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More Pain in the Park


Round 2 of the Bath Cycle Races was held last night in front of what seemed like a much larger crowd than last week (round 1 report here). In fact, the whole event seemed to be much bigger, with catering and all, lending a festive atmosphere to procedings. With the event now on twitter and providing online entry, it looks set to take off – I’m looking forward to it!

Since the University is now back in session after an Easter break, we were able to field a sizeable contingent of racers, with 5 of us toeing the line for the 3/4ths: Morten, fellow contributor Trev, Seb, rower Pierre and myself. With so many in the race, we’d be looking to try and instigate a breakaway and generally make the race a bit more interesting than a group procession until the bell.

Unfortunately, I would not be riding the awesome Neilpryde this week since it had to go back, but I could console myself with the, still excellent, Giant TCR Advanced 2. Anyway, onto the action! (Dave's excellent gallery of photos can be accessed here.)

The race started as last week with a neutralised lap wherein the race order was quickly established. I made it to the front of the bunch and latched on Morton’s wheel who I knew would be strong. With a field approaching 30 riders, there was a lot of jostling within the bunch and it was hard work fighting for position.

With about 10 minutes on the clock, Morton accelerated over the top of the climb. I was quickly on his wheel and the elastic broke behind. Coming round the monument corner a quick glance back confirmed that we had a workable gap – it was going to be full gas to the finish. We worked well together with Morten leading on the climb and me taking the descent and we extended our advantage with every lap. With 3 laps remaining, Alec Baskaya of Bath CC bridged up to us making it a 3 man group. With a bit of extra rest each lap, it was a case of conserving energy for the attacks that were sure to come on the bell lap.

Up the climb for the final time I was firmly positioned on Morten’s wheel, who I expected would definitely put in a dig at some point. As we neared the top, still no one had made their move so I accelerated up the inside and onto the back straight. Glancing back I could see that both riders were still on my wheel but looked under pressure. Morten came over the top into the descent and led into the crucial final two corners. Rounding the monument hairpin, Morten missed a shift which was my signal to go. I just about managed to hold it to the line as my breakaway companions were coming back strong on my outside. Cue a cheeky celebration before all that lactic acid hit home and the legs shut down. Morten managed to hold onto second with Alec coming home a close third. Extra credit has to go to Morten who went on to race with the Elites in the E/1/2/3 later on that night.

As for my fellow Uni riders?

Trev was unfortunately held up behind a crash (on the climb of all places!) but was descending like a maniac as usual (you can read his account of the night's events here). He should be a force to be reckoned with next week as he rides himself into shape. Pierre absolutely demolished the sprint for the minor places prompting everyone to question why hadn’t he used that power earlier in the race? Unfortunately, Seb didn’t have such a great day but should be back next week for some more action.

If you’ve got any photos from last night’s racing then post the link in the comments so that everyone can check them out.

See you all next week!

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.

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