Cycling, Racing, Road Race

Brentor Road Race

The men’s race passes under Brentor

E1234 | Brentor | 2nd August 2014

  • Weather: sunny, with a short burst of rain
  • Course: three sharp corners, long drag
  • Highlight: making the break!
  • Strava activity

[EDIT:Now with added Strava!]

The 7th event in the South West Women’s Racing League, the Brentor Road Race was held in the small village of Brentor, near Tavistock. The hamlet is famous for its iconic church, perched high above on the Tor.

Badger navigates across Dartmoor

Fortunately it doesn’t take too long to get across Dartmoor from Exeter so we were soon there (and we didn’t have to get up too early!).

The men’s 3/4 race (running concurrently with the women’s) was fully subscribed with almost 80 riders. This meant the tiny village was soon full to bursting with slightly nervous, lycra-clad men. The lanes were narrow and quickly congested with parked cars by the time we arrived.

There was mass upheaval when a tractor, and then a bus, had to get through.

Lead NEG bike. Complete with sheepskin seat cover.
Lead NEG bike. Complete with sheepskin seat cover.

After a short warm-up on the turbo, I rode up the (big!) hill to the start line to attend the rider briefing. The men’s race rolled off with their cars and outriders before our race followed suit five minutes later.

3/4 mens and ladies start line
3/4 mens and ladies start line

The ladies race was 40km which worked out at five laps of the triangular circuit.

After the neutralised section finished and the lead car pulled ahead there was no major increase in speed; the group stayed close together, eyeing each other up.

Mid-way through the second lap a couple of riders put on a burst of speed, coming past the bunch swiftly. About seven of us went with this and the pace was kept high.


The third side of the triangle featured a long drag, which lasted around 8 minutes. Even on the first lap this took some prisoners. On the second lap, with some pace being set, the race was strung out further but I managed to hang in.

Sadly, by the third lap I no longer could sustain the power and had to drop back where two other riders came up and formed a small poursuivant group.

Wiebke (who is a strong TTer) was part of this small group, and with her steady power provided much of the impetus.

This graph shows (along the top) the profile of the course. Highlighted is the ‘long drag’, and (below) my stats for this particular section. (Click on the picture to see it full size).

By the fourth climb I had run out of steam and ended up alone for a short while before forming a good partnership with Lucy. For much of the following lap we had Wiebke and Zoe in our sights and Lucy was determined to catch them.

At some point the men’s race caught us up and came rushing by – a much smaller group now the hilly laps had whittled them down.

The rain also came, lasting barely ten minutes, but long enough to make crossing white lines when cornering something to consider.

Coming into the final lap – the lead break has reduced in number

And then it was the last lap. Lucy got ahead of Wiebke and Zoe leaving me to survive into 10th.

Tactically I played the race well, getting into the break and holding a good position within the bunch, I credit my recent chaingangs for this improvement.

My main weakness was on the long drag hill – I could not sustain the relevant power for long enough and then recover quickly enough. I have set myself some exciting (!) turbo sessions to remedy this.

Although today’s ride shows an all-time improvement for my 5 min power, this was still my weakness and requires work.

This race was part of the South West league, so I am now 12th in the league table.

It doesn’t look like I will finally qualify for the league, as I am not going to be able to attend the required races. (A couple of events have been cancelled leaving only three events remaining,  one of which is the far side of Cornwall on a weekday evening – I just can’t get to it!)

Position Name Club name
1 Natalie Grinczer Fusion RT Gearclub Bike Scienc…
2 Josephine Gilbert VC St Raphael
3 Heidi Viles Exeter Wheelers
4 Nicola Noble
5 Jessica Duffy Kinoko Cycles Racing
6 Lucy Walker Bristol South CC
7 Wiebke Rietz 1st Chard Whls
8 Zoe Betteridge North Devon Wheelers – South F…
9 Sophie Edmondson Kinoko Cycles Racing
10 Alice Miller Look Mum No Hands!
11 Alison Hooper Mid Devon CC
12 Alexandra Sheehan Merlin Cycles
13 Sarah Croucher London Phoenix CC
14 Claire Elworthy Exeter Wheelers
15 Nichola Rorke Exeter Wheelers

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