By Jon Fowles
On Sunday I completed my last race of 2017, the Hadrians Wall Road Race. It was put on by the prolific North country race organisers Rock to Roll Cycles, whose races we always enjoy. Mainly due to their great locations and competitive racing attracting strong riders from north and south of the border. I was joined by my Team Chronomaster teammates: Ste, George and Warren. I can summarise the race in one word…. brutal!!
It’s a strange time of year to be racing as you tend to get a mix of people, some of whom are getting tired of racing with the season drawing to close, and then you get the people who are fighting tooth and nail to get their last points. It seemed like this race contained mostly the later. The pace was savage from the off, with constant attacks!
Early in the race a trio of riders escaped up the road, and held a minute advantage over the peloton. With so many little hills on the course, the attacks from the bunch were constant. However, nothing seemed to be working. I think I was involved in at least one attack every single lap, and each time they would get drawn back in.
As the race reached the penultimate lap, only remnants of the original peloton were left, and the tiring legs meant that myself and 5 others were finally able to escape. We did our best to try and close the gap to the trio up the road, but unfortunately only managed to shave 30 seconds from their lead. We entered the final climb up to the finish line together, and sprinted it out in the final 500m. I rolled across the line in 7th place, legs smoking.
Despite complaining of having a cold, Ste put in an impressive ride to finish in 20th place. George, who started the year as a 4th cat, also put in a valiant effort in his first elite race but unfortunately did not finish. Warren had the misfortunate of crashing out of the race.
It’s been a long season of racing, and I’m very pleased to have secured my Elite racing license, finish on the podium 4 times and in the top 10 a further 9 times this year. Now I’m looking forward to eating lots of cake and doing some nice gentle Sunday rides.