By Karl Owen.
With most of the team having hung up their racing boots and enjoying the Indian summer. I headed over to North Wales for a final slice of punishment on the Great Orme in Llandudno.
Just before lining up I spoke to Dan Evans of Team Elite, current Welsh MTB and Hillclimb champion, who was playing down his chances. I was having none of it and noted him down as one to watch. I headed over to the start where the announcer was listing possible winners over the Tannoy system. He duly read out Dan’s name and palmares, along with that of a number of other hitters, and seemingly every Rhos on Sea rider on the startlist! The race had been shortened to 5 laps due to the field having to be split into 2, so I decided to nail an OTE caffeine gel (shameless plug) on the line and try to get in an early move.
Almost as soon as the flag was dropped young Olly Payton (PH- MAS cycling team) headed up the road, moving to the outside of the group I attacked and went with him, as we crested the top of the Orme we seemed to have a good gap, and knowing that the circuit consisted almost solely of up, or down, with little time to work as a group, I was hopeful of this sticking. 2nd time up the climb, me and Olly were caught by the aforementioned Mr Evans, who instructed us to cling on for the descent. Olly had the excuse of junior gearing, I had none, but being dropped down the Orme by a local MTB champ holds no shame, surely?
Me and Olly continued to work well together, but 3rd time up Marine Drive were caught by a group including 2 Chester riders (Jimmy Smith & Thom Brazier) and a rider from Clwb Racio Mona (Gerralt Roberts), who’s kit bore a strong resemblance to the Rock Racing kits, make of that what you will.
Our group of 5 held of the chasing group whilst Dan Evans continued to extend his lead off the front, eventually getting it up to around 2 minutes! As we went up the climb for the final time me and Jimmy were distanced by the 3 in front. Knowing that Jimmy wouldn’t chase down his own club mate I worked hard to close the gap, just making contact as the sprint opened up. Unfortunately this (and my total lack of a kick) resulted in me taking 6th, and last in the break.
Overall, an amazing race, on an amazing piece of rock. Chapeau to the organisers.