Dulwich Hill Cycling Club launched the first of their spooky Rookwood Cemetery criterium races and the weather meant that it felt like Hell was freezing over. MWCC had riders represented in all grades and young rider Alastair Hirsch provides his view from within the peloton in this report.

The C Grade race was a fiercely contested one, with repeated attacks throughout the race and a motivated peloton. After the neutral lap to allow everyone to see the damp and somewhat treacherous conditions, a number of flyers went off the front, with riders (myself included) testing the waters. Every attack was immediately marked and no gaps were allowed to form, despite repeated attempts up the short climb which forced many riders to sprint to catch back on, due to its location immediately after a wet and off-camber sharp corner.

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 Chris Taylor on the attack in A Grade

My original plan was to sit in and try and launch an attack up the hill either on the last lap or with one to go. However, after witnessing a particularly impressive move by a DHBC member to win the prime, I realized that I didn’t have the legs to jump on the hill or to win a bunch sprint.

After crossing the finish line for three laps to go I moved up to the front to get a clean line through the first corner, and noticed that I came out of it with a few bike lengths gap. I decided to go then and hope that the group behind would fight about who should chase or indeed neglect to chase as no moves had been successful early in the race, no one had attacked from that location and there was no dominant team. A couple riders attempted to bridge across but failed, and I was rewarded as the group behind failed to organise a chase.

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 Evan Snow sprinting for the win but ended up with second

The race then turned into an 8 minute time trial where the gap was never larger than 20 seconds for the last three laps, and I managed to just hold off the reduced bunch, who came in for a sprint a couple of seconds after I crossed the line.

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Alistair on the top step in C Grade

In other grades, Richard Saunders placed second in D Grade, Evan Snow won the prime and placed second in B Grade and Chris Jory won the prime and the A Grade race.

Entry for this was online and sold out in about an hour with grade numbers limited, the next race is June 21 and we will advertise this once it gets closer. It is a testing little course in a unique location and it is worth the trip out there.

Thanks to Dulwich Hill Cycling Club and their team of volunteers for putting on a great morning of racing. It is great to have a different venue and we appreciate the time that they have spent organising this series.

Photos for this article have been provide by https://www.facebook.com/ColinLevitchMedia via the Dulwich Hill Facebook Page and Carbon Addiction website.

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