Sunderland Clarion CC 3/4 - 23rd August 2014
My recent 3rd place at Crit Under The Castle stirred an interest in chasing the required point for 3rd cat. A look at a sparse calendar on the BC site revealed that I had left it a bit late in the year to start collecting points.
This explains why I found myself in Hetton-le-Hole near Durham today to race in a 3/4 race. It was all a bit last minute, I only decided at 11pm last night to make the trip. The decision was made on the promise of a hill which I wasn't convinced existed. I'd heard on the grapevine that it wasn't a standard pan flat crit course but google maps suggested only subtle changes in elevation.
It turns out there were two small hills, a slightly steeper one at the back of the circuit and one on the finishing straight. There was also rain, lots of rain.
The course suited me well. The hills were just big enough to dominate the course and made it easier than normal for me to stay at the front of the race. I probably tried to get away about 8 times in a 16 lap race, normally on the climb at the back of the circuit but I never managed to make anything stick.
With 5 laps to go I decided to sit in and wait for the finish. On the penultimate run to the line I was in perfect position about 5 wheels back. Unfortunately on the final ascent of the back climb I had a bit of a rush of blood to the head and found myself at the front of the race. With hindsight I was only half a mile from the finish and should have gone all in. Instead I tried to be cute and let a couple of riders come past but I got swarmed and ended up back in about 12 - 15th. I managed to put in a good finish and came in 8th. All in all it was a worthwhile trip, it was a good race on a nice circuit and I managed to collect a couple more points.
Strangely I have described my race without mentioning it's overwhelming feature; torrential rain. The middle of this race was close to the coldest I have ever been on a bike, right up there with Mull last year or the infamous ERC48 round a couple of years ago.
Anyway, I better go and check the calendar to check where I can find 3 more points.
I'll try and add another post or two describing the highs (hint: hills) and lows of my summer on the bike.