The Barnesbury Road Race

Saturday 25th July 2009

by Pecker


At just over 30 miles, CAT 4 only, the BRR offered an excellent opportunity to benchmark my improvement and the potential to gain some vital points in pursuit of the CAT 3 licence. The weather had been shocking for most of the week and a stiff back had hammered race preparations but more importantly the race was on a Saturday afternoon, rather than the customary Sunday morning my body had come to expect.

The support crew for the race was Tracy and having allowed plenty of time we decided to drive the course, first mistake, as we drove it the wrong way and got lost on the way back to race HQ. Time was tight but after a quick warm up I made the start. Whilst it was a CAT 4 race there were familiar faces in a strong field of 60+ riders and typically it started to rain. As the race moved through the neutralised zone I positioned myself in the top 10 determined to make any breaks. The race was fairly quick, average 23mph, and the first break soon went up the road. I decided to chase this down initially to test my legs and probably as nobody else seemed bothered. After a couple of other breaks the race settled down and we approached the first prime. I decided not to compete but save myself for prime 2. As we completed the second lap I moved myself up to 3rd wheel perfect for the sprint. Having witnessed the first sprint you should know what to expect. I jumped clear at the flags and sprinted to the next flag, a glance across confirmed I had crossed the line first I sat back congratulated myself and was subsequently past by 4 riders who were still sprinting. Crazy fools I thought….but the fool was me as the line I sprinted for was the 200m to go.

I chased back on, embarrassed by poor tactics. The final lap was full of small attacks and whilst I tried to get away the remaining bunch had settled for a bunch sprint. The finish was very narrow and uphill, as we approached the final left hand bend I was sat 5th wheel in a virtual straight line across the road. As we came out of the bend I noticed a car on the right hand side, the shout went up and I made my second race mistake, slowing down to let the other riders into the line top avoid the car. As the race prepared for the sprint I had dropped to approximately 10th wheel but more importantly I was boxed in on the near side of the road. As the sprint developed I waited for a gap but the result had gone. I crossed the line 13th, my best race, tactically, and result so far. The race could have been extended by another couple of laps but that didn’t detract from an excellently managed event and a superb day out.

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