Richard’s report from the St Ives cat 3/4 Road Race last Sunday
Woke upto rain and decided I would swap my Pro 3s back to GP 4000s after a bowl of porridge. After porridge the weather looked a bit brighter so I changed my mind again and left the Pro 3s on…. a decision I would come to regret?
By the time I got to the race HQ in Huntingdon it was raining again. Following a debate with an Ashwell rider decided we would probably get warm enough anyway so I left the gillet in the car.
The field rolled out the 8 miles of neutralised road to the start line at the bottom of Walton Hill. The pace was steady, the skies started to clear and dry patches appeared on the road. A couple of over eager riders stretched their legs off the front, but mostly we just chatted, shared a joke or two and enjoyed the oversized club run.
After a ticking off from the commissaires for peeing at the side of the road the race was on. The pace was immediately fast heading towards Sawtry. Several riders tried to break away but they were rapidly reeled in. Across the A1 the road narrowed severely throttling the pack. Some wicked potholes hidden by puddles lined the course over the first climb causing the first punctures. The climb was enough to slow the bunch up, but not to create any gaps.
The pace remained high as we hit the Hammerton road heading towards the 2nd climb at Upton. The bunch seized up as we turned into a blocking headwind with no one wanting to be at the front. The twitchiness became apparent…
As we headed towards Monks Wood the pace ramped up and we we’re soon cruising at 30+mph finally peaking at 45mph descending down Walton Hill.
And that pretty much set the pattern for the next few laps. By the start of the 3rd lap my computer was reading over 25mph average and my lungs and legs were hurting. However, the energy drinks were starting to kick in, so on the penultimate lap I was starting to feel strong. I was passing people with ease on the bumps and comfortable with the pace. Time to start defending my position for the sprint..
BANG, BANG, “SHIT”.
Front tyre gone, back tyre gone. Bloody, Bloody potholes, and as quick as two snake bites I was out.
I picked up spare wheels from the wagon, cursed my luck and headed to the finish line. And then I thanked my luck for it was carnage. Two riders were still on the floor and several hanging around nursing cuts and bruises. I later learnt there had been a crash in the final sprint resulting in 1 bust collar bone and a concussion.
So a fast and furious race, pleased with how I rode, but disappointed not to be in the final mix. Congratulations to the winner and a speedy recovery to the injured.