Last night I exorcised my demons with my first ride in the support race for the Rochdale GP – a classic town centre bike criterium race. Last year, I was getting prepared with some really good form, when I damaged a disk in my back and put myself out of action for a while.
This year, it went really well; the atmosphere was good, the racing was aggressive and very positive, and I felt on top of things. The course is a 1.2km circuit based on the town hall and shopping area of the town; it’s main feature was the climb (about 100ft high, but it wears you down when you climb it every two minutes!) and some tight twists and turns. The result of this, plus the wet roads, meant the riders were mainly lined out, so it was important I stayed near the front.
I got a small gap (probably about ten seconds) a couple of times in the race but didn’t have what it took to stay away for long. As we neared the end, I promised myself to do all in my power to be on the front for the final fast but slippy corner, about 300 metres from the line. This gave me the best chance of a win in a bunch (I’m not a good sprinter but people would lose their pace behind me in the corner); and only two people managed to come round me in the final sprint, meaning a podium place.
Katie, needless to say, was very chuffed with the flowers and Bubbly that happen on these occasions. I was just chuffed to be ‘up there’ in a fast bunch finish. The low key Science in Sport weekly races at Preston have definitely helped my race tactics and general experience when it comes to fast finishes. 37 and never too old to learn.
After the race, I watched the Elite race (and took a few piccies on my phone camera!), won in fine style for the second year running by Chris Newton. My team mate Lewis Craven put in an excellent ride in fine company to finish 15th. After that, I went into Lewis and Wendy’s new Optician shop in Norden, Rochdale – Craven and Murray – and had a good look round – it’s a gorgeous shop and I’m sure the business will work out really well.
Some brilliant pics here from Mountain Bike Cumbria
Photos below courtesy of Larry Hickmott