Clicking Back In
I stood hard on the pedals forcing my mount forward, the down slope in turn helping to accelerate the bike up to race speed. You don't want to be stood too long once you've got the machine moving, so I quickly reseated myself and assumed as aero a position as the bike would allow. Of course in road racing we don't have tri bars anyhow so I'm well practiced in assuming ‘the position'.
A big part of time trialling is judging pace and effort, go too hard and you'll blow before the finish, too easy and you won't optimize your effort. The Cuckney start helps to get you moving without the handicap of having to return up the climb later on. My minute person had already lost some ground to me by the time I flashed, cautiously, across the first crossroads.
My computer indicated 52kph at one point on the descent but by the time I reached the HQ area it was hovering a little below 45kph. As I reached the first of the long straights I snicked up a sprocket and concentrated on my breathing. I'd started the second straight before I crossed the first returning rider, by my quick calculation they were on about a twenty-five.
Concentrate Drew. Number nineteen was coming back to me quite rapidly and I caught a quick glimpse of the two-minute rider on the slight drop to Holbeck. I shifted my position slightly, moving my hands up from the drops to lay them across the top of the bars. It was a little more comfortable if slightly less streamlined, my speed barely changed so I stayed there to the top of the ‘climb'.
By now I was within metres of claiming my first scalp of the evening, a lad of maybe eighteen whose lack of style saw his bike moving side to side nearly as much as forward. Subconsciously I engaged super smooth mode as I started to overhaul him, clicking up a gear as I drew level. At the Hodthorpe crossroads, which is about halfway my clock was reading just under 11.30, sweet .
The bumpy road up to the turn revealed three riders between me and the summit of the main climb, I should take them all by Cuckney. I managed to keep the speed over 35kph up the climb but rather than waste energy accelerating straight back to full speed I just kept the pressure on to negotiate the turn. It's a weird junction, not quite a roundabout, right turning traffic get priority going onto the island then has to give way at the two succeeding turns. The first one's not too bad as you don't need to cross traffic, the second is the more hazardous but I managed to clear it.
No holds now, barely four miles to the finish and a bit of a ramp to get you moving again. By the top of the drop I was almost on the next rider; number nineteen was only just heading up with two more riders in hot pursuit. Click, click, clunk – the chain settled onto the twelve sprocket and with a bigger than usual gulp of air I powered the pedals around with renewed vigour .
Back up to the Hodthorpe turn, number seventeen slipped behind followed in short order by eighteen. I nearly came a cropper in a big pothole on the road edge; I just managed to flick the bike around the edge. Eighteen minutes down, less than three to go, a twenty-four maybe?
Up ahead I kept getting glances of another couple of riders, I could possibly take the slower one by the line. I concentrated on my pedaling action, focus Drew, focus. The riders ahead provided that focus and I zipped through Holbeck village with renewed determination. It's a drag up to the last corner but I was making better headway than those ahead of me although twenty minutes clicked over before I took the corner.
The whine of a pair of motorbikes going hell for leather, caught my attention, I hope they're paying attention. The last straight takes you within 100 metres of the line dropping more than you seem to climb in the opposite direction. My hares were each about fifty metres between each other and myself; I'm going for it .
Behind me I heard the drop in pitch as the motorized road terrorists each dropped a gear for the bend. The clock was still showing twenty one something when the first motorbike flashed past, the second however nearly took me out, I'm sure his leathers scraped my knuckles. Whilst it put me off slightly, I got a degree of drag and I was quickly back in to race mode.
“Come on Drew . ”
“Up, up, up.”
There was still a little juice in the tank when I flashed past the gallery, determined to arrive on empty I stood and sprinted for the line, in the process overtaking fourteen but just failing with sixteen.
“Twenney,” I gasped.
Momentum carried me on towards Cuckney, just as well, I was knackered. I freewheeled nearly up to the bottom crossroads before having enough breath to start pedaling again. Sugar, I forgot to stop the clock—twenty three something I reckon—not too shabby. Rather than returning along the main road I decided on a warm down by heading around to Norton before turning back towards the A60 and the finish area.
I spotted my family and friends and headed over to where the Peters' car was parked.
“Where did you come from?” Mad nearly jumped out of her skin when I tapped her shoulder.
“Bit of a warm down.”
“We wondered if something had happened when you didn't come back down,” Aunt Carol sounded a little concerned .
“What did you do?” Ally asked.
“Twenty three something I think, I forgot to stop the clock,” I advised propping my mount against the car.
“Drink?” Uncle John offered me my bidon.
