Cycle racing made a long overdue return to Victoria Park in Bath this past Wednesday night, in the first of a four round crit series. Organised by four local clubs (Somer Valley CC, Bath CC, VC Walcott and Avonlea-Treasure RT) and supported by BC and the local council, this series promises to bring exciting racing back to the centre of town.
I was there looking forward to some 3/4ths action and to soak up the atmosphere that comes with this style of race. The course itself was all you could ask for in a crit course – longish climb leading to a steady false flat followed by a fast descent, a tricky corner and then a tight 180 round the monument. The start/finish line was located only about 80 metres from the corner exit so positioning was going to be key to getting a good placing. All in all a very techy and exciting 1 mile lap...game on!
Having watched the Youth race finish only moments earlier, it was time to line up for the 3/4s which was being contested by a decent sized bunch of around 20. The neutral car set off and it was choks away! Having positioned myself on the front row at the start, it was a case of holding my ground as the jostling began. The laps progressed steadily with a few gaps here and there but nothing of consequence. At the back end of things, the bunch was being whittled down lap by lap as a steady stream of riders lost contact.
As far as my tactics went, it was a case of staying in the top 10 whilst spending as little time in the wind as possible. I put in a couple of efforts on the front up the climb to soften up some legs but apart from that, conserving was the name of the game.
As the bell sounded for the final lap, a Bath CC rider broke away gaining around 20m by the bottom of the hill. There was nothing else for it but to give it the beans. With visions of Gilbert running through my mind, I was able to reel in the rider and push on onto the back straight. Glancing over my shoulder as I started the descent I was expecting to see the bunch blow by me but was surprised to find I was on my own. I managed to keep it upright on the final corner and crossed the line taking the win!
Overall, a really great race and I for one will be lining up for another 20 mins of pain next week! See you there.
For more details on the racing including how to enter check out: www.bathcycleraces.co.uk/
For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.