Race report by Matt Grimshaw
Kyle, Joe and I lined up to represent Alba at the Holmfirth CCs road race on the Upper Denby course near Penistone. Holmfirth CC did a great job hosting their first race with some competitive racing on a tough circuit.
We set out as a team with an aim to ride together and try and get a good result. I needed 4 points to get my cat 2 licence and on paper the course suited me. Lap 1, Andy Cunningham (AllTerrain) set off on his own for a 45 mile breakaway with many shrugging it off assuming he’d get caught. A few of us knew that once Andy disappears up a hill that’s normally that. The bunch was a bit nervous with no real efforts on the hill resulting in a touch of wheels and the inevitable idiotic crash.
Lap 2 was going well as we razzed down the fast descent. A few bumps and my chain locked and then bumped off. Trying to fiddle with it at 40mph was never going to work and it sank in that I was going to have to stop. A snapped gear cable at the regionals had resulted in a rather serious argument with my bike and I dreaded a similar wasted opportunity. I saw the bunch, stragglers, comm car, ambulance and traffic whizz past as I untangled my chain at the side of the road.
I set off worried that I was doomed never to get back on and could see the ambulance way off in the distance. 10 minutes of max effort and I got on the back of the ambulance only for the gap to go out again. I knew I had to measure my effort a bit more and dreaded the windy top half of the course. Luckily I used a few struggling riders to claw my way back to the comm car and then onto the bunch just before we reached the descent again.
20 mins and 1 lap of chasing took it out of me but I managed to find Kyle and Joe to let them know I was still alive, just. The next few laps were hard with the windy top section neutralising any attacks. A few riders pushed the pace for the prime sprints only to realise that Andy had mopped them all up in his heroic efforts. A steady last lap meant that Andy popped into view 40 seconds or so up the road. The slight climb before the descent saw a lad smash it off the front in pursuit of Andy. I tried putting some effort in but my earlier efforts meant I started to cramp. Kyle put in a great effort downhill only for it to be brought back together by a car that blocked our side of the road. The last part of the course was fast along to the finish with me trying to stay near the front and follow a wheel of VSCC. I thought my legs were going to fully seize at one point and gave it all in the sprint.
A perfectly timed attack meant that Andy got caught on the line with me getting a 7th. Kyle and Joe weren’t too far behind but I thought I was 1 point short of cat2. We headed back for some grub at race HQ and realised that I might have JUST clinched the 4 points. The results were announced and I was definitely in 7th getting me the 40 and cat 2.
2017 has been a great year for racing within the club. We now have a great bunch of developing racers with plenty of potential over the next few years. I’ve really enjoyed learning to race more as a team and cat2 is a big bonus. Onwards and upwards for alba next year!
Thanks to Holmfirth CC for a great event and to @photography_PCS for the photos!