“My first road race win in about 428 years!” – Karla Boddy*
*Her words, not ours
Sometimes, a race doesn’t look especially great on paper but you know it’s going to be good. Verulam-ReallyMoving.com’s road races on the 28th of May were a classic example of that: numerous laps of the very short and not especially hilly 3.44km Cranfield circuit and 15 riders signed up on British Cycling doesn’t exactly leap off the page, but thanks to a little bit of local knowledge from riders who live nearby (and nickname this course the “tricky triangle”) and some hints that a few more people might show up and enter on the line, this one nevertheless had a bit of a buzz.
Beginning at 2pm on the hottest day of the year so far, conditions at the start of the race could perhaps best be described as “rather unpleasant,” but this didn’t prevent riders from mounting early breakaway attempts with one solo attempt courtesy of CC London’s Liz Hughes looking for most of a lap as though it might just last, but then being reeled in as soon as the riders at the front of the chasing group decided it looked like a risk too. With the upturn in pace, the group began to split up and, by Lap 3, the race had already taken on the form it would retain for the rest of the afternoon: a group of fast riders at the front of a lead bunch, several others either not quite able to get to the front or biding their time until later and (a few) riders doing their bit to support team leaders. Meanwhile, others dropped off the back to form a loose secondary group while a small number of others followed behind.
Going into the final laps, by which point all those of us on the roadside were feeling somewhat sun-addled and had lost count of how many were left, the riders in contention for a win started to make themselves more prominent on the front. Jadan-Weldtite’s Lucinda Kerr and Bianchi Dama UK’s Charlotte Colclough (winner of both primes, on Laps 5 and 10) looked good, as did Yasmin Marks and Laura Owler of the Beeston CC. In fact, all of the Beeston riders deserve a mention: every one of them rode a superb race and their efforts enlivened the event no end, but of especial note is Izzy Wild – an unlucky mechanical early on in the race left her trailing well behind the bunch, but she never gave up and kept chasing all the way to the end.
By the bell lap it remained all but impossible to predict the outcome with too many riders capable of winning still right up at the front – among them, Kerr, Colclough, Marks, Hughes, Nicole Oh of Les Filles, Team Vision Innovative Leisure’s Isabel Darvill and Lovelo Squadra Donne’s super-strong Sam Fawcett. They remained together even on the final short descent leading to the finish until, with just metres to go, someone kicked and the sprint began, but it wasn’t until they were almost there that Karla Boddy managed to gain a tiny lead over Army Cycling’s Lucy Austin and Nicole Oh.
All in all, a very enjoyable and interesting race – chapeau to the organisers and all the organisers! (And also to Buckinghamshire Police who were very reasonable, understanding and polite when they stopped to find out what the dodgy-looking hippy with the zoom lens hanging around the airport was up to. Nice work, chaps!)
1 Karla Boddy (Team Corley Cycles; Cat. 2) 15pts
2 Lucy Austin (Army Cycling Team; Cat. 4) 12pts
3 Nicole Oh (Les Filles-Queen of the Mountains; Cat. 2) 10pts
4 Lucinda Kerr (Jadan-Weldtite; Cat. 2) 8pts
5 Yasmin Marks (Beeston CC; Cat. 3) 6pts
6 Charlotte Colclough (Bianchi Dama UK; Cat. 2) 5pts
7 Isabel Darvill (Vision Innovative Leisure; Cat. 3) 4pts
8 Elizabeth Hughes (CC London; Cat. 2) 3pts
9 Samantha Fawcett (Lovelo Squadra Donne; Cat. 2) 2pts
10 Laura Owler (Beeston CC; Cat. 4) 1pt
11 Emma Jane Hornsby (VC Londres; Cat. 2), 12 Cheryl Vaughan (Beeston CC; Cat. 3), 13 Olivia Bentley (Didcot Phoenix CC; Cat. 3), 14 Lindsay Atkinson-Wright (Albarosa CC; Cat. 2), 15 Julia Chatterton (Team Milton Keynes; Cat. 4), 16 Sally Maitland (Beeston CC; Cat. 4), 17 Jan Scott (700CC; Cat. 3), 18 Katie Ward (Cat. 4), 19 Izzy Wild (Beeston CC; Cat. 3), 20 Jane Wilson (Cat. 3), 21 Gemma Hayes (East Grinstead CC; Cat. 2), 22 Rebecca Fawcett (Lovelo Cinelli; Cat. 4)
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