Sunday, 18 October 2015

Central CXL Round 3 Hemel Hempstead

As above it's racing in Hemel today, quite literally a drive down the road. But when we go off at a tangent I don't question it. You see Miles is driving and clearly the rules of 'magical mystery tour' apply to he's driving. I suggest that if Miles is leading club rides in he's eighties you take a packed lunch wrapped in a paper map.
Anyway we arrive at the venue Gadebridge Park, the hilly one! You can see the course from the road and the sight of the main hill brings on an involuntary 'chinny reckon' We're early despite Mile's detour. So after getting kitted up and signing on we roll over to watch Emma B and Alice in novices. They're having fun and Alice comes away with a Bronze gong.
We go for a warm up prior to the Vet 40 race. God I feel pants. My throat is getting sore and my breakfast can't make up it's mind which way to go, up or down. On top of that the course is an 'old skool' slogger. Feeling hot and sick I settle trackside to watch Jules, Andrew and Colin slug it out.
Watching them get tired each lap I decide I'll just have one warm up lap and wing it.
Anyway Jules and Andrew are neck and neck and going for it. Colin shouts puncture as he passes! The racing looks different today, teams are together Luton, Corley's and LBRCC, and the faces on the front aren't the same. I watch from the same spot to see Jules and Andrew lap consistently and wheel to wheel. Colin doe's have a puncture but presses on regardless.
However this week Andrews bad luck is behind him, and he go's on to take LBRCC honours in the V40 race.
I'm up next with Miles and Darren in Vet 50. This week I'm honoured as I get front row gridding. Though I'm gutted I feel so bad that I'll probably blow the advantage.
We're going to get sent off PDQ like other weeks, fifteen seconds then go. The whistle goes and we're off.
The start as usual is on the only flat straight and after a few metres we'll tackle the main climb. A climb that elevates you so the course can wind it's way back down.
I lose places on the climb and Darren goes past. I keep him in check and we reach the top with a string of good riders. How strong is Darren? I stay behind uncertain. The course drops to the hurdles and Darren falls letting me past. I complete the lap just ahead, but Darren passes on the climb again. The climb is clearly Darren's strong point, again I follow his wheel until I see an opportunity to pass him on a tight turn. I take the lead again and pass the line ahead, but again Darren passes me on the climb. I think I have a plan to beat him. I decide I need to get ahead to make him chase, meaning he'll have to chase and put the extra effort in on the hill each lap. With three laps to go I'm hoping he doesn't have enough to keep attacking on the climb?
Last climb ahead
An opportunity arises just after  Darren passes. Mark Eidem is just ahead, a far faster rider than both of us. I put on a sprint and pass Mark. This wakes him up and he chases meaning that Darren is behind with a rider in between us. Mark is pressing me and a large gap opens up. Looking at the gap I get I think that this will be enough to take LBRCC honours even with this and two more laps to go!However the race isn't over until the fat lady sings. I clear the hurdles and kick my own chain off re mounting. I squat trackside undoing the wedged chain, thinking it's on I set off. But it's not on and comes off again. Darren goes straight past. I'm still there this time calmly re fitting the chain.
Darren's gone and I have two laps to catch him. I make little inroads until the climb, where this time Darren is a little slower he is still ahead. We both get in good laps, but Darren remains ahead. Bizarrely my malfunctioning gears are helping, I can't get my easy gear for the climbs so I have to press hard meaning I'm going quicker uphill.

At the bell I'm on Darren's wheel. I match him on the climb, but for the first time all race I get to the top first. At the top I reach for the drops and hurt myself to make a gap. Now it's a case of executing a perfect lap and not slowing. I'm still ahead as we reach the last little climb before the course descends to the chequered flag. I make a bold statement to myself and choose the big ring for this last climb in readiness for a fast descent.
Job done LBRCC honours taken. Darren's right behind me and Mile's follows in soon after. I look at Darren and think I've woken a sleeping giant and that my days are about to get a little harder.

Seniors next. Neil, Ross and Mitchell. A good course for Neil a superb all rounder, nice hills for Ross. For Mitchell? not much to write home about.
As expected Neil takes an early lead. Ross is second with Mitchell third. Mitchell closes each lap, but the hill where Darren and myself fought doesn't suit him.
Neils lead grows, really grows so all of us spectators assume he has it in the bag. And our attention turns to Ross and Mitchell. Can Mitchell make it up on the technicals? Over the course of the race he comes close, but Ross manages to stay out of reach.
10/10 for style
At the bell Neil flies through. Then Ross and Mitchell.  Green corner develops to see Neil grab the win for honours. In the distance we see the distinctive flash of LBRCC green, here he comes. But hold the front page it isn't Neil it's Ross. Ross takes honours, Neil has 'gone' big time and comes in second ahead of Mitchell. Neil tells me later that he just went, as if he wasn't moving which just goes to show how much effort you put in during a race. I do feel for him, but like my race it's the big picture that counts.

Without a doubt great racing today. Emma B out for the first time. Alice also racing for the first time and coming home with a medal. Andrew and Jules really having a go. Colin racing an entire race on a flat. My ding dong with Darren. Miles racing while his body and mind were still in Holland. Neil's supreme effort. Ross's LBRCC win and Mitchells first year courage on a course that didn't have his name on it.    

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