A huge thank you to Harworth & District CC for organising and promoting this hugely enjoyable Ray Levers Road Race. The volunteer’s professionalism and passion for road racing was evident in everyone involved. Chapeu on a race well run!
Since January’s first race meeting in the cold bleakness of winter; the Ray Levers Road Race has been a critical early season objective for both Sam & Phil; and would be the first time the pair have raced together since last year.
Run under the auspices of TLI; the Ray Levers Road Raceis a handicapped road race, meaning that riders are set off in small groups at set time intervals. Both Sam and Phil elected to go in the first group off; with the other two groups chasing them down at three minute intervals. The first group contained a good mix of riders and set off with a good pace up the rough road surface of course’s first gradual climb to the back straight. Using this uneven road surface to their advantage; several riders launched a fearsome attack early on and put daylight between themselves and the rest of the group.
The Course and Elevation Profile of the Ray Levers Road Race
Sam was quick to react and immediately came to the front to help peg the break back; maintaining a high pace for the remainder of the climb and for most of the way along the back straight; almost catching the breakaway in the process, however several other riders had team mates in the break and did a very effective blocking manoeuvre to ensure the catch was not meant to be. Still; the remainder of the group tried to work together to stay away from the other chasing groups, however an organised and concerted effort to stay away never materialised despite the best efforts of a select few riders and Sam and Phil’s herculean contributions to setting the pace.
With four laps to go the chasing group finally made the inevitable catch; and the speed immediately started to climb from the mid twenties to the high twenties and low thirties. Thankfully Team Green’s training paid dividends and both Sam and Phil comfortably held on whilst the group started to chase down the remaining breakaway.
The laps ticked by; and despite a valiant effort from the bunch; the breakaway was no where to be seen. The early attack up the rough climb had turned into the race winning move.
As the bell rang to indicate the final lap; the pace picked up again as the front riders tried to split the bunch to ensure as few riders as possible were in contention for the bunch gallop. Both Sam & Phil easily made the selection in the front group; however Phil was the better placed of the two riders. Going into the final corner before the finishing straight; Sam made a devastating error; and let his concentration lapse; whilst the rider in front scrubbed off too much speed and created a gap between themselves and what was now the back of the bunch.
The tail wind down the finishing straight meant the bunch was flying at speeds in the mid thirties. Sam did his best to bridge back up to them; popping around several riders and putting in a strong pursuit effort; however the pace in the bunch was fierce as everyone jostled for position and the elastic eventually snapped.
With Sam out of contact with the bunch; Phil still had work to do to maintain his position in amongst the pandemonium of the closing kilometre. Phil kept his cool and with 250 metres to go Phil launched his sprint with devastating effect; making up several positions and coming from several places back; managed to clinch 10th in the sprint; and with it the best rider in his age category.
Phil Takes Best Rider in his Age Category.