By Si Deplitch
With 5 of Team Chronomaster at the North Wales KOM series, I was attending the West Pennine road race solo.
Having raced the Bashall Eaves short circuit near Clitheroe a number of times I knew what I was in for. The course is ‘big ring’ all the way, a diamond shaped 4mile loop, in this case negotiated 14 times (56miles). The course suits me fine, better than grovelling up mountains in North Wales.
Whilst on our team Saturday cafe ride I got some top tips from Craig, on who to look out for from the 60man start sheet, this info came in handy with no teammates to work with.
I arrived at race HQ (Edisford Primary School) in good time to sign-on, number pinning and aerosuit on. The conditions were excellent, the wind had dropped, clear skies and 10deg. The Commissionaire’s meeting at 9:20 stated the road surface was ‘as to be expected on country lanes’, which means the odd pothole or two.
Following a neutralised roll-out the race was on, the well represented teams making their presence felt from the whistle by ‘tag teaming’ riders up the road.
Here lies the tail of the mystic pothole of Low Moor, it sits in the shadows of the hedge lined narrowest lane of the circuit, on a slight rise. It claimed it’s 1st victim on lap one, with with a rider performing a front door exit / somersault. On lap 2 it claimed Dave Stammers (training partner of Team Chronomaster), who received medical attention for a nasty case of road-rash. Note to all prior to its repair.
West Pennine Road Club – Road Race 2107After recovering from our annual training camp in Mallorca my legs felt good. With a few ‘hitters’ to watch I couldn’t cover every move off the front, so I went with the ones which looked more promising. Eventually 2 strong riders got a gap, I made my contribution to the chase and multiple attempts to form a counter attack, we had them in sight for a while but without the cooperation of more than a handful of riders they extended their gap to more than a minute.
With 5 laps to go I resigned myself to a sprint finish and hoped the bunch stayed together. A few solo attacks jumped from the bunch with most brought back but with less than 2 laps to go 2 more riders stayed away. On the last lap fresh faces started to appear near the front of the bunch, jockeying for position ready for the sprint. I spotted Giles Pidcock (class sprinter) and followed his wheel as the pre-sprint pace increased on the last bend.
The bunch spread across the road so I had to change my line a few time, eventually I manoeuvred to create the chance of a clean sprint for the line and moved up to take 7th place (3rd in the bunch) which I’m quite pleased with at this point in the season and my efforts during the race.
Congratulations to Ed Hopper taking the win and Kit Gilham 2nd, both staying away for more than half the race. Followed by Nick Cooper 3rd and Sam Jackson 4th, followed by the bunch.
This was a fast race… looking back at my stats I averaged around 27mph for most of the laps.
Many thanks to West Pennine RC, the organisers, marshals and helpers for putting on an excellent race and Ellen Isherwood for excellent photos.