by Adam Baines
Well it’s Sunday, again. John McKellar and I are racing, again. It’s Pimbo, again and the sun is shining, again!
Casting back to the Thursday before this race I didn’t think I’d make it to the start line after an ill judged training ride left me over dehydrated and in hospital on a saline drip. School boy error. Keep drinking water in this weather folks, especially if you’re doing 120miles with over 10’000ft of climbing!
Anyway what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so today after a few days recovery I was feeling good and wanted to take advantage of the continued good weather by riding out to today’s Race HQ at the Rainford Scout Hut. After a pleasant ride out I met up with John, pinned my numbers on and rolled out to the circuit. The tactics were going to be the same as last week; sit in and wait for 5 laps to go. If John gets in a break, block any attempts to chase.
The race got underway and to begin with it was a stark contrast to last week. Last week it kicked off straight away and we had a very fast first 5 laps. This week, the peleton were in danger of falling asleep in the first 3 laps. As I was feeling good, I was getting bored already, so with absolutely no intention of it ever achieving anything, I attacked.
This had the necessary effect and woke everyone up and they decided to chase me down. The counter attacks followed and finally the racing had started. I positioned myself a lot closer to the front this week and it felt much better being here than at the back like last week. A few breaks of ones or twos went and came back before a promising looking break of 3 went up the road containing our John! I immediately moved up to second wheel ready to follow any chases.
Over the next 5 laps I became the most hated rider in the peleton and sat on any attempts to bring the break back while John’s move got established. In a mischievous way, I really enjoyed causing trouble and it was rewarding to see John gradually moving up the road. Once they were pretty much out of sight and there wasn’t many riders left to annoy, I took up position a little further back to recover.
It seemed like John had got into the winning move and the next few laps were pretty uneventful. Croston had one strong looking guy who got on the front a few times and put in some big pulls which seemed to eat into the breaks lead. A 1 min gap dropped to 40 seconds and then down to 20 seconds. This seemed to reinvigorate the chase and John’s move was doomed.
They were caught with around 10 laps to go and I knew that if a counter went now with the right lads in it, it could be the move! But it didn’t come. The pace had really dropped off and with 5 laps to go I just attacked. I have no idea where it came from? It was almost a subconscious effort that got me a small gap over the bunch. Once I realised they were still looking at each other I buried myself to increase the gap enough to be out of mind. After a lap the moto Commissaire told me I had 12 seconds and I was still feeling good. But with 4 laps to go I knew it wouldn’t be enough so I had to go harder. I was committed now and if the peleton decided to sit up and wait for the sprint, I would be in a very good chance of taking the win.
However, there were still too many strong legs left behind who weren’t ready to let the win slip away. Chris Spencer from Omnipex bioracer and a Croston rider (sorry don’t know which one!) had attacked the bunch and got a small gap to bridge across to me but in doing so had drastically reduced my advantage. I looked back and decided it would be a waste of energy to keep pushing so I sat up for the bridging group. We pressed on for only a few hundred metres before we got caught with only 2 laps to go. Straight away Chris Quinn and Tom Warren from Croston countered. After my solo efforts there was no way I could follow. I had no idea at this stage how much I would have left for the sprint but I was determined to get something from today so I dug deep to stay near the front and in contention for a minor placing. On the bell lap John came up to the front ready to lead me out. It was a hairy few miles as elbows and shoulders bounced of each other fighting for position. John did a great job keeping the pace high right up until the kick. I’d managed to stay in a good position and held my sprint back after the lessons of last week. But this time, those that went early actually managed to hold on and I couldn’t get past enough of them in time. I held on to my position and came over the line in 8th position, which I’m really pleased with considering I’d just done 3 laps solo and I was nearly 90miles into my
ride by the time the sprint came. It might have been on Pimbo again , but it’s racing and all the complexities, tactics and of course luck make it so much fun.
Congratulations to Tom Warren from Croston velo for taking the home win. A big thank you to Dan Styler from Croston for organising the race and to all the volunteers and marshals who gave up their time to make the racing possible. Thanks to the BC Commissaires and the NEG riders for making the event as safe as ever.
Thanks to Ellen Isherwood for the photos (the only person who can make an industrial estate look interesting!
And finally thank you to all our sponsors for their continued support:
Chronomaster Ltd, Specialized, Leisure Lakes Bikes, OTE sports, Pearson Ferrier Estate Agents