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Last of the summer race ramblings:2019

ToksToks Posts: 1,143
edited September 2019 in Amateur race
LVRC Southend Wheelers - Over the Hill Criteriums -28/07/2019 - Hog Hill

It's been a while :wink:

I spent most of last week plodding up mountain roads in the French Alps and this of course would be great preparation for the Southend Wheelers Over the hill criterium; right? Add to that - cooler temperatures, a late Sunday morning start and we didn’t get rain on (sorry EFGH). Perfect! Oh but hang on! What about the small matter of four ascensions of the Hoggernberg? Hmmm let’s not turn this into an old mans rant.
After some sage words from Fred on the Start/Finish line Antony Wallis and four other speed merchants blasted away. I knew it was coming and my legs responded in that lovely way they do just after a lengthy winter cake-stop. censored ! Er…so that will be yours truly number 33 to the back of the line please. I spent a good few laps at the back finding my legs, weighing up who has the best orange jersey Cyclos Uno or Gemini and taking notes on which riders appear to put welly boots on when it comes to negotiating the wetter parts of the circuit.
The race was on. The five man breakaway had been established with some alacrity while back in the bunch we were struggling to muster anything you could describe as a chase. After a few more laps of non-chasing Valentino Fontana, Oroject 51 tried to verbally rally us but it wasn’t happening.
Upfront of course things were defiantly happening – a split!. Charles Kennedy-Scott, Hackney RC and two others found themselves friend-zoned. Five had become 3 + 2. Antony’s partner this week was to be Dulwich Paragons, Arjan Planting. Those two then did what fast guys are supposed to do and pressed hard on the gas
With the bunch still in brunch mode both breakaway groups continued to forge ahead until they were well out of sight. In contrast we rolled around feeling slightly sorry for ourselves and perhaps because of this the puncture pixies started picking a few us off. As the hour mark approached we were on the brink of being lapped by A & A. In one of those cheeky “get-clear-just-as-we-get-lapped” manoveres” one of the 4T+ guys winched himself away.
Just before the 5 lap to go board went up my skinny old legs finally woke up from their post Etape slumber. I kicked out hard on the drag and took with me good old breakaway man David Farrow, Eagle RC. We were soon up close and personal with 4T+ rider. Sadly he’d burnt his last match so it was just going to be me and Dave - headline acts in the ‘dangle in front’ of the peleton game. On the bell lap I smashed the descent and got some daylight on Dave. That final ascension up the Hoggernberg was torture as it always is but I managed to get there just ahead of Antonius Wubben, JLT Condor who took the bunch sprint.
Once again – thanks Fred, Knocker, LVRC race organisers and all the great volunteers who let us old blokes come out and have fun on our bicycles’

1stAntony Wallis, Team Jewson,
2ndArjan Planting Dulwich Paragon
3rdCharles Kennedy-Scott, CC Hackney,


  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    Oh Lordy - I’m behind on these reports!

    “Dinosaurs at the Palace” 27/08/2019

    A ridiculously long drawn out completely biased account of…

    “How the LVRC cat C race was won”

    Palace used to scare me! It’s the antithesis to that other legendary London race circuit – Hillingdon. Now with its lovely wide, smooth flowing lanes Hillingdon is arguably the best place to launch your racing career. But once you start to fancy yourself a bit – Palace is where you go! While race-friendly Hillingdon seems designed to encourage your gleeful participation in circuit/criterium racing. Palace flips the bird! The circuit bullies you mercilessly into racing harder than you would choose to, across variable tarmac, whilst constantly spotlighting your technical shortcomings. Hillingdon is easy listening, soft rock and pop; Palace is punk, rap and heavy metal rolled into one.

