45 Road Club

NCRA Summer Scratch RR #1 - 4th May 2014

Today marked the first Open Road Race of 2014 and with a new team and some riders riding their first ever scratch race the atmosphere was both positive and a little tentative.
The race was held on the Middleton course, which can be a very tough loop that includes Bringhurst Hill and a "lovely" drag up into Ashley, neither are majorly difficult in isolation, but ridden at speed in race conditions they can sort the men from the boys.
We had a clear plan with 2 lead riders, each leader having riders given the responsibility to protect those guys in different ways and also a "just finish" goal for the newer guys, it was a pretty relaxed idea that also meant we could ride the wave of other teams as there were some very clear favourites for this race!
With the race neutralised out of Cottingham the first climb wasn't too eventful even though there was a 70 rider field. We had a few riders near the front so stayed well in control. As is always the case in 3/4 races there is a customary attack near the start and today was no different, but as there were none of the favourites we didn't react. There was a pretty stiff attack led by Arbis into Ashley on lap 1, but I managed to string the group out and get close this one down without too much stress.
In all honesty, the race was quite uneventful from there on with Ian "Pickle" Pateman putting in some great turns to keep the race strung out and me closing a few things down the first laps were actually ok, at least they were at the front. It wasn't until after the race I found out that we had lost a few riders to crashes, mostly due to riders losing their line when cars were coming the other way, it's the curse of being an amateur racer and can scare new riders, but you kinda get used to it over time and realise you just need to brake softly. I digress...
I was expecting the race to really kick off on either the 3rd or 5th time up Bringhurst, or the 4th time into Ashley. The attack actually came into Ashley the 4th time, but as with any time Arbis attacked it was from a known rider and he was closed down very quickly, it still went nice and fast though.
Stu Travis had stayed in the top 10-15 riders all race with me barking "Travisssss" if I saw a potential attack from a dangerous rider, Pickle still up there and Tom P joining up front too. Lap 4 and Dan Mc popped up front looking comfortable in his first race, closely followed by Rob C, also in his first race and it was Rob that led the race up Bringhurst the last time, it went up quite quickly but manageably and it was then I was the unfortunate Dan Mc with cramp, it happens and would also effect me later in the lap.
Again, a pretty uneventful half a lap, some nice big surges but nothing sustained. Again this is a curse of 3/4 races where you don't have strong enough and importantly confident enough riders to really smash it apart and recover, not an issue with me as it makes a mere Domestiques job a little easier ;)
The final kick into Ashley saw me cramping in my hamstring, which is a very pleasant experience half way up a hill. I managed to shake it off and get not the back but I knew that unless another team took charge of the race in the final few km's that I wouldn't be able to get back to the front. This was the case I'm afraid, I spent the next few miles looking for a hole, but no luck so opted to just sit at the back and see the sprint unfold.
Stu followed my advice in the sprint and it almost paid off, only failing because a guy sat up and blocked him, so close as he looked like he could have got the win, but that's racing. Luckily he got a great 5th place in his first Open Road Scratch Race which was enough to secure him his Cat 2 licence, an awesome achievement in just 8 races and perfectly to plan, now his work starts for real! But I'm sure with his talent he'll soon pick up the skills for him to progress.
Special note here to Tom who managed to stay up front and attempted to lead Stu out, alas he got his wheel clipped and went down with 75m to go, no major issues just a few bumps and a long wait for new shorts....
Also special mention to Rob C who finished back of pack and Pickle who finished alongside him, but mostly a special mention to ALL 45 Riders. Not everyone was lucky today and I am sure some guys will be at home going back over the odd mistake, but we showed ourselves extremely well and really came over as a strong force, it's hard to believe this is our first real season as a team. There is also a great atmosphere emerging and plenty of smiles, it's truly great to be around and I'm sure we'll have some great success from now on.
Onwards 45... Paul Rothe

5 Stuart Travis 45 RC
33 Ian Pateman 45RC
35 Robert Clapham 45 RC
48 Tom Perry 45RC
49 Paul Rothe 45 RC
53 Daniel McDonnell 45 RC
? Michael Berry 45 RC
DNF Oliver Bates 45 RC
DNF Jon Overman 45 RC
NRCA Summer Scratch #1 at Middleton - 04/05/14 (Images by David Brown)
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