SERRL Winter Series Race 2 – Gravesend

Report by Paul Butler – Road Race Secretary
So Sunday was race 2 and after the hell that was race 1 at least we knew what to expect (yes more hell). Kevin and Mike were ill / injured unfortunately and Rob and Derek were unavailable meaning the Sydenham Racing Team was down to 3 (still a good show compared to earlier this year) i.e. Me, Richard Birtwhistle and Jamie Walker.

60 of us 3rd and 4th Cats set off on the circuit the other way round this week and the wind had changed so we climbed with a tailwind and descended into a headwind. I still don’t know which week was worse!

Here’s my version:
“On a colder but less windy race than the first one the pack set off at a blistering pace and I was sitting in the top 5 to 10 gasping for air for the first 15 minutes unable to even get close to taking a drink it was so tough. Fears that I was about to blow up were passing through my head so I thought I’d flick my elbow, let a few riders through and try to recover and get a bit more shelter. As I eased up nobody came through as there was nobody behind me; we had ridden off the front – no wonder it was so hard! I watched my dozen breakaway companions disappear up the road as I regouped, waiting for the peloton. Expecting 50 remaining riders to pick me up I was again suprised to be swept up by only 10 – god we really had destroyed the peloton and there was still over an hour to go. So I was now in the second group of 10 or so on the road and we worked fairly well together with most people doing their turns on the front. We actually caught most of the front group, leaving 6 away up front and everyone else somewhere behind us. It wasn’t long before we started lapping riders (which got very confusing as some of them stayed with us). Everywhere we went we saw a trail of disaster buty I couldn’t help enjoying the fact that I was causing some of it!

Every so often I caught a glimpse of the “main field” across the circuit and Richard and Jamie. Richard seemed strong but then to add to his collection of crashes he got a PUNCTURE – is there no end to this man’s bad luck?! Jamie finished in the bunch so it was worth him getting out his turbo trainer last week after all!

So back to our group. At the bell there were still 6 up the road and we had about 20 in our bunch and I had been hanging on for dear life having lugged 95kg up that hill 14 times already and I knew that this is where the placings would be decided. I picked a wheel on the climb and stuck to it regardless of the outcome and just at the brow I jumped across to the 10 or so who had opened a gap. Down a short drop and just a sharp left hairpin before the quick rise to the finish. I took two more guys in the sprint here for 8th in my group and 14th overall, bettering my 21st place of last time.”

Here’s Richard’s version:
“I’m upright, I’m upright, I’m still in, I’m still in, BANG!”

Full result here
Pics here