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LVRC CD Race Bletchingley: Sept 4th

ToksToks Posts: 1,143
edited September 2016 in Amateur race
Surrey has a few tasty race circuits but the jewel in the crown surely has to be… Bletchingly. Ok, there's no 25% climb like Miland Hill but its still feared and loathed in equal measure and has a bit of an iconic status on the South East racing scene. There are a couple of fairly significant hills, the road surface isn’t exactly continental smooth and there’s always headwind in my experience – lovely, what’s not to like?!

On paper it should suit rouleurs or skinny types like myself but then again I thought that about another tough rolling circuit -Sharpthorne/Danehill; but two weeks ago I was literally blown out the back on the last lap – mainly due to a well drilled London Dynamo threesome who were smashing it at the front to bring back the break.

Today was a LVRC (League of Veteran Cyclists) and not BC race. In short, that means no youngsters only true MAMILS allowed. You're placed in one of 3 races according to your age: AB (40-49); CD (50-59) and EFGH (60+) – seriously seriously old dudes still riding hard – brilliant!

Right from the off one of the GS Vecchi riders went to find himself a little place of his own 40 metres ahead of the bunch. Hmmm decisions decisions – nope!!...I regrettably opted not to make one and watched with gritted teeth as GS Vecchi man performed some kinda magnetising power trick and drew 2 riders from mid pack right up to his back wheel and all 3 miraculously vanished. As we all know in BC 3rd cat races pretty much everything gets chased down - so I waited for the inevitable explosion from behind. Er..No chance, LVRC’s – are way too cool for that sshit! The approach is more about let the course weed out the weaker riders and then breaks will form from the collateral damage. Hmmm…so now we’re crawling along like a bunch of happy newbies on their first sportive ride. Oh and just for good measure GS Vecchi – are blocking - great!

So for the next couple of laps (10 miles per lap,we raced 5 in total) I continually rode off the front to try to get a break going and I rode on the front to (1) keep things at moving at race pace and (2) try stop the GS Vecchi’s guys non too subtle 'breakaway-cheerleading'

With no team mates and only a semi alliance or two it was a tough challenge in more ways than one. The lumpy nature of bletchingly course meant it wasn’t too difficult for yours truly to get a gap on the climbs but then the descents were so fast that if I didn’t smash myself completely we were groupo compacto very soon after.

You always wanna try leave a little bit in the tank when attacking so that you can join the inevitable counterattacks that occur when you're caught. Now, normally in a flat circuit race (e.g. Hillingdon) its not too much of a problem but as i found out to my cost its much easier to dose out your efforts when you're not in the anaerobic climbing zone.

So when a four man train blasted past after one of my attacks on the climb I struggled to grab their wheels. I continued to chase pitifully for 3-4 miles along with a GS Vecchi rider. I got within 30 metres but was hindered by three cars getting in between us on the A25 section and a marshal who signalled the wrong way - hence I did a u turn and effectively ground to a halt - and couldn't get back up to speed. DAMN, see you back at HQ guys! Grrrrr..So it was recovery mode for me and a chance to lick my psychological wounds. Two minutes later here come Ian Glen, ASL 360; Darryl Rice, South Down Bikes and Graham Hill, In Gear Quickfit Trainsharp. They shouted as they flew past and it was a no brainer. The four of us kept a smoothish steady rotation on the flat for the last two laps and a nice calm pace on the climbs (“keep it steady Toks”)

The podium spots were long gone and I had know idea how far away the rest of the bunch were behind us - it would've been impossible for marshals to shout out times with so many different groups on the course. With 3 miles to go I used the big ring for the first time on the penultimate climb and rode away to nab a top 10 spot. Good race, great circuit, great promotion by Dulwich Paragon.

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  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    Top report...it's only when you do LVRC races do you really appreciate how canny and how hard they really are in all the age cats.
    I may only have accumulated 3 Stallard points this season, but heck did I earn them..
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