Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Story of a Wannabe Boy Racer – Year 2 - by Phil Stone

Story of a Wannabe Boy Racer – Year 2

After mixed fortunes in 2012 I decided to give road racing another go in 2013. My plan was to see how the first races in March went and then decide if I would continue for the rest of the year.

My training went reasonably well through the winter, although a lot of time was spent on the turbo due to the weather.

Race (03/03/13)

On a freezing Sunday morning I lined up with about 15 other racers at the Gravesend Cyclopark. The start was steady but with the pacing gradually increasing. As last year I was having difficulty with the corners and in particular one downhill 180 degree corner, losing 4 or 5 lengths each time. After 20 minutes 6 riders opened a gap and the 2 riders in front of me just let it happen, unfortunately it was just before the corner I was having my problems with. Once round the corner I started to chase reducing the gap from about 80 yards to 30 yards, I looked around for help but none was coming and so sat up. I rode the rest of the race with a diminishing group getting beaten in the sprint by a couple of riders at the end.

I was a bit demoralised with my result as I thought I should have done better.

Race (10/03/13)

Opened the curtains and saw the snow on the road so back to bed and later on the turbo.

Race (17/03/13) Blackmore 48 miles

It had been raining all the previous night but stopped as we warmed up. I lined up with about 40 other riders for 6 laps of an undulating circuit. This was tough from the start made worse when it started raining just after we completed the first lap. I decided to pack at the end of the second lap as I couldn’t see anything through my specs. As we completed the second lap the rain stopped I cleaned my specs as best I could and decided to ride one more lap for training. That’s how it continued each lap I decided to ride one more lap. I finished towards the back of the diminished bunch, maybe 15 riders. There was no sprint as the road was very narrow and cars were parked all down the finish due to an event at a local farm.

Highlight of the race was riding beside, and on his wheel, Bob Downs, possible our best stage racers from the mid 80’s.

There was one other highlight when I was given a brown envelope containing £10 for coming 3rd in my category at the race on the 03/03/13

Reasonable pleased with my result although Lesley wasn’t when she saw the state of my clothes.

Race (24/03/13)

Weather was bad so back to bed

Race (31/03/13)

Plan was to go to the race with Les and then onto Tony’s for lunch but couldn’t be bothered with the race as it was freezing.

That’s it, first part of the season over and only done two races but decided to continue racing targeting a 11 race series where your best 7 results count to the final position.

Race (21/04/13) Herriard Basingstoke 40 miles

Thank goodness for satnav to help me find this location. 5 laps of a road circuit where we seemed to be going downhill most of the time, recording 40 mph in a fast moving bunch of 40 riders, and uphill with 2 small hills and the 1 long hill which kicked up very steeply at the end which was where the finish was. I was towards the back for most (all) of the race. Last time up the hill a gap open with the winners from this group I was best of the rest.

When the results were published I was 14th out of 33 finishers but more important for points towards the series I was 7th out of 17 in my age group.

Race (28/04/13) Thaxted 48 miles

This was a bigger field than last week as the race was open to category D riders and above. 60 riders were at the start for a bright but cold day, still wearing leg warmers and full gloves. The circuit was good in general but with a few very large potholes but its main feature was a steep hill just after a sharp corner which had to be climbed 5 times. The 4th time up the hill I was dropped and the following car went past which was an opportunity too good to be missed. I rode behind the car just like the pro’s and it towed me back up to the bunch before waving me past. Several groups got away but I stayed with the main bunch. I was 28th out of the 60 starters but 4th in my category.

After 2 races in the series I am equal third out of 20 riders which is a bit of a flattering result as some of the big named riders haven’t rode any races in the series yet and other only having done 1 race. My aim is to finish in the top 10 in the series.

Next race in the series is at Hog Hill on the 09-June but plan to do other races in between to keep up my race fitness.

Phil Stone