It was a week of mixed fortunes for Craig Atwell and Andrew McCombe as they both raced twice at Hillingdon this week.
Both riders raced on Saturday 14th. Craig rode in the 3rd&4th cat race where a bunch of almost 80 riders meant that it was difficult to determine exactly what was going on unless you sat right on the front of the bunch. Consequently, a big break made it away early in the race and Craig was left to sprint in with the main peleton, finishing an un-inspiring 35th. For Andrew riding the E/1/2 race, the result was even less impressive. A fairly high race pace fractured it into a number of smaller groups, and the after effects of a cold meant that he was spat out of the main bunch after about 30 minutes of racing. He continued riding but finished as the definite “lantern rouge” (last place!).
Mid-week brought much better fortunes – and much poorer weather; low cloud and heavy rain were the order of the day for both events.
Craig rode in the 3&4 cat race on Tuesday 17th April. A slightly more manageable group of about 30 riders set off at a fairly brisk pace as they set about chasing an early lone breakaway. This was brought back with about 6 laps to go and another small breakaway, with Craig included, made a bid to escape. The peleton was clearly in no mood to allow any escapes that evening and this too was brought back with a couple of laps to go. Nevertheless, a combination of good positioning, strong sprinting and some timely gaps in the run to the line meant that Craig came through fast to finish in third place!
The first races of the Veteran’s series took place the following day and provided an opportunity for Andrew to ride against some age appropriate competition! A reasonable bunch of about 40 riders set off at a fairly steady pace, wary of the very greasy conditions. A couple of efforts were made to breakaway but as is often the case at Hillingdon, these were brought back fairly quickly to leave the usual bunch gallop over the last couple of laps to the finish. Some firm riding on the last lap put
Andrew in the ideal position just behind the lead riders as the sprint began into the home straight. A strong effort meant finishing fourth across the line, but, first rider home and winner of the Masters E & F race!