The sunshine brought out riders in force and so it a large field of 60+ riders that took the start of this 1 hour + 5 laps criterium around the lower circuit at Hog Hill.
Unfortunately I found myself lining up at the back of this bunch following a thorough warm up (all good intentions!). No problem I thought; ease through the bunch and ride myself in. Oops. Someone didn’t read that script and the bunch set of at an alarming pace. By the time I reached the front of the lined out bunch, a small group had already disappeared. I’m still not sure how many were away – maybe two, maybe four. Either way, one of them was Anthony Wallis, a former pro who makes a habit of riding away from LVRC fields and then lapping them all by himself. So I didn’t think we’d see them again.
With a group up the road, the action followed thick and fast and the pace remained fairly unrelenting. There were many small break-away attempts, but each time it all came back together. There were a few primes on offer for the bunch also (I managed to pick up one), but these also failed to splint the main bunch.
But with about 10 laps to go, the escapees loomed back into sight as we gradually clawed them back. I’m not sure what happened next…
Our bunch had shed a number of riders and the E+ event (for the over 60s) had also distributed a number of riders around the circuit which was a times becoming somewhat congested! I’m glad I wasn’t judging as it must have been tricky keeping track of who was on what lap.
Anyhow, in the confusion (mine anyhow!) I’m still not sure if the breakaway was originally 4 riders, or if it was 2 and another 2 manage to bridge up to them around this point. But the end result was the same – there were 4 guys dangling tantalisingly close off the front of the bunch (10 – 15 seconds). And there they would remain.
I was quite well placed for the sprint which was slightly uphill and into a head wind. In fact I was a bit worried that I was too far forward. When the sprint kicked off I jumped, then eased thinking maybe it was too soon. I looked around for a wheel to find some shelter. But there was none. So I had to kick again for the line and ended up 4th in the bunch sprint. I’m pretty sure that I would have placed better if I had just committed to the sprint fully from the off. That’s another lesson learned!
Hopefully all these lessons are sinking in. Two weeks to go until TLI Vets Crit Champs. So while I was happy today to ride well and learn a lesson in the sprint, I’ll be less than chuffed to mess up that one…