A strong Airedale team - Farhad, Richard, Mark, Hamish and me - set out at the purpose built Tameside race circuit this morning. As a few of us are new to this racing lark, I know I didn’t really know what to expect... and I think I can safely say we all enjoyed ourselves.
At the outset of the race, my main thought was that I’d forgotten my water bottle and had not reset my bike computer so I would have no idea how far through the race was (not the best start tactics wise...). So we were underway and I was just trying to keep up with Hamish who was in the top 8 consistently and holding his place well.
A few laps ticked by with the groups bedding in nicely and all riders holding their own in the bunch.
After about 20 mins the race was still in a fairly large pack - the course consisted of two tight hairpin bends with a few short straights meaning it was often hard to make a break from the bunch and hold it. I got a bit carried away at this point and broke, however no one followed and I was soon back in the pack after a very unsuccessful attempt to split! Many more laps passed and the group was beginning to ride 3/4/5 abreast into the turns with increasing pace. Hamish and I were probably in the first 10 riders when I was undercut and taken out by a rider who failed to hold his line through the corner. This meant that I then stacked it into Hamish removing us not only from the race, but the track all together. A quick stock take and we were both ok, chains back on and we rejoined on the back of the bunch from the pits. It was at this point that I realised I was missing half of my left shifter (so I hope one shows up at the jumble sale!).
Anyhow, we had around 5 minutes left of the race, before the final 5 laps. I tried to move back up the pack into a decent position and managed to sit in behind the first 7 riders as the pack lined out through one of the straights. I held this position into the last 3 laps as the odd small breaks came through. Into the final lap I was sitting third and maintained this position into the first hairpin. A break came through which increased the pace, but luckily he eased up just after the last hairpin. I overtook him on the inside and went into a sprint for the line. Unfortunately I was pipped to the post by about a wheel length by a guy from the Condor Road Tam who finished very well.
All in all it was a smashing day with some good cycling from all the Airedale riders. It may be a little strong to say I had any tactics, initially I just wanted to get round in one piece – shame I didn’t manage that as the bike’s got a fair few scratches now! Next outing at Tameside is Sunday 25 March if anyone fancies it. Well worth a ride.
by Duncan Warner
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