By Ste Feeney
This weekend the LVRC (League of Veteran Racing Cyclists) National Road Race Championship was being held in Yorkshire and Craig, Kris and I went along in search of glory and a national title.
Craig and Kris are not newcomers to veteran racing. Craig won the National Time Trial title earlier this year and Kris was a medalist in last year’s road race. It was my first time though as I took a weekend off battling against the youngsters! As relative youngsters in the veteran racing community, we were racing in the 40-45 year age group.
After my appalling display in last weekend’s road race I decided to try and prepare a little better this week so I had an easy ride during the day, stayed off the Rioja and refrained from any swinging from the chandeliers the night before!
Craig and I travelled to the race together (he loves my driving) and, unusually, arrived in good time. With over an hour to go before the race, at 9am, the temperature was already well into the 20’s and the heatwave forecast looked accurate!
Kris had brought his turbo trainer for a pre race warm up but in these conditions he quickly overheated and joined me for a spin instead.
Jamie Sharp from Feathers RT was the big favourite but, no doubt, Craig and Kris would also be watched men. I also expected an old rival, Andrew Sedgwick from Rutland CC, to be in the mix.
The race was to be contested over 9 laps of a challenging 6 mile course, which included a decent climb, fast descent and a draggy run to the finish line.
As we set off in sweltering conditions we had something of a plan, watch out for Jamie and for any early breaks.
Kris was active from the very start but couldn’t break clear. After the flurry of early attacks a small group had got clear, it included Jamie and we’d missed it!
As the break began to form a decent lead of some 30-40 seconds, I managed to get clear in a chase group of around 8 riders but only a few of us seemed willing to contribute to the chase and the break was going clear.
After a frustrating lap or so in the chase group, which had somehow pulled away from the bunch but lost significant ground on the break, Craig bridged across to us. This was significant and willing fire power for the chase group but, still, only a handful of riders were committed to the chase and only offered sporadic assistance.
As the laps went by, the group whittled down until we had a decent working foursome. There was some drama when my chain fell off while slamming it into the big ring but thankfully we had a big enough gap over any chasers so that, even though I had to stop to put it back on, nobody caught up. Craig had waited for me so working together we soon rejoined our fellow chasers and normal service was resumed, at least until we became 3 shortly after! 4 riders were still clear and they were out of sight.
With 3 laps to go the heat and tough course were taking their toll. Craig had a momentary flirtation with cramp but this soon passed and as a three some we persisted with what was to be an unsuccessful chase.
We rolled over the line in 6th and 7th place, rueing a missed opportunity, Kris finished in the bunch just behind.
As we rolled to a halt back at the HQ the heat suddenly hit us. When we opened the car doors we were hit by a hot blast of air akin to opening an oven door to check on the Sunday roast ( I don’t think anyone who knows me believed, even momentarily, that I have ever done this!)
A couple of cold drinks and a filthy MacDonald banana milkshake later we were feeling better again.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first veterans race and may try my hand at a few more. I’d like to thank the Out of the Saddle ‘ race team for putting on a great event and congratulate Jamie Sharp on a well earned victory.
With thanks to the organisers the LRVC
Many thanks for the pictures, John Robert Potter