A round up of the past three weeks of racing up at the Odd Down Crit Circuit. A big thanks to VC Walcott and Bath CC for holding the races.
Week 2 – Fast, fast and more fast. The race strung out into three groups, mainly due to James Coleman driving the pace up! Ady and me rolled in with the last bunch after missing the breaks.
Week 3 – Super fast pace from the start, the first two laps were tough! I managed to hang onto the back of the bunch but dropped off as the pace increased on the last lap. Strong riding again from Ady got him 7th place.
Week 4 – At last it wasn’t really that windy! It stayed together due to less wind and I managed to be up with the front riders a few times. A school boy error on the second to last lap meant I wasn’t anywhere near the front to contest the sprint. Ady came in just outside the top ten, getting close to that 3rd Cat licence!
Thanks to Adam at adamferris.co.uk for these photos from week 2.
Tuesday the 28th saw the first in a series of criterium races at the new Odd Down Cycle Circuit.
I headed over with Ady, we arrived 10 minutes before the start and managed to sign on and get changed just in time.
With no warm up we were off!
The pace was fairly high with riders dropping off regularly the bunch was down to about 15. I was feeling it after an amazing weekend of very hilly riding.
With about 2 laps to go a solo break went with another pair breaking off. I didn’t want to be in a bunch sprinting for 4th place so bridged across to the pair taking Ady with me. As we entered the next lap I moved to the rear of the bunch to take a rest ready for the following final lap. As we entered the last corner before the start finish straight there was a huge sprint where usually the pace slowed. This caught me totally unaware, turns out this was the final lap and that sprint was for the finish line!
I learnt that 30 minutes plus 2 laps, doesn’t mean 2 laps after the bell is rung, total rookie error right there.
Ady absolutely smashed it in his first ever road bike race with a solid 6th place, it looks like BMX and Track experience are pretty transferable skills!
Tom also picked up 10th place in the E123 for BSCC.
It was a great race and well done to Bath Cycling Club for organising.
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!
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….
Tomorrow me & Ed are leaving Bristol for the big smoke & the bright lights of Londinium to race The Hunt. Christian will be going the other way down the M4 & riding some serious hills with TheFootDown in Wales. Ed spent 3 hours today getting a bike together for the race. This is how prepared we are for our first crit race. Then we spent the evening with eating fish & chips, against our nutritionist’s advice.
Our directeur sportif put together our hydration for tomorrow. All bases are covered, as we don’t know what to expect on an event like this.
The bikes are prepped & ready to go. I’ve opted for the aero advantage of a GoPro, to aid in shooting footage for the blog & Road.cc.
Ed’s aero advantage comes from a man sized 55t chainring. It’s all about #marginalgains, keep an eye on our twitter & instagram as we’ll probably post throughout the day. Probably.
Next weekend is The Hunt, a fixed gear crit race organised by 5th Floor & Tokyo Fixed on Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in London’s famous London. I was the first, and what looked like the only TDO Bristol entrant, until Ed stepped up & put his name down for the race. A lot of our fellow TDO boys were put off by the fact this is a brakeless race. And we all know that brakeless = dangerous.
We did talk about training & preparing for this race, but this hasn’t actually happened, my only preperation has been to fit a set of drop bars to my bike, whilst Ed has been drinking more milk than ever, probably to make his teeth & bones strong. We’ll be making the trip up on Bank Holiday Sunday to the circuit that we’ve never visited before, taking our brakes off & having a jolly good time pedalling as fast as we can & hopefully avoiding any crashes. As well as eating burritos, possibly.