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Race report from the FTR Spring Classic Road Race last Sunday.

21 April 2017

After a great early season 10 day training camp in Spain with Arrivee Travel, I finally got around to starting my 2017 road season last weekend at the FTR Spring Classic Road Race. All Terrain Cycles Race Team had five members racing, myself, Matthew Bulmer, Chris Emsley, John Cathy Chambers, and Julian Roche on the rolling Saxton circuit. The weather forecast was making for grim reading, and sadly for once they didnt get it wrong with the heavens opening and the temperature dropping to around 5c as we lined up for the start. A perfect opportunity for me to put the new team Endura Classics jersey to the test then!! As part of a big team effort to support the race, it was great to also see a whole array of All Terrain team members and Yorkshire Lads CC helping out the FTR lads and lasses with the vital roles needed to make these races happen, so from those of us who raced a big thank you to you all!

 

With the wind also picking up, I figured ahead of the race that it would be a difficult conditions in which to force a breakaway, and so I let the team know my thoughts and that we should try and cover any breakaways but save our legs for the last few laps. Now its normally Matthew Bulmer that comes out with statements like this pre race, and its not unusual to then see him jumping away from the front of the bunch in the opening miles!! But for once, other than a few little leg stretches we all sat tight for the opening lap. As the bunch turned back into the cross winds at Towton on the second lap, the KTM team tried to force a move with two of their riders forcing the pace and trying to create an echelon, and I made sure I was positioned near the front of the peloton. However it was too early in the race to force the move with too many fresh legs, and as they neared the top of the main drag they started fading badly. I rolled through to the front of the bunch as they swang off and just kept the momentum going for a few moments before looking over my shoulder and seeing I had a gap. I didnt want to force a break this early, so I just kept tapping along thinking I would be pulled back, and after a minute or two I realised I had a couple of hundred metres over the bunch, and one other rider, Danny Posnett of Squadra RT had jumped across to me. So we started riding together and slowly ebbed out a 30 – 40 second advantage over the peloton, with Matt Chris John and Julian policing any moves behind. We were riding well together, my legs felt good, and Danny and I quickly came to an agreement to share any primes that we managed to bag along the way so we wouldn’t be distracted from the task in hand!

 

I didnt expect to stay away, but for three laps of the seven lap race we stayed out front, until the race was Black flagged (effectively paused!) by the Commisaires, apparently owing to riders in the peloton crossing the solid white lines too often. We were stopped, and then the whole bunch rolled up behind us, giving everyone a breather. The race was then restarted after the bunch was given a stern talking to by the officials, and myself and Danny were given our thirty second advantage back. But as so often happens in theses situations, the pause in the racing had given the bunch a chance to reorganise itself and take a breather, while we had lost all of our momentum and rhythm.

 

One lap later and with renewed enthusiasm the bunch reeled us back in, and for me it was a case of sit back, try and recover in the remaining two laps before going again at the finish. Shortly after we were reeled in, Matthew Bulmer who was riding very strongly jumped away with two other riders in a short lived break, but again they were reeled in, and last time up the main climb the race was all together before Gavin Macintosh of Prologue RT jumped away on his own. In the very wet and windy conditions nerves were getting frayed. At the top of the climb, a crash on a greasy corner took Matt out of the race, and as we all fought to get back into contention there was another pile up in the last kilometres leaving all the remaining All Terrain riders out of contention. Disappointing not to get a result, and lesson learnt that I need to listen to my own advice! However i think its fair to say All Terrain team riders were the main animators in the days racing, and the form is there…. the results will come!

Following on from last Sundays FTR RR, myself Chris Sherriffs and Alex Barusevicus travelled over to Colne to race the first of this seasons CDPP circuit series at the Steven Burke cycling hub, which runs every Thursday evening over the next 14 weeks. The race was over 20 laps of the circuit, and had a strong field including riders from Team KTM and Team Brother NRG Pro Racing. The race started slowly, but after a couple of laps, Chris took off from the front of the bunch with Alex and one other rider close behind, while I marshalled the attacks in the peloton. However after some hard riding from the other teams they were all reeled back in.

With 12 laps to go I attacked with Martin Woffindin (Secret Training RT), and we got a small advantage, before we were reeled in, and then for the next few laps, Chris, Alex and myself took it in turns to jump away and cover the moves. But in the cold windy conditions nothing was sticking, and rather than a break being forced the bunch was being whittled down in a process of attrition, leaving only 9 riders at the head of the race.

An attack from Adam Robinson (team KTM) with 2 laps to go drew a response from Wilson who dragged him back to the group, and as we hit the line for the bell on the last lap I swung across to the right hand gutter and looked around, which was exactly what everyone else was doing in the left hand gutter! For a few seconds I slowly pressed on the pedals before stamping down hard and giving it everything to try and get away. I glanced back and saw I had a gap so kept going, head down giving it everything I had. By the last corner I had a 50 metre advantage, which I held all the way to the line taking the win with Chris coming home in 4th and Alex in 5th. A great team performance and the first win of the season for Team All Terrain, hopefully the first of many!!