Corley 3-Day

After a run of 4 weeks where we have been travelling away to races every weekend, last weekend’s Corley 3-day provided a chance to race closer to home. On the cards for us was a Criterium on the Friday night, a 90km road stage and 8km TTT on the Saturday and finalised with a 130km road stage Sunday.
The Criterium was held at Milton Keynes bowl, for riders local to Milton Keynes this was as close to a home advantage as you can get in a road race. Many of the local riders spend our Thursday nights racing there throughout the summer; however 80 riders round a tight twisty circuit would be a different proposition to the usual 30. For the Spirit team the tactic was simply, stay near the front out of trouble and don’t get caught the wrong side of any splits and lose any time. With Mark getting in the only significant split of the evening, which ultimately got brought back with 4 laps to go, and the team having Chris and Jack also in the front bunch of 40 it was mostly mission accomplished.
On the Saturday morning it was again Mark who infiltrated the break, this time the break stuck and a group of 15 ended up gaining 50 seconds over the main bunch taking Mark into the top 15 overall. In the afternoon the team rode smoothly to finish joint 3rd in the TTT, placing Mark into 10th place overall and Chris and Jack 19th and 20th respectively.
Sunday and with the GC still only separated by a few seconds we were hoping to be able to make a move and gain the time needed to move up the overall standings. The plan was for Jack and/ or Chris to get in the first break of the day and to allow Mark to follow the GC riders.  With Chris getting in the first break of the day, the first half of the plan had been achieved; the break gained a maximum of 1min30 before the time started to come back in. Once the gap was hovering around 10-15 seconds Ed and Mark jumped across the gap to join the break and inject some fresh legs to the move in the hope they could gain the 16 seconds Mark needed to make up on the overall. Unfortunately the plan didn’t come to fruition as Ed and Chris fell out of the back of the move and ultimately the break was caught and the stage came down to a bunch sprint.
Overall Mark finished 10th with Chris and Jack 19th and 20th.