Being called to the line third did little to settle my pre-race nerves, I knew today was going to be a tough one for me – dry as a bone, grassy, flat and little or no technical sections pretty much rule me out of the lead group, but I wasn’t going to let that front row start count for nothing…
I’d lined up on the inside of the front row so that when the gun went I’d stand some chance of getting to that first corner before the arses and elbows started flying. This worked, to a fashion, but on the long bumpy uphill that lead to the first set of barriers I lost a few positions. Frustrated still at my lack of power I knew I had to approach the race differently from the other riders. Where they made their advantage on the flat out sections I’d have to concentrate upon the downhills and anything that was mildly technical.
At the end of the lap there were three fairly deep drainage ditches to negotiate, after nearly taking out my front teeth on the first one I realised I may have to give them a little more respect. That said it was where I was definitely making time back on the others, along with the two steep hills that preceded a tricky complex.
Half race distance seemed to come up very quickly. As with last week I was racing closely with Dan Drake and also James Waddington, both of whom were easily faster on the open sections. I was catching them at the end of each lap only to lose them on the long drag up to the first set of planks (I managed to completely mess the planks up at about 2/3rds distance, right in front of John and his video camera! Should be easy to find on the video below – Practice needed).
With a lap and a half to go I was making time back on James and I could even see Dan, who was battling with Philip Deacon, coming back to me. Shouts from the Crawley Wheelers telling me to chase the riders down did much to inspire my last lap charge. I always finish well and I’m now kicking myself for allowing myself to drop off the pace too much in the middle of the race.
Coming into the main arena for the last time we were right on Drake and Deacon’s wheel and I was ready to blast past Waddington. But I just couldn’t find my through and even with a really good set of hurdles I was still at the back of the group. After the last corner I sprinted really well and given ten extra meters I’d have had at least one of them, as it was as I lunged for the line I’d have to put up with just 17th place.
If I’d worked harder with two laps to go to put the pressure on I think I could have got all three of them, but at the same time I always knew that this first block of three races was going to be hard and so I’m pretty happy to have got some half decent points on the board – Let’s just hope that the rain I ordered arrives for my next race! Cheers for all the shouts and photos y’all.
1 MATT HOLMES Arctic Premier RT 53:20
2 JULES BIRKS VC Londres @ 0’15”
3 NICK SMITH Lewes Wanderers CC @ 0’21”
4 Stephen Adams Twenty3C-Focus @ 0’23”
5 JACK FINCH PM Racing @ 1’29”
6 DARREN BARCLAY Arctic Premier RT @ 1’46”
7 BEN LEWIS Hackney GT @ 1’54”
8 MICHAEL BUTLER Activ @ 2’06”
9 WILF SINCLAIR Pearson Cycles @ 2’11”
10 Brindley Taylor Crawley Wheelers @ 2’13”
17 GLEN WHITTINGTON Bike Science-Boardman Elite @ 3’10”
Photos by Oskar Scarsbrook.
Results published by ukcyclesport.com.
Additional photos and video by John at UKCyclesport.
Header Image by Pip Jenkins.
Glen runs THE.TRIBECA.SPORT.WØRKSHOP which is based at 28 London Road, Southborough, TN4 0QB – 01892 533 339 – email@example.com . 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.
Glen races a pair of Boardman Elite CX Pro’s which are available via Tribeca Sport. He races in the London CycloCross League. All views and opinions are personal and should be taken with a pinch of salt – This blog is not for cissies or cry-babies.