RACE REPORT: Crit/RR race 04 – Crystal Palace Crits.
A race report from the fourth LWR 2017 crit/RR league crit race, hosted by Crystal Palace Crits as part of their spring/summer programme of Tuesday night races in Crystal Palace Park. Report from Hannah Nicklin (who raced) photos taken by James Corlett. Full results for those who finished including non-LWR members are on the BC event page, and league standings will be up ASAP on the crit/rr results page. You can also check out photos, via the LWR facebook page.
Crystal Palace Crits is a longstanding tradition, and one of those ‘love it or hate it’ kind of courses. Very technical, fast, and with a lot of riders on the course at the same time, everyone comes to Palace for the first time and learns a lot. I personally started riding there last season, and it improved my cornering no end. It’s not as simple a race as you’ll find on circuits like Lee Valley and Hog Without the Hill, but it’s a great south London tradition and social occasion, and can be really rewarding to those who want to test themselves on it. Definitely one of the harder ones of the calendar, and in a 2/3/4 field, if you struggled in this race, you shouldn’t feel down! I’m a cat 2 and I still haven’t ever survived in the front group to the finish. Moving into my second season of CP Crits, my current goal is to hang on past 25 minutes!
The race went fast from the start. This is pretty much how it is at Palace, with a lot of tricky technical sections to navigate, riders who are strong and confident will often try and take the advantage from the outset so they’re not dealing with crowded cornering, and can pick the fastest line. There was a strong 32 women on the start line, but as always this quickly began to drop away to a front group of around 12-15, with others chasing on behind.
A Prime around 20 minutes in won by Helen Ralston of Sigma Sport dragged the front bunch out further and still more riders lost contact, the front pack holding 9 riders, with 3-4 forming a chase behind (featuring me!). Maryka Sennema of Fusion RT Fierlan, Aoife Doherty of 5th Floor, Helen Ralston of Sigma Sport and Nicole Oh of Les Filles were all seen pushing the pace of the front group, and as the men’s race passed them two riders attacked, leaving Bella Leach of Dulwich Paragon and Eryn Nolan of 5th Floor in a two-up break, with the rest chasing down. Bella took the win, Eryn was second, and Elizabeth Hughes of CC London put in a strong sprint to win 3rd.
The front of the race was dominated by some very strong cat 2s, but there were some equally (some would say more!) determined efforts from the cat 3s and 4s, especially as the highly technical course was new to many. From the 3/4s, the highest placing 5 riders were:
- Emily Ashwood – Cycle Team OnForm,
- Caroline Reuter – London Phoenix CC,
- Emily Bates – 700CC,
- Emma Porter – Penge Cycle Club (also the highest placing 4th cat),
- Elisabeth Anderson – CC London
Chapeau to everyone who took part. The next round of the crit/RR league is at the super Cyclopark hosted by Soughborough District CC, a 3/4 race on a superb modern circuit, with great facilities, and a parcours that offers a little bit of everything; corners, a long drag, a sharp little hill. If Palace wasn’t to your liking, take heart! Everyone has their favourite courses, and Cyclopark is another great opportunity to find yours.