WDMBC Specialized Crits #2, Hillingdon.

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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.

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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.

 

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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

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Team Wagon!

 

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

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