CC Hackney Primavera 3

words: Ben Ryder photos: Nick Ryder

My fourth race was a return to the Lee Valley for the third in the CC Hackney Primavera series. After competing in a few races I was feeling stronger and faster and ready to race.

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0 – 2 minutes: Wait, no warm up laps? I’m screwed.

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2- 5 minutes: The race accelerates after the neutralised lap. I knuckle down, determined to compete this time.

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7 – 9 minutes: Pedal, brake, lean, pedal, pedal, break, lean. Racing in the bunch becoming second nature

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10 – 12 minutes: A break goes. The bunch rides hard and swallows it up.

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15 minutes: Woah! A screech of brakes, a crash narrowly avoided as a rider takes a bad line in the bend.

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17 minutes: I’m confident, riding near the front, I feel like a racer now. A break goes ahead. I ride hard to join them.

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18- 22 minutes: There’s a few of us here. We ride hard. I feel strong. Fast. Racing.

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23 – 25 minutes: We are caught. My energy sapped. I feel slow, heavy. Immediately I’m at the back of the bunch. Stupid.

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30 – 35 minutes: The race continues. I compose myself and move up the bunch. Riding hard

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38 minutes: Woah! I hear a screech of brakes. Two riders hit the deck ahead. I avoid the crash and push hard to get back on. I don’t look back at the damage behind.

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42 – 44 minutes: The race is nearing its conclusion. I’m at the front of the bunch. I ride hard, the bunch strings out behind. I’ve never felt stronger, fifty riders stuck to my wheel as I power through the turns.

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45 minutes: Shit! This is hard. I round the bend onto the finishing straight still at the front. My legs are burning, my pace slows as the peloton bunches behind, afraid to work in the wind.

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46 minutes: The sign reads five laps to go. I’m cooked, still on the front. The bunch flies past me. I hug the inside of the track but riders surround me as they pass. Shit, for a moment I fear a crash.

47 – 53 minutes: The pace is fast. Riders jostle for position. The turns are sketchy. Riders shout in the corners. I catch my breath at the back of the bunch,

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54 minutes: The race enters its final lap. I look ahead, Tom my club-mate seems well positioned. I’m recovered now. Dam, there’s no space to move up.

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55 minutes: I round the final bend at the back of the bunch. I sprint hard and pass riders. I cross the line 35th.

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The two-man break crossed the line first, which just proves that it’s worth putting the effort. I was feeling stronger and getting to grips with the art of bike racing. Due to an injury this week I won’t be racing for a while but I hope that I can get back to it soon.

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