Saturday, 9 August 2014

Hartlepool Festival Crits 2014

What?...He's not off the back again?! 
The field was smaller today and I had hopes of improving on my 19th place mid-week. For some backward reason, British Cycling only see fit to publish the top ten finishers according to the organiser for the previous race at Bishop Auckland, but he sent me the full results by email.  I said to him that any result for me was a good result.

Todays event was for half an hour of racing within the Hartlepool headland. Manageable. The place looked very presentable today and there was a good crowd out, many in fancy dress. I suppose that included me in my pink top and lycra. The circuit included a small climb, but it was generally flat and apparently the roads had been closed. This was news to some residents. There were a few close shaves as the occasional car and pedestrian wandered down the road, oblivious to would-be-Wiggins bearing down on them at up to 40mph. I got talking to one or two of the locals who seemed in high good humour and were readily making recommendations as to which pubs to visit for my return trip.
With only 21 in the field and all over 40 (masters), we got off to a easy start, a neutralised lap behind the motorbike. The second lap arrived and I almost hit the front, sailing along with a huge tailwind. However, the 3rd lap saw two go off the front and the pace lifted markedly. A couple were already off the back. Soon me and two others detached, and then it was just me and the Manilla Cycling Club man (I think they are the local club there). We watched the compact peloton creep ahead, but once there's a gap into a headwind, its tough. We spent the next 20 minutes working together and finished without being lapped, so encouraging progress on that front. With an average speed for the race of 22 mph, its near my top end. The bad news is the fast lads in the next race were travelling at an average of 25mph, so evidently much work still to done. I celebrated my 30 minute adventure with a ninety nine, and another 25 miles on the bike when I got home. Not sure what the next event is, but it would be a pity to lose the initiative. The forecast's pants tomorrow.


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