Well, that was a right laugh...
Little form due to little riding then wanting to ride but being too ill - i knew it would be a hard day! Still, the East Mids Cicle Classic is great event. 180 riders, team cars, proper signing on podium in Oakham town centre, police motorbikes, motorbike support, tv crews, crowds of spectators, bbqs, closed roads and a finish right in the centre of Melton Mowbray (they close the centre of town all day). As its such an event its great to be a part of it, albeit crazy to ride due to the massive field (half of which have the bike handling skills of a tasmanian devil). Even better, this year it was also sponsored by Mars...and it helps if you know the people who are handing them out....
Anyway, the race starts with 2 laps of rutland water - something like 30miles in total. This year was unusually slow. If u try getting 180 riders around an easy loop strangely you still end up with carnage - i was braking uphill, nearly falling off due to going so slowly around a corner, yet also setting off speed cameras on the flat at 40mph in a 30, all after negotiating an almighty pile up after 8km. My mate (Oakham resident) Ryan was taken out in this with a double flat, twisted bars, etc. They gave him a 50cm to replacement. I think he was too embarrassed to get back on as he looked like a clown (he rides a 58cm!). At least he wasnt in the ambulance.
Following the choppiness of the 'water, we hit the lanes. By now about 140 trying to get to the front. More craziness. Think i locked up only twice and rode through 2 fields. Stayed upright tho. Anyway, managed to get dropped about 3 times, not good after only about midway through; a long day ahead. I hit the front of my group through "somerberg" - which is the nastiest of all the off-road sections. Only for the chain to fall off and the freewheel to keep spinning. Grr. Still, got going again, now off the back of that group. Another group caught me...and dropped me going through somerberg the other way round. By this point i'd decided i wasnt going to pack and just see if i could make the finish. Didnt get a drink for the last 40miles. Got sunburnt. Still, the last part is fairly fast roads and kind of downhill. Thinking i must now be dead last, i was caught by an Isle of Man car. With 5 riders in its slipstream! At this point i was mullered, 5 miles to go and getting dropped again - the car was still doing 20-30mph! They took pity and i held on to the side for a bit and finally made it into Melton. The roads were now open and we were riding in the middle with cars either side. A bit touch and go but made it to the finish. 92nd. Only 5 more finished.
Other bits - downed a full sized bottle in one at the finish. Saw Paul Oldham (mtber) who was brought down by Rob Hayles (allegedly) - apparently you could actually see Pauls hip bone. Ryan had eaten 3 mars bars. Hit cafe ner(d)o for a frappe and cake - sweet. Noticed everyone had mismatched wheels from puncturing (i still havent punctured in 4 events).
102.8 miles. Averaged 24mph. Probably about 30mins down on the winner.
Check out http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/web/site/BC/roa/EventReports2008/20080427_Rutland_Classic.asp
Next event is the Lincoln GP on 11th May, back into Retrobike kit
In life i have but one single desire - to tear down the sky. Alberto Tomba.