Lucy, Molly, Adam, Ryan and Keeds (and families) went to a very sunny Saffron Walden over the bank holiday weekend for the inaugural Monument Cycling Grand Prix. A fast technical town centre crit course complete with climbs, narrow lanes, chicanes and cobbles in 30+ degree heat looked like it was going to be a challenge (and a half).
The day didn’t start too well for Adam and Lucy with car troubles brought on by a dead badger jumping under a wheel requiring a pit stop in Sudbury for fixes. The day didn’t end too well either but more on that in a moment.
Arriving in Saffron Walden it quickly became apparent that Monument Cycling had done a fabulous job laying on this event. A huge amount of work had gone on to make the this a fun, engaging and pumping day of racing for the riders, supporters and locals. Awesome work!
After a few sighters the Womens Open (3/4) race was first with Lucy and Molly lining up for TPH Racing. Despite the heat and the sharp climbs the pace was fast from the start. The field split into small groups and lone riders with the conditions taking their toll. Lucy succumbed to the heat and eventually retired whilst Molly plugged on and finished in 22nd.
The Mens Open (3/4) followed with Adam, Ryan and Keeds riding. As with all the other races the pace was as hot as the weather. A lead group got away and the TPH Racing trio got stuck into the job of moving through the mid field places. Adam led the way with Keeds sat in and Ryan trailing. The narrow chicane, cobbles and tight corners meant concentration was needed as much as good lungs and legs. With the laps remaining dropping fast Adam made a move to up the pace and put his group of 5 under pressure. Exiting the first tight left over cobbles into the Market square Adam clipped the base of a barrier, any hope of recovery was quickly extinguished as 2 following riders piled in, on and over whilst Keeds and the remaining rider in the group managed to avoid the pile up and continue on. Adam sustained a knock to his knee and a number of cuts, scrapes and grazes to wrists, arms and knuckles. Not a very happy ending to his race whilst looking to accelerate and challenge for a Top 10 finish and those important BC points.
Keeds and Ryan ploughed on with some wind knocked out of their sails having seen their team mate take a heavy tumble. Keeds held on for 13th and Ryan suffering in the end with the heat claimed 17th.
The following races of the Womens Elite and Mens Elite were fast and furious and a real eye opener in terms of pace, teamwork and tactics.
All in all, despite Adams crash, this was a fabulous event. Brilliantly laid on with a fantastic atmosphere. Kudos to Monument Cycling and we’re all looking forward to coming back next year!
Well done racers