Thoughts from George:
Over the August bank holiday weekend, I took part in the Summer Points Series Crits hosted at Redbridge Cycling Centre. Yet, on Saturday morning, standing at the top of the Hog Hill circuit, under grey skies and with a sharp northerly wind, I began to wonder if perhaps they should have dropped “Summer” from the series title!
I had entered into the 4th cat race, on the second day of a three-event series running between the 18th and 27th of August. Each day had plenty of racing action, with two women’s races (4th cat and an E123), and four for the men (4th, 3rd, E12 and a Master’s). All races followed the same format, with around 45 minutes of riding including three prime laps. With points gained in the primes and final race standings contributing to riders’ overall position in the series.
The race itself was fast, but not beyond what I’m used to and I managed to pick up a handful of series points for being in the top three riders for each of the primes. However, when a two man break eventually broke off the front of the pack I simply didn’t have the legs to go with them. In the final bunch sprint, I came across the line in 8th place, picking up a further few series points, as well as a couple of BC points.
On Monday morning, the day of the final race of the series I had a look through the standings so far and was surprised to see myself in 4th place, even though I’d missed the first race all together. I decided my best tactic for the day was to take as many of the prime points and see how I was feeling when it came to the final sprint. My plan seemed to pay off, and by staying at the sharp end of the race I managed to pick up the maximum number of prime points. Coming down to a final sprint for the finish, an Islington CC rider managed to slip passed to take the win, but I was more than happy with second place. Especially considering that I had amassed enough points during the race to take the series title, as well the accompanying cash prize!
Overall, I had a great weekend of racing, and was really impressed with how well the series had been organised. It was good that a number of LVCC members had made an appearance, including myself, Lee Lavery, Paul Roberts and Tim Holmes (in his OCTAVE guise). Though the cold weather probably put off many spectators, (it was great to see Dave McCarthy back on his bike and making the trip to watch!), there was still a good atmosphere and many riders stayed on to watch the races later in the day. All going to plan, the organising team are planning on running the series again next year, and I for one will be entering!