By Adam Baines
Today was the East Lancs Road Race on what could now be called our home circuit, Bashall Long.
With guys struggling to get in races these days we were more than happy to be starting today with no less than 6 riders. But with more men, comes more pressure. Even on the start line there were numerous comments of ‘just follow Chronomaster, they’ve got a world tour team starting!’ However, In chronological order we had Si, Ste, Bambam, Craig, Adam and George, a strong team with a good mix of strength, guile and youth (!) to handle it.
The course is a cracker and there’s no real place to have a rest. It’s either up or down and the only flattish section was today getting battered by a cross wind. First time up the main drag was steady and Craig, Adam and Si had soon made their way up near the front. A number of attacks started, but with so many fit riders these days not many were allowed to go, the Chrono boys at this stage wisely allowing all the others to do the chasing. End of lap one and the first prime. George had sneaked up to fourth wheel in the group obviously looking for the prime. Adam let his wheel go and off they went for a short but hard sprint. George just being pipped and taking second. Then the drag again. This time the pace really went up and a few riders got away. Craig seizing the opportunity, put in a big dig, bridged to other rides and formed a group of 4 gaining a decent gap on the peloton. Having recently lost 2 stone in a bought of Delhi belly his power to weight ratio has sky rocketed and he simply floated away.
Craig away in the break
This is where having a team of 6 can come in handy. Adam and Si spent the next few laps blocking any attempts to bridge or chase in a hope that Craig and his group could capitalise on the gap. With 2 laps to go a Centreville rider got on the front and put in a massive turn which was followed by the main bunch, there was nothing that Si or Adam could do but sit on and hold the wheel.
Adam and Si making a nuisance of themselves
Unfortunately these moves had pulled the break back to within touching distance and fresher legs bridged – the break was back in the main bunch. One and a half laps to go, the frantic pace of bringing back the break had tired and thinned the bunch, resigned to the fact that today was going to be decided on how big your thighs were. A few lone rangers tried to get away with Louis Szymanski being closest to claiming heroes rights. But what he hadn’t banked on was Craigs ‘machine’ like effort over the rolling section of the last lap, Craig saw the danger, got to the front and pulled him right back. The sprint was now on.
With a fast decent, before a tight left bend on to a steep climb positioning was key. Both Adam and Si were well positioned. The road kicked up and the pre sprint was on. KOMs getting smashed off Strava.
Adam and Si on the descent
The pace subdued for a millisecond before the finish line was in sight Adams legs died and Si took over surfing wheels and trying not to lose position in the prolonged sprint – tacking 6th place, with Adam not far behind and the less ‘thick legged’ of the team finishing within the diminished bunch, with special mention for Ste having just returned from a training camp in the early hours of the morning and still attending to help the team out.
Many thanks to East Lancs Road Club for organising an excellent,well organised event Also many thanks to Ellen Isherwood, Lancs Racing Scene for photos.