By Paul then Andy.
2nd – 4th May 2015
“50 miles a day at Velopark, then Hillingdon then Cyclopark.
Or so I thought……
Each stage would consist of 3 sprints: 1 for the stage and 2 primes; top 4 in each would be awarded time bonuses.
It was hard. It was bloody hard.
57 (seemingly) teenagers, Andy and me. A lean looking bunch if I’ve ever seen one. I had one thing over them however: I’d been married and divorced so I knew how to suffer!
Despite feeling like I was going to be dropped for most of the first hour I started playing to my strengths, dropping back on the uphill into the wind and then moving back up on the downhill tailwind section.
Prime 1: I came 3rd in the sprint but 3 were away so I bagged 6th. Why blow the whistle for a prime when 3 are away?!
Prime 2: I came 6th again but I was happy with that, it now meant I was consistently getting the better of enough of them to believe I had a top 10 in me.
Until the sprint opened.
Charging for the line somebody was clearly very relaxed as he decided to have a lie down causing a 12-man pile up including me and Andy!
Fortunately Andy wasn’t badly hurt but my face was stinging as I’d gone over the handlebars and broken my helmet. Good old crash hat. The First Aider’s initial line was a reassuring “that don’t look too good mate” and then I got to have a ride in ambulance!
2 hospitals and 7 stitches (in my lip) later (“it was a complicated laceration” the first hospital said) and I was fine. with relatively little other damage and only minor repairs needed to my bike (and a chance now to buy a helmet in team blue) I reckon I ‘got away with it’!
If only they made accreditations compulsory then not only might I had finished but also I’d be bloody minted ;-)”
Gutsy Andy got up and did it all again in stages 2 and 3, including a galliant 15th place on stage 2 at Hillingdon, here’s his version:
“I finished the three stages, the last of which at the Cyclopark made me want to feign an accident to avoid the shame of being dropped. I hung on for grim death and managed to stay with the bunch to the end. it was won by a 16 year old.
It felt like an achievement to finish. we gave it all at the cyclopark, rode it like a 1hr crit, looked up at the board with 17 laps to go and thought “oh no, still a whole race to ride”
the standard of riding really improved, much tidier towards the end. A crash course / intensive lesson in bike handling skills. I’d recommend it to anyone. probably great training to boot. got a lot of respect for the guys that got off the front and made it stick.
For the record: On stage 1 Paul thought we had to finish to place after the crash, so we got back on our mangled bikes and rode the last 50m to the line. ”