Robin Parker writes…
28th April. LVRC MSTina jersey series, Round 2 – A/B/C/D cats promoted by Finchley RT. 56m. Thaxted circuit.
Driving home from today’s race I saw a “Sportivster” standing over his bike, furiously tapping on his Garmin, with an air of “hurry up and tell me how to get out of this” enthusiasm. Nothing overly unusual about that I hear you say. Except that this guy was stopped on the hard shoulder of the M25 and looked like he was contemplating entering the road works on the Clacket Lane section! You have to wonder if maybe it would be a good idea for there to be a compulsory IQ test before anyone is allowed to purchase one of these GPS/Sat-Nav devices
Anyway, to the race. A bright if chilly start. I pondered longs – but opted for shorts and unleashed those dazzlingly white pins on an unsuspecting public once more! Five and a half laps of a 10 mile lap. I think that I read in Cycling that Surrey has the worst pot-holed roads in England. Not true! This Thaxted circuit looked like it had been used as a test site for cluster bombs. Fortunately I didn’t see anyone disappear down any, but there were plenty of near misses!
I regretted not doing a more thorough warm up as the pace was furious right from the off. But I soon warmed up and was alert enough to jump across to the first promising move of the day. This only lasted about half a lap, but the chase must have taken it’s toll as I could sense tired legs when the bunch caught us.
The next move started not long after. 6 men up the road and it looked dangerous. I waited for the one short sharp climb on the circuit and powered off the front. I was pleased to be joined by another rider as bridging across to the break was a hard slog. But we made it and the break went clear.
The pace was uncomfortably fast for a lap of so, but this did mean that the break was established. The pace then eased a little as we settled into a more comfortable rhythm. I wasn’t expecting to see any other riders again, so it was with some surprise that after a couple of laps we were joined by another 5 riders. But the larger group worked pretty well together and the attacking didn’t start until well into the last 2 laps.
Eventually, one guy powered off on his own. With 4 Finchley RT guys in the break, I decided I was going to let them chase and sat back for an easier ride on the last lap. I positioned myself on the wheel of the Finchley guy that looked to me like he had the best sprint. He too was sitting back and so I figured that the other guys were working for him.
That turned out to be a mistake. The short climb just 2 miles from the finish split the group and reeled in the lone escapee. And I found myself in the wrong half, and marking the wrong guy! I had the legs to at least try to make the split – but I was in the wrong place and looking at the wrong person. Damn. And then to cap it all, he beat me in the sprint as well.
Oh well. I think I was 6th overall and finished 3rd in the B age category. So not a bad result and one which keeps me in the hunt for the MSTina jersey competition for this year. It was also pleasing to have made it into both of the main breaks of the day. I turned out to be a little ring-rusty in the finale – but hey, that’s another lesson learned. And it could have been worse. At least I didn’t try and cycle around the M25!