By Kris Zentek.
This is the first time I have raced this series. I’m really honoured to do so too, because Dave was a bit of a mentor to me when I first started out cycling, and to ride in a race with his name brings back a lot of fond memories of getting lost in the Cheshire lanes on sunny summer weekends 🙂
Last week, I was marshalling. It was miserable, cold and wet. I had 3 layers on and a brolly and I was still suffering. God only knows how the riders felt. Happily, tonight the rain had abated but the wind was out in all it’s glory.
Course – Siddington circuit – 2.5 laps, about 30 miles in total. Same course that I rode the TLI nationals last year an won my Jersey, which I was racing in for the first time. After the briefing we set off at 6:45pm. TLI is age categorised racing, and so we were split into three groups staggered by 5 minute gaps. I was with the young guns…(S)eniors, (M)asters and (A)…40-44.
After being neutralised the attacks started. It seemed a few riders were marked…Will Corden (Seniors national champ), Ben Trotter and Chris Quin – both of whom rode to victory the weekend before in a two man break. When they went, everyone chased. So I tried to use this to my advantage. For 1/2 lap, there were multiple attempts to get away but nothing was sticking. We rolled through for lap two of three.
Will and a couple of others had a bit of a gap, Chris as reeling them in. As we made the Left turn off the A34, it came back together. As the break split left and right to be reabsorbed I took my chance, going straight through the middle of them, and I got the gap I was looking for. After 1/2 lap of near constant chasing, no-one was chasing me.
Except Ben. He bridged across, and we were off. We started pulling turns of 20-30 seconds, and soon we were out of sight. As we rolled toward Lower Withington we were joined by Paul Lally from Onimpex Bioracer who had made the bridge. But after a few turns it was obvious that Paul was suffering, and once we got onto the back end of the circuit into the headwind, he faded and lost touch.
Ben was on his wheel and had to pull a big turn to get back to mine…I eased up and let him get back on, and pulled a few bigger turns to let him recover a bit. As we hit the left turn into Smithy Lane, Ben lost my wheel again, and was struggling. I decided to press on not willing to let the bunch catch me, and so I was on my own, and rolled through the start/finish line solo to the sound of the bell.
I had no time gap, but I could not see any sign of the race behind me. The only indication of time I had was a bike marshall stopping to let me through, so I knew I had at least 30 seconds. If he came back past me, I’d know it was back under 30 seconds. That never happened.
The last lap was just painful. I was fully committed and just kept turning the pedals. Giantswood Lane was the worst part…rolling, lots of drags and a full on headwind to deal with. I just focussed on getting to Smithy Lane again, onto the A34, and as long as the bunch were still out of sight I knew I’d be OK.
Turning onto the A34, the marshalls let cars go through behind me. The bunch were not coming through 🙂 But I kept the pace up to the finish just to be sure. I crossed the line with about a minutes gap (I think) on Will Corden who attacked onto the A34, and took second place with a great solo attack. The rest of the race followed a short while later in a bunch sprint for third.
- Kris Zentek – Team Chronomaster (A)
- Will Corden – VeloRunner (S)
- Andrew Disley – Team KTM UK (M)
- Paul Gibson – Warrington Road Club (A)
- Chris Quin – Onimpex Bioracer RT (A)
- Jonathan Carnall – Macclesfield Wheelers CC (M)
- Mark Hassall – Surface Design Racing (A)
- Ben Trotter – Macclesfield Wheelers CC (M)
- Brian Turrall – Team Wheelguru (M)
- Sam Beeston – Pro Vision Race Team (S)
Full results and more photo’s are available at the Cheshire Series website.
So…I got my first win of the season, and I’m really happy that I did it in my nationals kit.
As I had ridden to work that day, and from work straight to the race, I now had to ride 15 miles home. real lack of foresight there! It was getting dark too, so by the time I got home my legs were well and truly battered…
I’d like to finish off by saying a big thank you to the race organisers for another successful event. Thanks to all of the marshals, lead cards and motorbike outriders for keeping us all safe and sound on the busy main roads. And finally, thank you to Ken from Surface Design Racing for the fantastic photo’s he allowed me to use in this report. And thank you to Jon White for the excellent finish line video!
Looking forward to next week, which is gonna be really interesting racing…