Last Sunday it was the 13th edition of the Rutland – Melton CiCLE Classic. A classic race through the county of Rutland involving off road sections and climbs whilst riding from the county capital of Oakham to the race finish in Melton Mowbray.
The race was over 180 Km, and involved two laps of Rutland water heading out from Oakham and then riding back through and up the first off road section ‘Barleyberg’ which was almost all uphill. The race then descended down into Cold Overton with then doing a variety of courses and loops involving passes of the villages Owston and Somerby via many off road sections eventually heading over to a finish circuit around Melton Mowbray and Staple Park. Guest riding for OVB I was to be teaming up with Steve Tait, Andrew Brinkley and Chris Mcnaughton.
Arriving at 9am at the Oakham college, we got ready and got a brief warm up ride before heading to the centre of Oakham for ceremonial sign on which involved an introduction from Carlton Kirby whilst on stage.
When starting the race, my goal was to get myself around Rutland Water through to barleyberg heading into Rutland, something which I would be happy with if I was able to achieve it. Starting at 11, the race was neutralised out of Oakham where the flags went down and the race was on. When going up the first climb I thought to myself how tough it was. With the UCI teams taking charge and trying to establish a lead group the pace was up to 28 mph has we rode around Rutland Water. With the pace being so fast I was certainly hanging on at times during the two laps. However despite this I was still riding when we came into Oakham racing through the centre and heading out to the country lanes Rutland through Barleyberg.
With a tough climb out, as soon as we got over the top we took a right turn down what was a very fast decent, sprinting out the corner riding over to another circuit around Cold Overton.
I was now finding the race hard and knew it was only a matter of time before I was unable to last. On taking a left down the lanes to Somerby the coarse and the relentless pace of the race was taking its toll and on the climb heading up to Somerby I was dropped and out the back of the race. As the race convoy past I regrouped with other riders to continue riding until we were eventually past by the broomwagon soon after meaning we were out of the race. Getting between 40-50 miles in was an achievement for the first time I have attempted the CiCLE Classic.
I will always remember racing around Rutland Water at the pace we were going at on closed roads with a helicopter flying straight above us. I will also remember heading through Oakham with a large crowd at the six of the roads watching and heading up the Barleyberg climb were the helicopter disappears and the glamour becomes serious and hard as the race goes around the lanes of Rutland only eventually getting to Melton Mowbray were only a few riders make it. It is truly a unique race and something I will always be proud of.
The race was won by Dan Fleeman of Metaltek Kuota.