By Jon Fowles
Due to unfortunate circumstances I haven’t “finished” a race in the last 5 weeks, a combination of race cancellations… and one race where overzealous cornering sent me into the undergrowth. So I was pretty keen to see how I’d fare in the Worcester Trophy Road Race this Sunday. This race takes place on a rolling, but fairly exposed circuit. The wind was high, and it was obvious that this would play a strong role in the proceeds of the race. My past experience of the circuit made me think that it would be hard for a breakaway to get established with the winds.
I wasn’t quite sure how my legs would respond to the rigours of racing, having had some time off racing, so I elected to stay tucked in the bunch out of the wind for as much of the start of the race as possible, hoping that a break wouldn’t slip away. The first few laps were frantic, very fast, and as suspected none of the initial breakaways would stick.
After about 2 of the 7 laps, I began to attack up some of the small inclines where I had a slight advantage over some of the more powerful riders. Unfortunately following every rise there would be a fast exposed section, and even if I had a gap I felt like I was getting blown out of the water pushing so hard in the wind. I couldn’t make it work, and to make matters worse a group of 12 riders had slipped off the front and gained over a minute advantage.
Chaos ensued in the pack, nobody was willing to work, the attacks carried on, and the break pulled their lead out. There was also some disruption involving a tractor splitting the peloton in two.
With three laps to go Brother NRG and Morvelo Basso (neither of whom had a man in the break) started to arrange a chase from the peloton. I helped out, thinking I had little to lose at this point, and we managed to bring the gap to the breakaway below the minute mark. However, on the last lap, with the break in sight, the chasing legs were tiring and it fell to pieces. I had nothing better to do than sit in and get ready for a manic uphill sprint for minor placings. I was pretty poorly positioned coming into the bottom of the hill, but managed to make up a fair few places and finished (maybe?) just within the top 20. A disappointing end to the race, but I’m hoping to come back stronger for the remaining races of the season.
Thanks to Worcester St Johns and the legend that is Adrian Bird for organising a great race!