Race Report: Ride 24/7 Cricklade Kermesse

Last road race of the season today: not an amazing result, but a great race all the same.

I rode the Cricklade Kermesse two years ago, and came second in the KOM classification. This year the target was on the overall though, in a last ditch attempt to get enough points to retain my second cat licence going into next year. I came 9th in the end, so I didn't get the points I needed, but it was one of the best races I've had all season. 

This is a FAST circuit; with 15 laps of a tight course, a lot of spectators and a high street finish. Positioning is key, and that became pretty obvious on the third lap; on the slight drag that features on the circuit a split occurred in the peloton, luckily I was on the right side, and so started a 15 man breakaway. 

Once the gap was established, the break got organised, and we started to power round the circuit with an efficient through-and-off. The gap got bigger, on lap 8 (I think) we got a time check: 1 minute. By lap 9 that had gone up to 2 minutes. We were steam rollering, and it seemed like the pack had given up the chase a bit.

It's hard work in a break, but once you get into the rhythm it's quite drilled and everyone just gets on with it. Once the gap was up to 2:30 it was pretty clear we were going to stay away, and although we had lost a few riders, reducing our number to 11, it was still working well.

The problem on the last lap was predictable for me. I've been struggling with a lack of 'kick' (probably because of a lack of racing and recent illness). Attacks were going off the front of the break; I didn't have the legs to follow or to launch an attack of my own, and I knew that if/when it came down to a sprint I was going to struggle.

That's what happened: one rider launched a great attack with one lap to go, and stayed away. The rest of the break was left to sprint for the runner-up places, I managed 9th. 

It was a good race though, I enjoyed it. A nice afternoon, lots of spectators, and a reassuring feeling that I can still hold my own in a fast paced bunch, despite a lack of racing in the last few months. 

I didn't get enough points to retain my second cat; I'm a bit gutted about that, but it's the unfortunate result of a rather bad season for a number of reasons. Bring on next year. Hopefully, with a bit more structure and a bit better luck, things will go more to plan. For now though, I'm going to switch to the MTB for the next month and enjoy a bit of XC racing.


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