Icknield Road Race

Easter Sunday, Road Race report.
Icknield RR category 2/3.

Dreaded the 6am alarm call, but once on the road it was a quick drive on empty motorway up to Great Barford, about 20m past MK. Had time to drive the course prior to race and the roads looked in really good condition, with a few drags. There looked plenty of places to recover so the course didn’t look overly difficult, but it was windy so could get interesting if a team spends time hammering the front trying to split things up. Saw a friend at sign-on, Greg from Condors, who is going well and we talked tactics. Race start and breaks were going aplenty! Fresh legs hatching for Easter. With plenty of teams represented with good numbers was pretty confident nothing would stick. It was tempting to join a few attacks but the drag up and then down half way round the course was where the peloton was making all the time up… no way anything would stick. At times it was over 40mph. The race didn’t turn out to be selective, just lots of surging. Was a little concerned with 80 riders turning up fresh for the sprint.. things can get messy. Luckily a few teams sent riders up the road to start the last lap playbook, namely Watford, MK and Verulam, which stretched things out beautifully and people were hurting. Stayed in first 20 riders until we got onto the main road for the 2mile surge to the line. The finish would suit me, up a few 3% drag so I wasn’t concerned with not being in the first 5 riders. About 8th wheel, we hit the finish ramp and was aiming down the left to hit 200m to go, when the leadout went right, I think this side of the road protected me from the wind because I was making ground down there and about to push past the front 5 who had a small gap on the right hand side of road – then one of the 5 riders totally blew-up and pulled left, right into my path. I shouted “ON YER LEFT” manically 2 or 3 times and trusted he wouldn’t go to the gutter and i just about darted past him in the gravel, but the damage was done after 2 missed pedal revs the pack swarmed up close. Luckily the line was a little further than I thought and managed to re-activate the sprint to take 10th. Wanted top5 here so was initially gutted but glad to come away with something. Had a chat with the winner, James O’Connell from RPR, at the end..another nice young guy with a big sprint. Great event from Icknield CC, a nice part of the world. Happy Easter! 🐣

Steve James