Race report by John Myburgh
Three of Team Chronomaster’s riders took part in the Bowland Road Race today. The race was won by Wilf Sargent from Lancashire University Cycle Club. He was followed by Robert Ormrod from Ilkley Cycling Club and Tom Harder from Leisure Lakes Bikes.com
I had a good feeling for today’s race. I know it was a hilly circuit and although my legs were still sore and stiff from a training session I did on Monday (I kid you not!) I felt pretty good. Paul and I also had some fitness testing done on Friday and even that pointed towards me getting some form (of course this is road racing form, not the round form I feel I resemble at the moment :P).
Paul and I met John – the other one – at race HQ and signed on. We had to wait for the numbers to arrive but after getting them on we headed out for a warm-up spin. Leaving race HQ we went onto the circuit and up the climb that had the start/finish – a bit of a drag with two lumps that will require you to put your back into it at racing speed.
It was overcast, chilly and there was a breeze blowing head on as we crested the hill. This wind would cause me some bother going into the second lap.
With the warm-up and pre race briefing done we lined up behind the ‘grey’ BMW (it was pointed out a number of times that the lead car would be a ‘grey’ BMW… it was definitely grey. Anyway, we were taken onto the course by said grey BMW at a snails pace. The climb out of Bolton By Bowland was quite enjoyable. Of course as we crossed the start line all hell broke loose as the pace ramped up quickly.
A rider from VCUK (Mike Humphries) and another formed a two man break and although they never got out of sight of the peloton the guys had the right idea. After the start line there is a bit of a rolling drag into a head wind (the breeze) until it course drops down and takes a 90˚ left hander. On this lumpy stretch there was a crosswind from the right so positioning was crucial. Of course the potholes made it a bit more interesting and I got a fright as one rider hit a pothole and his wheel went pop.
Eventually the road turns left again and we went uphill a bit but with more of a tail wind this was relatively easy. From here we dropped down a windy road between stone walls until we turned 90˚ again. Now with a proper tail wind the pack was humming along at a fair rate but still nervous and riders grabbing hands full of brakes. At this point I wished I was up the front with the break but I was not..
So far so good I thought. We dropped down another steep section with a rather sharp right hander and then whizzed over a small bridge (I think – it was fast) and past houses. Out in the open again the road was mostly undulating but then we hit a really fast right hander. A guy from Team Hoppers Rollers went down hard!
With everyone trying to avoid the crash and not take others the bunch split in two. The chase was now on as there were too many strong riders and although John (the other one) was up there I also wanted to be there so I had to dig really deep to get back on. Down another steep hill, a right hander, over a bridge and up a hill. We could see the bunch and was gaining on them but just not fast enough.
The course drops down and we took a left hand turn onto the road that runs through Bolton By Bowland. As I went over the bridge going into the village I knew I was in trouble. I was still recovering from the effort to get back on as we hit the hill out of the village.
Like a brave solder I fought on but it was not to be. I was sitting on the wheel of a rider going up the climb and he started losing the bunch. I overtook him but unfortunately I was not able to get myself onto the back of the group quick enough. The result was that as I got over the hill I was met by that headwind and I had nowhere to hide.
I knew John (the other one) was in the bunch so at least the team had some representation and a chance for points.
As I battled on I was joined by a few riders who also got left behind on the climb and we formed a chasing group with about 7 riders unfortunately there were only 4 of us working. We got onto the stretch where we had a tail wind and the number of guys willing to work reduced to two, me and a guy from Lancashire University Cycling Club with a few bods committing to the cause every so often.
Eventually though it was just me working and as we hit that darn hill out of Bolton By Bowland again my legs greeted my, bid me farewell and left… well it welt like that. My chase group left me on the lower slopes and I was on my own.
So my third lap was spent all by myself, enjoying the countryside that Bowland offers. Only I did not really enjoy it. It was cold and my legs were not willing to work anymore. I managed to complete my third lap and then decided I had enough.
Not the best day on a bike but some character building none the less and we will come back stronger.
Big thanks to Pendle Forest CC and the marshals for putting on a great race. I’ll be back next year but plan to be a few kgs lighter so I can get over that lump out of the village!
Also big thanks to Ellen Isherwood for the great photos – more can be found here.