We eventually got a taste of summer on Sunday and what a fantastic day to be out on a bike!
I’ve been riding the local TLI races around Jodrell Bank for the last couple of weeks, and been getting placed. But todays LVRC (League of Veteran Racing Cyclists) Steve Gutteridge memorial, over 55 miles was going to be the toughest race of the year. It’s a national series of Road Races with lots of crafty old gits who know how to ride a bike (or should I say ex national and international riders) taking part.
The race had a rolling start, and straight away the attacks began. The start of any Race is an anxious time with lots of cat and mouse and bluffing, seeing who’s got good form and testing the water. After chasing down one of these early moves the real deal went, but I was cooked and just couldn’t go again (old git).
20 miles down and 35 miles to go, it’s a long time for a break to be out front, could they hang on! Well, the ten riders who got away committed fully to the break and steadily pulled away on the lanes.
Usually in 3 / 4 category races that’s it, people do pointless attacks and the bunch pull them back and everyone rolls around saving themselves for the kamikaze bunch sprint at the end, which normally ends in a crash.
NOT this lot – lots of shouting and screaming eventually saw us start to work together for the common good pulling the break back to 30 seconds on the fast main road section, with the time going back up through the twisty lanes.
5 miles to go on the fast run in and you could see the break in the distance, could we bring it back?
That’s right the break was in touching distance so everyone sits up, looking at each other and stops working, luckily the break where doing the same thing playing games with each other.
A group of four attacked and latched onto the back of the break in the distance, what the hell I thought, and no point sprinting for 15th place, so I gave it everything off the front of the bunch.
Just as I made contact with the break, a rider attacked with me dropping straight onto his wheel taking me to the front of the race for the first time in 30 miles! Another big attack by Nigel Kershaw and the final sprint was on, that’s when I realised I had towed the whole bunch across with me.
After 55 miles it came down to a bike length between the first three, with me third!
LVRC and TLI is age related racing, so you’re riding with people your own age who don’t bounce anymore when they hit the deck. Everyone looks out for each other, shouts holes out and have respect for each other.