Today was the North Wests Regional road races. I was representing Team ASL in the 3/4 race which would set off after the Womens race.
After the shortest neutral roll out I’ve personally experienced the race was underway and I had to confirm with another racer that it’d actually started as there wasn’t a flag drop! As usual I had gotten to the venue around an hour before kick off but due to the late rider briefing only managed a fifteen minute warm up so I was happy to be rolling at a moderate pace off the bat rather than all guns blazing.
The first lap went by with incident bar the constant attacking and consequent sitting up of riders (perhaps something to do with the wind?) My plan was to tuck myself away for the first three laps and see where the chips fell after that, so naturally I was chasing things down from the start. I managed to get into a few moves but the peloton wasn’t giving any moves the time of day. This seemed to frustrate many, myself included. Finally after 2.5 laps I managed to get away into a promising break with Darran Acton who I knew to be handy and a few others… Sadly this was reeled in and we cursed our luck.
I hovered around the front after this and after yet another small group was pulled back a lone rider rolled off the front, he got a good gap and it didn’t seem anyone was interested in bringing him back. I decided to join him so I dropped a few places and launched myself over to him without a reaction from the bunch. As I rolled up to him I slowed as I passed so he could get on and the breakaway was made. I wasn’t sure how his legs would be after launching his attack but he shouted at me to go so we did. A quarter lap later and we were working well together and appeared to be of similar ability. Will turned to me at one point and said that it looks like we’re going to be caught… I agreed but continued to press on as you never really know… 20 seconds later and we were back taking turns, this time fully committed.
The moto began to give us time checks back to the peloton… 22 seconds was the first time check, with around 16 miles left I didn’t dwell on this too much. 10 minutes later and the second came “22 seconds and no reaction from the bunch” OK Will, lets press on! The third time check came and again “no reaction from the bunch” said the moto rider… 10 miles left to go so I just said to Will we only have a 10m TT to go! Push on!
The final time check came in with around 5 or 6 miles to go “38 seconds, it’s your race to lose!” I told Will not to get giddy but I was getting excited… 38 seconds isn’t a miniscule amount of time but it isn’t huge either… This would be down to who wanted it more, the break or the chasers! Trouble was… I was beginning to get tired and had to start sprinting a few revs to get on Wills wheel each time. But I didn’t get too much time to think about it as soon enough the finishing climb approached and Will put in an attack gaining a few bike lengths on me before I started to react, thinking he’d gone too soon as there was over 200ft/m to go! Suddenly I hear an “Oh no” from Will and the splashing of liquid on the road… Will had indeed dug deep and proceeded to vomit on the road, poor guy! I pressed on and rolled over the line, first place!
1 David Stammers Team ASL-Bolton
2 Will Barnes Rock to Roll CC
3 Garth McColville Honister ’92
4 Sean McColville Honister ’92
5 Chris Roughley Lancashire RC
6 Steven Burnett
7 Chris Ross Fechan Flyers
8 Hugh English Manchester Wheelers Club
9 Christopher Morgan St Helens CRC
10 John Bamford Team Chronomaster
I’d like to thank the team at RockToRoll Cycles for putting on not one but four! Races. I’d like to thank all of the marshalls and motorbike outriders for a fantastic job keeping us all safe on the road. I’d also like to thank the volunteer caterers back at HQ for an amazing spread when we got back! My wife for allowing me to persue my hobby and my sponsors.
Lastly, I’d like to thank the local photographer Alex Reed Who has supplied the photos in this post, capturing my first road race win!