Hove Park Crits #3.
The third and final instalment of the much loved Friday evening series turned out to be the hardest fought yet with an average speed 1mph higher than previous weeks races.
As the race started I led out hard but steady with the view of controlling the pace in the first few laps. My team-mate Alex mixing it well up the front. This was looking good and was going to plan until the first prime then: Boom! Time to shift it. I grabbed a point or two but at 25 minutes in found myself deep in the red zone and, for a moment, saw an early pizza on the cards.
The tremendous spectator support from team-mates and friends was enough to remind me of rule 5 and made me close the 50 yard gap (how could I possibly disappoint the crowd? Lol)
A prime or two later and Alex had slipped back to the chasers due to the pace deployed by the fresher legs of the sharp end; he deserved my shout of support as the race picked off lapped riders one by one (the short laps of Hove Park taking no prisoners as usual).
Further into the race and my tactic of marking series leader James Lowden (Neon Velo) was going to plan despite his team’s persistent ‘1-2ing’ gradually tying up the legs.
With 5 laps to go I held my place towards the front as missiles launched from all sides.
The final corner arrived not a moment too soon and I found myself losing a place to a ‘dive-bomber’. The uphill sprint was on yet 9th place was all I could muster as I crossed the line.
Although there was no podium for me, with a 5th, 6th, 9th and some prime points, I await the final series results to prove how hard this old fella can still ‘party’ on a Friday night!
Hove Park: Hard, Fast, Grippy, Love it.