The venue great the course difficult some may say brutal for us old gets but the result suberb Brian1st, Grimpy 2nd and Peeps 5th.
We have become used to the normal road races on circuits from maybe 3 to 10 miles. This event comprised what might be described as one 40 mile + loop in a figure of eight arrangement centred in South Warwickshire partly on the fosseway.
Unusually we had a separate event for the G (70-74) & H( 75+) normally we ride in 60+ races with only one major DNS (ex pro sprinter Pete Mathews). We departed from HQ (Moreton Morrell college) at 10.00 a.m. through the grand driveway. Brian indicated they were lined with Douglas firs ? All I recall is the battering I received in November at the Cross champs held in the same grounds.
It was hot by mid day 30C I decided to take two bottles although Brian still complained my bike was too lite?
Immediately we are climbing up frizzell hill but we take it steady getting ready for the pain to come. The next climb close to 10miles is the notorious local ‘EDGE HILL’. Brian leads the way followed by me (G) peeps and classy old Jack Watson (MI team). It’s a deceiving climb. A ridge appears ahead and the road disappears around a bend into a wood. Just prior to the wood the 14% sign appears and sure enough we are into the pain. Iv’e now gone down to 34 x 23 with my heart pounding being passed by Jack & Peeps just wishing the pain will end?
Around the next bend I see what I believe is the summit and press on. I understand what all the fuss before the start was about! The race is blown apart.
Its not Sky or moviestar it’s that bugger from our team sunter whose caused the mayheim. Although I’m maybe 25 metres down I’m not in pieces and soon manage to rejoin the leaders who eventually form into a group of eight.
For you oldies some of the names will be familier. Tony Woodcock (ex world master road champ- this year second in European champs), Jack Wright ( ex top road man) Jack Watson ( always been a classy rider) Bob Richards ( ex 100 miler champ and road man) and Derek Woodings (ex pro) plus us 3 flying condors ( well maybe?)
We keep a steady pace with me Peeps Derek, Jack Watson going thro but Brian as usual doing more than is fair share. Luckily for us Tony is staying at the back recovering from a heart scare and not going at is normal full on pace or is he bluffing? Likewise jack wright & Bob.
We get to Kineton, turning right to head for the Fosseway for two testing climbs both seem around 10% but nobody puts the hammer down.
We stay together and turn left onto the fosseway. Occasionally the group splits caused by somebody missing there turn. I find myself in front with Derek look around and we have 100m so we pressed on and the gap increases.
We work well together for the next 8 mile or so and I look around and can’t see the rest. Whilst our pace is good (garmin shows around 24’s on the flat) I don’t feel we are going fast enough, the zips missing? We arrive at the lower end of the edge hill ridge and turn off up a lane to Radley which starts the eventual retrace to the finish.
Within 2 miles Brian arrives in Time trial mode the pace goes up by around 2 miles an hour. Me thinks I hope he’s not dragged the rest up?
I think of contacting Brailsford but no radio contact!-what do we do? Brian’s clearly the strongest we can sit on him until the last climb and see how it goes. But if we suck Derek along he may win the sprint?
We arrive at Kineton around 7 miles to the finish I inform Brian distance to finish and to go alone. I drift off Brian’s wheel and he’s away Derek make’s no attempt to chase. We start the first of the 2 climbs to fosseway with Brian having a good lead. Me and Derek remain behind but start in/off again to ensure we aren’t caught before the finish. We are over the last climb and descend frizzell hill to turn right (yes that’s correct right turn with police approval- it can be done>?)
Up a short climb still doing bit & bit, Derek has explained earlier he’s nothing left? Me thinks these old stages tell tall stories, probably speaks to Pete Horne.
The finish is up a drag at the 200 metre point I decide to stay on dereks side we up the speed and gearing and I manage to pass him before the line. Brian as finished first I would guess around 1 min ahead. Condor one two, the rest of the leading group appears.
With peeps finishing 6th in the race and 5th in the over 70’s category beating the great woodcock.
A great day for Condor when I rode the cross champs. In the 40 + MI/ Jewson racing got 1,2, 3 which mick ives as I recall said he never seen before – well we were close?
pics hopefully to follow when they appear on the LVRC site