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Aug 04

Clifton CC Road Race – Lone ride Walker

For the first time all season I was venturing to a race on my own having entered the Clifton CC road race at Sheriff Hutton on Sunday 29th June.

I wasn’t completely HTRC free though, as Neil Dean had entered the earlier-run veterans’ race and taken a very good 2nd place in his age category.

No pressure

Being the sole rider for once meant I didn’t have the same motivation and excitement as other races, but to be honest this worked in my favour. I simply felt no pressure to perform and as a result I rode better throughout. The course was about 9 miles long and undulating but nothing too hard. When we started off the skies were looking overcast and dull and the threat of rain seemed ever more apparent. Fortunately the rain didn’t come and sunnier skies soon appeared but so did a nagging headwind on the run up to Sherriff Hutton.

Effortless at times

I started the race at the back but after a lap moved up to mid-bunch. I’m still a little to cautious on the corners after my recent crash, especially the tight fast ones, and there were a couple that caught me out occasionally moving me back a few spots. However I had one of those days where the power seemed to come naturally as it seemed effortless at times moving up the bunch.

 

I was all too aware though of getting too confident and that attacking a race with the quality of riders I had would probably end up in disappointment. I did bridge up to an attack by two Langsett riders on lap 3 but, as I presumed, was immediately pulled back. Even Alex Dalton (Squadra RT) couldn’t keep the bunch at bay when he attacked on the last lap, so what chance was I going to have.

Forced backwards

A group of 5 established throughout the race, which eventually became a group of 3. They survived to the finish with York Cycleworks rider Jamie Sharp taking the win.

 

Behind, it was a mad dash to the line. I was positioned well for most of the last lap, but I’m no sprinter unfortunately, so when riders started to force me on the grass I chickened out a bit forcing me backwards. I was still in a relatively good position coming up to the line in around 20th place, but I got well and truly boxed in for the sprint and by the time I was free, I then had riders coming to a stand still in front of me having mis-timed their own sprint.

 

By the time I crossed the line I was around 30th place. Not a bad performance on the whole, but I need to work on my sprinting if I’m to improve my results it seems.

 

Results of the Clifton CC Road Race (British Cycling)

 

Mark Walker
HTRC Road Race Secretary