Blackburn Grand Prix – Back in Black(burn)

I spent a strange but ace year of my education at Blackburn College in 1990/91 and it’ll always hold some great memories for me. This evening I rode in the town centre race there and had a good ride. I’m glad I did – I was starting to get concerned.

When you have bad days and little dips in form now and then, you generally deal with it and wait for it to pass.

When you have a bad day then another then another and you’re 39 (and a half), you start to think that maybe the bubble’s burst… your time’s come, and you’re not going to regain any semblance of form. Ever.

Looking back to Colne GP last week and the dreadful training runs and rides in between, I can conclude that I’ve simply had a bug of some sort. I rested like mad since Sunday and got on my bike this evening and knew immediately I was back to normal. My peak heart rate was sky high (a good sign!) and my legs had a bit of juice in them. More importantly, I had an attitude and decided I was on for a ride.

When the race started in front of a pretty decent crowd, I hit the front – after about 150 metres. I’d concluded instantly when riding the course that it was so twisty that there was nowhere to be than up the front, so I took the race full on and attacked pretty much from the gun. Crossing the line after the first of 35 laps, I had one of those moments where I thought it was maybe a bit daft, but there’s a time for thinking and a time for getting one’s head down. A ten second gap soon came and I heard the commentator say that a chase group of five was on its way.

After five very long minutes, Lewis and four others came across to me and that was pretty much that; we wouldn’t see the rest of the field again all evening. I let Lewis’s wheel go (he’s a team mate in spirit and in winter!) when I was second in line to see who’d chase him. No-one did and that was that – he was off for another solo victory, riding the majority of the race on his own and taking a clean sweep of Blackburn, Colne and Rochdale. Chapeau.

The rest of us just kept it fast and tidy. In the dying laps I missed my chance to attach the others with a major dither, but settled pretty happily for fourth place on the night – third in the sprint. It’s nice to get a decent result – the first time I’ve felt fast this year really, with the way things have been.

Garmin track and some pretty in yer face heart rate stats here