My first town centre crit as an oldie last night (albeit still in the baby support race ) and it was business as usual. just over 50 riders lined up for Colne Grand Prix as Colne itself seemed to be inexplicably sandwiched on all sides by the blackest clouds you can imagine. The race got under way bang on time and it took me four of five laps to warm myself up properly. It does take a bit longer these days – (seriously!).
As the race went by it seemed to be peppered with short-lived breaks lasting a couple of laps, but with a fairly well motivated bunch travelling at an average of 25.8 mph on a breezy night, it was always going to be hard to get a break away to stick unless it had a good few committed riders in it. That never came int he end. I got off the front three times but each time no company came up to me and I was inevitably chased down – and with a lap and a half to go, i was tempted to test whether anyone would chase then, but thought a half decent sprint would be better than being overtaken by the whole bunch having wasted myself.
4th place in the sprint itself was quite impressive given the snap recovery I made from someone directly in front of me hitting his pedal on the floor in the final fast right-hander 300m from the line. (How do 3rd cats not know how high their pedals are??). I picked myself out of a potentially sticky situation and came past a couple of riders near the line but was nowhere near catching the guys who made the podium.
The rain came down hard after we stopped for two minutes, then duly cleared up again for the Elite race, then started again immediately after that had finished. The crowds were estimated at 1500 to 2000 and I imagine they’d have shrunk to about 15 – 20 if the rain bouncing off the M65 on the way back home had hit half an hour earlier.
Blackburn next week. Corners. Different ball game. I’m ready for it.
Some predictably brilliant photos from Cheryl King (whose excellent Cyclocross photography book is on sale at Wheelbase)