Spring Chicken Road Race

Everything to do with bunched racing on the road and velodrome.

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Steve Hewitt
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Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby Steve Hewitt » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:24 pm

Like to mention the excellent individual and team performances at the weekend in the Spring Chicken RR. A second place for Gavin and a seventh place for Baynesy after excellent team work. Gav, Baynesy, Chris and Sam - you did the Hemel proud. Chapeau!

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John Lacey
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Re: Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby John Lacey » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:39 pm

Yeah Gav did an awesome lap out on his own and the Hemel team did an excellent job of blocking for a few miles before it was challenged, I also joined the blockers being a Hemel stealth rider. Nice to see two riders in the top 10 given the amount of work all four of them did on or near the front and some text book teamwork. I got cramp on the last lap and had to sit up, otherwise I was looking at a top 60 finish.

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Sam Williamson
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Re: Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby Sam Williamson » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:20 pm

I thought it about time I penned a couple of lines on the race...

In hindsight I'd probably wound myself up a little too much for this event and arriving early at HQ to see so many young, fit , tanned riders all in perfect looking kit with expensive bikes didn't do much for my pre-race nerves.

Although the forecast was good I realised the roads were very greasy during my warm up so I'd already made a mental note to take it very easy on the sharp lefthand bend near the start and I hugged the lefthand gutter as several riders hit the deck - the sound of carbon scraping along tarmac always sounds costly - maybe my old Condor wasn't a bad choice after all...

The crash split up the field a bit but we soon regrouped and I was pleased to see Hemel still had 4 riders upright.

In the run up to the race we'd talked about various scenarios that might occur on the day but the main instruction was to make sure no-one had an easy race and each team member to 'take responsibilty' for the race.

In the first couple of laps Gavin was always at or near the front looking very, very strong and Baynsey and Chad were putting the field under a lot of pressure with lots of work on the front. I was getting stronger as the miles passed and began to quite enjoy myself, having a couple of little digs at the front whenever I felt my legs could take it.

On the 2nd lap I lead the field down the hill into Edgecott and 'round the lefthander up the hill - this was mainly to keep out of trouble but I was rather hoping there would be a photographer at the bottom of the hill :wink:

We were all doing our share of the work and there were a few little attacks off the front but nothing lasted long as we looked to control the race as best we could.

I found myself at the front of the pack once again on the next run into Edgecott with Gav right on my shoulder...as we rounded the turn he powered off up the hill and within seconds he was 30 or 40 metres ahead.

Now I had no chance of catching him - my legs weren't anywhere near up to the task - so I had 2 choices - try and catch him up, bringing the group with me - or sit up and see what developed. I sat up.

Chris quickly was at my side having seen what was happening and asked 'won't he need some help?' - I explained that I was in no position to help so the 3 of us just sat at the front of the group as Gavin dissappeared into the distance...

A couple of other riders came to the front and we made it perfectly clear to them that the fella who'd gone off the front was nothing to worry about as we set about riding as slowly as we could with elbows as wide as possible :lol:

We managed to keep up this 'sporting' behaviour for a good few miles and honestly thought Gavin would have put enough distance into the peleton to solo to the finish. We were probably a little too busy congratulating ourselves on a job well done to notice the few riders slipping off the front and forming into a chasing group - none of their race numbers had been on our 'hit list' before the event.

Anyways, we all know what happened after that...Gav was, without a shadow of a doubt the strongest rider in the pack, Baynsey may well have been the best sprinter, Chris worked tirelessly the whole race and I just enjoyed myself as a rather old 4th Cat - part of the most influencial team in the race.

Now we just need to hear the thoughts of the 'fella who went off the front' with a lap and a half to go... :wink:

Good job Hemel - organiser, helpers, riders!

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Ian Baynes
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Re: Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby Ian Baynes » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:59 pm

Excellent race report Sam, that's exactly as I saw the race as well.
I really enjoyed the hard sections when Chad & me were pushing over 320W for 20 minutes, driving the pace of the race.
I managed to turn up in shape and with my race face on! I hope we put on a good show for the very supportive crowd and did the club colours proud. :D
The highlights of the race from my perspective were Chad's amazing hard efforts at the front, he literally turned himself inside out! Chapeau mate. Gav's acceleration into his solo effort was awesome. And of course the final lap were Sam and me ghosted up to the front, started chatting and Sam said "I think I'll just roll in to the finish now, my job's done" and I said "just watch this" at which point I managed to win the bunch sprint to claim seventh!
A great day with excellent team work and the only fly in the ointment is that we didn't quite get Gav his win. I didn't want to join the chasing five as I was reluctant to chase down a team mate. Sorry Gav my inexperience showed there :oops: .
Thanks especially go to my team mates Chad, Sam and our team leader Gav for all of the training and planning that went in to the race.
A special mention has to go Paul for organising such a professionally run race and for all of the club members who sacrificed their valuable time to help support the event.
Can't wait til next years event to try to go even better.

Baynesy

duncan knight
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Re: Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby duncan knight » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:30 pm

Well done guys !

