By Liam Manser
April the 1st where all the jokes happen and things go wrong.
It was my first time at Hog Hill this year and I was anxious to see how I would go. I’ve always loved racing at Hog Hill, purely for the reason I’ve always done well there. I had a nice easy morning with the race being at 3pm, we didn’t have to leave to early. I headed down with my pit man Jordan who was stepping in for team manager James, as he was away on a marshalling course. I don’t like driving to London that much as it’s always busy and tiresome, but there you go you can’t have it all your way.
Once navigating our way through London we soon turned up at Redbridge Cycle Centre we settled in, got something to eat and I prepared to race! Signing on is always a big deal so I like to do that first, I like to get it over and done with so I know I’ve got my number and I can fully commit.
Once I got my number and some food down me, Jordan and I watched the 4th category mens race. With Jordan being a novice to cycling (but a big help to me), I soon had my teaching hat on showing and telling him about all of the nice expensive bikes. The words “£10,000 bike, 10p legs” often cropped up in the conversation whilst watching the 4th category race; that sure did make him laugh.
On to my race, the race started off steady the usual attacks going up the road and people getting anxious. As I’ve gained some experience now, racing my second season on the road, I knew who and what to follow. The race was actually pretty straight forward. It can sometimes be stressful with a lot going on but I found it all okay up until five laps to go when the real race started to come alive.
After many attacks and jumping wheels, we came into the fourth lap with some bumping and barging around the hairpin we went, it all settled back down but I found myself near the back (not what I wanted) so I had to do some work to get back. I worked my way up for the end of the third lap to go. I was ready, my legs felt good, here come the mind games… who will go first? Who will drop first? The pace kept high, high enough not for anyone to get away, so I was ready for a bunch sprint!
The words “come on Liam bring home our first Pedal Power podium” were going through my head, (thanks to team mate Ross who kept going on about this last week when I met him for lunch).
Coming round the last corner I found my self boxed in, inside my head I was screaming “please open up,” and luckily for me it did. I thought it’s now or never and I unleashed my sprint, coming round three riders from 5th rider to 2nd I was catching but the line came up to soon.
There you have it, I finished 2nd, Pedal Power’s 1st podium of the year. I was super happy and know I can build on this. The moral in the team was high and it was job done for the day. The car journey home was a laugh with lots of jokes and quotes from the day we had!
Big thank you as usual to all those who help and support the team, that first podium was all for you. Mark of Pedal Power Cycles, Team Mechanic James, Hudson Teamwear, Spectrum SG, TORQ Fitness and Morgan Blue, we thank you!
Peace out, Liam!