North Wales Road Race Series #1 – Denbigh

By Craig Battersby

After a big week training hard in Mallorca, Kris and Craig started the first of the North Wales road race series races yesterday, along with Adam who sadly couldn’t make it to the cycling mecca for the week.

Being away from the family for a week and arriving back from Puerto Pollensa Saturday and then racing Sunday is definitely not recommended! As always we enjoyed a VERY big final night partying until 4am on Saturday morning, highly recommend Mombassa bar and the huge gin selection, the Irish bar as ever was great and then ‘Nostalgia’ Karaoke club and more gin was ‘interesting’.

So my Saturday went something like this:

8pm – 4am: big night out followed by beach party with some randoms who didn’t appreciate us crashing in!

8am: up feeling spritely, last minute packing, no breaky or coffee, on the coach back to Palma

11am – 9pm: home, un-pack, build and wash bike, get kit ready for race, walk dog, get battered by 2 year old for rest of day, bed at 9pm

Sunday:

6:30am: Whole family up and in the car for 7am – RESULT!

So it’s fair to say by the time I rolled to the start I wasn’t feeling 100% up for it!! Typically, everyone else bar Kris and me were clearly well up for it, we averaged over 27mph the first two laps:

It was during these rapid laps that Adam hit a huge pot hole and trashed a set of nice wheels! Adam’s not enjoying the best luck or start to the season so far!

 

So into lap 3 of the 6x 9 mile laps, I’d had a couple of digs but nothing stuck. Dan Evans (Team Elite) looked strong so I was keeping an eye on him, Joe Bowers (Buxton CC) was another. In a ‘normal’ race Kris, me and Adam would be covering the attacks and making sure one of us was in every important move, with Adam out and Kris loitering around the back feeling grim I did my best solo!

I decided to have a bit of a rest on lap 4, drifted to the back for a quick word with Kris and then give it 100% again to get away in the final two laps. It was at this point (I think) that 4 lads, including Joe from Buxton CC escaped and built up a good gap. With just under three laps (about 25 mile) to go Dan Evans attacked on the climb, we’d been jumping clear almost every lap at the same point – the only decent climb on the circuit, sometimes we’d get a gap, sometimes together, but always pulled back! This one was no different, Dan went and was reeled in, immediately I went over the top full gas, two lads had been hanging 200 metres off the front – Tom Hanlon (HMCC) and Tarn Fynn (Manchester BC), I joined up with them and we started working well together.

Into the penultimate lap and approaching the climb Tom started to lose contact, he’d been missing the odd turn so this wasn’t a huge surprise, also he’d been very active the whole race so probably just ran out of legs at the wrong time! Tarn and me cracked on, we didn’t have a time check but we were well out of sight of the bunch so it was looking very good!

Final lap and it was Tarn who started to crack, I figured I’d need him on the long flat headwind straight roads back to Denbigh, two years ago Kris and me were caught there almost in sight of the finish so I didn’t want to make the same mistake again! I slowed up and waited, after a few quick words to make sure we would work together and I could rely on him at the finish we were back into through and off with me doing the lions share. Down the final climb and onto the headwind final 3 miles to the line, I was getting very excited at the prospect of my first win of 2017!! The last few miles were full gas, we were NOT being caught! Both of us now suffering on every rise after 56 hard miles.

We hit the final roundabout and started the little rise to the line, Tarn had been true to his word and backed off as the line approached, I crossed the line arms in the air and over the moon – quick glance around to see if Tricia and Ethan were there to watch and then pulled up and grabbed my bidon.

Almost straight away Joe rocked up behind me as said “How did you do mate?” I figured he must have packed and rolled round to watch the finish.

“I got it, well chuffed!”

“Err no you didn’t, there were 4 lads away, I finished 4th” – Joe

Silence/embarrassment followed but then considering how the day started I soon realised I was happy with 5th!!

My STRAVA: https://www.strava.com/activities/934363218

Fantastic races promoted by Simon Parkinson and VC Melyd, thanks all!

Lastly, thanks Tricia, couldn’t do it without you.

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