Joey Halloran, of the University of York Cycling Club, describes the action in a recent road race around the city.
A modest contingent of riders (namely Joey Halloran and Josh Arnold) from the University of York Cycling Club (UYCC) rolled away from campus on Tuesday evening, heading south for this local competition. As the clock counted down, nerves reached a new high, not helped by the increased wind speed which signifies tough racing conditions. The field looked on; some relishing the advantage the strong breeze gave to the strongest rides, while most just hoped to make it to the finish line.
The chequered flag went down. An early break on the road saw Josh Arnold (UYCC)and Tim Jackson (Clifton CC) go clear for three-and-a-half laps of the six-lap circuit, with Arnold picking up the intermediate (half-way) sprint prize, their lead growing to over two minutes. But it was fragile considering the hard working and organised group behind.
By lap five, with one to go, it looked in the bag for group one, as the peloton (a bunch of very experienced riders setting off behind group one) was not making enough progress to bring it together. After team tactics, it was decided Josh should contest the sprint. Unknown to many, cycling is a team sport. Riders rely on the fact that it can be up to 40% more efficient to ride behind someone out of the wind.
While Halloran did what he could to ride in to the wind, chasing breaks and expending energy, Arnold did what he could to save energy for the final dash to the line. The sprint for the line started a long way out; with Halloran the first wheel out of the corner followed closely by Arnold and the rest of group one. With 300m to go Halloran pulled off, exposing Arnold to the wind and leaving what remained of the work to him. His fast sprint was enough to see him cross the line in fourth to take the best ever placing, just one step off the podium, for Arnold personally and the UYCC.