John Dowling
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Re: Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby John Dowling » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:49 pm

View from the front Commissaires car was good!! - Gav was in control of the race even when 2 chasers became 3 but then 2 more got across to make 5, then it was 1 man against 5. Not good odds - even a very strong man (& Gav is strong right now) would struggle to hold off and win - the gap just wasn't enough.
I know Gav was pretty fed up with another 2nd but it was probably his best ride of the 3 - Some wins cannot be far away. 8)

Surprise of the race has to be Ian "Cav" Baynes leading the bunch in - Good work! and nice also that all 4 Hemelings finished - a good start to the year
JD

Chad G
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Re: Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby Chad G » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:20 pm

I think you fellas have pretty much said it all about the race,for a first time team effort we did good.
I was unsure about chasing the break too,would only have worked if we could have made a clean getaway from the pack so not to take everyone with us and as there were lots of keen riders wouldnt have been easy....with hindsight though mmm
Highlights were of course an impressive (but very unlucky) ride from Gav,Ians very pro sprint and definately Sam and Ians very funny peleton propaganda whilst we were holding up the pack...great stuff
Thanks very much Paul and all the HHCC crowd for organising a great days racing
Chris

John Dowling
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Re: Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby John Dowling » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:00 pm

At the risk of being Mr Knowitall :roll: (ok why not!!) one of you tacked onto one of the last lap chasing efforts but not working would be the ideal scenario. You would have had an ideal opportunity for an armchair ride but easier to say than do of course........... and certainly easy for me to say!

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Paul Thomson
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Re: Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby Paul Thomson » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:05 pm

Paul Thomson
Racing Secretary

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Sam Williamson
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Re: Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby Sam Williamson » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:41 pm

Any chance we could get the team kitted out with some radios next year so we can get some of this advice during the race rather than 3 weeks after the event? :lol:

Anyway, what am I talking about 'next year' for - makes me sound like I fancy it all over again... :roll: :lol:

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Ian Huntingford
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Re: Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby Ian Huntingford » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:23 pm

I haven't been on the forum for quite a while so really enjoyed catching up on all these excellent race reports and comments. I've never done a road race and doubt I ever will but it was great to read this stuff and, not for the first time, made me proud to be a member of HHCC.

Well done Gav, Baynesy, Chad and Sam.

Ian

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Gavin Atkins
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Re: Spring Chicken Road Race

Postby Gavin Atkins » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:24 am

I know this is now ancient history but this is the first time since the race I've been able to sit down and finish the report!

The 2012 edition of this now classic (IMO at least) event promised to be a good race with 4 strong HHCC team mates in Ian Baines, Chris Grange, Sam Williamson and myself. We did a pre race recce and had a brief chat about a plan. We decided to take responsibility for the race and that’s what we did.

Rolling out it was clear the roads where quite greasy and after the start coming into the sharp left I decided to move forward to avoid any trouble, and mid corner I rounded the lead rider only for him to lose control and slide out, and I missed his bike by inches as it slid across my path! At this point I was glad I’d left my deep section wheels in the car.

Warning heeded I knew there was only on acceptable scenario at the Edgecott turn – lead it through. Sam did some sterling work on the front up to the brow of the hill I entered the turn first and knowing the course quite well helps here as if you can get the line right you can open a fair gap and punch it over the hill which really strings out the bunch for relatively little effort. Over the top Graham Warby attacked with another 2 riders joining him, and Chris and Ian chased them with the help of a few others. We about made contact when Graham punctured, so that was one strong rider out.

There were a few other digs but first time over the hill I noticed I felt fine and for the first time had some belief that I could ride a strong race after months of really frustrating circumstances. At some point I was away with three other riders but to be honest I don’t remember much about that, we were brought back any way and Sam and Chris again put in some shifts to keep the pace high as agreed. I pulled the same move each time through the Edgecott turn and Ian, Chris and Sam controlled it the rest of the time. On the approach to the finish for the second time we had it all under control to the point that everyone was just happy to sit in and recover from the bursty nature of the race so far, so we called off the tempo riding a the front and invited attacks. A few of these came and went and third time through Edgecott I was away by the top of the short rise and about 30m clear – I didn’t want to try and break out so far from the finish but I was committed and so I got down to the task.

By some miracle of a training taper and some really focused work recently I found I was able to sustain a high pace solo but hoped I might get some help earlier! It was not to be and I continued to ride as high a pace as I could but keeping a little back so I could still punch the undulations of the course. JD was offering great support in the comms car 8)

I had 3 riders in pursuit for while but was managing to hold them off, just. I passed the finish for the last time still holding a high pace but once their number grew to 5 I couldn’t hold them off and I was brought back into the fold over before the final ascent of the Botolph Claydon climb after 25km solo.

There was no way I was going to be budged from the rear of the now 6 man group in the run into the finish, one guy was calling out orders relaying the gap and things but I think he thought there was still another lap to go as he was still shouting this information out at about 500m to go! Another rider broke out at about 400m to go and I covered him and set out with about 250m to go which was to prove just too far after my earlier break and Matt Barrat easily came by me in the last 20m – agonisingly close again and not without mistakes on my part but the winner was the better rider on the day and I gave it 100% with fabulous support from my team mates. A great day out :D


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