This evening was particularly odd as I’m use to navigating to the Newport course by smell and Sat Nat because it’s usually blowing a hooley and pissing down with mixture of horizontal sleet and snow. It appeared Spring had sprung a bit.
The briefing from Commissaire ‘Big Dave’ Goring was typically to the point. The race was to be settled as is traditional at Knighton by two falls, two submissions or, more commonly, a couple of knockouts and decent bout of concussion. We were advised to avoid riding through the gardens and shrubberies of those houses lining the course where possible and that biting, scratching and gouging were out. Premiership footballers please take note.
The usual suspects showed up. You know, bike riders and that. Many of them as old as me. Good Wrekinsport turn out, including the Gos who had seemingly got lost on his way to a chess match although as it appears he wears the same clothes for both activities it’s difficult to tell.
I wish in Big Dave’s Health and Safety but he had told us that, in the unlikely event of us loosing air pressure during the race, oxygen masks would fall from the sky and could be activated by pulling them down towards your face. I could have really done with one of these a few minutes into the ‘riding around the course bit’. In fact, I could have done with a much larger one that fitted over my arse too because that’s what I was breathing through. My Majorca training was really kicking in at this point in so much that I could have really done with a sit down and a cake…
5 groups raced tonight, Group 3 caught group two on lap 3 of 5 and were later joined by the proper cyclists from G4 and G5 (presumably they combined at some point, I don’t really know what kind of black magic goes on back there) but at the end of the race G1 were still away by 4 minutes. Notable top 10’s were Wrekinsport’s John Cooke and Wolves Wheelers Ben Manfield who finished 2nd, just coming up from the youth to junior ranks this season, both of whom will soon be towing my arse around in G3.
A safe race, I only witnessed one bit of hedge trimming by a rider who had singularly failed to contribute anything useful to the race and was trying to get upfront for a pointless bunch sprint. The gap is either big enough or it isn’t – this time it wasn’t., isn't, wasn't... whatever. He was unharmed save for having to pick some privet out of this teeth.
Good to see Fred’s mechanic Jam Price back racing – also means next time I bollox my bike up on a Thursday night he can take it straight into the shop…
A good start to the league – we are lucky to have it and we were lucky to have had such great conditions this year. Listening to the radio on the back I reflected many of my fellow riders of a similar age were also lucky not to been shagged backwards by a 70/80’s children TV presenter. But I digress.
My luck finally ran out when I got home and unloaded the bike from the back of the car to discover a searing pain in the shin and smell of burnt flesh that comes from a person unaware his new car’s exhaust pipe is in the middle rather than at one side. Happy days, good to be back eh?
More, much more, later…