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Sol, Jo, Duncan and Martin went down to Footscray in SE London today to race in the London League as no Central races now till Jan.
Felt strange to get to the M25 and turn left rather than right, but made a nice change.Last year was a slow, heavy quagmire of a race, made more difficult with the contents of Christmas dinner still reverberating in the stomach.This time it was  a beautiful, crisp sunny day, but the mud didn’t take long to emerge, and for Mad Dog Winter and Le Dunc it was a case of Groundhog Day. Just like last year we found ourselves locked together with one and a half laps to go. I’d shaded it then by electing to run the last 30 metres as pedalling was getting me nowhere. How was it going to pan out this time?I’d got a great start and managed to make my way past the tangle of bikes and limbs on the first bend where a Vicious Velo rider and a couple of others slid off. I was finding it hard going though and the course, while pretty fat, is really tiring and liable to bite you on the bum if you relax too much. I slid off a few times in the slippery corners and single track through the woods, but nothing too serious. Martin was a little way back but worked his way through and caught me on the third lap on the flat section that passes through about 200 molehills and then rises agonisingly up to the pits. He was going strong, and strangely thought he was passing Sol and shouted “Come on Sol” as he slipped easily past. I’m not sure whether I should feel flattered or Sol should be upset. Either way, if we’re all sharing a family room in Derby for the Nationals it could be interesting!I dug in and managed to keep close to his wheel as we went into the single track through the woods on the last lap. Martin snuck past 3 back markers on the tight slippery path, and me and another guy shouted loudly at them and nipped through just before the track narrowed and kept in contention, but I really thought Martin had it in the bag with 400m to go. My legs had gone and I was happy to concede. Then, just like last year (and I’m sorry to have done this again Mart) I managed to carry a bit of speed down the final slope into the big off camber bend and nipped past, narrowly missed a tree and a back marker and held on till the line. Great race, and Martin would have taken it if he hadn’t got held in the crash, but no doubt we’ll be tussling again this time next year at exactly the same bend. Great race and great fun.Over the line, as Martin and I gasped and laughed, a somewhat elated and furious Sol met us and explained that she’d come second to a Look Mum No Hands rider by 5 metres, but had thought there was another lap to go. She’d chased her down for a couple of laps closing a pretty big lead down to just a couple of bike lengths. If the Men’s race leader hadn’t lapped them in the back section they would have gone into another lap and who knows. Really fantastic ride, and so unlucky. What a season Sol is having! Saw Jo at the end looking happy and muddy, so hope her race went well too.

Down to Southampton next week for a Wessex League race to keep the legs ticking over, and then off to Derby on the 11th. No pictures this week, so here’s the Garmin map image instead.
Five 2 mile laps in an hour, no hills to speak of….knackered, chuffed and scratched to bits. Thank heaven for the jet wash. The bike is clean and ready to go again. More than I can say for me right now!.

Go Twickenham

Le Dunc

martin at Footscray Sol Footscray Dunc Footscray

 

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