WDMBC Specialized Crits #2, Hillingdon.

Fotor_149046553639460

Justin’s first race outing.

 

25/03/17

After being spurred on by Josh’s performance at Redbridge a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to pop my racing cherry. I’d read that Hillingdon was a straightforward, fast and flat circuit so I felt that would suit me.

The conditions were sunny but windy, although I didn’t notice just how windy it was until I did a couple of laps of the circuit. I made a mental note of where the wind was at its worst and took a decision to stay as sheltered as possible.

The circuit, as expected, wasn’t too technical – just a hairpin, a short, punchy lump to climb and a couple of spots where it looked like it could get congested. As I’d read somewhere, it was easy to pedal through the corners and provided I kept my wits about me, I felt confident that I would be alright.

After the briefing, we rolled out and the first couple of laps felt easy as the bunch stayed together. I found myself on the wheel of a London Dynamo rider and took the decision to stay on his wheel and shelter for a few laps.

IMG_20170329_095700

Justin sitting in. Photo by Nathan Bond.

This was my first experience of riding in such a big group, completely different to our regular club rides or the sportives that I’ve done, so I was pleasantly surprised to be freewheeling at 40kmh plus speeds and was still feeling good 10-15 minutes in.

It must have been around this time that Josh formed a 2 man breakaway and started to build some distance from the peloton. I did my best to move up a few places, conscious of the fact that the pace was likely increase and I didn’t want to get dropped so early into the race.

Around 25 minutes in, I found myself starting to drift back as I lost the wheel in front and now the wind felt really strong.

A rider from Gregarios had also been distanced so I glued myself to his wheel, hoping that I could shelter and get back on but it quickly became apparent that wasn’t going to happen so I dropped him and gave chase. When I looked around again, he was gone and I later discovered that he’d abandoned.

I must have chased for around 3 laps, but the gap grew and I knew that I was done for when Josh and his breakaway companion lapped me, with the pack following moments later.

I took the decision to bow out at this point and sat at the finish line to cheer on Josh. I was pleased to have made it through 35 minutes, much better than I had anticipated.

 

Fotor_149063736087314

Josh and Doug Heynderickx in the Break. Photo by Nathan Bond

Josh’s breakaway was eventually reeled in, a strong performance, and he sat in the pack for the remaining laps, finishing in 20th position.

All in all, I loved the experience from start to finish. Having heard a few stories, I’m pleased that it wasn’t the crashfest that I had expected it to be (with the exception of one crash in the last few laps) and I can’t wait to do it all again.

TDCC will be back at Hillingdon this coming Saturday for the final race in this series. Bring it on!

 

Justin Berman

Race Results

Fotor_14904654287019

Team Wagon!

 

Thanks to West Drayton for putting on a great race and to all the volunteer’s on the day.

Advertisements

Abellio-SFA RT Spring Crits #2

1

Photo: William Dunk @wpdunk

04/03/17

With the East London Velo Winter Series drawing to a close its time to draw my attention elsewhere and gain some experience on other circuits.

This weekend saw some fast racing at the Cyclo-Park, Kent, for the 2nd round of the the Abellio-SFA RT Spring Crits.

Another good field of around 40 riders lined up on the start line of a dry, but windy track as the British Cycling Commissaire reminded us to ride safely and not to take drugs!

It was a slow start to the race as there was a a lot of new comers to the track (including myself) and didn’t know what to expect from the corners. After a few laps the pace gradually increased.

Around 5 laps in, Thomas Frost (Sunday Echappee) rode of the front of the group and I seized the opportunity to inject some pace into the race. Myself and Chris Martin (Rapha CC) bridged across to him and gained a gap on the field of around 20 metres.

Unfortunatly, the break wasn’t to last long with such an excited field chasing us, and we decided to sit up and not to waste our energy. With the pack swallowing us up within half a lap.

DSC02931

Photo: William Dunk @wpdunk

For the following laps the 3 of us continued to work on the front of the group as we noticed a lot of the field were dropping away at the pace we were holding. Also noticing that you didn’t really need to brake into a lot of the corners if you were at the front of the group, and therefore not wasting energy chasing back on, like you would if you were were towards the back of the pack (its also, as you probably know, A LOT safer).

We continued to work between us until 5 laps to go when a few riders tried to break clear but nothing stuck for much longer than a few 100 metres. I had learnt from my previous mistakes and let the field do the chasing this time.

With 4 laps to go the field was down to 15 riders and there was a lot of ‘looking around’ going on.

I continued to try to sit at the front of the group and follow the wheel of Thomas as I knew he was a strong rider from previous races at Redbridge.

With half a lap to go there was a a solo attack and the pack were fast to react and real him back in. This really scattered the group up and I lost my desired wheel.

Coming into the 2 last corners, which are pretty much flat out I was at the back of the group and boxed in.

We come over the crest of the small rise and I thought it was now or never. Thomas (the eventual winner) was already way up the road and I was fighting for the minor places.

But I launched my sprint anyway and was pretty happy with the outcome! I managed to come round a few riders, right on the edge of the track. And sneak into 7th.

Leaving me with 1 point of 3rd Cat and m 3rd successive top 10 finish.

Yet again the weekend leaves me wanting more and more, but I’m continually learning the ways of racing and always excited for the next race.

Until next time,

Josh

Results

DSC02932

Photo: William Dunk @wpdunk

Massive thanks to Abellio-SFA Race Club for a great event, to all the volunteers on the day and to William Dunk of Sunday Exchappee for the photos.