    I love them both of course but had long ago put away ambitions to race at Palace again until Patrick Hawkins, Dulwich Paragon and LVRC came up with this gem of an idea

    So here I go again....rolling off the start line waiting for the reassuring snap of shoe and pedal engagement. censored missed it! Karma is instant and I lose half a dozen wheels as the only woman in the race leads us all into the notorious left-hand hairpin. My speed is good and I dab the brakes a tad whilst taking the widest wide arc possible. As I exit the turn old muscle memories come flooding back and I give it a few 500 watt standing stomps whilst keeping a laser like focus on the wheel in front

    80 meters later our following the leader game gets a bit spicier. I jink the bike to the left and then right - holding the drops tightly while we rail that slight off camber turn. On the descent and we quickly file past Vivienne Tomlin (1904 RT)

    Wahoo reads 57 Km/ph. Hmmm -deep breath, don’t bottle it – ride faster! But not too fast… coz there’s a serious off camber-joby at the bottom where you trace the circuit back to the left. On subsequent laps I learnt to pump the bike BMX stylie to accommodate the hidden dip in the road. Get that technique wrong and you’re literally on your censored - eating grass.

    The pace is still fast as we hit the drag/hill. I’m 3rd wheel now and 447-watt surge sends me past Gary Bull (EliteCycling) and Jonathan Donaldson (Handsling Cycles) The legs are burning. But you can’t ease up on these early laps. I keep things well north of 300 watts on the climb just to ensure none of these buggers behind get the chance to start high fiving or sipping cups of tea. It’s a stiflingly hot summers evening in south London I’m trying not to dry-drown myself

    As we reach the top, the circuit rounds to left - gasping like an old pug - I sneak a glance under my left arm. Hopefully a couple more laps at this pace and most of the slow-Joes and tentative-Terries will be pensioned off. As we roll past the gnarly surfaced start/finished line I shut off those neural pain sensors and prepare to repeat my second interval at the front. Yes! nailed the hairpin 3 mph faster than the last time. Back on the drag the ever-vigilant Jonathan Donaldson takes command and I slide back to 4th spot

    A few laps later with stints at the front from Gary Bull (EliteCycling), Cliff Steels ( Brixton Cycles) and Patrick (Dulwich Paragon) a comfortable 6 man breakaway was established. Consequently, this allows time off in leu for a dozen distinguished gentlemen. 50 minutes + 3 laps is a long time to be racing. Chapeau and censored this partying at threshold malarkey.

    There’s also lot of traffic to negotiated on the circuit and a failure to stay switched on as groups surge and counter surge past each other will inevitably ensure disengagement. Sadly, we lost Jonathan at the half way point so for the last 25 minutes we were down to 5 men: Gary, Patrick, Me, Cliff and (VCL’s) Nick Symes holding up the rear.

    In the latter part of the race big digs came from myself, Gary, Cliff and Patrick but the group remained together until 3-4 laps to go when 679 watts for 20 seconds was enough to break up our quintet. So that will be frienemies - me and Cliff away till the end. Cliff’s a wiley old censored and sat on me for the last two laps. On the last lap – Cliff went into anaerobic mode for the very last time; I expected it and I waited for his lights to fade before I sprinted past at the top of the hill towards the finish line

    Post Olympics we’ve been blessed in the South East with the arrival of a number of great circuits: Hog Hill, Cyclopark and Velopark. But we all know Palace is still the Daddy. In the words of John Mullineaux – “if you can race at Palace you can race anywhere”
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 6,104
    Fantastic write up, as always. Congrats on the win.
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    edited September 2019
    :) LVRC BLETCHINGLEY 08/09/2019

    Bletchingly is well known as a tough course by South East Road Racers. It does have some flat bits but essentially you’re either climbing a lot or descending - two things you don’t tend to do much if you’re on the famous Hillingdon/Velopark/flat Hog Hill race diet

    Hmmm!...on to the weather. It was good. And this final race in the Le Col/Arcadian series was once again promoted by the excellent Dulwich Paragon. So as follows - The ABs (40-49s) did six laps; my group the CDs (fifty-somethings) did 5 laps; and the real grandads (EFGH+) raced 4 laps or roughly 40 miles.

