The course was a decent sized loop to be completed 3 times, with a turn off up a final finishing climb to be taken at the end of the last lap. Giving a total race distance of 52 miles.
There were some really ominous clouds around as we travelled across to the race HQ. These seemed to be moving quite rapidly, confirmed by the average mpg en route. There was going to be some nasty winds out there for sure.
I started a little further back in bunch than I wanted but managed to move up fairly easily going round the outside of the group sheltered from the wind. Positioning is still something I have a lot to learn about.
There were also some sizeable pot holes on the course and a couple of cattle grids to negotiate. The rough surface / wet weather was to be the undoing of Dan Pearson (Willier/Live 2 Ride) who ended up slamming into a parked car in the E 1/2/3 race. Sounded nasty from the reports so we wish him a speedy recovery.
Coming into the final lap I felt strong and when the pace was pretty low I had a dig over a crest before the run in down past the HQ. A gap opened fairly quickly, 2 riders joined me one from NFTO and another from Cmwcarn Paragon. We swiftly got into a rhythm, a glance back showed that the peloton was starting to close the gap and it was being pulled back by my own team member! Furious, apparently not as much so as the NFTO rider who had a few words with Tom. He instantly apologised to me for his error, he was trying to bridge to the group and inadvertently dragged everyone back across, I am sure he wont do that next time!
The result of us being reeled back in meant I was left much higher up the bunch, but with my legs feeling energised I did a bit more work with the tail wind as the group really started to get up to speed. A few attacks fired off but they were reigned in. Eventually a group of 3 did get away and they were to be the first 3 across the finishing line. On the headwind section I started to get swamped back as people moved up to the outside, beginning to jostle for position for the final short climb.
I was at least ten people further back than I needed to be and this was proven on the kick to the end as I crossed the line in 19th after passing a few people on the way up. I was officialy given 23rd but either way I scored nil pois again. I was expecting the final climb to be a little longer but there was not too much more left in the tank when I did hit the finish line.
The video below is a mixture of footage from the 3/4 and E 1/2/3 races.
Congrats to Tom who bagged points in 8th. Sam and Steve were just outside of the points. It was a strong showing from The South with a Cadence rider commenting that we were the most aggressive team. Up The South!
I was a little dissapointed to come away with nothing as I felt so strong, but it was a further improvement on previous races. Riding much higher up the bunch and being a lot more active felt good. It was also good to have a few team members around as it made manoeuvring round the group much easier and also afforded me the time to learn off more experienced racers. The next few weeks will see midweek circuit races coming to the fore, I am particularly looking forward to racing in the Bath series in Victoria Park
Thanks to the organisers / volunteers and NEG guys for a well run safe race.