We certainly had a series of weather patterns at Knighton last evening. It was raining when I got there (standard) but then by the time the rather thin (in numbers, not necessarily weight) field were on the start line it had improved to ‘dry but bloody cold with a northerly hooley’ (you can tell I’m a geographer eh?)
4 groups this evening with Wrekinsport riders dotted throughout, with the obvious exception of the scratch group, including me, Karen and John, White Lines Billington and Last Minute Dan. Whilst light on numbers the youngsters in the scratch group looked pretty mean, amongst them David ‘Lord’ Starkey (Freds), Todd Hotchkiss, Elliot Jones (Paramount), John Cooper (Wolves Wheelers) and a couple of ‘sign on the line’ team jockeys.
The boys from the scratch group caught us on the second lap of 5 which is pretty early so it was going to be a tough race. I noticed as they came through that not one of them weighted over 10 stone and their average age was probably no more than early 20’s. This, in my mind at least, is cheating – but then I’m a chubby 46 year old so I would say that wouldn’t I?
The combined group 3&4 picked up what looked like the combined 1&2 with a lap and a half left. Riders were being shelled out through speed and conditions. The best place on the back straight was in the right hand gutter in echelon but that’s kinda tricky when a HGV is coming the other way delivering to the chocolate factory – they don’t get this on the Giro…
The rain really came down on the last half lap of the race, thankfully this stopped…but only because it turned to hail. Real painful proper bullet sized hail. I pulled up next to John as we came up to the railway bridge for the last time only to see him disappear down Grand Knighton Canyon on the left side of road. Thankfully he held it together.
A group of 3 or 4 riders from the scratch managed to break away. I think it included a couple of sign on the line jockeys and possibly Todd, Starkey etc. There was a bunch sprint for the minor places so if you survived to the end, well done. White Lines was up there, me and Last Minute rolled in with the bunch. By this time my shoes were flooded.
Karen Summers put in a gutsy ride to keep hold of the pink jersey for the leading woman (well done Karen). Good ride in challenging conditions.
I retreated to the Social Club to get changed, sat up on the stage chatting to Mark Fenn (Paramount) and a few others to do the standard ‘taking your shorts off with a towel around you’ routine when an idea struck me. Taking my shorts off… on a stage… nah, nobody would pay to see that. Or notice for that matter. Anyhoo, there was a satisfied glow amongst the riders that comes at the end of a race completed in tough conditions – it’s a worthwhile experience and more good quality miles in the legs. All good stuff.
Early this morning, I sat on my turbo in the garage doing a little recovery session. It was the first time I’d experienced a headwind in that environment. Bloody. British. Weather….. Discuss.
We’re at the Stourport circuit next so more weather reporting from Worcestershire then.