I’m of a certain age – old enough to remember the medicated toilet paper used in schools in the ‘70’s, which seemed to be made of antiseptic scented grease
proof paper, that’s it IZAL…. only a Badgers nether region could put this stuff to good use, and I’m not
talking about ‘the Badger’. Anyway such experiences as a child, plus the requirement to wear short pants up to the age of 16, sort of prepares you for future hardships.
Today’s Pimbo E/1/2 road race can only be considered a hardship. Racing around an industrial estate is down on the entertainment scale but when mixed with low temperatures and rain it gets quite grim (Grimbo). Unlike my schoolboy days, I decided to wear long pants (well bib longs), this might have saved me from the abandonment suffered by approximately half of the 70 odd field of Lycra clad masochists.
Coming back to that toilet roll, it’s no longer manufactured and changes hands for about £7 / roll on eBay, however, someone is making something of similar sturdy quality and a large roll of it must of fell off the back of a lorry onto the parcours. This created an item of interest during the 30 laps (x miles). Noting its gradual disintegration and movement across the road, trying to spot its new position and avoid it, was the main entertainment of the day. Unfortunately, towards the back end of the race I believe it claimed a few victims. I managed to avoid a rider sat in the road following the crash and used this as a mental ‘pick me up’ to continue the race. From lap 2 I couldn’t feel my fingers by lap 5 I started to look longingly at the side road where my (relatively warm and dry) car was parked. However I continued in the knowledge of collective suffering.
The bell lap couldn’t come quick enough, by this time a solo leader Steven Parsonage (
Durham University Cycling Club) had made good his impressive escape and the diminished field eyed each other up for a sprint finish. I observed riders physically shaking from the hypothermic conditions, then I spotted Hamish Graham smoking a cigar, well not literally but looking calm and collected and more importantly warm in his full winter jacket. Knowing Hamish had done well on this course before I knew it was a good wheel to follow. Into the finishing straight the sprint opened up, I got out of the saddle turned my legs but experienced a distinct lack of forward propulsion, as if sat on a stationary train when the one beside you moves, I felt sick and nearly was by the time I crawled to the finishing line (in 29th place!).
Back to the ‘truck stop’ a shivering mess my wise and now warm teammate (due to his abandonment) presented me with a hot coffee, the best prize of the day.
Congratulations to the winner Steven Parsonage Durham University Cycling Club.
Many thanks to the organisers and Ellen Isherwood for standing in the rain taking photos.