Tuesday 24 July 2012

Round 9 - Henfolds Race

Sunday 22 July. The riders of the Tour de France wind themselves through the country lanes and towns on their way to an exciting finale on the streets of paris and the Champs-Élysées. Moving comfortably in that group of cyclists is the yellow jersey. For the first time in the tours history a brit. In just under one weeks time, he'll be climbing the zig zags of box hill.

Just south of Box Hill, down in the country lanes of Leigh another group of riders meet for round 9 of the London Women's cycle racing league. The race is a Surrey League open road race put on by Team Corridori. Summer appears to have arrived and temperatures are on the rise, by the time of the briefing 1.30 the sun is strong enough to create those cycle tan's so loved and laughed at in the cycling fraternity.

2pm vehicles and teams roll out, a neutral drive onto the start and then the race commences. Just over four laps of the Henfold's course, but this time the finish line will be on Mill Road just short of the A24. The pace is being driven along by a few strong riders including London Phoenix rider Astrid Wingler, a few attacks make an attempt to go off the front, some of the most aggressive from Emma Craddock (Southdown Bikes) and Corvida Allpress rider Elinor Winter, but the peloton stretches out holding on and things regroup.

Drama ensues as Kate Fisher of Pearson Cycles is taken out by a severe pot hole in the road, sadly another rider is caught out with her and we hope both are recovering well, its been a tough few weeks for the Pearson's Team, despite this they continue to be one of the most reliable and skilled teams in these races. The crash splits the bunch, but they chase hard to get back on with Coralie of the Pearsons team managing to make contact on the final lap.

Back to Lap 2 and the bunch, minus those caught up in the crash, is still together, then as the group rides up the Henfolds Hill, Astrid Wingler moves forward and Elise Sherwell (Look Mum No Hands) see's her opportunity and attacks along with Natalie Creswick of Mulebar. Jo Mcrae (Look Mum No Hands) and Clem Copie (High Wycombe CC) follow making a fast group, the peloton stretches out with fierce speeds as other teams and riders attempt to join the break. Eventually Emily Bagnall of Wyndy Milla, Uk Youth, manages to join and the final group of five is formed.

Despite the hard efforts and fatigue of the breakaway a moment of cheers is shared as they pass team mate Charlotte Easton of Look Mum No Hands, who in turns shouts back delighted encouragement.

Delia Beddis leads the chasing peloton and does her best to get the chase formed and focused. But the breakaway works together to keep their distance, all the riders are careful to ensure work is being done evenly until the final lap and the turn onto Mill road the finish drag. The breakaway slows down, aware they have a two minute gap to play with, tactics are recognisable to track cycling...slow speeds, eyes watching each other. Then, Natalie goes, Elise follows, hot on their heels Emily, they make it a 1,2,3 with Jo, shouting encouragement to her team mate and Clem coming in 4th and 5th.

A brief wait and the peloton comes steaming up to the finish line, Anna Grundy (Look Mum No Hands) and Elinor Winter (Corvida Allpress) battle to take the sprint for 6th, it was so tight results are pending. Emily roars delight to see team mate Kate Hewett coming in 9th. An exciting and fast race, chapeau to all those who rode and who did not get a mention in this report.

A huge thanks to the organisers who put on a great race and gave out generous prizes to the delighted top five. One for the diaries next year!