BUCS road race report written by Ben Thomas:
The BUCS Road Race 2009 took place on a windy, rainy Lincolnshire Saturday with and myself making the journey down. After a short pre-race briefing, where the organisers knocked a lap off the race distance taking the total distance from 94miles to about 80miles, we got underway.
The 4mile neutralised section went on a bit longer than anticipated as two riders crashed due to the constant slowing and accelerating near the back of the bunch. At about 11:20 the race finally got underway with a few attacks almost right from the gun. 2 riders were away and built up a lead of 1:30ish over main group.
The back section of the course had few tight bends and meant the tailwind couldn’t be fully used. As we went onto the back straight the mother of all headwinds hit for the next 4-5miles as the leaders gap was cut down. Turning left onto hill up to the finish line gave us a distinct de ja vu feeling of the peak district as a multilevel beast stood before us. Perhaps not usually a bad climb but as the race was in the left hand gutter due to the severe cross wind several riders were dropped at the bottom.
As the road continued to rise up the strongest riders created a gap that only few could follow. The top of the hill involved a short (70-80m) Winnats Pass type section that really kicked up just before the feed zone and this is what kicked me out the back on only the first lap. Jamie managed to cut his losses and re integrated the front group quickly over the top. I managed to work with two Oxford riders to try and get back on but the front group were obviously much stronger. As our chase group began to swell with riders catching up from behind the chase really began. Only 3 of us were working through and off for the first half of the second lap, steadily reducing the front groups lead. As we raced along the headwind back straight a few more people were pulling through but there wasn’t enough coherence to really make it worth while. Too many riders were sitting in and still only 3 of us were coming through consistently. I found this my undoing as my legs totally gave on the second time up the hill and I saw half the group sail away in front. The lead group was almost within touching distance but the gap extended over the top of the hill. I found myself along at the start of the third lap, the stronger riders pulling away in a group and the weaker ones too far back for me to wait for to make another chase. At this point my cold from the previous week was really making an appearance and at the end of the 3rd lap I called it a day. I was out of the points and not likely to recover!
Jamie on the other hand was having a great day and stuck with the lead group until 2 laps to go. I last saw him towards the end of the penultimate lap making his two chase companions suffer as they moved towards the HILL. At this point I had made my way back to HQ to warm up and get my free can of Red Bull (don’t know whether it was free but no one was guarding the huge multipack!!). Jamie slumped in a cool 22nd place, just outside of the BC points but still a fantastic result.
Many people had retired early due to a combination of the weather and the course so perhaps only half the field had finished at the end of the day.
“It was the toughest race I’ve ever done” commented Jamie as we packed away.
Too right…the top 10 was littered with riders who consistently ride Premier Calendar Events or are sponsored 2nd/1st Cats.
Next year…more Sheffield riders to fly the flag…There was all standards of riders there not just the real race horses. As has been the tradition for the BUSA RR down the years, the real trick is just finishing the race not matter how far back you are. Hopefully I won’t develop a cold just days before the next race!
I propose to organise some racing trips, say to Darley Moor and we can get ourselves in shape for next years race.
Many thanks to Jamie who came and collected me from Grantham Station and took me to the race so I could do it and for taking me back to Loughborough station after the race.