Team 22 competed in the CDNW Capernwray race on the 30th of March. Team manager Colin Batchelor took the time to write a race report after the event.
CDNW women’s series Round 3 – Capernwray circuit – 30 March 2014
The 3rd round of the CDNWs women’s series took place at the Capernwray circuit on March 30th.
Following last year’s inaugural CDNW women’s series the series has expanded for 2014 and includes two of the country’s toughest racing circuits, Oakenclough and Capernwray. This Sunday it was Capernwray.
The circuit is the polar opposite of the first series race: Pimbo is pan flat, whereas Capernwray has no flat at all. The circuit is characterised by the mile long climb of Sunny Bank, brutal not just for its severity and length, but for the number of changes in gradient that can lull you into a false sense of security and make you think you’re riding better than you thought you would, this never happens. It is always very painful, and it’s a welcome addition to the series.
Just over 40 riders rolled away from the start and with the men’s race 5 minutes up the road the women’s race had something to chase – and chase they did, with Team 22’s Jen Edwards (winner of the first 2 rounds) launching the first attack as the gradient rose and fell. This put paid to a lot of riders’ hopes and the race started to splinter into a series of smaller groups as attack followed attack. As the first ascent of Sunnybank approached the first real selection started to form and the eventual winning break took shape with all the top twelve riders covered by perhaps 20 seconds.
Over the top and on the descent of Sunnybank, the lead group of twelve got together and started to ride through and off in a successful attempt to ensure that the race was over for the rest of the field. It was a strong break, with the riders you would expect to feature on a course such as this: three from Team 22, two from VC St Raphael, two more from GB Cycles.co.uk plus a few single riders, including former National Hill Climb Champion Lynn Hamel who would clearly be the marked rider and must have started as pre-race favourite on a course that could have been made for her aggressive climbing style. From a spectator point of view it was great to see some new faces up at the front mixing it with the more experienced riders and making their legs hurt.
Behind the lead group, riders started to settle into smaller groups and work together in an effort to stay in contention and to share the work load on this brutal circuit. This remained the case for the next two laps with the front group working together and there were a number of attacks as riders tried to get away or to split the group up further. Ultimately they all proved fruitless; everyone in the lead group had the strength and bike handling skills needed to catch escapees even on some of the more technical part of the course.
As the leaders started their last lap they began to catch up riders who had been dropped from the men’s race, leading to plenty of embarrassed male faces as the women’s lead group steamed past a puffing 3rd Cat.
When the leaders approached Sunnybank for the final time the pace went up and the first cracks began to appear as riders drifted out of the back. There were still eight riders in contention as the leaders began to climb, then the first attack from the leaders proved decisive as Jo Blakeley from GB Cyclyes.co.uk attacked early and the rest hesitated, thinking that it was far too early on a climb so severe, but it was perfectly timed move and Jo pulled away to take an outstanding win. Hot on her heels was Lynn Hamel, with Karen Poole beating her to the line to make it a GB Cycles one-two. The remainder of the lead group fought it out until the line was passed and there was a road side to collapse onto.
Out of all the lead group, the biggest result was perhaps that of Leanne Farrow from Ilkley CC who was competing in her first race – her fourth place clearly showed that there is amazing talent out there and all that’s needed is the opportunity to race and the support to develop those racing skills.
The next 15 minutes or so saw a series of tired but elated riders crossing the line, each with their own personal story of suffering and success, but no matter how much their legs hurt their were still smiles and a great sense of achievement in defeating some of the UK’s toughest roads.
CDNW Capernwray Top Ten
1 Joanne Blakeley (GB Cycles.co.uk) 15
2 Karen Poole (GB Cycles.co.uk) 12
3 Lynn Hamel 10
4 Leanne Farrow (Ilkley CC) 8
5 Eve Dixon (Team 22) 6
6 Vanessa Whitfield (VC St Raphael) 5
7 Victoria Grimmer (Paramount CRT) 4
8 Nikola Butler (VC St Raphael) 3
9 Frances White (Team Jadan) 2
10 Claire Martin (Team 22) 1
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