Jon on his first race of the season in Northampton...
'The first race of the season was a NCRA handicapped 2/3/4. I was placed in the 3rd group with a handicap of 5 mins and a lead of 2 mins over the scratch. The group worked very hard over the first 10 miles before individuals started to launch attacks. The handicap group managed to stay away but a very wet race ended safely and with some good intensity miles in the legs. It was great to get the early season nerves out of the way and I’m looking forward to improving on the result in the next race.'
Meanwhile Ryan and Hayden race the E/1/2/3 Duncan Sparrow RR in West Lancashire.
Here's what Ryan had to say...
Sunday 11th March, the first race of the 2018 season, The Duncan Sparrow Road Race...... Pimbo! Hayden and I had been talking in the week leading up to the race and we were excited to get things under way. We agreed to travel together and Hayden had confirmed he would be at my front door at 11:45am. It was a great plan and this would allow a nice relaxing drive over to West Lancashire where we could talk tactics and leave plenty of time to warm up, eat, drink, pee and ...... pump up our tyres (more on this later). True to his word, Hayden called me at 11:45am to say he was outside and we were good to go....... Hayden wasn't outside, he was in the middle of a council estate 5 miles away because he had entered my postcode incorrectly. He was late, so instead of talking tactics we panicked as we navigated the roundabouts and one way systems of Skelmersdale. We arrived with just enough time to pin our numbers on badly, pee in a bush and complete a thorough one lap warm up all while chomping on a few pre race bananas and even this only came after first having to beg and borrow a track pump because neither of us had thought to bring one. This wasn't going well but it was sunny and I was about to race Pimbo in March in a Jersey instead of a Castelli Gabba you take the rough with the smooth.
We rolled to the back of the 80 strong peloton, fist pumped for good luck and then we were off on the neutralised lap and that was the last time we would see each other for the first part of the race.
After a week nursing man flu and a perceived lack of form I took myself right to the front of the race to ensure I wasn't caught behind any splits and therefore having to burn matches I didn't have. In actual fact my legs felt pretty good and so I got stuck in and and started following moves. While Hayden sat pretty in the bunch saving his Watts for later I followed everything and made sure we were on the right side of any splits or promising moves.
A pattern of attack, counter attack, rest and repeat continued for the first third of the race and just as I started the question how many more of these micro efforts I had in me this early in the season I saw a flash of red over my right shoulder. It's Hayden, he's motoring, he's got company and the bunch don't react. The small group work well together and build a good gap of 20 and then 30 seconds and they hold this for several laps before finally being brought back. When Hayden arrives back in the bunch I'm waiting at the front of the pack to cover the inevitable counter attacks and again the partnership works well as it's only a few laps later when Hayden jumps again with another small group. Again he's brought back but very promising signs from Hayden this early in the season.
As the race neared its conclusion Hayden continued to look for opportunities while I tried to hide from the wind in the bunch and find some legs for the inevitable bunch sprint but a combination of poor positioning and a spectacular 'pop' in the last 400 meters meant I wouldn't be getting a result today. Hayden and I rolled in with the bunch happy to have got the season under way and with no signs of Hyperthermia as is historically the case with Pimbo in March.
The win went to Hamish Graham of Green Jersey RT and I still don't know how! I saw Hamish attack every lap for the last 5 laps of the race so I don't know how he found the legs. An awesome ride from him.
Many thanks to Brian Rigby for organising and all of the marshalls and volunteers for offering their time on the day. As always a final thank you to Ellen for taking some fantastic photos.
Race report by Ryan Ellis
Photo credits: Ellen Isherwood https://www.flickr.com/photos/100713057@N05/