It may only be the beginning of February, it may have been one of the wettest starts to a year...ever..(no kidding!) but the cycling race season has started.
Racing around an exposed airfield in Somerset on a very windy day may not sound fun but road racing isn't meant to be fun, its meant to be hard and tactical. Well I can asure you it is hard and tactical, and also sometimes not so much fun!
So five keen(ish) Mud, Sweat n Gears riders turned out at Ilton for the fourth round of the TVCRA Kalas winter series. Calum Croft and Matt Mildon lined up for the elite/1st/2nd cat race and race newbies Rob Midmore and Dave Boss (and myself) sat shivering on the 3rd/4th cat start line. Calum and Matt had to deal with some elite riders who had won many top UK races which made their performance all the better. Calum punctured on the first lap but after begging, borrowing, but not stealing, he was allowed back into the race and put in a very strong ride which is very encouraging for the coming season. Matt found himself isolated after a great ride to keep himself in touch with the leaders for most of the race, so again a promising performance. The cat 3/4 race was, as usual, quite manic. From the drop of the flag attacks came left, right and centre with a small group getting away. This group was caught with 2 laps to go only for some more to escape, and these managed to stay away to fight out the win. We all worked hard to close the gap but the leaders were too strong and so we came in the middle of the fractured group. It was a really tough race due to the wind and constant attacks, but Rob and Dave did very well and put in a strong effort.
While we were racing around on tarmac, Amy Jo and Rob Hansford were taking part in the first round of the Gorrick Spring (maybe a bit early!) series of mountain bike races. For any who have never raced mtb, it is a very intense full on experience and the conditions at the moment obviously don't help!
Amy did really well coming in second in her category just three minutes behind the leader, which is nothing over 3 25min laps. Again a very good early season showing. Rob, unfortunately, (or not, depending on your point of view!) was too powerful for his chain and snapped it on the second lap. He assures me he tried to fix it and return to the race but didn't have the right tool with him. (such a shame, I wonder how hard he looked!)
So all in all a promising start to the racing season and much to look forward to the coming year. Well done and thanks for representing Mud, Sweat n Gears on the race scene. I hope it hasn't put anyone off trying again!