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.
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,
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.