My first actual proper road race in over three years tonight. 35 laps of a 1.4km circuit around a small French town. Sprint every 5 laps. Two dodgy corners, one with recent road repairs and gravelly bits, one with manholes and awkward camber.
About 50 riders, it’s a UFOLEP 3rds and juniors. Those of you who race will know that 3rds and juniors can be a bit dodgy, so resolved to stay near the front. BTW cost 3euro to enter on the line, and you get a coke, a chewy bar and a pen!!!
Called up onto third line at start. Got up within the first 10 riders and stayed there as best I could. Had a few digs early on, nothin doin. Two riders escape about 20 laps in, I have a couple of goes to get across but cant do it on my own.
There’s no lap counter, just the bloke on the PA shouting at us in rapid French. Carla is there shouting to me in English, but there’s so many other wives, girlfriends, brothers, dads, etc also shouting that I haven’t got a clue what lap we are on.
Eventually I sus that there’s 7 laps to go. The two escapees have built up a two minute lead, we wont see them again. 6 to go and four of us get a gap. We work hard, but the Nantiat rider is not happy with the Nieul rider, and amongst all the shouting and swithching I forgot what lap we are on!!! Doh, Curse my old stoopid brain!
I reckon we have one to go, surely they’ll ring the bell this time, the St Junien rider is on the front, I know he’s gonna make it hard up through the finish, and I glue up to his wheel and brace my self. We fire up through the finish, and as we cross the line everyone cheers, and he sits up. It’s the finish! I’m 4th!
So, a success, and a cock-up at the same time. Whichever, it was great to be back racing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 🙂