Back to local racing and several of the old school make it back to the sharp end…
I always feel a little bit more comfortable when I’m racing on a track I’m used to – you know the drive there, you rock up and know where everything is and then when you start warm-up you know what to do with the tyres to make them work. One or two psi in the tyres can make or break your race.
My starts have got better this year and at Cyclopark (Round 8 of the LCCA League) my feet found their way straight into the pedals to go into the first corkscrew in 5th or 6th place from a front row of about eight riders. Immediately I felt good on the bike and although I lost a few places in the first two laps I knew it would be important to look after the bike so I worked at a pace I was happy with and bided my time a little.
A couple of little jostles for position with Wilf Sinclair (Pearsons) and Chris Herring (East London Velo) were good but up the road I could now see Dan Braid (Corridori), Rob Purcell (Neon Velo) and Ben Spurrier (Vicious Velo) and, with a little encouragement from Glyn and Stuart, I really sprinted my way across the tarmac finish line at the end of lap two to bridge the gap to them. It took some doing, but paid off as the next lap was the most fun of the whole season so far.
A lap later some backmarkers split the group up unfortunately and really, tactically, I should have forced my way forward earlier, but Dan and I were now being gapped. We caught Craig Joy (Adalta CC) and as he pitted for a new bike I tried to build a gap up, but then yet another backmarker forced me into the scenery, this time ripping the strap off my left shoe. Apparently his idea of left was different to mine.
Racing with what was effectively a flip-flop made cornering, running and dismounting interesting! But I was now in a good position overall and a few riders started to have bike problems so it was time to crack on. With one lap to go I was just behind Dan, but I was feeling good and made inroads toward him on the first half a lap. I could feel Craig getting closer too though and I was on the ragged edge. At that point it’s all about who makes the least mistakes.
We blew past Rob, standing on the side with a mechanical and I thought to myself how easy it would be to have mech problems now – you definitely needed to stay steady. Just after the pits I couldn’t quite believe it when Dan was reattaching his chain, but I wasn’t going to stop and ask questions, it was time to big ring it home for a satisfying 5th place. After some bad luck at the beginning of the season and some duff results recently it’s just what I wanted.
I’ve also just had confirmation from Helly Hansen that they’ll be helping me out next season again which is awesome – let’s just hope that they don’t find out that I’d be using their kit regardless! Big thanks to them and to everyone (Stuart, Glyn, Nikki, Jo-Anne and all the others that I couldn’t quite see, but I could hear) for the shouts! Finally, big thanks to Dave at Boardman Elite who solved a rear mech hanger related issue in time to get my bikes ready for the race.
- Matt Holmes (Arctic)
- James Flury (Vicious Velo)
- Russell Short (London Dynamo)
- Ben Spurrier (Vicious Velo)
- Glen Whittington (SDW)
- Dan Braid (Corridori)
- Craig Joy (Adalta CC)
Photos by Glyn Durant.
Glen rides a pair of Boardman Elite ‘Cross bikes in the London CycloCross Association League. He rides a Colnago Master and races a Scott Addict at local road races, all of which are available via The Velo House. He races a KTM Aera Pro 27.5 hardtail in the UK National Points Series and the Eastern XC Series. He receives personal sponsorship from Helly Hansen, KTM and THE.ÆIGHT.BICYCLE.CØMPANY. He’s also supported by Lazer helmets and Boardman Elite. The KTM team is supported by Continental Tyres, Torq Fitness and Four4th Lights.