Monday, 24 September 2012

Will Houghton Road Race Season Write Up – 2012

Results

·         Three top-30 placing’s

·         One top-20 placing (Thames Velo RR)

·         Four top-10 placing’s (Banbury Star, Abbeygate Development Milton Keynes Crit, Omega Stage Race Crit, Omega Stage Race General Classification)

·         22-46 10 mile time trial- VC10 Evening TT. (Personal Best)

Overview

The season started off with two criteriums at Hillingdon at the start of February. I tried to gain as much experience as possible i.e. tactics, nutrition, bunch racing, with my results improving over the course of the two races. I then did my first road race in Botolph Claydon, it was an enjoyable experience. I lost contact with the bunch on the last hill to finish 20 seconds behind the bunch over the 47-mile race. From that race I learnt that calories and lots of them were needed to race for over two hours at race pace.

I then did a trio of crits at Hillingdon over three weeks, in which I came 29, 27, 21 which was pleasing as there were usually around 50-60 riders racing. To gain better placing’s next year at this time of the season aggression and less conservative racing are needed, to start to contend for the win.

I then completed my second road race in Oxfordshire, The Thames Velo road race. This was around the popular Great Milton course, with rolling roads and one slight hill. I stayed in the bunch throughout the race and placed around 15th place just outside the points in the sprint. This was to be a recurring theme of getting myself to the finish but not getting into contention in the sprint and not being in the first line of the bunch at the sprint enabling me to open up fully.

I completed my first Stage Race this year, Tour of The Milburys, this was to be a tough affair with a hilly time trial in the morning and 70-mile road race in the afternoon, it was also a 2/3/4 category race. I got lost on my way to the time trial, so finished last with an extra minute added to my time. In the road race I lasted 40 of the 70 miles until I ran out of gas, up one of the steep and frequent hills. This was good experience though as I got an insight into what racing at second category is like and the speed at which it happens at.
Then the highlight of the season the Banbury Star Road Race, This race during a very wet June morning, was a tough one with a long steep 14% climb, Knowle Hill. I finished 6 out of 50 racers, which was very pleasing as it was a confirmation that I am stronger on hills than in flat short criteriums. This was the start of the strongest part of my season. I also finished first junior and won £25.

I then raced my first ten mile time trial of the season later that week. It was on the very quick F11/10 course in Tring. This was also a pleasing result as I completed the course in 22.46, with an average speed of 26.4MPH. This was a sign that both the uninterrupted month of previous racing and training was coming to fruition. The next race on June 16th was the Omega Stage Race around the Mountbatten circuit in Portsmouth, it comprised of a short time trial in the morning and 1hour race in the afternoon. I finished 9th overall after coming 11th in the time trial after struggling with my restricted gears along the tailwind sections, and 7th in the criterium race in the afternoon. In continuing with my rich vein of form I raced at the Milton Keynes bowl on the 5th of July. This was a frustrating race for me. I attacked many times throughout this quick race but could only manage 9th in the sprint after being brought back many times by the bunch who wanted a bunch gallop. My last race of my pleasing form was the Oakley village road race again a 2/3/4 race over 53 miles. This was a good race for me until the last two miles. Throughout the race I had consistently been in the top 20 and feeling comfortable and strong for the sprint. I then hit a pothole and punctured in the last corner, this was hugely disappointing, as I felt I was on for a good result.

Since then I have been on holiday and have had a couple of injuries that have held me back causing a couple of DNF`s, that have resulted in a disappointing end of season.  I have one 25-mile time trial left and a couple of ten-mile time trials.
Next Year/Season

Next year I am going to be embarking on season with the aims of getting a second category license and placing well in the Junior National Series Road Races across the country. I have learnt many new things this year that will be essential when racing next year and will be hoping to start racing next January, and gaining my first win soon.

Will Houghton

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