X4.018 – CHEETAHS.ARE.FAST.THOUGH
September 1st, factory reset…
Round One of the LCCA League kicked off once again at Stanmer Park in Brighton on a very hot Sunday. The start of a new season is always interesting – you never really know how much training everyone else has been doing or whether your own has been good enough. Plus Stanmer Park is always a bit of a road race. It was exciting for me as I got to air my new kit for it’s first proper outing.
My recently shaven beard was commented upon by all of the regular crowd as we lined up for the start. First rider on the second row got me a nice inside line for the first corner, before we raced up the main hill for the first time. The hill started off as quite hard work, then got harder as we transitioned onto grass, then got harder again as we went onto soft bumpy grass and then kicked up to the top of the woods – it basically stunk! But happily I quite like hills so each lap I just got stuck in.
I’d got a bad start, but three laps in I started moving through the pack along with Chris (Fruit4London) and Dan (Corridori). We were all suffering on the climb and there wasn’t much recovery through the woods. Plenty of slightly-too-tight turns made it hard work, but as the race went on we’d started to overtake riders who’d run out of steam. We worked hard to catch Kristian (Cyclelab) and then the four of us motored round for several laps.
As the bell started to ring I looked round and we’d dropped Dan, I was also wary of doing too much work on the front, but I felt if I kept the pace high I may have a chance to beat the other two – plus Dougie Fox was telling me to get on with it! Chris tried to make a break for it at the bottom of the final hill, but Kris and I covered the move, before Kris took his chance to go again. This time I just couldn’t find it in me to go with him so stayed fixed on Chris’ wheel.
Following him all the way down the dusty singletrack back to the finish I decided to try and beat him before the final complex – it would be too narrow after that. As I sprinted for the corner he realized what was going on, but I just piped him to it. I covered his sprint all the way through that last section and came across the line in 13th place to get my season off to a fairly good start. Happy with my best result at Stanmer Park, in the heat, where I normally struggle.
A TT on the Saturday was a good chance to get some speed into my legs – Talking with my friend Ian before the start he remarked upon my lack of beard and how people often mentioned his as being detrimental to TT racing. I joked about how much time it would normally have cost me, to which he said, “hmmm, cheetahs are fast though”.
Penshurst, one week after the first round and I was nervous again – a good result at Brighton had settled me, but now I was worried about following it up, especially on a track which is normally good to me, but can throw up some harsh surprises. It had also been moved forward in the calendar and I hoped that the lack of mud wouldn’t be an issue. Being gridded in the same place helped and a good strong first hill alongside Russell (London Dynamo) put me into the top ten and I then latched on to the lead group.
The pace was rapid, but I wanted to push it to see how long I could survive – the answer was not long, but I settled into a rhythm with Dan Braid for a few laps until we caught the first rider to drop back from that lead group. I’d suffered a bit so had a brief rest following wheels for a lap – Gary record was going well on the mountain bike, especially on the downhills, but after three laps I decided to push on and get ahead which is what I did.
I still felt like I was struggling and when I saw Jack Finch (PMR) a couple of hundred yards up the hill from me I figured he must have punctured. He disappeared for a few laps as I slowly caught up with Josh Outram (Thanet), keeping one eye on the riders behind me. On the long rough downhill riders were puncturing, but we both knew we had to keep pushing. Josh made a mistake in front of me and shortly after overtaking him I did the same – with one lap to go I pushed as hard as I could up the triple ascent. As it snaked its way up the dusty hillside the course was brutally tough, but I could see Jack again so I kept giving the beans.
I’ve seen Jack ride well as a Junior and as a Senior he’s one of the riders I really respect – when I went past him with one to go we were both well into the red! I then rode faster than I dared all the way down the hill to stay ahead. Pretty much all the way back up the hill I was looking behind me worrying about Josh, Jack, Dan and Kris catching me, but on the final slope I knew it was a job well done. I’d taken advantage of one of my favorite tracks, which is what I knew I had to do to go well later on in the season and a 6th place finish was exactly what I needed from Penshurst.
Round 1 Results;
Darren Barclay Arctic SRAM
Crispin Doyle Hargroves
Phil Lenney GWB Activ
Matt Holmes Arctic SRAM
John Dennis Control CC
Jack Finch PMR
Matt Clements Cyclelab
Patrick Huff Lewes Wanderers
Phil Glowinski VCL
Chris Herring East London Velo
13. Glen Whittington SDW
Round 2 Results;
Liam Earl Corridori
Phil Glowinski VCL
Will Taylor SDB
James Flury Vicious Velo
Phil Lenney GWB Activ
Glen Whittington SDW
Jack Finch PMR
Josh Outram Thanet
Kristian Borbely Cyclelab
Dan Braid Corridori
Photos by John Mullineaux and Glyn Durrant.
Glen rides a pair of Boardman Elite ‘Cross bikes in the London CycloCross Association League. He rides a Colnago Master and races a Scott Addict at local road races, all of which are available via The Velo House. He races a KTM Aera Pro 27.5 hardtail in the UK National Points Series and the Eastern XC Series. He receives personal sponsorship from Helly Hansen, KTM and THE.ÆIGHT.BICYCLE.CØMPANY. He’s also supported by Lazer helmets. The KTM team is supported by Continental Tyres, Torq Fitness and Four4th Lights.