Last week there was a flurry of Racing activity from Sodbury CS members, Lee Aston came down to pay a visit to one of his old TT courses, he battled strong winds on a bike he is not used to to come a quick 2nd place on the Severn road TT on Tuesday. On the Sunday Jo Jago also bagged another 2nd place in the 4th round of the hardriders series. Cheltenham & county 22 mile hilly TT. Again the weather was described by Jo as being "SO SO cold". yet this still dint stop her completing with a time off 57:45 - course pb too.
Next was the 2nd of the Via Roma Handicap races, Jo was back for more pain and was joined by Chris Britten, Nick, and myself.
Via Roma Spring Handicap round 2 25th April 2018
It was a very blustery evening when I arrived at Aston Down airfield. I went to get my number from the desk and the lady was sheltering behind a wall with all of the paperwork weighted down to stop them blowing away. This was not going to be an easy race. It was also freezing in the North Easterly wind, down to 5 degrees and more with the wind chill. Far too cold for this time of year. I met Chris and we went up to the cafe to get a hot drink. There were instruments on the wall showing all things meteorological. An air speed indicator was showing winds of up to 40 Mph! We returned to our cars and met up with Jo, Ryan and Sam and rode off to start our warm up and head to the start line, everyone shivering. I was glad I had my arm warmers and Toe thingies with me, I hate getting cold.
Chris, Jo, Nick, Sam and myself were released first with the rest of the fourth cats, ladies and over 60's, then the 3rd's 2nd's 1st and Elites were released a couple of minutes later giving us a head start for the hour long race.
I felt good and rode toward the front of the group for the first few laps, swapping places and keeping myself out of the wind as much as I could. The runway section was very difficult and felt as if time stood still with the wind blowing from right to left everyone was trying to limit their losses by sheltering on the shoulder of the guy in front producing echelons almost across half of the width of the runway. then the rain started which added to the punishment. We were all still together, about 30 minutes had passed and we were coming toward the returning corner to the finish line and I could see the fast group approaching behind us about 300 meters away. I heard someone say, "nobody wants to work, it's as if they want to be caught". I had a pang of guilt but I wasn't going to be hung out to dry so stayed hidden in the bunch. Then on the next lap, the fast group were right behind us, I went to the back of our group and drifted back so I could be in control when the passed us. Well that was what I thought anyway. They shot past and I had to sprint to get into the tail of the new big group that was now growing. I was in the red and struggling to hold on. I had had enough, my body was saying slow down and that was it. I had to let go and watch the bunch disappear up the road.
The race had been going for about 40 minutes and I thought of stopping until I saw Nick behind me, we met up with another couple of guys and rode our own ride until the end. Happy that I had done my best and some more strong miles in my legs. I used the excuse that I had a 'touch of flu' which is always good for the ego.
Jo and Chris made the split when the new group formed, but after wasting energy with an earlier attack Chris only managed to keep with them for another lap and a half, Jo kept it together for another 10 minutes or so, before dropping off with a small group, including the front three ladies, and racing to the end picking up riders as they dropped off the front group. The fast pace took its toll by the last couple of laps though and she had nothing left for the sprint!
After the race, we all met back at our cars and put warm clothing on and went to see the prize presentation. it was nice to see that Ryan had made 3rd place, Jo had 3rd lady and Sam had 1st 4th cat. A great night on the whole and it's a shame there isn't another one for a while.