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Surrey League Road Race, Dunsfold, Kingston Wheelers, 2/3

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I rode the first Surrey League road race of the season yesterday at Dunsfold. I rode the same event last year in the 3rds, but having obtained my 2nd Cat at the end of last season (at the very last opportunity!) I stepped up into the 2/3 race this time.

I've been looking forward to this for a fair few weeks now because despite the weather, winter has gone pretty well and I hope I've got a pretty solid base for the year. Mountbatten the other week was always going to be a battering, at that point I'd done no intensity, so this was the first real test of the year for me really, also it ends on a fairly sharp climb and if you can get it right you can really fly up it.

I think about 60 riders started, and it was a pretty stressful start with a lot of manic accelerations. This was either because it was the first race of the season and everyone was treating it like a crit, or because a roll around the village to scope out the finishing climb didn't really constitute a good warm up. Either way, with about 8 out of 10 laps of the circuit to go things calmed down a bit and we more or less rolled around Surrey for a couple of hours. A few attacks went, but because Dunsfold is a fairly fast nothing really stuck. It wasn't until the last 15 miles or so things started happening.

With about 15 miles to go my legs were feeling pretty good so it was time to move up. For me the ideal situation was that it would all stay together for that last climb. Before the race I'd noted a few guys from last season who were pretty handy finishers, so I began to search them out, hoping to get into a good spot for the finish. They had other ideas though and began attacking, I was than happy to get involved and latched onto one half-hearted break, which was brought back pretty easily. A few more riders tried to go up the road but again, got brought back fairly easily.

On the penultimate lap, finally a move stuck and a group managed to get a gap of about 10-15 seconds. I was about 10 wheels back when it went and as we got to a 'climb' I tried to get some space to attack, but the narrow road was being completely blocked by a club who had a guy up the road, so they weren't going to chase. This was really frustrating and I had to wait until we rounded a corner and onto a wider stretch before going, but by now it was too late, they were about 30 seconds up the road and beginning to disappear. I buried myself trying to get across but it was a pretty forlorn effort into the wind and I was eventually absorbed back into the main bunch. I was pretty annoyed with having missed that move as I was there and ready to go, so I kind of drifted towards the back. However, on the way in I thought, if anything I'd be good practice to still have a go up the last climb, so I began to move back up and was probably in about 15th wheel as we went down the fast descent onto the base of the climb. I was pretty well positioned on the outside and just went all out from the base of the climb and I managed to pass about half the guys in front of me on the way up. I was still pretty annoyed after crossing the line, but it turned out I was actually sprinting for a few remaining points positions, and I missed these by just a few places coming over in 19th overall.

So after a bit of reflection, although things didn't really play out as I hoped, it was a pretty encouraging end to the day, I was competitive and had a decent finish in my legs, although Milland Hill in a couple of weeks could be a totally different story!

Strava link below:


Did anyone race Castle Coombe today? How did everyone get on?

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Well done Andy, better luck next time. See you on the start line on the 30th!

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