Gavin Mitchell road in the first Welwyn TL of the season on St Georges Day. After struggling in the opening two races Gavin had an improved performance coming 6th in the devil and 13th in the ten mile.
11 Steve Home 57:14
26 Corrine Hall
"This weekend saw me on a little adventure to the northern parts of England to compete in the Cheshire Classic RR, the first round of the women’s national series and my first attempt at competing in a road race at this level. I already new it was going to be hard from the start sheet which contained a lot of riders I’d never raced before and of course a few I have. Travelling up by train on Saturday afternoon I became more and more nervous as the journey continued and I had too much time to think about the race to come. The true reality of the glam life of a cyclist then hit me at 9.30pm when I was already bed on a Saturday night with only a stack of hot cross buns and a mug of ovaltine to keep me company watching Shrek 2 on TV. So very rock & roll!"
"The weathermen had promised a scorchio day on Sunday so I was pretty surprised to find it had rained overnight and it was pretty chilly – my overnight bag hadn’t accounted for cold. Not put off I tucked into the hotel’s breakfast to fuel the day’s race, sending a few jealous glares to the two men already in the dining room tucking into a full English, croissants, toast, bagels, smoked salmon, cream cheese… The ground seemed to have dried out by this point but still no sign of the promised sun".
"The race itself was in Weaverham near Northwich and the course went up a drag up a main road, round a roundabout, back down the main road, left into a steepish hill (where the finish line lay), round a bit, down a hill and then back up the main road. On paper it sounded pretty dull but it was actually a good course and suited me quite well I think, going up the hill 11 times was certainly enough to make things interesting".
"I placed myself near the front on the start line. Having not ridden a national series road race before I wasn’t sure what the pace would be like and didn’t want to be caught out by hanging around at the back. Despite my preparation, once we were out of the neutralised zone and the race started I found myself at the back. I have no idea how it happened but I won’t be caught napping like that again. The pace was immediately a lot higher than the team series races and we were spread out in two pace lines from the gun. The first 2 laps I started to work my way back up the field, keeping as calm as I could but on the second time up the hill there was a lot of huffing and puffing from the girls around me and I knew I needed to be right up in the top 10 riders the next time up it so I didn’t get caught the wrong side of a split in the field. At the top of the hill I gritted my teeth and rode along the outside of the single file line of riders who were going along at a pretty decent pace and edged my way into line a few riders back from the front".
"On the same lap, at the roundabout on the main road, Iona Sewell (Squadra Donne) put in a bit of a kick coming out of it and gained herself a gap from the bunch. I knew she was riding strongly at the moment having won the Tour ta Malta a few weeks ago so decided in a split second to join her. Not necessarily the best place to attack, into a downhill, but we got a bit of a gap and were joined by another rider, number 54 (I’m still not sure who she is- a mystery entrant on the line!). As we turned left into the hill I knew we needed to be committed to the climb if we wanted to stay away from the bunch so I rode up it as hard as I could. Looking back about halfway up it I was surprised to find I was on my own. Not wanting to loose my gap I carried on grinding my way up it. Just before the crest I was overtaken by three girls, who I think were Sarah Storey (Horizon Fitness), Ali Holland (Shred Racing) and Anna Fischer (Max Gear) and I knew then that I needed to stick with them as they must have caned it up the hill and surely dropped a few of the main field on their way. I also knew that all three of them are strong riders and if it was an attack, this break was one that had a good chance of sticking. Firmly planted on the wheel in front I rode on with my head down as the road levelled out. After a while I slowly began to realise that it all seemed pretty quiet behind me so chancing a glance over my shoulder I was ecstatic to see that it was because there was no one there. Shouting this to the other seven girls in the group we immediately began to do through and off. It was clear that every single one of us was committed to the break and it was fantastic to work so well with a group of riders who all had the same aim, staying away. No one was missing turns, everyone was focused and we continued in the same vane for the rest of the race".
"Each time we went down the main road we could see the main field coming back up the other way so we had a good idea of how big the gap was. Apparently we were making up about 30 seconds a lap, no doubt helped by Max Gear and Horizon Fitness disrupting any attempts at a chase by the bunch. At this point with seven of us in the break, the race result was then only going to be decided by the sprint up the hill. Suffice to say, the biggest thing I need to work on is my finishes in races. I ended up 6th which I was pretty disappointed with but I have taken away some very valuable lessons and I guess I can’t really complain with a 6th place in a national series race. The winner was Jess Booth who narrowly pipped Sarah Storey to the post".
"Jayne Rendall-Hannan from Twickenham was also there but I didn’t see her at the end, I hope you’re ok. Corrine was also riding but got stuck with no one else to help her chase the break down in the bunch and buried herself trying on her own to drag the race back together. It will be good to get to race together at Bedford next week for the team series."
"Race report and a few pics, including a horrendous one of me on the start line, on BC website. I need to work on my pre race face!"
Tom Sutherland, Mark Spindler, George Kirkin and Gavin Mitchell lined up for the 3/4 race on the Great Milton circuit in Oxfordshire. A field of 90 set off in the rain with George getting caught out by the early pace. Tom, Mark and Gavin all had periods at the front of the race with Mark getting into a break for a few miles. In the final few miles Mark got into a great position to finish 14th.
14 Mark Spindler
38 Gavin Mitchell
51 Tom Sutherland
In the E123 race Matt Myers finished 38th in a field containing many Elites.
17 Holly Seear 1:12:58
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