For reasons related to controversial field selection, of TCC’s 6 or 7 entered riders into the James Atherton memorial road race, based out of Owslebury, Hampshire, only I got a place. Not quite what we were hoping for, but never mind. 60 riders – all 2nd cat with the exception of Southampton University’s squad of 3rds.

The course was rolling with a couple of steep bumps and a long drag over 7 laps. Garmin says 100km and 1750 meters of ascent on what turned out to be ‘somewhat better quality than I’m used to’ road surface with scenic views in wide sweeping lanes with good visibility.

I make my way to the front over the first pass over the steeper bits and jump over to a forming attack – we settle into a hard rotation and quickly gap the bunch, working well as a group of 6. Another 5 minutes of work and the peloton finds a whole lot of momentum and re-appears from nowhere. I settle down for a more conservative race, feeing the damage from the early effort. People seem to be snapping up any breaks a minute or two after they form and the race proceeds as such for much of the next 50km, so I can sit in.

Around the 50km mark a few individuals join together up the road, start to slowly gap the bunch. It’s too late to bridge and fingers crossed they will be brought back as before. Sadly, this time they stay away. Later, I have a go on the front once in a while to try to help make sure we don’t let any more slip away, but cashing the break is pointless for

The bunch sprint for 6th and below is to the top of the long drag where it finally kicks up a bit. I get well positioned, but have to go a few seconds later than I’d liked due to a little last minute getting boxed in. However, plenty of people are kind of enough to up blow up hard on the ‘hill’ in the last 50 meters so only 3 guys in the bunch ended up in front of me for 9th over all.

Getting in the break is definitely a bit of a lottery. One guy can’t cover everything and so I’m reasonably happy with how it went. All in all, a good day out.

Alex Tinsley

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