WPCA Winter League Gunners Circle

Over the last two months I have thoroughly enjoyed the racing on the road that has been put on by WPCA (Western Province Cycling Association) and more specifically Graham Ward. It has been great to have a winter road league again and it provided great variation when mixing it in with my mountain bike racing. I have managed to do most events on the series bar when a mountain bike race takes precedence and I’m hoping to sneak onto the overall podium. Unfortunately I’ll be missing the final event his coming weekend so we will have to wait and see.

Gunners Circle was the host venue for the second time in the series and as I had known from past experience the circuit is particularly flat with only two ‘climbs’ as the road tilts upwards in the form of a bridge over the railway tracks. It is also doesn’t have any corners which makes it particularly difficult to split the race up as fellow mountain biker James Reid (360 Life) and I found out.

We attempted to force a break and managed to get one going some 20 kilometres in the race. We were joined by 3 other riders and seemed to be working well together. After some confusion as we passed one of the other category bunches racing on the day the cat 1 bunch caught us again some 50 kilometres into the 70 kilometre race.

There were a few more efforts off the front but the right mix of teams was yet to go off the front and hence nothing stuck. I did manage to comfortably win the second sprint prime of the day through this part of the race.

Towards the end of the penultimate lap I saw an opportunity to get up the road and joined Peter Wheeler and Alex Heward (Smith and Associate/O-Bike/Maties) as they attacked and we soon managed to build up a decent gap. We seemed to hold this for a bit before the bunch decided we were not to be and applied the pressure to bring us in.

With about 4km to go as the bunch was about to catch us I took a chance and attacked again hoping there would be a slight hesitation in their chase giving me the gap I would need. I didn’t look back and pushed the pedals as hard as I could but was reeled in some 2km later, 2km out.

The race wasn’t over yet! My legs surprisingly didn’t feel too lactic filled yet and I pushed my way back into the top 10 riders. A few guys tried to hit it out from far but weren’t successful. I was a bit boxed in on the left hand side of the road coming into the last 500m but snuck through a small gap into a decent position and kicked as hard as I could with my 25-12 cassette on. I was a bit under geared on the flat run in but had timed my sprint relatively well and with a big bike throw across the line came in 2nd behind Heward with Leonardo van Onselen (Flanderia) rounding out the podium.

The final sprint, I’m on the far right.

The podium.

It was a great day racing once again and was topped with a spin around to Camps Bay for a spot of breakfast.