Thursday, 28 August 2008

Summer Racing Summary - Part 2

So once I'd got my bit of fun out of the way - Beastway, that is - I resumed my regular activity of racing on the road.

I did the Terry Cronin Circuit at Hillingdon. Not the best of races for me, as I went pop on the very windy back straight and lost the pack about two thirds of the way through the race. I rolled in second last.

The Women's Team Series at Naseby was one of the hottest races I've done - both in terms of the race itself and the conditions. In fact when we arrived it felt a bit silly pulling into the car park in the countryside to don bike gear and race. We should have been putting on bikinis and lounging in deck chairs !

With the temperatures into the high twenties and two 12% climbs to negotiate on each lap this race was not for the faint hearted. Each time we climbed, people were squeezed out of the back. It was a real battle to hold onto the string.
(photo by Dave Humphries - dhumphries1@gmail.com)

It was really telling how, for a national level race there was no real bunch to speak of -just splinters of the 45 strong race all along the course. In fact the field began separating out from the gun. I finished 29th.

Ironically that really tough weekend for me paid off - literally. I won £20 as my team, Surrey League finished 2nd in the team competition. (So my dash for the line ahead of the Team Luciano rider was a handy move !)

Also, the day before that I won £12 in a women's omnium track race at Herne Hill. Ok, hardly the stuff that would wake up the tax man, but it's nice to get a reward from time to time.

My other races over the summer were just the usual bread and butter of Herne Hill track league on Mondays or Wednesdays, and Crystal Palace on Tuesdays.

Our last Crystal Palace race of the season was a couple of days ago. It was great to see many people out to "celebrate" our last dose of pain.

At this point I must say a big "Thank you" to the organisers, including Michael Moore, who put on women's racing. For some time, after the loss of women's racing at Hillingdon, it looked like we would have no regular women's racing in London. But the good people at Crystal Palace stepped in and helped out.

So we were able to race from May to late August against other women and quite locally too. Most of the races were won by Charlie Blackman (London Dynamo), and I would usually place in the back end of the field. But hey, I know it's made me stronger.
There's something addictive about that course though. The circuit is so short and changeable that it's like a fairground ride. It's a real adrenaline buzz. Also, the atmosphere is very friendly, and even for those who spectate it was a good place to hang out on a Tuesday evening. Fingers crossed we can still race there next year.

All this racing has helped me get nearer to my goal of earning double my tally of points from last season. Last year I got 43 British Cycling points. This year I would like to earn at least 80. I am currently on 65 points, so if I can keep my momentum going I might just get there.

The new Cycle Centre at Redbridge (aka Hog Hill) is now open, and my next road race will be there. It'll be the London Criterium Championships, and I think it'll be a beast. I thought that I'd finished with the painful stuff when I did my last race at Crystal Palace, but it seems that Hog Hill will be the mother of them all !!
Rendez-vous on 6th September.
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