Surrey League – Longcross Cat 2/3 Road Race

The second iteration of the London Dynamo hosted Longcross Road Race was on Saturday 16th. This was going to be a fun arrival seeing as Raider RPR won the 1st round two weeks ago and this time he’d be turning up in force with a team of hitters! Arrival, sign-on, a short warmup and a word from Tom on who is strong and worth keeping an eye on and onto the start line.

On the first lap everyone was settling in, it was more of less a course learning exercise for those of us who hadn’t ridden the circuit before. In true RPR fashion Rob and Big Mat had decided that one lap was enough and were straight to the front firing off attacks and attempting to turn the screw into lap 2.

After a handful of laps in the bunch not doing much I came out the finishing straight on lap 5 and put in an acceleration over the bunch on the right hand side to attempt a break. 3” @ 950w to get over everyone then 35” @ 570w through the sweeper to hold 50kph. A small gap formed but only a number of bike lengths. I look back and can see the pack pressing on to close. No notable strong riders have come with me so I drop it back before the snake and settle in to the bunch.

Lap 6 goes by uneventfully, sitting in the bunch and waiting for something to happen, nothing comes. Into lap 7 and much the same. I ride up the right-hand side to Raider and share a laugh at how much Big Mat is out the front avoiding the bunch at all costs. As we corner through the snake I make up places and find myself on his wheel coming out into the straight. Mat looks back and I nod him to go. Mat kicks and I stay on his wheel 4” @ 1000w watts and were away. Pairing turns down the main straight were holding pace at ~50kph. Another rider has sprinted up to try and get on (this is the photo moment you may have seen). Sweeping round the first corner another 2 or 3 riders have accelerated off of the bunch to have a pop at the break attempt. The pace is hard, possibly unsustainable. For this lap my heart rate averages 170 (my threshold is 164-182). Through the snake and up the 3 short rises, each taking around 800-900w for 3-8”. We’ve lost big mat and another rider. Coming into the straight the 4 man break settles into an organised pace line and without much being said we all know it’s head down. We have Ian Robins from CycleWorks, Peter Allan from Wyndy Milla, Tom Easley from 360ASL and myself.

There isn’t much to be said for the way the break worked over the coming 30 minutes or so. Every 2 minutes I’d be back on the front and my efforts were very consistently 30-40” @ 400w, unless going through the rises in the snake. It was obvious when I had a lap where your turns weren’t through that section, regardless of who is on the front up the steep rises you all have to work hard. On some laps I’d put in 40” @ 400w then some big efforts through the rises, then back on the straight at 400w again. In contrast, the laps where I pulled the pace line through the snake I would appear down the home straight feeling very fresh. It was pretty much pot luck who took the front and where, nobody appeared to be forcing others to work at inconvenient moments. Further analysis may prove otherwise. Looking at the efforts retrospectively I was putting in 40 seconds of effort then it was 2 minutes before I was on the front again. Whether the other 120 seconds were distributed evenly is hard to say. Looking at Wyndy Milla rider Peter Allan’s strava data shows his efforts we similarly 30-40”.
On every lap as we cornered into the snake you could look back down the first long sweeping corner and see the bunch. We were slowly building the gap and it was a convenient spot to check and instil confidence that our efforts were working. As a group we’ve informally agreed not to ‘fuck around’ until the last lap, communicated via Peter and a nod from the rest.

On the bell lap we continue even turns round the first sweeping corner into the snake. As we navigate the potholed chicane into the first rise Peter kicks to get away, I react to stay on him and it costs me 10” @ 1000w. Ian Robins has stayed on too but the young rider from 360ASL has dropped. No surprise really, his turns through the final few laps were slowing, you could see he was really trying to do his fair share but falling a tad short. Chapeau to him for giving 100%. So now it’s 3 of us. Pushing over the rises through the snake, Peter pulls off and I’m on the front with Ian behind. Annoyingly I’m first out of the chicane and onto the beginning of the finishing straight. There’s a good 700-800 meters from here to the finish line so no heroic final corner accelerations. I’m frustrated that I’ve put myself at the front and drop to around 250w in an effort to minimise a lead out. Clearly nobody is coming through at this point in the race. I snake around side to side to make it harder for them to follow my wheel. We’ve dropped to around 40kph at this point. I’m looking back and watching the whole time, then Ian launches his sprint. Peter and I kick to get on his wheel. I’m on it for a second or two but a gap is building. Ian is off. Peter and I are side by side chewing our stems and burying ourselves trying to make it to the line. It’s close but with 20 meters to go he has half a wheel on me and that’s how it stays. These guys put out a huge effort and as much as it pains me to come 3rd in a 3up it was well deserved. My final sprint was 23” @ 950w.

After rolling round to the car park I congratulate Ian and he says sorry, knowing in the final few corners and onto the straight he was hedging. That’s racing, no hard feelings from me, he made a better position for himself and used it to his advantage.

I think I, once again, did too much; particularly in the last lap. After kicking onto Peter’s early attack then taking the front through the last corner, the first part of the final straight I was pushing 470w. If you’d have asked me after the race I’d have denied it but the numbers are there. There was 20 seconds between that effort and the sprint but that’s not long enough to recover. It may well have been enough to cost me a winning sprint. I’m interested to hear the opinions of others on this, what would you have tried in the final mile?

On the whole a great race, my first experience getting away in a break and holding off a bunch. 3rd is something to be happy with, although room for improvement always!

Can’t wait to hear the report from Raider and others in the race. Well done to Big Mat for creating the winning break and Raider for winning the bunch sprint for 5th. It was amazing to race with a team of riders, even if I was away in a break for the most part.

Total race 1h 14m @ 308w AP / 343w NP / 157 avg HR
23″ sprint finish @ 950w peak @ 1250w
Peak power @ 1400w

Breakaway Stats
Duration: 44m 45s @ 335w AP / 355w NP / 164 avg HR
Avg Speed: 44.2kph

Surrey League – Longcross Cat 2/3 Road Race