My first road race (by which I mean a mass start race on the Highway) for the current season. A well organised Surrey League event sponsored by Kingston Wheelers, who supplied, with the NEG, excellent traffic marshalling (and cakes back at HQ!). A definite chill in the air as we 3rd cats gathered outside the Alford Crossways Village Hall for the start of the neutralised section down to the start proper. The pace during the neutralised bit was quite enough to get me warmed up and after a few miles we stopped just south of Dunsfold for a few minutes before the race got going. Soon there was a right into Chiddingford Road and we were onto the 6 mile circuit we would follow 8 times around. Chiddingford Road had a moderate hill, on some laps this was taken at a moderate pace but sometimes there were attacks here which left me hanging off the back gasping and willing myself not to be dropped irremedially. Then the road curved round left through a wooded section where the potholes began and we undulated more up than down to the T junction taking us back up towards Dunsfold, after which the road surface improved and we enjoyed a sweeping descent before turning left to face that hill again.
It was a race of breaks and attacks from the first lap to the last with the pace going up as they fought to get away and again as gaps were closed.
I hung on in there and finished (up another hill that had me completely spent) at the back of the main bunch which by the time we finished was around 40 strong from the 80 who started. I enjoyed the race and was pleased with that result (last year I did around half a dozen road races and did not manage to remain with the bunch until the end in any of them).
52.25 miles in 02h13m22s for an average speed of 23.5 mph. Max 37.5 mph.
Traffic was generally not a problem with oncoming vehicles in the main having the good sense to stop or at least slow and move over. There was only one vehicle that careered on at unmodified speed inches from the centre line. Why the police anywhere should think that every road race requires a road closure (as apparently some police forces do believe) puzzles me, certainly when the race is as well escorted and marshalled as this one was. All that is required is for traffic to stop or slow for the few seconds that it takes for the race to pass. It will undoubtedly be helpful if marshals and motorcycle escorts are given an express power to direct traffic in dealing with the very few individual road users who seem to have a problem with cyclists racing on the road.