High Wycombe CC’s Karla Boddy’s aspirations of a result in the David Peck Memorial Race (ShuttVR) Women’s Team Series halted by cramp
Karla writes I started this race with a buzz knowing that we would be riding alongside the current Junior Road Race World Champ, Lucy Garner. It’s a privilege to be able to ride with such an amazing athlete and other riders in the peloton with similar palamares; you didn’t have to look far on Sunday to find someone who hadn’t done something big in recent years. Personally I find this quite inspiring; it doesn’t matter if they are a seasoned athlete or a new talent, just being able to ride with people who are at the upper echelons of the sport is brilliant.
It’s like Marlow United Football Club mixing in with Man Utd! Only in cycling is this possible!
The race started with Twickenham CC leading the peloton through the neutralised section in memory of last year’s race organiser David Peck who tragically died from injuries sustained on a crash from London to Paris last June. It would end up being a fitting tribute that the race was won by a previous Twickenham CC rider, Natalie Creswick, who was supported by Dave when she was at the club.
It’s worth mentioning that Lisa (race organiser) was considering not organising this year’s event. Last year, the same race was run on the Maidenhead Drift Road course and after half a dozen accidents and an air ambulance being needed, the race was called off. You can see why she wanted to park the race for this year but after what happened to Dave, Lisa wanted to organise it in his memory.
As the race rolled over the neutralised section, an attack went fairly immediately into the first lap; Natalie Creswick from Team MuleBar Girl and Annabel Simpson from Matrix Fitness – Prendas. They maintained a steady lead of between 30-50 seconds over the first 13 laps and despite a few surges from the peloton to bring it back down, the best it got down to on the first circuit was about 25 seconds.
Above: The early break of Natalie Creswick and Annabel Simpson
Strong in the pursuit of these riders were a couple of Scott Contessa girls (sorry the name of the key couple I am thinking of I’m unsure of), and I tried where possible to join in on the pace setting but it was often coming to nothing; partly due to excellent tactics from Matrix Fitness -Prendas who would sit 3rd/2nd wheel and of course not come through as their rider was in the break.
But also plenty of others were not in the mood to join the chase. Corrinne Hall, Clare Leaver, Astrid Wingler, Lucy Garner, Kim Ashton and couple of the Scott Girls were strong contributors to leading this race and keeping the pace. At points the front 10+ riders were strung out and at times it looked like other breaks might go.
As we were coming to the end of the first circuit (circa lap 11/12) Lucy Garner injected some more pace; absolutely everything and anything Lucy or Corrine did was marked; if it wasn’t one team chasing them down, it was another lone rider. They were easily two of the strongest but with the World Champ stripes and the orange colours of Node4 Giordana on their backs, no one let them leave their sight.
Above: Hannah and I in the bunch
It was at this stage in the race that I realised mine was over. With about 15 miles or so to go I got cramp, again. After last week in the National Team series, where this happened with two laps to go, this was really disappointing especially considering that in a year of racing, I have never got cramp during a race and certainly not to the extent the last two races have bought.
I am carrying a slight achilles injury back from my training camp in Spain three weeks ago (note to self do not use a 450m training week to try out brand new stiff racing shoes) and last Friday I felt the first consequences when racing; I seem to be over compensating for it in my pedalling action and as such encouraging the onset of cramp. And yesterday was by comparison to last week, horrendous. Nevertheless if I stayed in the saddle and used a lighter gear I could keep in the bunch and free wheel to stretch where possible.
Above: Lucy Garner, current World Junior Road Race Champ
The break was down to a mere 15 seconds turning the hairpin into the first lap of the second circuit and we could see Annabel Simpson drifting back to the peloton after a massive effort off the front for almost two hours. Meanwhile, Natalie Creswick wasn’t settling for this and continued in the pursuit of glory; she was within touching distance but over the next 10 or so miles, she pulled out a lead of well over 3 minutes.
I’d stayed near the front for most the race and over the final few laps saw a bit more of Hannah who was having a good race. Having sat in nicely for most the first circuit, she positioned herself well for the place where it might all kick off and held this position into the final moments of the race.
Meanwhile the main peloton was down to about 40 riders, as we hauled ourselves over staple hill into the wind for the penultimate time I was confident my ability to be competitive in this race was over, still I wasn’t going to go down without trying to at least ‘sprint’! So we approached the final hairpin and I must say some girls are shocking at cornering!
It was here I chose the outside of a rider who just kept going wider and wider and before I knew it I was in the gutter on the right hand side of the road and about 20 back from where I was at the start of the turn! (Lesson, choose inside of less confident cornering riders at least then you’re not governed by their line!).
I managed to get myself back to the front and rode up the climb on the front with Lucy Garner, Kim Ashton and a couple of others from Scott and we negotiated the pace well into the final 200m so no one could come through too early a make an early surge for the line.
And as if by magic I got out the saddle to sprint and sat back down, it wasn’t to be, I was just cramping all down my left calf and right quad. I know you might think ‘but its only 200m’ but honestly it was impossible and I had no choice but to free wheel to try and alleviate the pain. It takes 200m to go from front row to 32nd! I now realise that last week I was lucky at the other Team Series Event to hold on for 8th with the cramp I had then.
Above: Lucy Garner taking 2nd; Hannah on the right a few wheels back.
Disappointing for me especially considering the Club Run had made it out to watch and I felt like I let them down. But this was rectified by Hannah who pushed home for a sterling 8th place in her first ever road race. A special thanks goes to HWCC members who made the effort yesterday; it was really great to have you all there and we had the biggest support crew across the duration of the race by far! 2 little riders who were nowhere to be seen this time last year and we got almost 20 of you out for the day! Thank you, I know how freezing you all got and your support is what makes this club!
Above: A few of the amazing, and freezing, support crew.