Nervous is not a word I use lightly.
I have not ridden a road race in 4 years – the last having been this series back in 2003.
I have a great affection for this race having had some good results in the past even getting on the ‘bottom rung’ of the podium for the series in 2000.
So at the age of nearly 51 with a new shiny British Cycling Racing Licence in my [shaking] hand I signed on and collected my number nnnnnighteen.
I’d quite forgotten the sociable atmosphere of a road race – no sad blokes with clip boards!
So, after the chat by the commissaire on the do’s and don’ts we were off!
Having been a ‘tester’ in more recent times it is quite noticeable the sudden changes of pace in a road race but after a couple of laps of the 6 mile circuit the legs became accustomed and it was time to have a go at livening things up a bit. With two chaps away with about 50 yards on the bunch I bridged across with another rider, but the group wouldn’t work together and with a ‘prime’ coming up we were all back together.
That’s the way it stayed. A good 98% of these races finish in a bunch sprint so it was time to tighten the shoe straps and see how things unfolded.
Self preservation was high on my agenda but so was winning; fortunately the last lap was run off at a cracking speed spreading the bunch out a bit. Riding in the first 10 is the place to be so as the sprint opened up I was reasonably well placed but a little ‘boxed in’. In the end it was impossible to get through the ‘traffic’ so I finished 6th just out of the money – still, quite chuffed that an old bloke like me can still mix it, and there’s always next week – or the week after!