Overnight we went from March to July, after a largely underwhelming summer the sun decided to really show its power on the day’s road race; it was quite a shock to the body. The Cricklade Kermesse is the shortest road race in the Cotswold league, but its by no means the easiest. Fifteen laps of a rough pothole ridden circuit, with a KM long 5% drag every lap makes for some very difficult racing.
The first few laps were fast, with lots of people trying to make early moves, the wind was hard to read and staying away was not easy! The road surface had already taken its first few victims, with at least one loud bang as a tyre exploded through a hole. I’m fairly sure a crash was caused by a catastrophic rim failure at some point.
After five or six laps there was a small break away group of four up the road, only ten to twenty seconds advantage. I was working on the front to keep control of the break, not so much to bring them back but to keep them within easy reach. This was quickly disrupted by a scary moment when two horses spooked on the other side of the road just as we started the decent. The commissaires rightly decided to neutralise the race, by doing this however really caused issues with the advantage the break had. Although they stopped them too, the gap stretched from twenty seconds to over a minute within a lap.
With about five laps to go and the break still at arround a minute, I moved myself towards the front with Jim Jones to try to bring it back to give Matt Woods some sort of chance to jump across. Over the next 3 laps I was pulling 500w a minute at a time; the break away was getting closer and they started to panic as two of the breakaway were dropped and swallowed by the peloton. With two laps to go Matt attacked off the front. Thankfully my job of chasing was done, instead I was controlling the bunch, trying to remain second or third wheel so I was able to mark counter attacks and disrupt the chase.
No luck! Matt was caught on the final assent up the climb. Shortly after Colin Parry from Ride 24/7 attacked. As Colin was also a threat to the Cotswold league overall I knew I had to put one more effort in to close him down.
The two remaining riders from the break away just about managed to hold on for the win. Colin was caught as the sprint started to wind up. I was on the front as we turned to the final 400m, a few riders went too early as there was quite a strong head wind. Matt managed to cut his losses and take 5th or 6th while I just about managed to hold my position to take 12th.