Having suffered with a bad infection from a recent crash I decided to test my legs at the North Wales KOM series out of Ruthin..a decision I soon regretted! Now my excuses are done I’ll get on with the write up.
I was excited to race. This was a ‘proper’ circuit that you didn’t have double figures of laps to do, I was hoping to take in the scenery…didn’t get much of a chance. There was a 5km neutral lead out from Ruthin and then the race started from the base of the first time up Nant-Y-Garth. The circuit was around 39km and involved climbing up Nant-Y-Garth and then a long descent back down towards Corwen and then a fast run down the A494 back to the foot of the main climb. On the 3rd time round the circuit you caried straight on after Nant-Y-Garth and up the infamous Horshoe Pass. A circuit for the climbers…of which I am not!
We had 4 guys representing Team Chronomaster start the race (Ste, Craig, Kris and George), a few more had entered but unfortunately technical issues halted play for them. I turned up with Ste to a foggy, damp Ruthin. We were both wondering whether warming up the legs or staying in the car was the best decision, we obviously decided on the latter.
After a long neutral lead out we were at the foot of the first climb. A few riders fractured off from the gun, I decided that this wasn’t a race I was in contention for a decided to just give it a go up the climb to test my legs. I felt good, overtook one of the early guys to break away, looked behind me andsaw the whole peloton. Any chance of a early break was not happening for me. I slowly moved back in the bunch and regret leading the bunch up the climb at a high pace that I now had to try and maintain.
The first lap everyone seemed to be getting used to the roads and wet conditions. Everyone was riding well and communicating, I think I only heard one outburst in the whole race! (choppy riding!). On the descent back to Corwen was (where I believe) the winning move happened. A few riders were up the road and Louis Szymanski broke off from the main group and chased them down. Louis then attacked them and solo’d to victory! Very impressive riding!
Going up the climb a second time the pace was a bit more manageable. On the long descent a few breaks started to form. Being on a descent these never lasted long. With about 4 riders up the road I jumped on Richard Taylors wheel and we attempted to bridge, unfortunately Richard had a mechanical and there was no way I was bridging alone…back in the bunch I go.
The last time down the A494 the pace eased off. A few teams had riders up the road and were doing their best to interfere. I knew I wasn’t going to make it up with the main bunch going full tilt on the last climb so I got to the front and tried to pick the pace up, hoping it’d help some of the other Team riders catch the riders ahead.
I lost the bunch on the kicker up into Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd as the mountain goats took off. I was with a small bunch of riders one of whom was Kris who I found had no rear mech from about 5 miles into the race. Impressive ride to get that far with only two gears!
I did the last climb at the best pace I could (about 100 watts less than the last two times!). Rolling across the line was enough for me at this point. I finished 45th, I didn’t crash so a win in that respect!
The story was very different for Craig and Ste who came in 7th and 22nd respectively………
Thanks to VC Melyd for hosting an excellent series of races. Thanks also to Peter Nash for the images. More can be seen HERE!
Here is a great video from the series winner Ollie Blagden, footage of the finish 2 minutes in: