Milton Keynes Road Race at Towester
by Tony Butler
This is 58 mile road race over 7 laps and a circuit being visited by Stratford veteran star rider Tony Owen for the third time.
Tony's ambition for the race was to finish in the bunch as he had just got over a chest infection. The race was neutralised between the start at the local rugby club and the race circuit 3 miles away. Nothing better than sharing a few training tips especially if you are riding with the current LVRC national champion.
During that journey to the start line words were had with the current National champion and also the eventual winner none other that Roy Chamberlain who in his younger days was a star for the Coventry Olympic club. It was all about tacktics. Tony said “I think I learned more from him than he from me”. The race was suddenly on and helped by a strong tailwind the speed was soon above 40mph. And it was slightly up hill. Tony commented “my chest suddenly felt better”.
All the races at this level this year seem to have the following theme in that they all seem to start fast from the 0ff with lots of attacking riding from almost all concerned. Tony admits he finds these fast starts harder as he gets older but he usually manages to stay in there.
Strong winds were the order of the day. The strong tail wind on the initial part of the lap gave way to what felt like an even stronger side wind. This made for some interesting riding as the bunch made a rather professional looking echelon across the full breath of the road. The formation riding was interrupted every so often when the shout went up for “Car Up”. At this shout half the field would scurry back across to the correct side of the road to let the thankfully slow moving and patient driver through. There was a left on each lap leading down a narrow mainly uphill lane which the organiser assured everyone was a quiet road. Good job as the bunch had to split into two lines to avoid the gravel and huge potholes which resided down the middle of the carriageway.
Left again onto a very well marshalled junction then flat out on a long flowing downhill which led the uphill towards the finish line. Legs complaining from the rather long uphill but across the line towards the front of the bunch with seven to go. This race was already interesting. Then the attack that mattered went with eleven riders split from the very front of the bunch. I’m there but my legs are not reacting and it’s obvious it’s the move as Roy the boy is in it and the National Champion is bridging across. Flipping-heck we are riding at almost 40 mph and they are pulling away.
The race followed the pattern of previous races were the break stayed away but not by far ahead so this led to a pretty consistent high pace. It stayed this way for the next four laps as they were never more than 30 seconds up the road. By lap five and just for a moment the pace eased in the bunch.
That was it as the leaders just disappeared. Normally we would expect Tony to attack at this point and try and catch the leaders but it was too much today. In the final dash for the finish line it was just a case of holding station towards the finish line overtaking a few riders while being overtaken by others. Finishing 9th in his section and 26th overall.