By Lee. 28th May 2016.
So, i’ve entered the National Masters Championships.
The full weight of that dawned on me at the sight of the riders lined up behind the lead car on the start line.
Lots of lean dudes from Pedal heaven and Nuun-Sigma. Elite, 1st cat riders and lots of them….I must be mad.
We rolled out with Barny at the front behind the car, he really does have some sort sixth sense on where the lead car will be and never misses out.
The pace from the start was pretty quick as we navigated the course for the first lap.
The course itself was rolling with not one single flat section on it, but also nothing too lumpy that would break the race apart.
The pace eased up a bit, so i sat in the bunch to do as little as possible conserving energy. Barny rightly predicted this wouldn’t last long.
The next lap the pace was super quick. I looked at my Garmin, it read 24 miles! I really didn’t see how i’d be able to keep up this pace for 76 miles.
As i hung on I could see that there was numerous attacks springing off of the front, thankfully none of which were sticking.
But the peleton at one point started to split into two as groups of riders sprang off of the front.
From the roadside Suze had seen this and shouted for us to attack. I thought i’d take a gamble or risk getting dropped from the main chasers.
After putting in a couple of big efforts i got myself in a good position to launch an attack or two. This i did with the help of a guy from PMR and Full Gas Racing, we got a few seconds break on both occasions (and a couple of nice photos into the bargain) but the pace at the front was simply so fast nothing would stick.
Things then settled down a bit and the pack was all back together as the lap bell rang, i couldn’t believe i’d survived this long, i was really going to finish this race.
Exactly where i’d finish would then come into question as i began to feel that annoying little stab of cramp niggling in my left leg with about 5 miles to go. I managed to shake it out and get ready for ever impending lunacy of the bunch sprint.
As we took a left hander turn we saw the 1km marker, the peleton now filled the entire road and as i made my way forwards round the pack
i found myself on the far right hand side. I prayed that the marshals had stopped the traffic otherwise i was going cross-country.
With 600 or so to go Barny decided to go for glory and put in a charge for the line, as i tagged onto the riders chasing him i really thought that he may hold on.
Unfortunately the run to the line is a drag uphill and it proved to be just too much for him and he was swamped by the quality field, another 200 metres later and he really may of made it.
UnabIe to get out of the saddle i pushed as hard as my failing legs would allow and i even made up a few places trying to catch the guys in front, i rolled over the line pretty much pedalling on one leg.
I was super chuffed to find out that i came in 20th position.
Barny rolled over in the main bunch but had one hand briefly on the National jersey…..next year mate.
Talking of next year, i’ll be in the older age group so i’ll be prepared and bang up for this one.
I’ve already pre-booked the B&B….i must be mad.