Westmorland Tankard Road Race, 17th April 2016

By Paul Beach

The Westmorland Tankard Road Race, presented by Kent Valley CC is a race on a rolling circuit with a tough climb to the finish. One lap is hard, over 5 laps, the race distance it is a tough race!

The sun was shining in Endmoor, Kendal for the race if a little frosty earlier in the day.

We had 3 riders in the race myself, John Bamford and John Myburgh. For the two Johns this was their first race of the season and my third. With much deliberation on what to wear with the sun being out but a definite chill in the air, shorts were my call much to Bambam’s regret with the leg warmers…

There was no need for a warm-up as the ride out to the start was brisk and even split the field on route to the rider briefing and start line.

The briefing actually happen on the circuit but at the bottom of the final climb so once the briefing finished we were off under a neutralised race, the flag to be dropped once we crossed the start/finish line. Crossing the line the flag dropped and the pace picked up. Soon we were dropping down the big descent which can be fast and a little nervy, particularly at the start. I was aware of this from last year and tried to move to the front as soon as possible. With a field of 60 riders you don’t want to be caught at the back.

The first lap felt full gas all the way around and dropped a number of riders the second time up the climb to the line. The second and third lap saw a number of attacks attempted, and failed. This was followed by a steady fourth lap.

On the bell lap two riders from Cog Set attacked up the climb and got a slight gap, myself four others chased up the climb and on to the descent but unable to catch the leading duo. It all came back on the descent and into the back-side of the course where a number of riders tried to push on to get a gap. None was successful though and it all came together on the final climb except one rider up the road.

It was all steady at the bottom of the climb and riders were jostling for position. Halfway up the climb there is a farm and as we approached the farm a number of riders attacked. I followed in about fifth position was we went past the farm.

Once we hit the final steep section to the finish it turned into a flat-out sprint for the line as riders started to come from all angles. my heart was in it but my legs weren’t plying and I started to go backwards with nothing left in my legs. I slipped back down the pack as I came across the line very tired man.

Top 10 – TBC

All in all a good course with great weather!

A big thank you to the organisers, marshals, volunteers, NEG support and of course Ellen Isherwood for the great photos!

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