Sunday morning, a cold crisp day, just about perfect conditions for my first road race since July 2012.
The six months I’ve been back on the bike have seen me progress from ‘fat middle aged man’ to ‘middle aged man’. Not bad really, you have to start somewhere and I had done as much as I could in the time I’d given myself.
Preparations the day before had been less than ideal however as it was my wife’s 50th birthday party (fancy dress, 80’s theme, I went as a very poor approximation of a Miami Vice character as you ask).
Living all of 300 yards away I was lucky enough to be able to sign on and then go and warm up on rollers at home. The warm up was no-where near long enough unfortunately – in my advancing years I need a good hour and a half to get going so the 20 minutes I gave myself didn’t quite do it. Never mind, fresh vest on and down to the start just a couple of minutes before the rider briefing.
The bunch set off led by Iain Young. Very soon after the flag dropped our own Matt Ellis was the first to attack, something he continued doing with Tigger-like enthusiasm for the next 15 miles. Also having early goes were Jim Duffy and Iain.
There were loads of attacks on the first lap, the speed was yo-yoing from 20 mph to 30 mph and back down again and I was fighting to stay on wheels. ‘If it carries on like this, I’m out the back’, I heard my legs saying. Fortunately things calmed down a little and then at the start of the second lap the CC London rider made a very soft attack. I suppose that everyone that saw it happen thought he wasn’t going to go anywhere, then he had 50 yards and we were thinking, ‘he’ll come back’, then it was 200 yards and we were thinking, ‘I’m not chasing that’. Then he was gone. And gone he stayed till the last half lap. Fantastic effort.
For over a lap the bunch was largely un-coordinated, there were a couple of efforts to get a chase going but nothing committed. I was starting to feel decent as the race went on and then all of a sudden got really serious cramp half way through the third lap. I downed virtually a whole bidon which revived me somewhat. So much so that when a 2 man attack went a little while later I chased it down. Absolutely flat out, eyeballs out to get across, got on the back, relaxed and promptly threw up. Only a bit but enough to wish I hadn’t had so much porridge and that I had more drink left in my bottles. This wouldn’t have been so bad if the attack had worked but I looked around and there was the rest of the bunch right behind me. A short while later Jim said his gears weren’t working and he was stuck in something far too low. Ah, the wonders of modern technology!
Recognition must go to Iain who, along with what seemed 1 other rider spent most of the 4th lap on the front, eventually bringing back the break.
With the break reeled in, and half a lap remaining, the action started hotting up, attacks coming thick and fast and I, in my stupidity, put my nose on the front for an ever so brief period before being sucked back in to the bunch.
The end arrived and a bunch sprint with the Wrexham rider out the front and me on the back, my legs, lungs and heart screaming for mercy.
All in all I was pretty pleased, it’s given me a good idea of just how bad I am and just how much work I have to do.
Thank you to Alan and everyone involved in marshalling, signing on, tea, coffee, cakes, numbers and everything else. It was a fantastic, flawless, seamless event of which the club should be very proud.
Average HR 160, Max HR 184, Average cadence 95, Max cadence 124, Average speed 24.8 mph, Max speed 39.9 mph