By Jon Fowles
Having spent the past month just riding time trials, I was excited to return to road racing at the Upton cycling club road race on Sunday. I’d raced the same course earlier this year, and knew that with such a fast flat circuit, a strong break could easily get away and take the win… so this time I was determined to be in it!
On the first lap a few eager riders made their attacks, but with everyone still fresh, none would stick. I waited until the second lap to launch my attack out of one of the corners, and pushed hard along a fast tailwind section to bridge to a lone rider out front. We began working together, and later that lap a rider from wheelbase and one other came across to us. With four together, we settled in to a hard pace and carried this on for a further 3 laps until a large group of around 15 riders caught us.
Settling into this larger breakaway, I had a sense of relief in knowing that we would be almost certain to make it to the finish without getting caught by the main bunch. At the same time, I knew it would be easy for people to sit on the back and keep fresh for the finish!
Another six laps passed with little drama besides two horses having panic attacks on either side of the road, causing a small split in our group. By this stage, it was evident that riders were missing turns and saving their legs for the finish. I was determined to put them under some pressure, so agreed with some of the other stronger guys to push hard out of the corners and try to split the group up. Unfortunately it was soon clear that our methods weren’t working, and without us pushing on the front, the pace of the group slowed allowing attacks to start on the final lap.
A small group of 4 riders managed to get free, and without anyone willing to chase, they pulled out a small lead. The attacks kept coming, and I pushed my hardest to stay with any wheels that tried to get away, knowing that it would take a hard effort to get up the small rise to the finish line ready for a sprint.
With 1km to go, my legs were burning trying to hold onto the third man in a small group approaching the finish line. I clashed elbow to elbow with another rider, who pushed me out of position and subsequently dropped the wheel. I had to get out of the saddle and sprint to regain contact with the other two, wasting valuable energy. I pushed as hard as I could to try to sprint around those ahead, but couldn’t manage it, and ended up in 8th position.
I was relatively pleased with my result, but knew I could do better. Bring on the next race!
1. David Shackleton, Wilson’s Wheels 2:47.00
2. Simon Wilson, Bikehaus at 3sec
3. Peter Barusevicus, Wheelbase-Altura same time
4. Fraser Rounds, unattached at 15sec
5. Alex Dalton, Wold Top Actif RT
6. Joseph Elwood, Langsett Cycles RT
7. Alex Richardson, Excel Pedal Heaven Academy
8. Jonathan Fowles, Team Chronomaster
9. Joe Clark, Team Envelopemaster-Giant
10. Mathew Lythgoe, All Terrain Cycles