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Reading Cycling Club press report, week ending 8 March 2009

By rod - Posted on 10 March 2009

Reading Cycling Club press report, week ending 8 March 2009

Alternately sunny and stormy but always cold and windy the weather made
life difficult for cycling at the weekend.

Road and Circuit Racing
Adam White and Steve Bale travelled to Thruxton for a 25-mile 3rd
category race. Bale: "It was sunny but a chill wind was blowing and
becoming stronger. In the first few laps the pace was manageable and the
peloton all came together every time we hit the solid wall that was the
wind. Mid-way through the race and the field was stretching out. Once
gaps had formed they were hard to shut down as you were fighting the
conditions as well as your rivals. I was badly positioned when a group
of around 15 got away and the race settled into to 2 groups on the
circuit with myself in the second one. Despite strong work that was how
it remained. The race took its toll and by the finale only 50% of the
starters remained. With the top fifteen places already accounted for I
didn't scrap it out in the sprint, instead content with a solid workout
in testing conditions." White had retired early having been buffeted by
the wind so badly that he was blown off the circuit a couple times.

Wayne Thomas raced both weekend days. "On Saturday a 30 mile closed
circuit race around the perimeter of the Milton Keynes Bowl was the
venue," he reports. "Eighty 2nd/3rd/4th category riders turned out. This
is always an interesting and difficult group to race with. The 2nd cats
are pushing for 1st cat status so us lowly 3rd cats tend to suffer. The
Milton Keynes track is not wide so a large peloton creates its own
difficulties. If you lose position it's tough to move back up so a
moment's lack of attention means you are in trouble. The race got off to
a truly manic start for the first ten minutes at the end of which a
crash delayed or eliminated a third of the field. I was suddenly riding
near the back of the main peloton. Eventually a group of seven broke
away in the closing laps and gained a 22 second lead on the hard
charging peloton. I was pleased to finish in the depleted main group."

Thomas continues: "On Sunday I rode in the first LVRC (veterans) race of
the season, the Nene Valley near Towcester. This is a 36mile race on
open roads on a gently undulating course with a "big ring" climb to the
finish at the end of the lap. On this cold and windy day it was vital to
know how to and where to ride in the wind - or suffer the consequences.
As ever the competitive spirits amongst the 30+ riders were running high
and on the first lap, a group of ten riders eased off the front of the
peloton. I closed the gap to the group only to find that others were
leaving gaps as we hit the climb.
Trying to close again proved to be just 10 metres to much and I drifted
back to the main group. The following laps became a war of attrition, as
one by one the wind plucked them off. By the final lap we were down to
just seven riders in the "main"/second peloton! In the final sprint I
was fourth in my group and 14th overall."

Photo caption: Reading's Wayne Thomas is dedicated to racing hard

Time Trialling
Trudi Sammons continued her early season campaign in the East Surrey
Hardriders 30-mile event. She reports: "It was a very windy day (mostly
head on) although it remained dry. The course provided plenty of
challenge especially the final climb at Rusper. I was pleased with the
ride from a training point of view as I was able to pace myself well,
which I find tricky to do in longer rides. As the only lady I was also
first lady!"

Steve Thurgood rode the Cheltenham Flyer 200km audax: "A great day out
but with a headwind for some 100km. This first stage proved a toughy
with the highest climbs of the day. After midway, and still into the
wind, several of us formed a group but some 30km later, one by one, we
fragmented with the effort, just before the next control. Bu we emerged
and remained together, blown by a tailwind, all the way to the finish.
This emphasises the benefit of riding with others of similar ability, it
certainly helped to get the best out of me."

Graeme Hoyle took on the West Kent DA 100 Km Grimpeur Audax, starting
and finishing at Otford near Sevenoaks. "It was a 'torture' 60-miler all
over the North Downs. The final hill was the 'Works Hill' used by the
Catford Cycle Club for their annual hill climb; apparently the longest
running hill climb in the UK. Weather was bright and sunny most of the
day allthough it rained a little after lunch. Good organisation.
Recomended for next year."

All groups leave Reading Market Place at 9am on Sundays.

Roderick MacFadyen
Reading Cycling Club