After last rounds disaster of a race, resulting in a black flag, prematurely ending the race, everyone was looking forward to getting a full race underway. The pace was fast from the outset with consistent attacks from a mixture of riders from Bristol Road Club, Radeon and Ride 24/7, all keen to get someone in the brake. The light wind conditions made it very difficult to hold any sort of gap, with moves getting shut down very quickly.
The race consisted of three laps of a twenty-mile circuit. I knew of a few sections of the route where I could test the legs. I was hoping it was at these points others would attack and I could go over the top. We were on the second lap, there was a small rise coming out of Brinkworth. A rider put in a big jump from the bottom, as with the early moves it was quickly closed down, just before cresting the rise I put in an effort, I gained a few seconds on the bunch no body followed. There was a lot of movement from the front of the peloton as riders were bridging across. Frustratingly once a few riders made it over to me they all sat up. Moments later the bunch was on us, I immediately gave it one more go, Gaining little to no advantage. It was clear none of the large teams were willing to let me in a break easily.
With one lap to go I resigned myself deeper into the peloton, allowing other teams to control the front of the race while I recovered for a sprint finish. The closing KM was on a slight upwards drag, by no means a hill, but if there was ever a sprint I could be up there, this would be it.
On the last lap a small group of four riders managed to break clear, with Bath, Ride 24/7, radeon and Cotswold Veldrijden all accounted for. It was really down to Veloton to bring the riders back. Neither seamed to have the resources left after controlling much of the race.
The finishing few miles were sketchy! Riders jostled towards the front, lots of elbows and shouting for space. I feel very small in these sort of situations, getting pushed and shoved all over the place. I normally avoid sprint finishes, but today the excitement of it had me keen. With just over 500 meter to go the inevitable happened, there was a touch of wheels to the left of me, leaving a number of riders hitting the deck. I used the moment of panic to launch a ridiculously early attack towards the finish line. I gained a small gap and I was within 15 meters of the finish line and still know-one had come round me. The Small break away had just crossed the line. 10 meters to go, my legs were fading to nothing as I got swamped. I just held on to 15th place. First BC point of the year! On the other hand it was an enjoyable, exciting race, with a lot more team work from multiple teams creating a very different dynamic to what I’ve seen in previous Cotswold league races.