By Adam Baines
The Rhaullt Hill Climb, 2.3km at an average of 6%. The stage had Craig’s name all over it. Almost a guaranteed win…
Me , I was feeling fairly stiff and my legs were tired after the mornings efforts. After a brief café stop in Morrisons we set of to the start line, a short drive away from the circuit we found a decent parking spot on the side of the road. I was confident the climb suited me and was hopeful for a good time. Being a larger rider at 77kg, the steady gradient meant I could time trial it without any real steep parts to disrupt a rhythm.
All the gels I’d eaten in the crit were beginning to take their toll on my gut and I was on code red for some loo roll and a toilet. Bambam came to my rescue with some all-important ‘comfy bum’ paper and I managed to find a discreet spot to lose some weight al fresco styley! After my brush with nature, my watts/kg were up and I was ready to go.
Me, Ste and Paul went for a recce of the route which doubled as a warm up and I was pleased to find the course was right up my street, or should that be hill…
On the start line I was prepping myself for 5 minutes of hurt. That’s all it was 5 minutes, I kept telling myself, so I went out hard. About half way up I saw our main man Craig coming down the other way??? He better be quick I thought if he’s to get his start time, he was scheduled to be off 2 minutes behind me!!!
I pushed on trying to keep my power at a rate I thought I could hold for 5 minutes. The finish line came round the corner and the road’s gradient began to subside, I put everything I had left into a sprint finish and crossed the line in 5min 45seconds, I averaged 420 watts and was the quickest time so far…. I was only the 6th rider off, so there was another 79 riders to try and beat it!
I turned round and descended but still no Craig, ‘He must have punctured’, I thought. As I approached the start I saw Craig sat on the side of the road despondent in grief that he’d actually missed his own start time. As it happened, on his recce of the climb, he’d been happily day dreaming. Lost in a Nirvana of people congratulating him on the stage win, he’d become completely oblivious to the time. The race organisers where very understanding and decided to forgive him. They allowed him a new start time but with an added time penalty. Stage over.
As the overall was to be decided on points and not overall time, our crit results had left us out of contention for the GC. This was a shame because the Chronomaster boys had each put in a decent time (with the exception of Craig and his time penalty) which would have left us all in a good position overall. But no sour grapes we came to race and we were going to give it our all on Stage 3.
|75th (time penalty and protest)||Craig Battersby||8:51|