“Thanks.” I took a long slug of energy drink.
“You looked really professional Drew,” Helen noted.
“I try. Unc, do you think you could sign the consent form for me?”
“Go on then, where is it?”
“See the green Bimmer? The bloke with the hat.”
“You want a lift back Drew?” Aunty C enquired.
“There's a lift if you want.”
“What are they all looking at?” Helen asked motioning with her head towards the riders stood around the Bimmer.
“Probably my good looks,” Mad joked.
“Might be mine,” Ally put in.
I flaked out on the grass and closed my eyes for a moment.
“What's all the fuss?” Aunt C asked her husband.
“Something about a twenty two? I dunno much about this stuff but they seemed quite geed up.”
“Must've been number ten, he looked pretty handy,” I offered from my supine position.
“You want a leg rub?” Mad enquired.
“Sit in the car then, I'm not leaning down there.”
I stood and feeling the number tug on my suit I remembered it needed returning.
“I'll do that,” Hel offered seeing me reach for a pin.
“Cheers Hel, can you take it back for us?”
“Sure,” She agreed freeing the last safety pin.
Mad certainly hasn't lost her touch; the low-level post race cramp was soon dissipated, if only Dad was as good .
“You see what I did Hel?”
“Oops sorry, I didn't think to look.”
Mad finished her ministrations and I stood up to pull my shorts back into place.
“Whoa," I offered making a grab for the door.
“You daft mare,” Mad chortled.
Yeah, forgot about that effect of Mad's massage.
“You okay?” Al asked.
“Yeah, just a bit too relaxed.”
Everyone was finished now, John Ward was talking with Si and those gathered around were getting quite enthused by something or other.
“Best see what I've done I guess.”
“We'll come with you,” Aunt C proposed.
The six of us made our way across to the BMW.
“How'd I do?”
“Ah Drew, there you are, not bad youngster, not bad at all.”
I sighed; I was quite a bit off the pace.
“So what was mine?”
“That's what I just told you, number twenty, 22.24,” John smirked.
“Oh.” I sighed, hang on a minute, I was number twenty .
“You whupped us all tonight lass.” The chap I recognised as number ten mentioned.
“Must be all those sausages,” some wag chipped in.
“Glad you're on our team,” another chap added.
So if I was number twenty I've done—“Yay !”
“I think she's got it,” Si offered.
“I'd be happy to be a minute behind,” Number nine sighed .
“Reckon yer mother needs to watch her back,” number ten opined.
“She's on the junior squad,” John supplied.
“Well done lass.”
Eventually everyone drifted away and I prepared to ride back to Church Warsop.
“See you next week Drew,” John stated.
“I won't be riding, I'll be at Manchester.”
“I jolly well hope you will be, I'll see you at the ‘drome.”
“I thought you meant ; well anyway, thanks for letting me ride tonight.”
“You opened a few eyes tonight kidda, it's easy for the club riders to fall into a spiral of diminishing returns with their fancy bikes and such. You turn up on a standard road bike and wipe the floor with them, no disrespect to Steve and co but it's the sort of arse kick they need from time to time.”
I blushed at the praise, “Well I'd best get off.”
“Take care on this road, they drive like maniacs sometimes.”
“Yeah, a geezer on a motorbike nearly had me earlier, next week then.”
“Next week,” John agreed.
“Drew, you want chips?” Mad called out the car window.
“Is there a D in Day?”
“'Kay, see you at home.”
It was after nine and the light was starting to go as I spun a low gear up the hill, no need to get too sweaty, its barely two miles back to Schloss Peters after all. A twenty-two, how cool is that? Maybe there's some mileage in what Chris was saying at the airport, maybe I should give the track a throw.
The others were only just getting out of the car when I rolled up the drive.
“What kept you?”
“The queue in Hygienic,” Aunt Carol supplied.
I guessed that.
“Best get yourself changed if you want some,” Mad suggested, “you stink like a polecat.”
I love you too.
Ten minutes later I was showered, dressed and feeding my face with deep fried potato fingers. Hmm, proper chips, you just can't get them tasting the same at home, the mixture of slightly battery, slightly greasy and with luck a bit squidgy – yum. If there's one thing that spells out where home is it's a bag of chips from Hygienic Fisheries after riding Cuckney.
“You know what Drew?”
“I think I might have to take up racing.”
“Well you look sooo sexy in that skinsuit, it's a wonder you haven't got all the guys drooling with that bod.”
“She has Al, he's called Max,” Mad told everyone.
“Ooh do tell,” Helen enthused.
Yup, I'm home.
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 21.05.12