By Karl Owen.
On the 30th of May, Chronomaster Riders, Karl, Kris and Craig, headed North East to Darley near Harrogate for the Ilkley 2 day.
It was after my strong showing last year to take 7th overall at this event that Craig had asked me to join the Chronomaster team. I was determined therefore to ensure I went better this year.
The race started with a short (2.5km) prologue. Knowing that this would take around 3 minutes I was hoping to harness some of the testing we’d done at the English Institute of Sport, and the 3 minute efforts we’d been doing there, to good effect. The howling tailwind would also make it interesting!
I think the pictures below says more than I need to about the effort!
I came in 19th on the prologue, with Kris 20th, 4/100ths of a second down. A very accurate gap for someone at the side of the road with a stopwatch to give! Craig was a touch further back, but the gaps were extremely small. Just 25 seconds separated the first from the last rider, and with the wind still howling, the afternoon’s road race would be extremely important.
After refuelling on the fantastic buffet & cakes supplied by Ilkley CC in the HQ (unfortunately no traditional ½ pint), the Jersey presentation was done. The prologue had been won by Andrew Wooler of PH-MAS Cycling. A titan of a man, the yellow jersey being a rather snug race fit, or as was crudely suggested “I’ve seen jonny’s baggier than that”.
As we rolled out for the afternoon’s road race on the Penny Pot circuit, the sun was shining, but the wind was still howling. I knew staying towards the front of the group would be important. As we approached the intermediate sprint line for the first time one rider was up the road. So with half a mind on these points, and also ½ a mind on the KOM points I bridged to him, swept up the sprint and then swiftly dropped him, I think he realised attacking so early was suicidal! As I continued on alone up the main climb with the KOM points in sight, a tractor came the other way, quickly forcing the lead car into a layby and me to go round it! ARGH, hoping I wasn’t going to get DQ’d I slowed and allowed him past. Luckily he gave me a quick tow to get the lead back out, but I’d lost time, and momentum and was just pipped to the KOM points by a determined Rob Ormyrod from Ilkley CC. As we nailed it down the descent and through the penny bank descent (if you’ve ever played Gran Turismo, the Laguna Seca corkscrew, but rougher) Craig pulled up alongside me and screamed “IT’S SPLIT”. Knowing that this circuit required a “maxi” break to stay away, I looked at the 15 or so riders in the front group, recognising all of Feather racing, 2 Zepnat lads, Steve Guymer of RCC and a number of other strong riders I knew we could make it stick.
J Fow/Figgy/Milky Jon from Manchester Bicycle Club (Original name) started aggressively persuading people to take a turn, and with the saliva hanging between nose and ear, and huge whomp coming from his 808, people quickly fell into line. An organised group powered down penny pot lane, efficient through and off the order of the day. Luckily my turn fell shortly before the intermediate “sprint” point, and I gave an extra few watts to power away and take the points before falling back into the group and continuing to roll through.
Jon had picked up that Craig wasn’t working at this point, and instructed me as such. Knowing he’s not normally a shirker, I dropped back to have a word. Sunken eyes and a shake of the head said all I needed to know. Craig was having a bad time, working was not an option! The rest of the group continued to work together, at some point shelling a now vomiting Craig. Each time over the intermediate sprint, I would just give it a little extra gas in order to take the points.
As we came into the finish, a HD Revolutions rider, Michael Harris attacked like he was shot out of a cannon, just as we were passing the Sun Inn, surely in some kind of tribute to their brewery sponsors, Magic Rock. I quickly tried to close the gap but just didn’t have the legs, and it seemed others were in the same situation. As he dangled just in front of the group, the pace ramped up the final climb, with me just losing the wheels. Michael managed to stay away to take a brave win, with a few gaps opening up between the riders behind. I rolled over in 12th, 15 seconds back. Moving myself up in the overall. Kris came in the second group on the road 90 seconds or so down. A forlorn looking Craig rolled in 27 minutes later, having dug deep to get to the finish, and not last on the road. I’d also managed to put myself into 2nd position on the Green Jersey, with the leader also in Yellow, I’d be wearing it for day 2. SPRINTEUR!
Day 2 came around and the weather had worsened, the TTT was to be run in huge gusting winds and on damp roads. As we rode out to the finish we practiced changing in an echelon formation, the wind nearly causing wheel clashes a number of times.
Due to the wind, the acceleration out of the start gate was unbelievable, the red Specialized behaving quickly clicking into the 11 sprocket. The wind caused a few scrappy rotations, but we got to the left corner together and continued to nail it for the all important negative split. The finish came across us before we expected and I’m certain we all felt we had a few extra beans to give.
Being one of the last teams off, we didn’t have long to wait for the times to be given out. We’d won the TTT! By a good 7 seconds. An awesome team performance, and one that moved me up to 8th on GC. I celebrated by scranning yet more of Ilkley CCs spread, figuring it had done me good the previous day!
Unfortunately due to the wind the BC commissaires decided to cut the afternoon’s race short by a lap. Knowing this would make for aggressive racing I downed an OTE caffeine gel on the start list and zipped up my fresh green jersey. Tucking in behind the lead car on the “neutralised” roll out I again knew staying near the front of the field would be crucial. Attacks seemed to go straight from the gun, and the field was again quickly split up in the crosswinds, with myself and Craig making the front group, but with Craig still not feeling 100% and the pace remaining relentless, a lap or so later I was left to fend for myself.
I made numerous attacks to try to test the yellow jersey, mainly with Kendal from Feather, however all of these failed to shell him. On the final lap, Kendal again attacked and I was caught behind Ricky, one of his teammate’s wheels. I let the gap go, with the hope that they’d be pulled back before the finish, however I quickly realised that the stronger riders were up the road, and the main interest in chasing would be mine. Pushing hard down the descent into a headwind, I narrowed the gap, but up the second climb on the circuit the lead group of 4 pulled it out again. The chasing group had now fractured completely, I regrouped with Jon from MBC and Kieran from
Zepnat to chase for the final straight. Kieran’s teammate was in yellow, and he was on Junior gearing (respect) so pushing along the final straight was left to me and Jon. As we gathered up an Achieve rider on the final straight he clung to the wheels. We continued to power on, with my mind now on protecting my overall position, I rolled over last in our group of 4 to take 10th in the road race, and move me up to 6th overall.
Final standings (overall):
- Nicholas Barnes – http://www.Zepnat.com RT – GSG Clothing
- Edward McParland – All Terrain Cycles
- Kendal Noctor – Feather Cycles Racing
- Peter Barusevicus – All Terrain Cycles
- Kieran Savage – http://www.Zepnat.com RT – GSG Clothing
- Karl Owen – Team Chronomaster
- Jonathan Fowles – Manchester Bicycle Club
- Geoffrey Martin – HD Revolutions (HDR)
- Richard Jones – Achieve Northside Skinnergate
- Ricky Feather – Feather Cycles Racing
- Robert Ormrod – Ilkley Cycling Club
- Matthew Williams – Chevin Cycles.com Trek
- Thomas Brazier – Chester RC
- James Fairbank – Feather Cycles Racing
- Timothy Mansfield – HD Revolutions (HDR)
For all the results, click here.
Another fantastic event put on by Ilkley CC. An improvement from 7th to 6th! I’ll be back next year for more cake and to take my 5th overall. And hopefully back in 2020, to win the event!