12/07/2011 - CLIFTON CC ROAD RACE REPORT FROM DERRICK WOODINGS
The Clifton CC Road Race Day
EFGH event (4 laps) 33 miles. Weather sunny at start, slight breeze but heavy rain came during lap 2 of the event.
Many thanks to organiser Phil Bixby and his team, another event up to the normal LVRC high standard, well organised and very well marshalled. The course was extremely testing with the finish at the summit of a long difficult climb. The organiser was also promoting a BC race later in the day, so a full day for Clifton CC.
The start, from the HQ, fortunately neutralised up the only climb to cross the finish line when the flag was dropped. I had been warned of a newcomer to our ranks, Reg Haigh (no. 75) who has previous form as a fell runner and mountain biker. He set off at a furious pace which stretched out the field but which remained compact until hitting the climb for the first real test of my legs. On the climb the field split, with at least 4 going clear immediately, Reg, Mick Allen, Alan Ramsey and one other. Then another group of seven. I was shelled out early on, my track legs not responding. Over the top I had lost 200metres and looking round found I was alone with the remnants of the bunch behind and of no help to me. I was forced to time trial after the chasing group and eventually latched on after two miles of hard graft. I was then in the company of Brian Sunter, team mate Jack Watson, John Buxton ,Phil Etches , Ralph Walker and club mate Bill Cotton ,eventually we were joined by Jeff Hardy who also had had a long chase to get on. We all set to the task of chasing the leading break but to no avail and after another lap just settled down to some hard training in the now heavy rain which had started on lap 2. I had recovered from the initial effort and started to go better as the race progressed, each time up the climb becoming progressively easier(relatively speaking of course). Up front Reg had punctured as had my ‘G’ rival Ralph Walker, Phil Etches broke a spoke and abandoned and Jeff Hardy had gone too. The last time up the climb I set a fast pace to try and give Jack a good lead out and almost succeeded in that only Brian Sunter managed to get past closely followed by Jack and Bill but I raised a half hearted sprint to retake Bill and we finished in that order. The race having been won by Allan Ramsay about two minutes previously. I have now officially recovered my road legs again.