This weekend saw the team line up in 3 races. Early season road racing is always hard; with grim conditions and unknown form making for tough events, these were no exception!
Saturday we had 2 squads riding with our development riders in the Spring Chicken (3/4) race and the senior squad riding the same course in the Roy Thame (E/1/2) race in the afternoon. Sunday saw the senior squad heading east to compete in the Jock Wadley Road Race (E/1/2)
Spring Chicken Road Race (10th March) – Report by Alexi Edwards:
The race went off pretty fast for the first lap, loads of punctures everywhere and so many
potholes. My first thought was to get myself to the front straight away so I could avoid the crashes. I got there pretty fast and there was a big pile up in the middle of the bunch.
When we passed the finish going into lap two it slowed down for a couple miles. I nearly came off here as the person next to me pushed me into the gutter, this makes me fall to the back of the bunch. Then straight away there’s an attack after a corner, they were drilling it at the front with me, Riley and billy following. The bunch briefly split for a few miles. It then got brought back.
After that the race was pretty much at 25 mph till the finish. The last climb before the finish dropped most of the riders leaving about 20 left. I’m second wheel leading up to the finish then he blows up. Everyone comes round me so I try to find a way out the box, the race finished before I could. I came 7th, Riley 9th and Billy rolled in with the bunch. Pretty happy overall for our first outing as a new team.
Roy Thame Road Race (10th March) – Report by Jack Steel-Jessop
With the grim weather and challenging road surface, everyone was keen to get racing right from the word go.
Early moves established quicker than we'd expected, with 4 groups on the road within the first two laps of the race! As the groups started to spread out it was obvious it wasn't all coming back together, luckily I was able to dig in and get across to one of the front groups before it was too late. A big crash at the front of the main bunch unfortunately took Matt out of the race at this point. Thankfully he was OK, his bike less so!
Will had chipped off with a small group just behind us so we were making progress, but luck was not on our side for the final lap. His Di2 ran out of battery and I punctured with no sight of a support car, so onwards to Jock Wadley the following day...
Jock Wadley Road Race (11th March) – Report by Ollie Taylor
This race is best described as a blur from start to finish, mainly because I couldn't see a thing for 90% of race due to the torrential rain, massive puddles and road grit embedding itself at the back of my retinas! The conditions were grim from start to finish, cold, wet and windy...
The usual early attacking started and a small group got away on lap 1, lots of stop start
racing until a bigger group containing lots of hitters got away on lap 2, making a group of approx 20 riders out front.
Jack attacked at about 25 mile up the outside, which I followed and we got a group of 8 off the front containing some good horsepower, once it was clear we were away, everyone started rolling consistent turns. We then set about riding across to the front which took us until 50 miles to manage, fairly good cohesion in our group and we made the junction at the top of the start/finish drag.
Due to the front group now being 25+ the attacking started again and the next few laps
were really bloody hard!! I was running out of legs at this point to go with the big attacks, the next 20 miles were confusing with so much attacking, regrouping, counter attacking, regrouping etc... good hard racing basically... I ended up in the 2nd group on the road chasing the front group, Jack unfortunately punctured at this point and due to the race being so split up the service vehicles were few and far between. People were getting tired at this point so our group consigned itself to just ride hard to the finish with the whole group rolling through.
A JLT rider sat on the front for the last 5km with the inevitable sprint opening up with about 300m to go, I didn't really have the legs to contest properly having been off the front for 65 miles by this point, but managed 18th in the end which is pleasing considering how grippy the race was. It was nice to see such positive racing at National B level for once, people were happy to take the race on and keep riding rather than the usual sitting on that happens.
Next weekend sees the team line up for racing at MK Bowl on Saturday and a local 10 mile TT organized by our friends at Beds Road CC.
Again thank you to our sponsors and supporters at Flamme Rouge Cycles, Holland & Barrett, Telopea MSL, Trek, Bontrager, UoB Human Performance Center, Schwalbe & TMG Pro for their continued support.