“best seven scores to count”…
One of the problems with being obsessive about things is that when you sign up to a series you absolutely have to be there every week regardless of time, tiredness and just about anything the British Summer can throw at you weather-wise. Round after round we turned up to hailstorms and cloudbursts, punctuated if we were lucky by rainbows.
At rounds two, three and four the racing was close between Jules Birks (VCL), Mark Shepherd (Fruit 4 London) and me. Getting in the mix was Matt Webber (Hackney GT), Jon Dennis (Control CC), William Linton (Brixton) and Ed Moesli (unattached). With that many riders at the sharp end as well as 70 riders at every event the series was looking like it would be a tough one. I was scoring some good wins in my category but was yearning for that overall win.
At round four I was feeling good and ready to race from the front. I lead out the first lap and was feeling comfortable – then the next thing I know is I’m sliding on my arse watching Mark and Jules disappear down the course. A sharp pain in my hand drew my attention and I realised that having landed on my thumb it was now dislocated – my natural reaction was to jam it back in place which seemed to do the trick so I jumped back on and rode to 4th.
Round five was looking like a washout, but I was feeling good. My thumb was still kind of painful but running the suspension fully open helped and I got a good start. The conditions were really muddy which I like and the course (which changes every week) suited me well. I lead Mark for a bit before he broke away and then as the race went on I reeled him back in. My bike worked perfectly and I took the win after a sketchy last lap.
For rounds six and seven Callum Riley (Newdales RT) showed up and promptly led both races from the front. Back in the pack, the important battle for me was against Jon to make sure I stayed at the top in the Elite/Expert overall. On both occasions we had good battles with round seven being one of my highlights for the season – really close racing between Jon, Will and me made for a couple of fun races.
Round eight was the last weekday race and having led the overall for the whole season this was Mark Shepherd’s last proper chance to add some points to his tally. I’ve had a great series of races, secured the overall win in my category, but Mark’s been there every week too and having consistently beaten me by a place or two means that with one round to go he would take control of the series. Credit where credits due, he worked hard and I’ve really enjoyed racing him so I’m glad we were both on the final podium.
And onto that final race – we had the first proper dry race of the season, until about halfway through when we had the wettest race of the season (even by this year’s standards)! Lovely fast close racing turned into a challenge to just stay upright. I Crashed and nearly lost my position but ended up holding onto 3rd place just in front of Mark. Matt won and therefore the three of us secured the overall series wins in each of our categories (Mark in Sport and Matt in the Vets), as well as being the overall series podium. A brilliant end to a tough series!
Elite/Expert Overall Results;
- Glen Whittington (SDW) 132 pts
- Jon Dennis (Control CC) 70 pts
- Ed Moesli (unattached) 50 pts
Male Overall Results;
- Mark Shepherd (Fruit 4 London) 116 pts
- Matt Webber (Hackney GT) 108 pts
- Glen Whittington (SDW) 106 pts
Photos by Michael Humphreys, John Mullineaux and Glen Whittington
Glen rides for the Southborough & District Wheelers. He 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 support from Helly Hansen, The Velo House, and the.æight.bicycle.cømpany @eightbikeco #aeightracer
Glen runs The Velo House with Olly, 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 9TN – 01892 554 505 – firstname.lastname@example.org. @thevelohouse #thevelohouse