Robin Parker writes…
3rd August. LVRC Portsdown RR – MStina Points series, Round 10
The Portsdown Hill circuit, famously (well kind of!) used for “The Perfs”, is a tough one with the climb up Portsdown Hill followed by a long section of false flat along the top of Portsdown ridge – which is invariably blowing a cross wind. Today was no exception, and with a strong cross-tail wind caused the bunch to string out, split, reform, split again – rinse and repeat until the legs refuse to pedal any more!
The first break of four strong riders went on the first lap. And by all rights, that should have been that. But the bunch was in no mood to give up and with attack following attack, what was left of the bunch (about 15 of us by the time the rest had be scattered around the circuit) finally reeled in the 4 escapees around half distance. There followed a short lull while everyone regained their composure, before the inevitable split was formed.
The final breakaway was helped somewhat by the appearance of a transit van in the bunch along the top of Portsdown. With two guys hovering off the front, we caught up with this blue van. The two guys hammering on the front of the bunch dived up the inside. The guy in front of me in third wheel thought better of it we hesitated. Then the van turned right and we booted it. That left two guys in front. Two guys chasing. Me and this other guy trying to get across and what was left of the bunch in threes and fours scrambling for wheels.
The four in front joined forces and I just didn’t have the legs to make it across. That was it. They were gone for good this time. For the last lap and a half I just tried to save as much energy as I could in our much reduced bunch, and bided my time ready for the last time up the climb and the sprint over the top.
One of the guys pushed it up the climb the final time. Not so much an attack, but with everyone having tired legs, it was enough to stretch things out. I tried to go over the top but was followed by three guys. So I swung off to let them lead into the headwind stretch. Then I jumped to make sure that I was first into the last corner. With just 200m from the corner to the finish line I jumped as hard as I could out of the turn. That acceleration was good enough to see me take the sprint from what was left of the bunch and overall 4th placed B Cat.
I just didn’t quite have the legs to match the strong guys today. But 4th place is good enough to further strengthen my lead in the MSTina points series. However, with 5 more rounds to go, I am still a very long way from safe in that competition!