First road race of the season took place on an undulating Dunsfold circuit on 6 March 2011. 8 laps of a 10k circuit meant around 90k including the neutralised section. As an aside this coincided with a rather exciting day 1 of Paris Nice won by Thomas De Gendt along with the Tour of Murcia (Contador's second come back race which he won) and 3 days of West Flanders.
Three riders were present from Redhill CC in the Cat 3 morning event, namely Chris Batch, Peter Main and Robert Pace. My initial concern centred around racing dress etiquette and in particular Batchey's view on wearing leg warmers and long sleeved jerseys in a racing environment. Nonetheless, it was very cold so I donned the extra layers and it was a welcome relief to see the rest of the peloton (and Batchy) equally dressed up. I should add that Peter was wearing vintage Redhill kit which was a good cultural addition although I doubt you'll be able to source any of that equipment in the new kit order.
The race was a fairly decent spectacle. A few guys went up the road early on and I bridged across to be joined soon after by some Addiscombe CC riders. That left the break (of 7) including Addiscombe CC and Kingston Wheelers (the biggest two teams at the race aside from London Dynamo) which felt like a good mix to stay away. We worked together reasonably well at times and fairly horrendously at other times especially when Addiscombe decided to attack the break with 4 laps remaining. Nonetheless we stayed away from very early on till just under 3 laps to go and it's fair to say that life was hard. Once the bunch caught us the pace slowed and another break slipped off the front with circa 1 to 2ish laps to go. Chris managed to slip off the front to bridge across and it looked as though that break would stick but alas on the final sharp incline to the finish the majority of the break were caught. I believe that 1 or 2 managed to stay away and they were first/second respectively with Paul Hone from Addiscome CC taking top place on the podium. I finished 15th overall with the legs going a bit on the final climb and Batchy ran out of steam to come in 21st. Peter was a dnf (I assume punctured).
All in all, a pretty good showing from Redhill and a good start to the season. Hopefully we'll get a few more participants in later races (I've already seen Ian Leeding on the start list of some upcoming races) which will enable the club to race aggressively and potentially exceed last year’s Surrey League points. Results/photos on the Surrey League site. Thanks to some Redhill cyclists supporting mid way through the race - I didn't note who it was I'm afraid but the cheers were most welcome. In addition Kingston Wheelers organised a good race, the marshals ensured a safe race alongside the motorcycle support and the traffic on the circuit were generous in slowing down as the bunch passed.
Photo of Rob is from a race last year as we have no photos from this event.