Warm, calm and dry, was last weeks cold and rain only a week ago? There were four of us racing for St Neots – Dan (in his first race) and Gareth, both in the first group, I was in the third group and Wayne was in the 2nd cat group 30 seconds behind us. My group started 1.30 behind the 3rds with no points. A couple of lads were happy to drag the rest of us around at high-speed, so we let them. The 2nd cats caught us and it was good to see Wayne still there, but then, it had only taken them one and a half laps to make up the gap, so I bloody well hope so!
From then on the race was fast, there were a few attacks, but the speed was such that no one was going to get away for long. The second group was caught and not long after the first group. Both Dan and Gareth were still there when we caught the group. I was expecting the pace to lift when the catch was made and sure enough it did. I wasn’t sure if Dan could hang on, but he did and the next time I saw him he was looking like this was a normal Thursday evening (I suspect it may soon be).
The group was large and in the final laps it started to get twitchy. Bends were being taken with ever greater tightness; at other times the pace eased and the bunch massed, waiting for the next surge to string it out. That was a nervous time and so I tried to maintain a good position near the front, away from any potential trouble. I think there were some close encounters further back and a couple of times I heard hard braking and curses, but fortunately no one went down.
Onto the final lap and the sprint started early – not surprising given the large field, and perhaps for the best, since the bunch would be stretched to the limit for the final time around the U-bend and the sprint the to line. I think I was probably around 10th position for the bend and with a good clear position on the outside. I straightened up, shifted gears and got going. I quickly passed a couple of riders, but there were more ahead, not many though. I had a rider to my left and another coming on my right, both were edging forward so I pushed harder, but that only made them push harder in return and so I pushed a bit harder again and so on to the line. I held them off, but didn’t pass any of the leaders. So I came 7th, all good points and I’m happy with that. A bit sketchy at times, but otherwise a good fast workout averaging 27mph.
Dan, Gareth and Wayne all finished in the bunch. Better fortune for Gareth and for Dan, an excellent first race, although I wonder if he’s come down from his adrenalin high yet?