13/03/2012 - DERRICK WOODINGS BLOG FROM 1st RACE AT TOWCESTER
Race Report NVRT race 11th. March 2012
The first race of the 2012 season. I travelled down to the event with Andy Eagers (Derby Mercury) my erstwhile pacing partner from the G.P. de Gentlemen of last October, our last race on the road that year. Andy was riding the ‘Young man’s race’ of course. He incidentally rode back to Derby afterwards making a total mileage for the day of 130 miles after he had finished 3rd in both the race and his age group.
I had decided to make this event a fast training exercise, leaving my heavier wheels in, as the roads at this time of year are notorious after a winter of gritting. As it turned out though the sun was out and the temperature before the start was approaching 12C. and there was no road grit to speak of.
As usual Don did us proud, great organisation, good weather and even photo finish equipment although unfortunately apparently the generator failed to run so back to manual placing. The best laid plans.....! Anyway a good opening event again for us up north.
Riding out to the start about 5 miles into a steady breeze was comfortable but indicating that the first 3 miles of the 6 mile circuit would be hard. There were 6 laps for our event to cover over this undulating circuit with two reasonable climbs each lap. Our race was for the 55+ age groups so it was going to be fast as far as I was concerned. On the first lap two riders went clear, Les Liddard (MI Racing) and another rider who’s name unfortunately I didn’t note down, who rapidly built up a useful lead which was never to be pulled back. I was happy to sit in for the first 3 laps just getting used to the feeling of riding at racing speed again after 5 months.
I was never under pressure, moving up on each of the climbs and then drifting back to the lantern rouge position. The Peloton by the start of lap 5 was starting to thin out so feeling better I decided to move up, but disaster was lurking in the form of a rather aggressive rider, no names here, pushed into the line on the headwind section just after turning left from the finish area. Pete Ryalls, my main 70+ rival was forced off the road onto the grass which was extremely soft and muddy he came down right in front of me forcing me to brake hard but I managed to stop after hitting his wheel and fortunately holding it upright. Pete meanwhile was lying face up in a muddy bed which saved him from serious injury. I could have ridden on to regain the field but as is the convention- I’m not Contador- I couldn’t take advantage of an opponent’s misfortune so stopped to assist him. With the help of some spectators out on the course we got Pete up and finding he was OK, sorted out his bike, an unshipped chain and rubbing front brake fixed we then set off in pursuit but by now with no chance of regaining the peloton, I decided to ride to the finish team time trial style with Pete where we picked up a dropped rider and then joined by some others who had been shelled out earlier. Having ascertained that Pete and I were the only riders left in front of our age group we rode over the line abreast. Morally I could have won my category but it was in my opinion the fairest outcome, after all it was, for me, some good training.
The race was won by Les Liddard from ***** who finished well over 1 minute clear.