Last of the summer race ramblings:2019
It's been a while
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. shoot! 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 peloton 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,