The 3rd road race, and 7th event in the Series was a corker. The course on the edge of Dartmoor had some cracking backdrops, the 8 km triangular loop had two undulating down hill legs, with the final 1 km uphill drag leading to the finish at the top of the hill on the remaining leg. This course was definitely one for the climbers, with 5.5 laps and 6 times up the hill. The race had 12 starters in conditions reminiscent of series Race 1; wet and windy.
The group rolled out from the start 5 mins back from the men’s 3/4s race, on the wet roads the tight corners proved treacherous with one rider taking a fall in the first lap in the final corner. After this everyone was pretty careful in the corners, and with good reason.
The bunch tackling the hill – Photos from Nigel Williams, more at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.494911053929323.1073741909.108493142571118&type=1
By the second lap the pace had quickened, and by the second slog up the main hill the group had splintered with a couple of smaller groups forming, being in the second of these groups I cannot give a first hand account of what happened up front, but by the sound of it, it was something like this;
The initial split took 5 riders up the road with Mathilde Pauls (Exeter Wheelers), Heidi Viles (Exeter Wheelers), Cath Newton (Newquay Velo), Mary McFadzean (CS Dynamo) and Wiebke Rietz (1st Chard Wheelers) pulling ahead on the hill. By the third time up the hill a second attack coming from the Exeter Wheelers pair split this group again, with Mathilde and Heidi going up the road, leaving Cath and Mary to chase them down. It seems this is how the balance was held until the final lap when Mathilde and Heidi competed in what they claim was a laughable sprint- I bet it was faster than I could manage, with Mathilde crossing the line first taking the win,and Heidi not far behind. Cath put in an attack on the final climb to put some distance into Mary who we all know can sprint! This stuck, with Cath taking 3rd, Mary 4th and Wiebke 5th having been stuck in no man’s land for a time!
Behind a group of 5 was whittled down to 4, with Samantha Kelly (Royal Navy & Royal Marines CA), Alison Hooper (Mid Devon), Susan Jeffery (Army Cycling Union) and myself (EWCC) remaining. With some cunning tactical moves and all sorts going on it was lining up to be a tight fight for 6th…until we got confused, decided we had completed our 5 laps and that we should definitely finish on the next hill. Unfortunately for us we could not count so whilst we sprinted up the hill to the sound of the 1 lap bell it all went a bit wrong! This group then splintered for the remaining lap. Susan did a cracking job bridging up to me, then promptly dropping me on the final climb to take 6th over all, followed by myself, Alison and Samantha.
So ladies if you enjoyed that, then you should definitely sign up to the final event in the series, the Exeter Wheelers Rockbeare Women’s Road Race (Click Here) on the 15th September. Go on, you know you want to!
1 Matilde Pauls 434507 Exeter Wheelers
2 Heidi Viles 892743 Exeter Wheelers
3 Cath Newton 928860 Newquay Velo
4 Mary McFadzean 922508 Cycle Sport Dynamo
5 Wiebke Rietz 722326 1ST Chard Wheelers
6 Susan Jeffery 891115 Army Cycling Union
7 Elena Bremer 906641 Exeter Wheelers
8 Alison Hooper 949946 Mid Devon CC
9 Samantha Kelly 471868 Royal Navy & Royal Marines CA