Robin Parker writes…
26th May. BC Masters 40+ at Preston Park (Après Bank Holiday Bonanza)
Result=5th or 6th
May Bank Holiday can mean only two things. Firstly it’s sure to rain and secondly it’s time for a Rumble in Brighton. The weather didn’t disappoint and although the Mods vs Rockers clash failed to materialise, the wrinkly old boys instead took to Preston Park track for a rumble – bike race style!
The Masters (polite term for us old boys) race start was slightly delayed to allow the victims of a crash in the precious race to be taken off to hospital. Hopefully nothing too serious – looked like one guy with a bit of road rash to the forehead and another with a fair bit of skin missing from his knee. But not really what you want to see when you’re heading for the sign on – especially when you have concerned looking family in tow.
The first third of our race was run off in lively fashion with plenty of attacking and counter attacking but nobody managing to get an advantage. The second third settled down a bit as a couple of guys managed to force a bit of a gap and then dangled carrot-esquely (cool – a new word wot I just invented!) in front of the bunch. When a couple more joined then, things started to look a little more serious and so I bridged up with another rider. Unfortunately everyone sensed the danger and the peloton stretched to the max as riders scrambled back to the fore.
As the bunch paused to gather collective breath, I launched another attack hoping to take someone with me. Unfortunately there were no takers and I ploughed a lone furrow for a few laps before I was recaptured. After taking a few more laps to gather my breath, I tried once more. Again, no takers and another couple of laps on my own ensued.
At this point I decided that it was time to sit back a bit and wait for the finish. Obviously this was the queue for a couple of riders to escape the bunch for good and for the 5 laps to go board to appear! Another rider slipped away and I still waited. When we took the bell I knew that we were sprinting for 4th place and rather than get myself into an outside position ready to launch my sprint, I found myself boxed on the inside. I had to wait way too long to launch my sprint and by the time a gap opened in front of me, it was already too late. I finished about 5th or 6th having failed to light the afterburners and really let rip.
Chapeaux to the guys off the front who took their chances well. I was a little disappointed with the result. On the other hand I finished with a full complement of skin and even better was the positive feelings in my legs. Last weekend’s tough race double are definitely out of my legs and I have the unmistakable early sensations of that illusive form building. With the British Cycling Masters Road Race Champs in 2 weeks and the LVRC Crit Champs and the British Cycling Masters Crit Champs the following weekend I am hoping that my timing is about right. Only time will tell…