Newquay Velo Road Race- where to start!
Being British I might start with the weather; it was foul! Driving down there the wind was buffeting cars around the road so it was a bit concerning the effect it might have on a mere bike racer! It was raining too, just to add to the charm. But on the positive side it was quite warm, reading 12 degrees on my garmin.
The race course was a triangular layout, the start and finish were on the first leg, half way up a significant but not too steep hill. To add to the fun there was the wind, which seemed to have chosen to blow as hard as it could down said hill! The second leg was downhill with a couple of short sharp undulations. And the final leg was a pretty flat run in to the bottom of the hill.
Unsurprisingly at sign on it became clear that we would be racing with a smaller field than anticipated, due no doubt to the horrible conditions, but still 11 women signed on and lined up for the race. Heading out onto the course the rain began and we all settled down for what we hoped would be an uneventful, but challenging race.
The race started on the hill on the A39, the hill combined with the 49 mph gusts in our faces did slow things down a bit! People were unsurprisingly not that keen to ride on the front, but we did eventually get to the left hand turn where things started to pick up. For a start we had a tail wind and it was downhill!
Mathilde Pauls (Exeter Wheelers CC) chose this point to attack and got clear of the bunch by a good few hundred meters by the second left turn. However things went a little amiss here when the Race Car took the wrong turn. Mathilde and the lead car proceeded to take a wiggly route through various country lanes back to the course – Mathilde at this point oblivious to the fact they were lost! Meanwhile the majority of the rest of the women’s field carried on along the wrong road, heading down wind and down hill. Having ridden 3.5km in the wrong direction our commisaire in the following car eventually managed to get our attention to stop us, turn us round and take us back to the course!
By this point Mathilde and her lost lead car were back on the A39. The call was made to stop Mathilde while the rest of us got ourselves going back in the right direction. So Mathilde, still pretty perplexed about what was going on, was ushered into the lead car to keep warm while they waited for us.
Back with the main group we had just reached the corner where we had taken the wrong turn initially, and were about to get racing again. However this wasn’t to be! On the corner a wet drain wiped out one bike, taking down a few others and stopping most of the field. Cath Newton (Newquay Velo CC), Claire Elworthy (Exeter Wheelers CC) and myself (EWCC) were all that remained of the main group. Following some deliberation we decided to carry on racing. Mathilde was restarted as we approached up the hill, and waited to join our group.
This was the final lap, with this in mind me and Mathilde put in a couple of attacks on the second leg, both of which were chased down. It was then Cath’s turn to take a dig, attacking on the second small climb she split the group, only Mathilde could hold her wheel. Claire closed the gap before the second turn, where Cath and Claire took the correct turn, but Mathilde and her friend in the lead car tried to go AWOL again! Mathilde did the quickest U-turn witness by man and was soon back with Cath and Claire.
It all started getting tactical now. With two Exeter Wheelers in the group, and one just off the back, Cath was left to do most of the work along the final leg. On reaching the bottom of the hill to the finish Mathilde launched another attack. This attack split the group again with the biting headwind making the job of getting up the hill even trickier. The three leaders proceeded to “crawl” up the hill in a gripping, but pretty slow moving finale of an eventful race!
So Mathilde Pauls (EWCC) took the win, closely followed by Cath Newton (NVCC) and Claire Elworthy (EWCC). The rest of the splintered field rolled individually, each fighting the cruellest wind possible up the hill to the finish. Louise Benn (EWCC) came back, having hit the deck in the earlier crash to finish in 5th, not far behind myself (EWCC), I never recovered from Cath’s attack. A hard day’s racing for all I think!
After the finish we all headed back race HQ to get dry and warm with a cuppa and some delicious cakes. The prize giving took place before the men’s 2/3/4 race briefing so there was a good crowd to support us; I think the chaps were marvelling at our brilliant prizes!
Thanks to the Bike Shed for providing Bontranger R2, R3 and R4 tyres for 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. Also to Greens of Devon who made up a beautiful bunch of flowers for the winner and gave out 3 Chef’s Garnish boxes. And last but not least thanks to Alpha Vae Solar who gave us some SIS Sports products for the prize stash!
Thanks also to the event organisers Newquay Velo, and all who help out in proper nasty conditions! Also thanks to Primal for providing the QOM prize – won by Mathilde after her jolly through the lanes!
I lost track of who got what on the prizes front in the end but everyone looked very happy despite the drama of our race and that is the importat thing. At least things can only get better for the Series!
The next event is Ilton Crit on Sunday 21st April at Ilton’s Merryfield airbase, It is a great course for novices but has plenty of opportunity for more experienced racer to make it interesting too! Open to Men E1/2/3, Women and Juniors For more information click here to be taken to the British Cycling entry page. https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/91956/South-West-Regional-Road-Race-Championships#entry
For more information on South West Women’s Race Series visit: http://swwomensraceseries.wordpress.com/
See you there for more prizes, points and fun and games!
Newquay Velo Road Race Results
1st Mathilde Pauls – Exeter Wheelers
2nd Cath Newton – Newquay Velo
3rd Claire Elworthy – Exeter Wheelers
4th Ellie Bremer – Exeter Wheelers
5th Louise Benn – Exeter Wheelers
6th Gail Aspden – Squadra Donne-Shutt VR
7th Alex Sheehan – One & All
8th Sorrelle Johnston – Rutrainingtoday
DNF Kirsty Harries
DNF Mel King – Newquay Velo
DNF Dee Richards – Tavistock Wheelers