    The HQ is actually on the course so after leaving the village hall we swung right and started climbing. Gulp! Half a mile later we hit a left and zipped down a long fast descent. We were warned by the race commissionaire that there was no real need to hit the brakes and he was right.

    Did I say the weather was good? Well...not initially. It was bloody cold at the start - to the point where I was shivering all the way down the hill despite arm warmers. Such tentativeness meant for safety reasons I wasn’t able to follow the descending advice to the letter. Which frustratingly meant a manic chase at the bottom to get amongst the wheels again. 

    Things initially remained groupo compacto until we reached the brute of a hill leading up to the finish line. The course then rolls down to a junction where it switches left to commence the loop again

    Now nothing lasts forever and someone upfront, probably Antony (Jewson RT) , must have pressed the full gas button coz my Wahoo wattage numbers jumped up and stayed in that very uncomfortable 700s for longer than I could bear.

    Gone was that first lap cordial race pace - now blokes were properly hunched over over their machines scrambling for wheels

    As the various bunch engines spluttered back into action the gaps were only half closed and a few miles later the inevitable happened and the group split

    Good positioning on the climb ensured
    I was mid pack - front group. Mike Coyle (Brighton Mitre) with all his “Contador-esque” swagger seemed a little perturbed that Julian Bray (Dulwich Paragon) and Mr Wallis were literally getting ahead of themselves.

    He need not have worried - on this occasion things never worked out and JB was soon back with us while Antony remained up ahead

    We dithered a bit in the front group - like old blokes do sometimes - and this coupled with impressive efforts from few fellas in the second group brought us all back together again.

    Now...if you’ve ever turned yourself inside-out to get back up to the front of a race there’s one thing you don’t wanna see approaching - a big old hill! Booom!! De ja Vu!! With no time to recover and another surge in pace on the Bletchingley drag many of the 2nd group went backwards

    Those of us upfront powered forward - Mike Coyle encouraged us to to keep working.
    Eventually however he recognized we didn’t quite have race winning WATTs so he jumped away to to finally join forces with Antony...and that was the last we saw of them

    Simon Brooks (VC St Raphael) however had other ideas and made a galant effort to bridge across to the two leaders. Meanwhile our group of eight were determined not to be caught again by those behind. A well drilled thru and off was employed for most of the 3rd lap and we brought Simon back

    So on the last two laps we remained a 9 man group - Me (Addiscombe CC) Julian Bray + Patrick Hawkins (Dulwich Paragon), Tom Begg (Cambridge Vets) Wigmore CC (Keith Walker), John Alderman (GS Vecci), Craig Wilson (Pedal Heaven), Gary Bull (elitecycling) and Simon Brooks (VC St Raphael)

    On the bell lap I crossed the line at the head of the group feeling good. There were attacks from Simon and Julian. Julian at one point even had 10
    second gap. I jumped across. No chance we were shut down.

    I felt like there was only one more opportunity to get away since my chances in a sprint were next to zero.

    On the climb a few miles from the finish line I kicked out hard and got an instant gap. From then on it was TT mode and trying to maintain a 300 watts average

    Meanwhile a few minutes a head of me Antony had dislodged Mike on the descent and went on to take an impressive solo win.

    As I approached the final climb I glanced back to see nothing but empty road – Perfect! Nice to finally change down to the little ring and noodle up the climb. Cool

    2nd in my category behind the main man - it felt just like a win :)
  • dombo6dombo6 Posts: 582
    Excellent write-up as usual and chapeau on the result.
  • Fantastic work on the bike and at the keyboard!
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    Word up Toks. Your race reports are as fantastic as ever.

    I raced with you once at the Cyclopark this year. I'm afraid I was the guy who wasn't letting you get away at that race who you stuck your tongue out at! Learnt my lesson the last time I let you off the leash, so it's your own fault ;-) I'll try to get over to Palace next year and do some "proper" racing with the big boys :-D

    Following a couple of years of not doing much I got back into racing this year. Had some good results at the end of the season - thought it apt to write a couple of them up and this seems like the best place to share them:
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