Three club members, Stuart Quick, Paul Whitehouse and Sian Marsh have been out racing this past week – this is how they all got on.
Stuart was in action again last Thursday at the closed road circuit at Milton Keynes Bowl. Organised by Team MK, Stuart didn’t realise at the time that amongst the 30-rider field, was fellow club member Paul Whitehouse, for this Cat 4. race.
Much like Stuart’s previous experience at Abingdon the week before, the pace for the Cat 4 race was high with an average speed of around 26mph, for the 35-minute race.
The course was damp with just a few dry spots, so care had to be taken. With the finish line at the top of the only incline, this is where all the attacks are launched. Several of these attacks took place throughout the race, but no one managed to get away. As the field came to the final 3 laps, the rain started to fall and the pace eased a little, as everyone was hoping to recover a bit before the final furious lap and a bit.
As expected just before the bell the attacks began up the incline, and Stuart kept with the bunch and finished around 18th place and happy with his performance, staying with the lead group. Paul faired somewhat better, finishing with a podium third place.
Also in action, this time on Sunday, was Sian Marsh, who rode in the Tour of Witheridge Moor, Cat. E/1/2/3 Nat B road race. It was a brutal 53 miles with 4,446ft of elevation. With a reputation as a tough course, it comprises two laps of a 26.64-mile circuit that starts in the small village of Witheridge in North Devon. The course goes through Nomansland to Tiverton, with a left turn taking the race to Rackenford and then back round to Witheridge. A strong field of women turned up including UCI teams, Cams-Basso and AWOL O’Shea and other teams such Bianchi Dama and Storey Racing.
Sian Marsh in action at the Tour of Witheridge Moor
The men’s Cat 2/3/4 race started 15 minutes prior to the women’s race and an early crash on a steep descent meant that Sian’s race was neutralised again after 5 miles, until the road was cleared.
The race started to break up early, with seemly unrelenting steep climbs creating gaps. A handful of riders fell off the back and a group of approximately 20 stayed together until a couple miles prior to the end of the first lap. Sian and four other riders banded together to try and get back on, but it wasn’t to be. The race ahead split up with two smaller groups leading the way with Sian’s group third.
With light rain and gusty winds, the race was particularly hard going. Sian managed to finish 17th, which got her in the points – an excellent achievement, as this was the first road race she’s finished, having crashed out of the Wyre Forest road race, earlier in the year.
The race was won by Illi Gardner (CAMS-Basso) a Cat 2 rider.