There were to be five of us – Charlie, Ralph, Tom , Tim and Alistair – but Tim put his back out in the parking lot so we were down to four. There is a crit organized on this course every Tuesday but none of us were that familiar with it, although the course is essentially flat with no gnarly corners. So I adopted my usual crit rule #1 – “Start at the front and stay near the front”.
The first few laps were fairly mellow and then the attacks started – nothing too serious and the pack always chased them down. At the first prime there was a small crash when one rider, (un)celebrating his loss of the sprint, took his hands off the bars and promptly hit the deck (crit rule #2 – “Keep your hands on the bars”). Two of the apparently stronger riders got away and a lap later were followed by two more, including Jim Nash CCB who had won Myles Standish. I bridged across to them but the pack wasn’t keen to let us go. There was another small crash on one of the minor corners late in the race (crit rule #3 – “Don’t look back”) and then it was all out for the finish. We were fairly strung out for most of the last lap and I was fourth wheel coming past the pits, about 300 yards from the finish. I started sprinting then assuming that a mass surge was about to occur, and 20 metres from the line I saw Jim Nash coming alongside me and just held on to beat him by half a wheel. He said that if the finish line had been 10 metres further he would have passed me – but it wasn’t!!!
Despite the crashes all of the NEBC team finished so we were all able to go to work on Monday.
Nice NEBC turnout at the men’s masters 50+ race today. Met Alistair and fellow ancient Ralph and chatted with Tim a bit at registration. Also met Charlie Dow in a BRC kit who explained that he recently joined NEBC but his clothing order doesn’t fit. At staging, I looked around for Tim but he wasn’t there! I heard he wrenched his back or something and didn’t start. Tim – you okay?
Alistair lined up on the front row and executed a perfect race, staying near the front and out of trouble and positioning himself for the winning (I think) sprint. Excellent race Alistair!
The race was not a hammerfest – there were small attacks that were covered pretty quickly and that kept to overall pace fairly slow. However, at 4-laps-to-go, we had somebody go down at the finish line. Not sure what happened but I had to go a little off-road to avoid it and suddenly I was off the back. I got together with two other guys who also got caught up in the crash and we worked together to try and catch back on. We got close but the effort cooked us and we were done.
Funny story – in the crash, somebody skidded and blew their tire. It was a loud pop and, track racer John K thought it was a gun signalling that the race was being neutralized due to the crash. So he sort of rode along waiting for the race to get re-started. I’m never gonna let him live this down!