This weekend, Kenny Ross and myself decided to take a trip to Hog Hill. It was chucking it down with rain all day and both Kenny and myself had agreed if we hadn’t of already paid our entry fee, we probably wouldn’t have gone.
Neither of us had been to Hog Hill before, I wasn’t that excited about riding, mainly because there was a hill on the circuit which we would ride around 20 times in the race. I wasn’t too concerned because it was a race for 3/4 cats so I didn’t think it could be too hard.
Once we arrived I was really impressed, the facilities are great and I wasn’t put off by the hill at all. The only thing was that the Guernsey Velo team were parked in the car park. I don’t think they get to race much but when they do race, they normally tear races apart.
We got on the course and rode a couple of laps and I was confident we would do OK. I started right at the front and we did our first lap and I felt comfortable but I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep that pace up for long. I backed off just a tiny bit on the climb to try and preserve my legs and that was probably the worst thing I could have done because straight after the climb there was a sharp corner followed by a 40mph descent. I quickly found out that if you allow yourself to back off even for a second, you then have to struggle to get back into the bunch, mainly because there are so many tight corners.
I can honestly say I’ve never ridden around wet corners as quickly as I did in those laps, the weather totally changed the race and by 3 laps in I found myself drifting back and totally out of contention of the race. Kenny was doing a great ride but was at the back of the bunch before the climb and the rider in front of him sat up and Kenny found himself a bike length off the back of the bunch. I got to Kenny and the other rider and got on the front to try and drag Kenny back to the bunch but it wasn’t to be.
Kenny carried on and was just hanging off the back of a small bunch, there can’t have been many less than 20 riders left in the main bunch at this point. I was struggling from my efforts but I wanted to carry on to finish the race so I could learn the course and get something out of the day. The next lap my chain came off, I wasn’t too bothered because I was already out of contention so I got off and put my chain back on. Then the following lap I realised I had a slow puncture and decided to stop riding.
Kenny was mainly riding on his own and was able to complete the race despite the terrible conditions. We were all a bit fed up after the race, it was a long way to travel to be taken out of the back of the race so early on but once we heard the results it was clear we weren’t the only riders to struggle and in fact Kenny’s perseverance earned him a very respectable 15th place which was eventually upgraded to 14th!
The race was won by Joshua Gosselin Guernsey Velo and full results and photos are available on the UKCyclesport website.