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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Corri Dorri SL 2/3 Road Race

After a week of not a lot of riding, and a lot of work enforced drinking I wasn't looking forward to this one too much. And was glad of the course it was being run on, as its pretty easy going as far as they go, I did it back in May and although a fast pace, I found it fine.

After a fairly late night due to my car deciding to spit out its wheel bearings on the A3 and nearly pull me into the central reservation, I had to muck about with recovery vans and ended up getting home pretty late, eating a curry, deciding at 12.30 that my gears needed re-indexing (sure the neighbours were well pleased with that). I wasn't 'that' fresh when I was waiting outside the front door at 07.30 for a club mate to kindly give me a lift down to Henfold.

We got down plenty early enoug, and did a little warm up, I felt OK as it happens, and the weather was (and as I type still is) fantastic, finally. So was feeling pretty good about the race. And was hoping I could do something. I knew there were a couple of very strong guys in the race, Elliot Porter who's team were the race hosts, he was pre-entered but is now a 1st cat rider, and is obviously very strong, also Will Pratt who will follow a similar route soon no doubt was another face to watch (go off onto the horizon more than likely)! after his solo destruction of the field two weeks ago.

So we got going, and I could tell it would be one of those days when someone locked up in the neutral section and nearly caused a pile up!! We got going, the pace was quite high, but given the course is quite flat its not hard to whizz along at 28 mph. To be honest I can't remember what came first, the first break, or the first crash...So I'll talk about the latter first.. I had just moved to the front and Colin saw that as his chance to go for one, he did so and created a split, about 8 riders in total got into a move and as I didn't chase it down (obviously) or up the pace, they got a gap quite quickly. I think all the major teams had a rider in the mix, so it was a decent proposition for Colin to be part of. The first crash I think was just down to poor spacial awareness, and a few people went down, one chap ended up in a ditch I think. Everyone seemed OK...But these constant crashes really do make you wonder what you're doing...well, firstly what you're doing not sitting in the top 10, and secondly, how annoyed I would be if I smashed my bike/face to bits. The latter is just part of the risk but the former really needs to be beaten into me I think. It isn't difficult to sit at the front, I don't find the pace hard to stick, so really still not sure why I can't get into my head that its the place I must be. Will be writing lines on a blackboard "You must stay in the first 15 riders to stand any chance" maybe repetition will get it into my brain!


Anyway, we carried on, and break had about 30 seconds or so, they seemed to be working quite well. Andy and Seamus tried to bridge across, Seamus put in a big dig and they were doing well, but with the bunch flying along it was always going to be a big ask, and sure enough they were reeled back in.

A short time later we were stopped, and told to pull into a car park, not had a race before so was interested to see what the craic was. I had a lurking suspicion that it may be something to do with the police that seemed to be spending their entire morning, and half of Surrey's Force (oh OK, we counted 4 vehicles of various types) following us, and essentially trying to catch us doing something wrong. Now this is obviously fine, they may have responded to reports of poor riding, or whatever, its their job to keep the peace and all that. My first issue with this is the main officer who seemed to be the most irritated by the whole thing drove his Land rover (Well it is Surrey dontchaknow) down a pretty narrow lane, at over 40 mph, obviously some riders were edging over the white line, as it is most weeks due to the size of the field and size of the roads, but I thought driving at what I consider a high speed in a vehicle of that size/width on that kind of road (and he was almost on the white line himself, seemingly taunting the bunch in my mind) was fairly risky, and not really acceptable behavior from a police officer.

Anyway, warning heeded, we set off again under the promise that if our riding didn't improve then we would be stopped and sent home. About a half a lap passed and Elliot seemed to lose control, maybe a puncture, not sure, and a fairly large pile up ensued, he went down hard, so hope he's alright, saw he was up and about being tended to, so hopefully just flesh wounds. Anyway, we carried on, and the pace went up a bit, and the bunch seemed to be strung out for a lap or so, we kept being ushered around the crash point where the ambulance stayed present for a fair time (so not sure if someone else had more serious injury?)

And then we approached that familiar pub and were pulled in again, this time it was obviously the beginning of the end, 36 miles into the race it was, we stood around for a bit while our friendly officer chatted to the race officials, the decision came about ten minutes later. The race was to be called off as we were too dangerous. Great. What a way to spend a morning. People were generally a bit pissed off, and it was agreed that it was incredibly rare, and that the officer in question had little idea of the cycling scene at all.

A few of us decided to do a couple of laps of the course to make the morning slightly more worthwhile before we headed home to watch Cav smash it up again. So not all bad!

Till then the race felt easy as the stats proved :

avg speed 25 mph (last time on this course it was over 26)
avg wattage 210 or so

This article has since been published - http://ukcyclesport.com/all-news/82-latest-news/6326-surrey-league-rr-stopped-by-police - seems to be a case of one man on a mission.

On to the next one then, the goal now still to win one of these races, I think its still possible, but I'm running out of chances to do so. Going to try and get in some E12 crits and more handicaps in where I can. The next race is two weeks time on Bletchingley circuit, the one I got spat out on earlier in the year. It will be a real test to see if I've improved enough to get round. Personally I think I will get round, but it will still be tough!


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