Robin Parker writes…
Spring has sprung. The observant can notice the subtle signs that spring has finally arrived. No not the first flowering of daffodils or the nightingales singing in Berkley Square. No, you can tell that spring has sprung because I’ve removed the tin foil insulation from the inside of my crash hat!
The other give away is the sudden rush of enthusiasm of cyclists everywhere to get out and race. And so it was that I lined up in a massive bunch at Hillingdon on Saturday. When I spoke to the organiser after the event he confirmed that 85 riders had signed on. That’s a big bunch for a crit!
This ensured a lively pace right from the off. I repeated the successful tactic of last week – that of starting at the back of the bunch to avoid the temptation of an over exuberant start! It took a good while to move up through 85 riders, but once there I got stuck in getting in a few moves. The most memorable being an escape with two other chaps. I jumped away down the back straight and could tell that I’d taken a few with me. When I swung over, this man-mountain of a guy came powering through. He had a sun tan that Des O’Conner would have been proud of (either from extended warm weather training camp or extended spray booth job) and he was the size of a brick sh-err outhouse! Honest, this guy would have intimidated Roger De Vlaeminck! (Youngsters please refer to google). Anyhow, he went so fast into the head wind along the finishing straight that I was deep in oxygen debt by the time he swung over. It was all I could do to get past him and our other companion was gone already. I’ve never been so pleased to see the bunch lined out and about to recapture us! Time for a well earned rest.
I stayed attentive towards the front over the final 10 laps. But by this point the winning 8 man break was already gone. With about a lap and a half to go, I lost my position at the front of the bunch. To be honest I wasn’t really up for fighting for position this week. And once I lost my place I elected to drop right back to avoid getting caught in any last lap tangles (there was a pile up with ½ lap to go in the 4th cats) and finished at the back of the bunch.
A good workout, enjoyed some sunshine and home on one piece. A result in itself No racing for me next weekend, then the LVRC MSTina Road race series kicks off.