Just home from my first race of the year, I was riding the senior Category 2 and 3 race at Hog Hill in the East London Velo Winter series. There where no Elite or 1st cat races so I was looking forward to riding hard and trying to get a good result. First off I should say that today was insanely windy, I rode down to Hog Hill on the Dura Ace deep sections I got with the new Condor and it was scary to say the least. I ended up borrowing Ross King's front wheel to race with, he has raced earlier and warned me off the perils that lay ahead!
I really enjoy racing in the wind as it makes it pretty interesting, tough and I would like to think Im more aero than a lot of guys so possibly gives a little advantage! However it also throws up some problems, for a start the lighter you are the more the wind can affect you, I was probably the lightest smallest guy out there and it was pretty tough going! I knew in the back of my head the chances of the race spitting where very high so kept my positioning high and covered a few early moves in the first couple of laps. The wind was somehow blowing a gale force headwind throughout most of the course which made for some very good racing.
With three laps gone 3 guys went off the front and got a very good gap for so early on, I knew it would be hard to stay away in the wind but could see people backing off and not wanting to put their nose in the wind at the front of the bunch. The next lap two guys went of the front and although a little reluctant to chase so early on in the hour plus 5 lap race I attacked half a lap later. We came together and soon caught the front group, that made a total of six riders and we worked well pulling out a very good gap with about 30 mins to go. From there it all relaxed off a little, although never too much as the wind required constant effort. Coming into the last climb of the hill I sat second wheel and was nervous but confident about the sprint.
I commited early and got a good gap so kept going over the crest and then down a slight downhill before taking on the last corner. I saw Owen Lake of Cambridge coming at me so kicked hard again and won by a decent margin! The early commitment payed off even in the wind and I am pretty pleased with how my legs felt, considering it was my first race of the year and I wasnt really sure of how I would go going into it.
I was very lucky to have my Brother and Dad at Hog Hill cheering me on and they took some awesome photos and video! Also thanks to Condor Cycles for a truly SWEEEEEEET bike!