With the weather forecast promising howling gales and driving rain for midway through our scheduled race it was marvellous to see 17 women lining up for the start of the 9th SWWRS race. Series favourite Mathilde Pauls (Exeter Wheelers CC) made the journey down from her new home in the big smoke especially for the race (well maybe a little bit for the Topsham Turf swim which she did that afternoon, and the two up time trial her and Ayse won on the Sunday too- nutter!). It was promising to be a tough one, with some of the big kids from Hope Factory and Abergavenny out to show the locals how it was done.
Now the wind wasn’t quite howling when we rolled out, but there was plenty of it to put you off being on the front. The attacked started early with hope that the wind would splinter the group and reduce the numbers a bit to a more manageable level. Gillian Taylor was the first to go, but was soon chased down, with the Hope Factory riders Adele Martin and Lyndsay Glazier working together well. The Exeter Wheelers ladies put in a good performance with Heidi Viles driving the pace and putting in the odd attack here and there.
Due to some unfortunate race preparation the night before I only lasted two laps – although I am proud to say I managed to put a dig in before opted to bail out. Therefore I have no idea what happen after our second lap- I presume much of the same with attacks going and being chased down as the rider battled the brutal head wind on their tod! Either way by the final lap, waiting at the finish line; what was that in the distance, could it be, was it possible- a lone ride from the women’s race clad in glorious yellow smashing it round the corner into the finishing straight with a massive lead on the group…oh yes of course it is. There was Mathilde Pauls, the only one who could stay away in a lone break taking the win in impressive style, the win that happened to clinch the Series for her too, with 7/7 firsts!
In the bunch behind the sprint was close fought by the 12 or so remaining riders, it was sprint specialist Adele Martin who snatched 2nd place from Gillian Taylor who rolled in 3rd and Alex Sheehan taking 4th. Well done everyone who completed the race in tough conditions, it was great to see a few of the newer faces out! Thankfully the rain and big winds held off till halfway men’s 3rd & E/1/2 race- hurray! I am sure we all felt quite smug in our nice dry cars!
See you at the next race- EWCC 25 mile TT on the 1st September