Round One of the 2013/’14 London CycloCross League took place this weekend in Stanmer Park, Brighton and was hosted by VC Jubilee. After some good prep in the London Summer Series I was hoping to get off to a good start…
After two top ten finishes in the London Summer Series it was time to convert that work into solid race results in the London League proper. With such a great standard of rider turning up on the start line I knew it was going to be a toughie. I got a pretty good start for me and made the front bunch by following Gabor Doroghazi’s wheel across the first grassy section.
Very quickly our group had gapped the rest of the field; the only downside to this was that there must have been fifteen or so in this lead group. I’d spent the morning cursing the fact that I hadn’t been training for the previous three days – far too long to be in top shape. But even so as we climbed for the first few laps I was passing riders who couldn’t stick the relentless pace of the leaders.
When the rain came, a few laps in, I was thanking the gods – it was a long hot lap and I’d started to suffer. The only thing to watch now was just how much grip the wet grassy corners would yield, as I found out after a truly lucky save on the entrance to the second wooded section.
I’d been concentrating on passing two or three riders who have just come up from the junior ranks. Now that the races have been split we race the Senior race on our own – Juniors, Vets and Women racing earlier in the day. I had some really good battles in the past with Juniors like Chris McGovern and Jack Finch as well as Vets like Dougie Fox and Mark Smith, so for me it’s a shame that we’ve been split up, but at the tighter races like Herne Hill and Wilmington I think the decision will really be proved to be the right one.
After half distance I was dropping very slightly off the pace, albeit I was still having a good battle with a pair of TriStore riders. Unfortunately this allowed Gabor to catch back up and when we got back onto the long grassy flat sections I just wasn’t strong enough to stay with him. For two laps I caught back up in the technical sections and each time he rode away from me on the flatter bits – Some summer TT racing has definitely helped but I still need to find that little bit extra.
Hearing the bell ringing was like music to my ears. I had been keeping an eye on a rider in white behind me for a lap or so, so I needed to consolidate my position. I used up every little bit of energy in the long and winding climb to the top of Stanmer Park and had begun to make inroads toward a mountain biker ahead of me. He was just too fast on the tricky wet downhill sections, but I almost had him.
14th place isn’t the worst start to a season I’ve ever had, but I left Stanmer Park really disappointed with being outside of the top ten. I know what I need to work on and that three days with no training is still getting to me so I’m going to concentrate on not making the same mistake again next week.
1st 11 Matt HOLMES Arctic Premier RT S (11) 7
2nd 18 Gareth JONES Velo Club Moulin S (18) 7
3rd 2 Phil LENNEY Team GWB-Activ S (2) 7
4th 6 Jules BIRKS VC Londres S (6) 7
5th 13 Steve HAMBLING Team GWB-Activ S (13) 7
6th 34 Michael Butler Activ S (34) 7
7th 27 Chris Panayioton Fruit 4 London S (27) 7
8th 12 Wilf SINCLAIR Pearson Cycles S (12) 7
9th 28 Todd Leakie The Tri Store S (28) 7
10th 42 Russell Short London Dynamo S (42) 7
14th 48 Glen WHITTINGTON Bike Science-Boardman Elite S (48) 7
Photos by John Mullineaux and Oskar Scarsbrook.
Glen runs THE.TRIBECA.SPORT.WØRKSHOP which is based at 28 London Road, Southborough, TN4 0QB – 01892 533 339 – firstname.lastname@example.org . The shop specialises in precision servicing, race prepping, 3D Bike Science bike fitting and high quality bikes and equipment. Drop in, give us a call, visit our Facebook page or browse our website for more details. He also runs the shop race team and club as well as racing ‘cross, road and cross-country nationally.
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