You are hereReading Cycling Club press report, week ending 20/3/11

Reading Cycling Club press report, week ending 20/3/11

By rod - Posted on 22 March 2011

Reading Cycling Club press report, week ending 20/3/11

An in-form Joe Harris and other road racing action.

Road and Circuit Racing

John Hawkins Memorial road race
Reading CC's Joe Harris was in the prize money in the the John Hawkins Memorial road race near Exeter, taking an excellent 2nd place and coming within a whisker of a win. Harris reports from a race which exploded in the last mile:
"Having raced on the circuit before I knew it suited me however I was disappointed to find that road works had forced a route change. The race was now to be up and down a main road for 50 miles before a technical finale. Those opening 50 miles were uneventful for me. The 4 mile run in to the finish included a steep descent through the village of Aylesbeare then a tough 500m climb to the finish. The race hotted up as everyone jostled for position at the front of the bunch. With a three man breakaway just off the front there was everything to race for. With 1 kilometre to go the race commissaire car pulled out of the gap between bunch and breakaway and the catch started to look possible. Coming into the village in the 80-rider bunch I was sitting tenth wheel as we turned off onto the fast twisty descent. I pushed up further and got myself into the sweet spot as we started the final climb. I knew this was a long unforgiving climb and I settled into a rhythm and waited for the opportunity to really kick. Half way up I looked around and saw most of the other racers really suffering and looking fatigued. I still felt fresh and had strong legs. At the 200m to go flag I kicked hard and gave everything. I got my head down and shot off the front of the bunch. I caught the breakaway and passed two of them but the leading rider was just out of reach and I ran out of road and had to settle for second place. I'm really pleased with the strength i had throughout the race, I felt in form and never felt like I was in difficulty, which is always satisfying. This was my best result in a road race to date and it's also gained me some more british cycling points for the licence and £40 prize money which helps with expenses."

Beyond Spring Hillingdon Criterium
Ben Oakes dipped into massed start race at in the Beyond Spring criterium at Hillingdon circuit. Oakes said: "Following a morning of nerves akin to my U-13 footballing career I took the start line in the 4th Cat only race. The first lap was rather steady with riders clipping in to pedals and the bunch forming. Within a lap or two we were up to race pace, and soon flying up the finishing straight with the souttherly wind behind us. As my first race, I was to content to sit on wheels and let the race unfold arround me, the main aim being to stay out of trouble and finish with the bunch. I had no aspirations of placing, this was just for experience. After 5 laps or so of riders pushing hard at the front, the bunch seemed to find a rythmn, and for another 4 or 5 laps remained relatively steady. I was conciously moving up when the opportunity presented itself, and throughout this time remained in the front 10 places or so. A few digs off the front were allowed no more than 50m before efforts from a few of the more active riders soon brought any potential breakaway riders back to the peleton. With the 5 lap to go board being shown after 30mins, the mood changed and people previously content to sit in the bunch began to move forward - riders I hadnt seen until then. There was a lot of jockeying for position and it took concentration not to get boxed in or to find yourself drifting back. Into the final lap and the pace was certainly picking up. I made a hard effort to get round the outside of 3 or 4 riders in front of me as we exited the final hairpin bend, finding myself in 2nd wheel. As we passed the new clubhouse the rider in front peeled off and I had my nose in the wind for the second time in the race. With 400m to go I figured riding on the front would deaden any sprint I had, so I went for a long effort, hoping to surprise the bunch and hold them off in the final downwind straight. I jumped hard but soon realised i didnt have the legs to get a gap, but kept driving until 200m to go, where the guys behind jumped from behind my cavalier lead-out, taking the bunch with them. I finished at the back of the group, and although I was annoyed at my head-strong finish I was pleased with my general positioning within the bunch through the race. Total stats: 18miles, 43mins, 25.2mph average. There's a lot to learn, and I need to find a sprint, but on the whole it was great fun and I will definitely be going back to try and get my first BC points soon."

Wayne Thomas
The weekend saw back to back circuit racing for Reading CC's evergreen Wayne Thomas. On Saturday Thomas competed in the first of a three race series at Hillingdon. Bright sunshine brought out a large field of over 85 2/3/4 category riders, including the recently formed Team UK youth squad (backed by Nigel Mansell and Magnus Backstedt). It was Team UK Youth that dominated and controlled the race, letting few breaks get away and maintaining a high pace. They neatly set up a drag race to the finish taking the first two places and a win for Greg Mansell. Thomas rode comfortably coming home well down the bunch.

Sunday saw a relatively benign Thruxton where 100 3rd cat riders came out to play, with Reading CC represented by Steve Bale, Paul Stedman and Wayne Thomas. Thruxton is a wide, sweeping circuit with a tough climb in to the wind, topped by a chicane before the last 200m dash to the finish line, with 12 laps of a 2.4 mile circut. Bale was animated as ever, at one stage spending almost a lap just off the front in a small break. But few were allowed to get far. Stedman rode serenely in the middle of the bunch demonstrating his track based experience and skill, with Thomas comfortably holding station in the latter part of the peleton. On the last lap they were all together approaching the final climb to the finish, and with the chicane to contend with and an expectation of potential carnage it was clear that many were backing off, fortunately everyone was sensible. Stedman finished in the first half of the bunch, Thomas had glided up the inside on the last climb to make up a large number of places, with Bale coming home safely in the latter part of the bunch.

Photo Caption: Wayne Thomas rides at Hillingdon Circuit

Sunday clubrun
All rides leave Reading Market Place at 9am on Sundays.

Rod MacFadyen
Reading Cycling Club