Last week saw the Guildford Crit, a 0.6km town centre crit that uses the infamous cobbled high street of Guildford as a large part of the circuit and the toughest finishing straight in Surrey. Every year Charlotteville CC put on this awesome race, featuring all different level racing, all raced at full gas. The nature of the circuit leaves you nowhere to hide, technical, tough, fast and short, this course will beat you up and spit you out whether you’re off the front leading comfortably or at the back struggling to keep up. There’s no easy race at Guildford. Whilst the short, technical course is brutal it also offers a spectacle that allows spectators to get immersed in the action and always turns out a big crowd, with the G!RO support crew definitely being the loudest!
This year we had a good contingent of racers in all the different races, including Michelle racing the Women’s E/1/2/3/4, Jamie Racing the Men’s E/1/2 and our heroes of the night Tom, Danny and Tom racing the Men’s local heroes 3’s race… And damn, they were serious local heroes for the night!! Everyone smashed it, and we were super keen to celebrate this awesome night of racing. The Attaquer skinsuits were looking LIT, the legs were firing and bike handling was on point from all.
Following is a short little race report from this latter race, where we had the strongest team showing and the boys absolutely destroyed it – really utilising the teams numbers and taking the race by the horns:
The most exciting local racing you can get involved had a particular draw to our RT members, who have to carefully pick and choose their races around otherwise busy schedules. The excitement lead to us having our best team turnout at a race this year, with representation across the board of racing last Wednesday evening. This prospect had everyone fired up and motivated to perform, especially given the 10/10 support we had out on the streets, with G!RO crew on every inch of the circuit, laughing, cheering, shouting and having a brilliant evening just spectating. The beer was flowing and the atmosphere electric, this was what town centre racing is all about!
With 3 guys in the local heroes race, the boys were keen to make the numbers count for something. The plan was to race hard from the gun, aggression being an important strategy on such a technical and tough circuit. Our ex-rower powerhouse Tom S, who’s taken to racing like a duck to water this season quickly moving up the categories, was quick to take on this strategy. As soon as the flag dropped, he was clipped in and making rapid progress towards the first corner, without much company! This aggressive start had the pack panicking – well most of them. Our other 2 riders Tom Coles and Danny weren’t, quickly enjoying the benefit of having a man up the road, parking on the back of the chasing groups and enjoying a nice sit (well as nice as possible on a course of this nature – we’ll be doing a deep dive analysis blog with Danny soon to see the real difference).
Tom S was motoring, quickly establishing a gap solo! He was tapping out at an uncomfortable, but manageable rhythm, suffering to establish a growing and increasingly safe gap. This was music to Danny’s ear who was now safely tucked into group 2 on the road, smugly refusing turns and disrupting the chase as best he could. Everything was going very smoothly thanks to the aggressive start and some cunning tactics from one of our most experienced racers Danny, on the comeback from an early season fight with a car.
The racing continued at a phenomenal pace, Tom S looked almost unphased, suffering but enjoying it in a sadistic way. Still out front setting the unmatched tempo and he was showing no signs of fading, soaking up the rapturous support from all the G!RO legends behind the barriers. The chase group were dwindling, running out of time and the legs to continue at Tom S superhuman pace and Danny was still sitting pretty and starting to think about his next move, starting to utilise those fresh legs now he quickly whittled his group of 5 or 6 down to him and one other. Ramping the pace up slowly without threatening Tom’s lead, who at this point had lapped all but this last group!
Tom S cruised by the main G!RO contingent, giving it one last dig up the high street, convincingly claiming victory, an absolute masterclass on a tricky circuit and ridden with class and panache. A victory salute for the G!RO RT and well earnt after a fine ride. With a lap to go, Danny played his final card, attacking the downhill section of the course and hitting the technical, off camber bottom corner at speed, he’d opened up a decent gap making this last guy suffer. All he had to do was survive the berg. Fortunately Danny is a master of the technical stuff and nailed the last corner carrying max speed into his final ascent of the berg, emptying the tank to cross the line with a decent gap! With that, a G!RO RT 1-2 and our finest result to date. This gave the awesome G!RO support crew something to celebrate and boy did they! Beers were spraying, they were singing and chanting. Perfection!
What a night we had at Guildford Town Centre races, we’re already buzzing for next year but also to see what these racers can do in the remainder of the season. Surely there’s more results looming! For now, we’ll soak this one up. Chapeau to the racers, a massive massive thanks to those who came out to support and congratulations Tom and Danny on a magnificent result! Unsurprisingly Tom will now be cutting his teeth in cat. 2 and surely it’s not long until Danny joins him. Look out for the in depth analysis of this race from Danny, who will be taking a look at the data from a coaching perspective soon. Until then, enjoy the gallery and go give these guys some love for a stellar performance!
We’ve been seeing a big increase in the number of new cyclists out and about since the lockdown, which is absolutely fantastic. Here at G!RO, we believe the power of the bike to enable many things - a sustainable mode of transport, a freedom machine to let you see new places, through to the fast and furious sport of bike racing.
We teamed up with our good mate Francis Cade to create a video to highlight our Top 7 Tips for New Riders On The Road!