Catching up on road and circuit racing – Part 1

While your erstwhile racing secretary John Barnett is in the Costa Blanca, imagining, sadly, he’s giving the likes of previous winners Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin a hard time in the mountains in the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) on maybe the climb to the beautiful village of El Castell de Guadalest or on the 15km Puerto de Tudons, the much younger and definitely much more sensible younger Otley CC contingent are actually doing the racing and finding time to write about it too.

It’s a lengthy tome – Parts 1 & 2 – but please bear with us as many of the individual reports are from George Radcliffe whose 2017 season was cut short by a broken leg and now George is back he wants to show his appreciation to the club for continuing to support him. We’ve already reported on some of these but it’s good to get another rider’s perspective.

In Part 2 there’s a report from Megan Cullen, points scoring results, including another report from George, and results from the first round of this year’s West Riding Youth League.

George Radcliffe

Photographs courtesy of Chris Radcliffe.

24/3/2018 Pedalsport Spring Circuits #1 (U16 Boys)

“This was to be my return to racing after 6 months off the bike from a broken leg. As expected, I was very nervous especially being a first year U16 but my aim was only to get round in 1 piece.

“The start was far faster than I was prepared for (a similar issue I had encountered a few times last year) and after a couple of laps the main group managed to distance me.

“I spent the next half of the race on my own clawing back positions before the leaders came round and put a lap into me. Despite being a lap down I stayed with the peloton for the remainder of the race and sprinted for a 12th.

“Although not my best result I was relieved to stay up right on an especially slippery course.”

25/3/2018 The Bike-Inn Spring Shield #4 (U16 Boys)

“After all the unexpected weather of the last few weeks it was nice to finally have sunny, clear skies and for the first time this year it felt like spring. A long but quicker than imagined drive brought us to Middlesbrough Sports Village.

“This was to be my first race along side teammates as part of the Otley Youth Race Team. I was in familiar company however after racing with both Jack Coates and Dexter Leeming-Sykes many times last year.

“It was once again another fast start but this time I managed to stay well placed in a medium sized group in the top half of the field. The wind and fast pace soon whittled down the group till there were just 3 of us. EBCC’s Dan Hepton then launched an attack splitting us up. Again the wind played its part keeping us separated for at least 5 laps before coming back together. With 1 lap to go our little group split. I managed to hold on to a 10th and in doing so got my first point of the season!”

York Sport Evening Crit Race 1 (U16 Boys)

“Once again the typical British weather returned to prolong what has been the longest winter for years. My 3rd race this year brought me to York Sport Village where I was along teammate James Wordsworth. Being the holidays people were committed to spend time travelling so there was a large field which brings with it good, strong riders.

“It was go from the gun and the high pace meant that for the first 20 minutes everyone was on the limit. As everyone began to fatigue the pace slowed and I moved up from the rear of the 20 plus man peloton.

”I decided that it would be better to stay high placed to prevent getting caught behind any gaps that developed. Strangely, there then seemed to be a relatively long period of nothingness where everyone was in one big stand off.

“Soon enough however, the pace picked back up and the attacks came. Most noticeable was James’s which lasted a number of laps before he was brought back and I countered. Unfortunately I was quickly reeled in as the pace increased preparing for the sprint.

“As it often does, it all came down to a sprint. Although mainly being a climber, I managed to pull off a 10th and secure another point which I am slowly but surely getting more of.”

8/4/2018 Mossley CRT Early Bird Youth Races 1 (U16 Boys)

“Today’s event took us further afield than usual as we crossed the Yorkshire/Lancashire border to Manchester. Originally meant to be earlier in the year this was one of many to be rescheduled due to the unusual weather of the past few months.

“This specific series is well known and has a habit of bringing riders from as far as Wales and the Isle Of Man. A total of 5 Otley riders made the trek to represent the Otley colours; Jack Coates, Dexter and Mo Lemming-Sykes, Eleanor Hunt and myself. The weather was warm and dry and there was little wind so some could argue it is officially spring.

“For the first time this year we started at a sustainable speed. However it soon became apparent that this was down to the length of our race, 45KM or 45 laps! This meant it was at least 10 laps before anyone attempted to break away.

“There was to be a prime on lap 25 and I had decided that I’d stand a better chance of winning that than the final sprint and it would be easier to win in if I was in a break away. So from around lap 35 I was attacking almost every KM without reward. Regrettably, I had used all my energy without getting a result and I payed the price. With 1 lap to the prime the pace increased and I couldn’t hold on.

“After chasing on my own for a few laps I realised that it wasn’t possible to catch back on. So once again I spent a handful of laps on my own before being caught by the peloton. From that point my race mainly involved being sat in the middle of the main bunch. However just as the group was about to receive the bell for the final lap a rider higher up the group slammed on the brakes causing a minor pile up at the back. Both Dexter and myself got caught up in this and lost our positions.

“After getting back on the bike I carried on to the line. Unfortunately not the result I wanted but was happy to see Jack secure a 4th.”

Well done George and welcome back!


23 April 2018