Manchester Wheelers 2 day, Day 2 Stage 3, 29 August 2016

By Stephen Feeney

The setting for the final stage of this race was in stark contrast to yesterday’s venue of Tameside arena with the short, twisty closed circuit being swapped for an 11 mile hilly road course around Oakenclough in the Trough of Bowland. A ‘grippy’ loop that most racers in this area are familiar with.

After the carnage that was stage 2, a flat out criterium that had seen the race blown to pieces, the Chronomaster team members John Myburgh, Adam Baines, John Bamford (AKA ‘Jim‘ for this weekend following a mix up with the name printing on the personalised numbers) and I lined up for the start of stage 3 with slightly different ambitions.

Adam was in 14th position over-night and I was 21st but we were just a handful of seconds behind the leader so weren’t out of contention for the overall classification yet! The plan was to try and keep with the leaders and hope the tough course would eliminate some of the riders ahead of us on GC.

John, after a storming TT, had been caught up behind the many race splits in the crit and wasn’t feeling confident about his chances on today’s stage, the hills aren’t his favoured battle ground! Indeed, his thoughts seemed to be drifting towards the extensive cake selection already on display at the headquarters during pre race signing on. It occurred to me that John did not want to wait until the end of a 55 mile road race before sampling some of the tempting baked goods!

Jim‘ had been unlucky in races leading to this event with punctures and crashes and his bad fortune had continued yesterday with a puncture, after which he was allowed to take a lap out and rejoin the race, and a slipped saddle but he was not given another lap out to fix this. (I think this had jolted causing the nose to tip down after riding over one of the many crashed riders strewn around the circuit!). He was out of contention for the overall but he was in good form and the course suited him so he was hopeful of putting in a good performance.

John Bamford

‘Jim’ feeling the early pressure

The race was to be 5 laps and 55 miles long. After a short neutralised ride to the circuit, the race started in earnest. The first 5 miles or so of the lap drags up steadily, on heavy roads, to the final steep section and is very grippy. The attacking had started immediately and many riders, just not ready for the hard start, failed to keep in contact with the group. Unfortunately, John and ‘Jim‘ were amongst the early casualties.

However, whereas ‘Jim‘ raced on, eventually getting in a decent group, John decided to abandon the race and return to the headquarters to reacquaint himself with the fine cake line up that he had become somewhat preoccupied with before the race!

John Myburgh

John heading back early to the Headquarters for cake

First time over the main climb up Oakenclough the pace was high but Adam and I managed to keep with the leaders. The course then takes in one further sharp but short ascent before a long, fast descent towards the finishing line.

Second time up the climb we stayed with the group again, although 3 riders had gone clear by this time. Each time up the climb riders were shed as the main group become more and more select.

Adam had looked comfortable on the first couple of laps and I thought he might be able to stay with the group and maintain his high GC position but, as the war of attrition continued, Adam too felt the pace and was unable to maintain contact with the ever shrinking main group.

This trend continued for the next couple of laps with riders being shed until only around 13 riders were left in the group with 3 up the road and men all over the road behind riding in small groups and, in Adams case, battling on solo!

Stephen Feeney

Fuelling on the descent

Over the weekends racing I had noticed that clubs from all over the country had travelled to participate in both the Men’s and women’s races (being run concurrently on the same course). This had resulted in a noticeable difference in the standard of roadside encouragement being provided.

Vocal support on the race is most prevalent on the steep section at the top of the Oakenclough climb and this was the case today. However, amongst the usual northern accents yelling ‘dig in’ and ‘ come on lad’ were less familiar, southern type accents offering far more eloquent and sophisticated encouragement. I heard one such supporter loudly offering their opinion that their rider ‘was doing rather well, awfully well actually‘.

This provided me with some short lived amusement as the speed increased over the top of the climb.

I stuck with the group until the finish and managed 4th in the sprint which gave me 8th on the day. The four breakaway riders (another rider had sneaked away late on) wrapped up the first 4 on GC so I had to hope that as many as possible of the riders that started above me in the GC that morning had been dropped to move into a decent position in the final standings.

I later learned that I had finished in 12th position in the final standings and was pleased with that given the quality of the field.

Adam had battled on alone and looked odds on to finish as the next rider behind our group until being passed just before the line. He finished 24th on the day and slipped down to 21st overall.

Jim‘ finished 29th and this was also his final GC position.

John didn’t finish the stage and was not given a final standing but didn’t care because he was eating cake at the headquarters!

Thanks to Ruth Taylor and her many helpers, from Manchester Wheelers and beyond, for putting on a great event again and thanks to Ellen Isherwood for the great photos from all the stages!

Results Stage 3:

  1. Kieran Savage – Uni Of Sheffield
  2. Andrew Harrison – Finchley RT
  3. Archie Cross – Uni of Sheffield

GC Results:

  1. Kieran Savage – Uni Of Sheffield
  2. Andrew Harrison – Finchley RT
  3. Archie Cross – Uni of Sheffield
This entry was posted in Results and Reports and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.