Part two, THE.VELO.HOUSE-SCOTT.RC.2015. NO SHORTCUTS…
Last week, I didn’t know quite what to expect. I didn’t do any road racing last year as I’d made a commitment to race lots on my mountain bike, but this year I’m determined to get my team racing as many disciplines as possible. Therefore, leading by example, I made the decision to capitalize on some arguable form left over from ‘cross racing to attempt to finally grab my 3rd cat road license.
The second round of the East London Velo Winter Circuit Racing League at Hog Hill pretty much followed the script from the first round. We started with the usual couple of excitable breaks which came to nothing, followed by plenty of riders taking “interesting” lines through the corners. I’ve learnt over the years to quietly avoid choppers rather than shouting at them and getting flustered, but they do sometimes still catch you out. After being pushed out onto the grass and bunnyhopping my way back onto the tarmac I made sure to stay toward the front of the group for the rest of the race.
Half an hour in, a sizable group of us had lapped much of the bunch and plenty of others had fallen foul of punctures – in fairness Redbridge had done their best to remind riders that winter racing requires winter tyres, but having had my share of ‘cross based flats this winter I guess I’ve built up a couple of dollars in the karma bank to spend on puncture free races!
With five laps to go I made sure I had plenty to drink and then ditched my bottles, which has absolutely no effect on how the bike handles, but helps me get my head in the right zone for the last few laps – if you think it makes you go faster then it will, is my thinking… it seems to focus my mind and just like last week when other riders seemed to start panicking and fighting I stayed calm and made sure I was staying exactly where I wanted to be in the bunch.
As the bell rang I was well placed in the top ten as we flew down the hill for the last time. I stayed a few gears higher than I’d been all race to move up around the outside of the long horseshoe at the far end of the circuit. This in turn set me up for the outside of the all important final climb, which is good because it shelters you from the wind. Learning from last week Danny Bellion started his sprint early forcing several riders to follow and I latched onto about fifth or sixth wheel. Staying out of the wind all the way up the hill left me feeling great for the final kick and I made my final lunge for 3rd place.
After a ‘cross season that has been brilliant fun, but lacked the results I’d hoped for, getting my 3rd cat license was a massive boost. It’s something I’ve wanted for several years and for various reasons haven’t quite achieved, but this winter I finished ‘cross and really focused on the job properly so now I’ve got a couple of weekends off to play with Mountain Bikes!
- Danny Bellion (Queens Tower CC)
- Ben Smithers (Pretorius)
- Glen Whittington (The Velo House – Scott Cycling)
Glen races Mountain bikes in the UK National XC Points and Eastern XC Series, Road bikes in the Surrey, South-East and Eastern Leagues, TT in the South East Region and ‘Cross in the LCCA League. He receives personal sponsorship from Helly Hansen, The Velo House, Scott Bikes and THE.ÆIGHT.BICYCLE.CØMPANY.
Glen runs The Velo House with Olly and Matt, a coffee shop, workshop and bike shop welcoming all cyclists and even well behaved non-cyclists. We’re based at 5 St.Johns Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9GW – 01892 554 505 – firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Harry Godding explains…Explaining a “chopper” to my brother: “A chopper is an individual who weaves, or ‘chops’, whilst riding a bike without checking or considering the consequences on those following behind. In a bunch it is wise to stay clear of a ‘chopper’s’ rear wheel as following too closely is likely to end in injury and/or death. A chopper can be defined on a scale of 1 (Slightly Amateur) to 10 (Masterchef champion)”