12
May
14

LVRC – Tour of the Abberleys

This is going to sound really silly but my primary goal was just to get up the hill with the lead group on the final day as last year I was blown straight out the back on the first lap, more on that later.

This event is 4 stages over 3 days and everything is hilly.

Stage 1 is only 2.2 miles but it is a full burn steady climber with a sharp climb to the finish, not my thing really as it is too short and the hill at the end is too sharp for me. Ended up finishing 35 seconds behind the leader in 14th place. To be honest I was gutted to basically ride the same time as last year, it was head wind all the way but I was still gutted.

Stage 2 in the afternoon was an interesting affair, nothing happened for the first 10 minutes as we pottered around but from that point on things got interesting with bursts and attacks with nothing sticking, I know I was very animated trying to get away. In the end it came down to a bunch sprint and we all know I don’t sprint but I got the same time as the main group. This was my best chance of a good finish due to it being an almost flat run in and I blew it with poor positioning in the last km.

Stage 3 was also a memorial race which meant it came with the added spice of premes. I hate premes as they have a habit of stopping breakaways from happening and making the race blow apart. Strangely this was not the case on the first one as even off a fast start Conner disappeared up the road where he stayed for nearly 2 laps. My plan had always been to try and save myself for one big breakaway effort which I attempted on the last lap. This was covered and so we headed down to the final climb together. As the climb started I moved to the front trying to keep a tempo but this wasn’t hard enough and on the flat we were all together. Sadly for me the race exploded here and I lost time on the last 500 metres. I climb better but still don’t sprint.

Stage 4 is quite simply all about Stockton Bank and one of the reasons why I came back this year. The other being that the event is brilliantly well run. Last year I was shot out on lap 1 and that hurt pretty bad as although I worked with a group all the way round they then dropped me on the climb 2nd time. It was pretty fast from the off this year and I found myself at the back and not for the first time wondering if I was there through choice or not. That said nothing really happened and as we got near what I thought was the climb I moved forward and spoke to Connor who pointed out it was not the climb. Oh well at least I was well positioned. It is amazing how you forget how long a climb is and as we climbed the Bank on more than one occasion I thought we were nearly there and more than once as the pace changed I had to go very hard to stay in the group but stay in I did and really enjoyed the descent on the back of the group. Clumsy riding saw me nearly get dropped across the top to the finish line but once in I stayed smart. The second ascent of the Bank was “easy” compared to the first and I can only guess people were already thinking sprint finish. All I could do was hang on as the pace picked up and not for the first time I was flat out before the real sprint started. In the end I finished off the back of the bunch again.

16th overall and a total success as I was involved in every stage and yet I am disappointed. I don’t need to be a great sprinter but losing time like I did in the last 500 metres on 2 of the stages tells me where my biggest weakness now is.

Huge thank you to Mike and the entire team who were brilliant again and to the guy upstairs for giving us sun and not rain which is unusual.

When can I enter again ?

 

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