Round 3 of CC London’s Hog with the Occasional Hill – so called because the riders climb the short but steep Hoggenberg hill once every fifteen minutes (or so) rather than on every lap, thus making the race winnable by non-climbers – took place on the 6th of May at the Redbridge Cycling Centre, and having been to a couple of these fun and well-organised events last season NS took the train down to have a look. 16 riders started the 45-minute, 2nd/3rd/4th Cat. women’s race, which isn’t a huge number; however, competition and skill is what makes a race interesting to watch, and these events never fail to attract some of the top riders from London, the South-East and beyond.
Several riders had a go at attacking from the front of the bunch early on, with especially notable efforts by CC London’s Elisabeth Anderson and VC Londres’ Emma-Jane Hornsby who both gained a lead – only for it to disappear again up the hill, which reaches a gradient just shy of 11% before a fast straight past the clubhouse, followed by some tight bends leading to the very fast descent back down onto the lower circuit. Lucinda Kerr (Jadan-Weldtite) and Victoria Strila (Sunsport Velo) also impressed, as did Cambridge University CC riders Jess Atkinson and Charlotte Mallin-Martin – with the latter winning the Best 4th Cat. Rider prize for her eventual 10th place.
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Perhaps most impressive all, meanwhile, was OnForm’s 16-year-old Holly Hoy, who raced like a rider with ten years’ more experience. Her skills around the corners (also displayed at the very wet and slippery Active Fakenham Crits a few weeks back, where she took second place behind her all but unstoppable team mate Sian Botteley) are remarkable – as when she spotted a tiny gap on the inside of the peloton leading into a hairpin, went for it and almost instantly moved up four or five places into a commanding position. She’s already making an impact in her first season with a team, and NS is firmly convinced she’ll go a very long way in the sport.
However, even that wasn’t enough to place the Aprire-HSS duo of Emma Lewis and Joscelin Lowden who got away around halfway through the race and never came back, working together like clockwork with each rider taking her turn on the front so that, when they arrived at the finish, they crossed together with hands linked in a display of team work, friendship and celebration of Jos’ return to racing following a horrific crash at the Bedford 3-day just a week earlier. Lewis was given the victory, with Lowden’s front tyre just a centimetre or so behind her team mate’s at the line.
The pack was not far behind by this point, with Liz Hughes the best rider from the organising club in fourth place after being unable to better Hoy (who also took Best 3rd Cat.) in the sprint to the line.
1 Emma Lewis (Aprire-HSS; Cat. 2) 10pts
2 Jos Lowden (Aprire-HSS; Cat. 2) 8pts
3 Holly Hoy (Team OnForm; Cat. 3) 7pts + 1st 3rd Cat.
4 Elizabeth Hughes (CC London; Cat. 2) 6pts
5 Emma Jane Hornsby (VC Londres; Cat. 2) 5pts
6 Jess Atkinson (Cambridge University CC; Cat. 3) 4pts
7 Victoria Strila (SunSport Velo; Cat. 2) 3pts
8 Lucy Harper (Team OnForm; Cat. 3) 2pts
9 Lucinda Kerr (Jadan-Weldtite; Cat. 2) 1pt
10 Charlotte Mallin Martin (Cambridge University CC; Cat. 4) 1pt + 1st 4th Cat.
11 Shula Hagan (CC London; Cat. 2), 12 Vivienne Tomlin (CC London; Cat. 3), 13 Elisabeth Anderson (CC London; Cat. 3), 14 Clara Wood (Folkestone VC; Cat. 4)
DNF Anna Marie Hughes (Vertex-Biemme), Emma Porter (Penge CC)