So to round 4 of the Bath Cycle Races, this time organised by VC Walcot.
These races have been a blast so far, probably something to do with actually picking up some points in them. This kind of adds to the pressure with racing as well, knowing that I can get in the mix. I rode over solo from Bristol as the majority of the club had been lured to the lake for the club TT series.
In a bid to do better then my 7th place last week I consciously decided to ride higher up the bunch, so when I calculated there would be roughly 5 laps to go I moved up to third wheel. My usual position in past races has been tenth – fifteenth wheel. The more advanced position did not work out for me.
Essentially what it meant was that I ended up on the front way more then I wanted to and the urge to chase down the frequent break aways by Bath Uni CC (again, when they come in numbers they use them wisely) was too much for me. So much so that on the penultimate lap I chased one down out of the hair pin and with one other guy we had a decent gap. I figured seen as I had expended so much energy anyway I might was well try and drive it up the hill. We got sucked back in easily and I just slotted in. The end result of all this was that I went backwards on the climb during the bell lap, my legs cursing my brain for the needless effort on the previous lap, I rolled in 18th.
I did a few other daft things as well like spend too much time on the hoods early in the race. You live and you learn….
It’s worth a note to say that two people got disqualified for fighting, FIGHTING at a bike race. What is that about? £100 fines for the pair of them. I am not sure if it has anything to do with the guy in a sleeveless skin suit and no socks who was being a bit lippy in the bunch early on. This is the first time I have heard words exchanged at these races, the general attitude of everyone is race hard but fair and nothing ridiculous has happened before, there is no place for it.
Thanks to Jez, Noddy, Leary and Ferris for coming out to watch. Double thanks to Ferris for the pictures. Any support is always appreciated. Much like these guys off the hairpin;
It’s the last one in the series next week, it’s a shame it can’t go on longer, will be looking to switch up my tactics again!
I entered 2 races this week. Given the intensity of the Bath races i figured it would be a good test to ride the Team Tor 2000 Circuit Series Round 2 afterwards. I had done no racing the previous weekend so topped up base miles with some climbing in the Mendips and the BSCC club run.
The race followed a very similar pattern to previous weeks. I moved up after a couple of laps on the climb to sit around the top ten. PJ who was in his first bunch start race was looking comfortable near the front, his report is here and is well worth a read (along with every other post on there), you will get an idea why from the picture below, he was on the attack with Mike Kiss when this happened;
During the commisaires briefing we where told to keep an eye out for an old lady who had gone missing from a nursing home and enjoyed visiting the park. I reckon PJ spotted her, took his eye off the corner and decked it….
I found it much more comfortable to sit in the bunch again this week, it really does get whittled down quickly as the elastic snaps so if you are towards the back you will be made to pay for your positioning.
I was in a good position on the bell lap and as per it always goes bonkers. Kudos to Bristol RC ride Matt Franklin, he took a flier out of the hairpin but was passed by a few people on the climb, a brave tactic to try. Also kudos to him for riding the 3/4 and the E/1/2/3 races every week, thats a serious work out.
As the sprint started to unfold I held off abit, the previous weeks some people had gone far to early and got reeled in. I sat by Kieran from VC Bristol as I know he has a strong and fairly long sprint. When he went he punched through such a small gap that closed so quickly I could not get his wheel. Once he had gone everyone started to go for it. He had 4 bike lengths and looked behind somehow got himself in a tangle and hit the deck hard.
This split the remaining riders two ways round him and I held on for 7th, more points!
You can see the crash happen in the video;
Kieran broke his hand (possibly from his rage hit of the floor?) so I wish him a speedy recovery.
First off apologies for the lack of pictures here, I only read books what gots lots of pictures so I sympathise with the lack of in the following essay.
I had tried to convince myself during that day that I would sit in the bunch and pick my moment to attack. As a team we had a goal of Mark gaining intermediate sprint points as he came first in round one, Tom was also riding. Due to the wind direction we went anti clockwise as opposed to clockwise round the circuit like the previous race (this is to stop ridiculously fast twitchy 4th cat sprinting, like below).
Turns out I didnt convince myself very well, got pretty bored of sitting in after 1.5 laps so I bridged to a two man break in the cross wind and Mark joined me, we drove out a decent gap but the bunch is so keen in the tailwinds there that we got reeled in as more tried to join.
As soon as we got sucked in I went again. Joined again by Mark and a chap from Team Tor who appeared to have a similar attacking attitude to me. This was a much shorter break and was easily shut down by the peleton.
On the intermediate sprint lap I bridged to a solo RU Training Today rider who had been out for about half a lap, Mark came with me again as did the Team Tor rider. We had about 3/4′s of a lap to go to the intermediate sprint and Mark got 2nd, goal acheived. As people began to sit up after the sprint I looked behind and the gap was massive, half of the breakway was cooked but we pushed on anyway and where away for quite a while.
As we got caught on a tail wind section again Tom rode to the front of the bunch and said ‘dont worry not chasing you down this time’ (as he has done previously). I told him now was his chance to make a break as other people had been working pretty heavily to get us back. He went with one other rider as me and Mark sat up into the bunch. Big respect to Tom as he really drove the break for 1.5 laps, working harder out of the two, but in the end but got pipped on line. He gained enough points to make it to 3rd Cat, a great effort.
As the sprint started on the final corner I satup and drifted back through the bunch, domestique work done in a 4th cat circuit race?!?! I definitely got a good work out from it.
It was essentially a perfect team race, not entirely pre meditated but formed on the fly as the race unfolded. Probably my most enjoyable race to date.
Next week is Bath Races Round 4 and the club road race, 9 BSCC take to the start line, I guess we had best try and light it up….
At last I got some points on the board. Even if it was a solitary, lonely, single point.
The atrocious weather forecast seemed to reduce the numbers with a field of 41 starting in Cat 3/4. Aformentioned weather was not forthcoming during the race. With a damp course but nothing worse. The briefing from the Commi made specific reference to which part of the finishing line was the finish, after the incident in round 1, just to ensure there was no further doubt for anyone.
As with last week, the pace was furious. Splits formed from the off and having learnt from then I started in a much more advanced position (with no water bottle).
Again my weak point was coming into the two corners at the bottom of the hill, damp ground made my cornering even worse. I’m sure its just a confidence thing and I can push my bike a lot further, I just need to MTFU!
After around 3 or 4 laps I had a look around and was in a group of around only 15 people. I made all the splits and rode more advance in the pack. Bath Uni CC did a great job of controlling the race with superior numbers, sitting on the front, keeping the pace high and letting their guys go if they fancied a breakaway. Coming round the corner into the climb I chased down one of these efforts and proceeded to go instantly backwards at the top. I just sat on the back of the group to recover, as it was so small anyway I was not to worried about not being able to move up again.
This time on the final lap bell I did move up in the pack (again learning from last week) and was sat around 8th wheel coming out of the hairpin. When the sprint went I did not have the legs to go with it and came across the line in no mans land for 10th spot. 7 seconds from the first guy and 7 seconds from the person behind me.
Though the specatator numbers were reduced from last week, it was a much more enthusiastic bunch. A group of people on the hairpin banging pots and pans and in the same location a dude with a Dirk Hoffman Motorhomes sign. Great stuff.
I was also encouraged by a few shouts of ‘come on Bristol’ and ‘keep it up Bristol South’. Despite not having a clue who was shouting out it does really help having even the smallest bit of encouragement. So thanks for that, whoever you were.
The worst part of the night was riding home in the pissing rain down the cycle path and getting absolutely sodden. Grim.
Goal for next week is to finish in the 10 again, only 9 points to go….