Race Report: Cricklade Kermesse - Rapid!

We travelled up to Wiltshire yesterday to take part in the Cricklade Kermesse, and it proved to be one beast of a race. 15 laps of a fast circuit, then a finish on the narrow, downhill High Street with crowds of spectators. My target for the race was the 'King Of The Mountains' classification; on 5 laps there was an uphill sprint up Common Hill, with the first three taking points.

From the start it was pretty evident that the race was going to be FAST, and tight corners were going to make it quite technical at times. By the second lap people were jostling for position for the KOM classification, trying to be near the front for the climb. I did that, but in fact ended up on the front...not so good. I ended up just taking 3rd on that one and gaining one point.

The pace kept on climbing, with the average speed for the race in the region of 28mph. Breaks were trying to go off the front, but there wasn't really any chance of them keeping clear for that long, as people pulled them back for the second time up the KOM. This one I really messed up, getting spat out the back of the leading group in 4th, with a heart-rate reaching a personal maximum, higher than I have ever seen on the bike, it wasn't a surprise that I threw up in my mouth a few minutes later then...haven't done that in a while. I was just about ready to sit up, call it a day and resign myself to the finishing sprint.

By the third of five KOM laps though I was beginning to get myself sorted; sitting second wheel as we hit the bottom of the climb I sprinted up the road reaching the line a good few bike lengths clear of all the others and  taking maximum points.

The fourth time wasn't that great, and I ended up coming in about 6th I think, but at least the main contenders for the prize weren't in that front group. Then on the fifth and final time I managed to nail it. A break had gone up the road and were about 40 seconds clear of the main field. Noting that all my rivals were in the main bunch I chased after it alone, latching onto the back just a few metres before the start of the climb. Whilst there was still one guy up the road in front of the break, I was able to gain another two points by crossing the line second at the front of the break.

I was pretty knackered by then. The break that I had gone across to inevitably got caught about half a lap later and I 'coasted' along in the bunch for a while trying to regain some composure. I did a bit of work on the front trying to chase down a few breaks and then before I knew it we were on the last lap, with a two man break up the road that somehow we hadn't manage to catch.

When we had looked at the finish before the start it was evident that it was going to be pretty dangerous. There were traffic calming bollards with flower pots on stuck out into the middle of the road and the downhill ramp meant that it was going to be very fast. I was a fair way back in the pack, but moving up nicely into the top 15 or so going into the finishing straight when the carnage began. Almost simultaneously a guy tried to squeeze down a non-existent gap on the outside of me, and two other tried to do the same on the other side of the road. I got away lightly, the guy just put his pedal into my front wheel and bent two spokes. The riders on the other side of the road did not; hitting a parked car at 35mph and catapulting into the air, it was lucky that it was only shocked and dazed riders and broken carbon that resulted, rather than broken bones.

After that little event I just coasted down to the line, probably finishing around 20th I expect. I had done my work for the day though, and although consistency hadn't been great in my KOM attempts, I came away with second place, a bottle of wine and some new sunglasses.

It was a great race overall and a fantastic way to finish the season and a great week for me. Really looking forward to more road racing in 2013.
The lads at the finish. From the left James Ebdon, Matt Tibbutt, Myself and Sam Baker
(I forgot to zip up my jersey... amateur). Photo Courtesy of Graham Robins


  1. Great report here Tim....It certainly seemed one hell of a race...Best of luck for the 2013 season.



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