James Coates, Robbie Pollard and Tom Cullen from the Otley CC–Chevin Cycles Junior & Youth race team raced in the 3/4 category Thirteen Group Enjoy the Ride Criterium around Middlesbrough town centre on May Bank Holiday Monday as part of the TdY festival weekend. This was their first race together since Tom’s crash 19th April.
The 55 minute race was held on a narrow, very short 640-metre square circuit with a hard headwind section. Tom managed to line up on the fourth row in the approximately 60 man field but James and Robbie somehow conspired to join the last row. These tough starting positions made it very hard to move up, with the leaders flying through the corners but many riders close to the front having to brake hard to get through the corners with the inevitable concertina effect in the bunch behind.
Eventually Tom joined a chase group chasing down a group of six up front. By half-way they had nearly made the junction, being only six seconds off them but a lack of organisation and some riders refusing to do their turn meant the group couldn’t bridge the gap.
Meanwhile, a bit further back James and Robbie had more bad luck after their not-too-good starts. James came to grief on a corner hitting the deck after only five laps, with Robbie just behind him, meaning a hard effort to try and catch the riders ahead.
Tom eventually finished in eighth place, 23 seconds down on the winner. James ached his way round the rest of the race doing well to finish with a wind battered Robbie came in just ahead of James.
Lots to learn if the team rides a similar course in the future, one lesson being to consider lining up on the front row well in advance of the start!
Thanks are due to the Coates family for a lift to the event and a great day out.
Photographs courtesy of Darran Moore.