In the photo: Travis Mceuen
written by Travis.
The Winchester Circuit race is a new course (2nd year) for the Red Kite Series. The course itself is 4.5 miles with 700ft of climbing and goes around the Winchester Country Club. I skipped this race last year and the word from my teammates lead me to believe it wasn’t going to be easy. Since I am targeting the RKO series I felt obligated to go. Only 12 pre-reg’d and I knew I could climb faster than 2 of those 12 so I was expecting to land 10th place which would be 5 omnium points.
The start of the race was pretty mellow and while there is a lot of elevation gain on this course you come into all of the climbs from a descent so it’s not as bad as you think. 3 laps in of 5 I was feeling good and figured I could land at least 5th place if I could just hang in until the final climb. The final climb was only 4 minutes or so but it started at about 12%, which for me is steep. There was really only one “climber” in the field and I figured he would attack the last climb. On the backside of the course you have a very fast descent for about a mile (almost ¼ of the course) and every time a guy from Cycle Sport would get away on his Venge Vias.
On the bell lap, we were all together and I was feeling confident. At the crest before the steep descent Cycle Sport gave an attack and sat on his top tube (he hit 60mph according to Strava) and managed to get away. I stayed with the group hoping someone would try and bridge but no one gave it a go. Going into the final climb I was watching the Limitless guy (the climber) and of course, he attacked so I followed and brought 3 other guys with me. We were all guaranteed on the podium so now it was a fight for 2nd. The final climb has two parts to it and as soon as we hit the 2nd part I launched and held it to the line for 2nd place maybe 15ft behind Cycle Sport
This put me in 1st overall for the omnium with the double point TT the next day. I now have a 29 point lead on 2nd place (teammate Eric Edem) for the RKO 3/4.
I thought the course was actually really fun with excellent pavement. I can’t wait to go back next year! Shout out to the Church who let us use their parking lots, bathrooms and provided lunch! #therealmvps