Club member Rod Leach has had a busy year this year with a phenomenal progression in performance. Having only got back on the bike two years ago, 20,000 miles later (yes, twenty thousand!) he succeeded in winning enough points to achieve his Cat 3 licence.
In his own words, Rod gives us a brief race report of some of this years events...
National Crit Champs (Cat 4)
Today's race (Scottish National Crit Championships Cat 4) delayed by 40min after a bad accident that required two ambulances in the race before mine. Was told it had to be reduced to 25min+5 laps to try and keep the rest of the day on schedule. James and I had a plan to work for Rab and Thomas to get them the points they required for Cat 3 (1 and 3 respectively). It went well, very well, nearly perfect! One lap with a couple of Edinburgh lads going hard off the front but we knew they would never stay there. Pulled them in and James and I took it in turns putting in turns on the front, after only 6 laps and 12mins of racing we had strung out the whole field and were down to 6. Unfortunately Tam missed the break getting stuck behind a couple of guys and not knowing the course took a while to get used to the sharp turns. However...it all came to an end after 16min of racing and 6 of us (almost down to 4) free and clear with no group, just solo riders behind, there was a crash which saw someone go down hard. Race was stopped to allow the ambulance onto the circuit, they took another 30min to get him onto a stretcher and the race was cancelled. Gutted for Rab as the solitary point was in the bag and we could have had fun working for a 1,2,3 which would have made a nice podium.
Today's race was wet, very wet and slippery on the corners, the aim was to stay upright (which unfortunately many didn't, but no bad injuries). I figured the safest place to be was on the front and keep out of trouble hopefully wearing down the pack that sat behind me. It worked well for the most part, I got the group down to around 8 and could see fellow club member James Bell was sat on my wheel (we both needed top 8 for Cat 3). Fast forward 11 miles and 30mins to the second last corner (it was only an 800mtr loop, so I had been round it about 20 times...) I went far too wide for no apparent reason and let 3 inside me with only 150mtrs until the finish line (I've played this in my head over and over and still don't know why I did it!).
Anyway, picked up my Cat 3 licence for my 4th place which was unexpected in my first year. James also picked up his very well deserved Cat 3 with a cracking 2nd place and Rab (Marshall, Hardie Bikes) in 9th now needing 1point from next weekends race! All in all a good race, I loved leading the way and felt the strongest I've felt in a race so far, just need to learn how to finish them properly!
Tough (but great) race today, first time with the big boys (Cat 2) in a 2/3/4 race. Very wet and cold southerly wind that was in the face on the climb. 7 laps of the course, loads dropped out (I presume because of the conditions). I was dropped on the first lap (on the hill) but picked up a lot of people who went to hard to early and got in a good group to finish 19th, 1st Vet and 1st Cat 4.
Last race of the year, a year where I bought a bike to see if I liked racing, I love it! Glenmarnock road race for Cat 3/4 started with 60 riders heading into a 40mph headwind and driving rain for 6 mile, then up an 11% climb followed by 7 mile of a tailwind. Slow on the way out, very fast on the way back, three times. Spotted a couple of senior Cat 3 guys (notably Andy Auld) and figured if stick near him I won't go far wrong. We both tried a couple of attacks that came to nothing until the last 7% climb about 800m from the finish when it went flat out. I managed to hang in up the hill and our small group quickly had 30metres on the group of about 30. We hung on until the finish where I took a very pleasing 7th. A week off the bike now to rest and get fat before winter training commences!