Saturday was a venture into the wonderful world of road racing for us Twick Chicks, many of us dipping our toes into it for 2nd or 3rd time …..and oh….It is sooooo much fun! Myself, Clarry, Anna, Helen & Jess were in the women’s cat 3 / 4 race at Longcross (all of us relative newbie cat 4s), while Emma, a Cat 2, was racing with the lads, and finished strong with the bunch (I’ll leave coverage to those in that race).

As for the Cat 3 / 4 girls, it was a race of two teams – Boom Cycles & the rest of us.
The 5 girls from Boom Cycling were organised from the off, all lined up ready to break from the start, and well blimey, they certainly tried. Barely milliseconds seemed to pass between being set off & their legs firing. For me, my heart sank as I momentarily thought  ‘oh cr@p’, ‘oh cr@p’!

Realising it’d be bl00dy hard for us girls to get points, and gutting to see our chances of any top 5 finishes disappearing off already  …then the brain kicked, the legs started firing, & a few of us caught them & reigned them in. This was a familiar tacit for the first 5 or so laps. They got themselves organised & attacked hard. A few times they nearly had it, but we kept reacting and didn’t let them go.

Then they peeled back. For me this was not good news. I was aware they were resting, ready to attack or react to a break, and the surges at the front kept coming- but we kept responding, keeping a couple of us TCC girls in the break each time & then pulling them back.
About 8 went at one point- 3 of us from TCC, and with a bit more could’ve held it, but shouts of ‘GIRLS we’ve got a break KEEP GOING’ came in vain. & just as we were all collapsing from that burst, the Boom Cycling girls went. Hard! Anna & Helen chased strong along with some non-TCC riders – which was enough for me to hold on & for the Boom girls to be caught. Had I been in any doubt before then, the affirmed how strong they are, individually and working as a team.

As the race panned out, Helen and Anna continued to do big pulls at the front, Anna showing humbling strength again & again in the brutal wind on the finishing straight. Jess punctured, which was gutting, as she was a strong contender, in a fairly feisty race

With a few laps to go Clarry put in an astonishing break, I raced to catch her, knowing a sole rider would have no chance in the wind & that maybe (?!) the two of us could work as strongly as the 6 I’d thought you’d need for a break in that wind. Maybe – maybe  – we could’ve done it, but before long we were caught…but Clarry wasn’t ready to rest & held the front for another couple of laps, even into the wind in the finishing straight. By far one of the hardest stints anyone did all race.

The last few laps were jumpy, but we held all the breaks, before going round the corner into the brutal head wind for the final straight, waiting for the jumps to come.

The girls fired, & there was a nasty crossing of wheels in front of me just as we were pushing all our power through our legs. It may have only lasted split seconds, but it felt like time stopped. I felt sick, the poor girl went down badly, limbs looking like they went in directions they shouldn’t, somehow I managed to avoid her body, just nipping round her. It wasn’t good & I thought about stopping, but realised I’d be close to no help. Then I realised the girls had gone, and I could either try to hang on to the bunch as they peeled through or try to get something working in my legs. The something came, but a bit too late.

Anna was storming in front with a couple of the Boom girls, pushing through the head wind, and finished second, pipped to the post by one of the Boom team, who came in 1st 3rd & 6th. I came in fourth, and absolutely spent!

It was the first time I feel like I’ve ‘raced’….and, oh my word, it’s so much fun!!! Bring it on!!!! 🙂

(Fortunately (relatively), as far as I know, the girl who went down was left just with cuts and bruises (how??!), and nothing more serious)

Chrissie

From Race 1

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