The Glenn Longland-organised Sandie Radford road race took place yesterday, with more than 60 riders competing on the usual route on the New Forest. It was a bright and sunny day though a cold and strong and North Easterly wind made some of the exposed parts of the 59 kilometer course hard work.
After a couple of early exploratory getaways the race settled down to a quick pace, with the pack largely staying together. One of the regular hazards of racing on the New Forest are the various animals which stray into the roads, and this time a small herd of cows caused some chaos and split the bunch with several riders getting caught the wrong side of them as the crossed the road.
A break of three formed at around 25 miles, Roland Tilley (I Ride), James Horton (Cannondale) and Peter Warner (Bournemouth JW) remaining out front until the horribly steep climb of Piper’s Wait, where Warner lost ground and the quick climbers attacked to bridge across to the lead. Kim Little (riding for Merida) was one of these, with a long line of riders stretching out behind desperate to get back to the head of the race.
By the time they got back around to Piper’s Wait again to climb up to the finishing line, Andrew Syme (UK Biking), Kim, Horton and Tilley were still clear and they sprinted up the hill to finish in that order with a 38 km/h average over the hilly course. Around 30 seconds later, the rest appeared, all strung out. Barney Cox put in one of his now customary fast finishes, making up places on the hill to grab seventh.
Of the other GDW members entered, Nigel Brown was non-starter due to continued back problems. James Chant struggled from the start, and got dropped at eight miles. After a big effort he caught up the bunch only to get dropped again at 10 miles. James managed to rejoin for a second time but it was short-lived and he was decisively left behind at around 12 miles. He continued for a while, towing round a few other stragglers, before retiring at the 25 mile mark.
Junior rider George Smith was riding well and hanging in there but was eventually distanced with a few other riders. George did finish though, a few minutes down on the winners.
Some footage of the finish here