Next up in the Surrey League calendar was the 32 mile long road race near Cherstsey on the Staple Hill circuit. The circuit itself was short at only 3 miles in length and included (as the name suggests) a short hill although it never gets very steep. Just before the climb there was a very sharp left hand turn which nearly caught a few people out.
I was the last rider to roll out of HQ due to my tiny bladder. This meant it wasn’t the perfect start, but nothing to be worried about yet. So I used the first few laps to get a feel for the course while gradually moving up through the bunch. The pace was moderate but nothing serious. Then 30 minutes into the race guys were chomping at the bit and went off the front straight after the left hander. It was strung out all over the place up the climb, and it was now or never to move up to the front. By the top of the climb I took up the front and did a hard pull as I could sense there was a gap. Indeed there was a gap of about 10 seconds back to the bunch, enough for the 10 or so guys I was with to work for the next lap. But there wasn’t enough working together and it wasn’t to be. So we were caught be the bunch. Stalemate for the time being.
Two laps to go and the intensity has increased dramatically. Everyone knows they need to be at the front and this was to cause some sketchy moments. One lap to go and a guy from Paceline tries to go clear, but it’s going down to a bunch sprint. Into the final turn in 5th wheel, but after the turn a swarm of riders came over me and suddenly I found myself trapped and boxed in on the left hand side of the road, nowhere to go. I followed the wheels and moved up some places at the line, which was good enough for 7th place. Or so I thought until the results show I was 9th. It was very close but I’m sure it was 7th. Oh well it’s still the first points of the season! It’s great to finally get the ball rolling, even though I know with better positioning I could have won.