SERRL Benenden/Cranbrook 2nd May 10

After a fairly non-descript start to the season it was with a strong sense of anticipation I approached my first ever road race.  Theoretically I felt that this type of event should suit my strengths (such as they are) better than criteriums but after a string of indifferent performances confidence was not that great.

Like all the best outings on a bike, it starts with me picking up ReubenE who’s very good company but by no means has he been a harbinger of success so far.  Though perhaps one day I’ll be able to look on him the way that some view their lucky pants.

Rolvenden Village Hall is a much better facility that one might have expected and we met up with the other guys (PaulC, KevinG, PaulS and AndyC) and mulled our prospects are the conditions worsened.

The race commenced with a neutralised section which was a mixture of exciting (I’ve never had motorbike outriders and service cars before!), miserable (as it was chucking it down) and a bit scary (as the bunch felt a bit jittery).

Even after 9 laps I didn’t really get to grips with the course.  But it was mostly rolling with a hill or two, nothing too steep or challenging. 

AndyC launched a big attack early which I belated decided to follow putting in a big effort to catch the lead group.  However, the group was not that strong and we eventually got absorbed back into the bunch.

Despite the absymal conditions having 5 other riders from the same team meant that we could share a bit of gallows humour.  By the middle of the race my fingers were so cold that I could not get my energy bar out of my back pocket and I changing gear was getting tricky.  Following the wheel in front closely meant taking in huge gulps of water.

AndyC ended up in another much more successful break with two other guys which was good for two reasons; we were absolved from chasing down duty on the front and we had the prospect of another great result for Bigfoot (not necessarily in that order).

However, it didn’t end this way.  With 3 laps to go we past a forlorn AndyC holding his wheel that had punctured.

Soon after KevinG launched a phenomenal effort and seemed to gain 400 meters on the bunch in no time at all.  I followed the chase which whittled down until there was no-one left apart from me.  I looked round to see where the bunch were.  Some distance behind.  Unsure what to do I pressed on.  I spotted another rider up ahead so I worked until I caught him and we worked well together to put more distance between us and the peloton.

We eventually caught KevinG with a lap or so to go.  I was so desperate for a half-decent finish and really didn’t want to get caught by the bunch so I was happy to put in big efforts to try and make sure  this didn’t happen.

I was pretty dead by the final climb to the finish line but was happy that we’d stayed clear.  KevinG was strong to the finish and took third and I rolled in a relieved fifth.  Absolutely bursting for a piss!

Excellent strong rides also by PaulC, PaulS and ReubenE and terrible luck for AndyC.

Total Ride Time 2hrs40

Average Normalized Power 302W

Hopefully some comedy pictures to follow.

No Comments on “SERRL Benenden/Cranbrook 2nd May 10”

  1. 1 pauls said at 4:47 pm on May 3rd, 2010:

    Good report Paul on what was a grim day in the saddle. Based on your report, if there was no one in between you and the bunch I believe I finished 9th as one guy in the bunch was strong enough to go clear across the line and two others beat me due to my legs refusing to sprint. If that’s the case I’m dead please to keep up my succession of top tens, either way I believe all finishers are getting points from BC.

  2. 2 paulnixon said at 4:56 pm on May 3rd, 2010:

    Ah

    I can’t vouch much for what was going on behind me. On crossing the line my only thoughts were emptying my bladder. Then getting my breath back. Then trying to stave off hypothermia.

    Looking forward to the race next week now.

  3. 3 pauls said at 6:37 pm on May 3rd, 2010:

    Good luck next week, fingers crossed the weather is better (it can’t be much worse surely?) and from what Kevin tells me the course is a bit hillier so should suit Bigfoot.