Thursday 31 May 2012

Round 5 Henfold Hill Road Race

Winner Emily Bagnall of Wyndymilla UK Youth was ecstatic and wrote up a report to share the story of her first ever win. Congrats Emily!

"Initially I had intended to cycle down the London Phoenix road race and 5th round of LWCR, held on the Henfolds Hill circuit, but as with the previous few days the sun beat down so fiercely that I choose the easy option, the van.

It was a race I’d been looking forward to, I recognised the names of many of the other riders on the start sheet and knew it would be a fast and exciting race and it was another league race and a chance to gain points for the individual and team standings.

The race started after being led by escort over the A24 and onto the race course. In the heat I wondered if I would be cowering at the back worried about dehydration, but as the soon we got going I found my legs and went for an early attack. Hoping that others might get caught napping and miss the move until it was up the road, but no such luck. Attacks went pretty much continuously for the next two laps of the 6 lap race. Increasingly attacks were being jumped to by riders hoping to ride away with a break, attacks by LMNH riders Anna and Helen looked like potential winners, but all attempts were reeled back in.

After the third lap I decided to rest in and drink as much as I could, grabbing a fresh bottle from team hand Graham. At this point London Phoenix rider Astrid took up the mantel to drive the race as hard as she could, along with a succession of attacks coming from Kingston Wheelers Jasmijn and Maryka.

The circuit is named after a rather cruel hill just in the Henfolds area, teasingly just after the Henfolds tea stop a small climb, then as you turn the second bend the Henfolds Hill climb kicks in. The sudden change in pace finds riders at the mercy of a wheel coming back towards them or a weaving competitor regretting their choice of gear. Whatever the case it’s a good chance to attack as you mount the climb, the top is deceptive and what looks flat still has a gradient, it hurts all the more if you try to recover at this point, just a little to early. On the four lap noting a small gap over the hill and thinking it could be a good chance to put the hammer down, I shouted up to the riders in front of me, but the following riders were far to observant to allow this to get away and it came back together before the decent was done.

In the tremendous heat, the final lap at first seemed a lifetime away, but then it was upon us. Despite the building heat and competitive tension in the peloton everyone remained focused. With the final corner nearing, a few of us including the Pearson team and myself moved up. As we came round the corner and the 1KM to go sign, I was relieved to find myself near the top of the bunch, in a good position and wasting little effort to keep close to the front. At this point the pace on the front eased worryingly off with riders unsure of making such an early commitment, then a sudden charge from Maryka brought everything back to life. The group stretched out, each bend in the road seemed to go faster and faster. As we turned the last corner, the chequered flag came into my view. I decided to try and go. With no one in my way and feeling good, my hands on the drops and head as low as possible, I sprinted.

One thing in my head, ‘don’t stop till you’ve crossed the line, whatever you do…’ and then the line and no one had come past me, surprise then jubilation. A fantastic day. Back at HQ a chance to chat, congratulate each other and enjoy a cold drink."

Emily in the middle flanked on the left by 2nd place Astrid Wingler (London Phoenix) and 3rd place Sarah Brook (Mulebar Girls).

1st 5 Emily Bagnall Wyndymilla 2 2.03.00
2nd 2 Astrid Wingler London Phoenix 2 s.t.
3rd 15 Sarah Brook Mule Bar Girls 2 s.t.
4th 13 Nicole Oh Pearson CC 3 s.t.
5th 1 Anna Grundy Look Mum No Hands 1 s.t.
6th 18 Sarah Maidment GB 3 s.t.
7th 21 Claire Leonard Brighton Mitre 2 s.t.
8th 8 Helen Ralston Pearson CC 3 s.t.
9th 11 Lauren Whitmore London Dynamo 2 s.t.
10th 6 Emma Craddock Southdown Bikes 2 s.t.
11th 19 Pan Pan Fan Look Mum No Hands 3 s.t.
12th 17 Helen McKay Look Mum No Hands 2 s.t.
13th 3 Catherine Hills Wyndymilla 2 s.t.
14th 16 Vikki Filsell Pearson CC 2 s.t.
15th 12 Maryka Sennema Kingston Wheelers 2 s.t.
16th 9 Jasmin Muller Kingston Wheelers 4 @ 22 secs
17th 4 Coralie Glaunes Pearson CC 3 @ 1 lap
18th 20 Elinor Winter Corvida Allpress 4 @ 1 lap

With five rounds completed, Lydia Boylan of Look Mum No Hands! RT remains in the lead followed by Karla Boddy of High Wycombe CC. Wyndymilla UK Youth's Emily Bagnall's win in round 5 pushes her into third place.