Preparing for the Brompton World Championships held in London on the iconic Mall is a strange one. It’s the event that doesn’t take itself seriously but somehow is becoming a hyper competitive must do event for all sorts of Bromponeers. The competitiveness comes in many forms – yes the race itself with gridded positions based on seeding, attracting huge names such as Michael Hutchinson and David Millar but also in some other areas. The best dressed award brings custom tailored suits and other bizzare outfits, pimped Bromptons include enormous chainrings and carbon wheels and then there is the folding race.
Holly and I arrived early enabling us both to get a lap of the freeride London in – a 12 km closed roads spin around London’s normally jammed roads, taking in some famous landmarks.
Next were the various stalls to look at and sample and the Women’s Classique Criterion to watch. Oh and I had a go at the fastest fold challenge and ended up with the slowest fold after getting the pedal stuck on the frame pump – oops, very embarrassing.
So finally the race. We lined up in 4 waves opposite our bikes (folded) at 20 second intervals all the way down the Mall based on our seedings. On the horn and flag we sprinted across the road Le Mans style for the great unfold.
I made sure I got my saddle correct (I have a scratch on the seatpost to mark the height) and then had a good unfold, although a little fumble on the frame spinner. I then tonked it down the Mall and tried to get the first lap in as fast as I could staying out of traffic on the outside getting past loads of slower riders with higher seedings. I realised straight away that I needed a bigger gear, running out of cadence but I soon settled into a good speed and concentrated on taking the corners as fast as I could and by the end the gear was spot on for my legs.
I was really struggling to find anyone to draft, just slowly overhauling people one at a time as I went though lap 2 and into 3. I had a major near off on the corner into Horse guards on lap 3, taking speed through on the outside up against the barriers there suddenly were some stragglers who forced someone wide. I am not sure quite what happened but I ended up unclipped and bounced off the barrier with a few ‘oooos’ from the crowd on the corner and a couple of ‘well held’ from the guys behind me as a clipped back in and got out the saddle to regain some speed.
I then realised why I couldn’t find anyone to draft – I had about 10 people behind me while I did the work. Soon 3 or 4 of us started to work together and I started to race properly, getting a rest on birdcage walk and working hard up the Mall.
Eventually as I neared the finish line on lap 6 the lead group with David Millar, Hutch and the defending champions streamed past taking the bell. I dug in and kept up the pace using various people for shelter before a final sprint for the line, an awesome feeling on the Mall with the crowds cheering.
I managed to get a parade lap in which was fun, crowds had stayed on the major corners and it felt very special to be cheered outside Buckingham Palace and coming onto the Mall again for the final time.
Final results are now out – 88th – well chuffed with that laptimes were consistent at about 3.45
Full results here http://www.brompton.com/Events/Posts/2016/BWC-London-Final-2016