Having never used rollers before I thought it was best to get used to them prior to showing up and making an attempt first time. They’re not the easiest things to get used too and knowing me I’d have made a fool of my self on the first try.
Time passed pretty fast, we grabbed some pre race lunch and made our way into town for about five with the race starting at 5:45.
I signed on and got my self warmed up, still nervous and unsure whether this feeling was nausea or hunger? Either way it was more settling to see other familiar faces – rob and Tim from Das Rad Klub, Ho Ke, Neil and Chris from the 5th floor.
5:45 soon comes and were on our first taster laps of the track.
The two sharp corners indicated on the map were very deceiving when glancing at the route prior to the race. Come down the hill with too much speed and you’d be right into the railings as it happened a few times in other races.
Stopped at the starting line we wait for the all clear – unfortunately we had to wait an hour due to an accident in the previous race. I speak for myself but by the time we’d set of I was so dehydrated – not a great way to start the race.
We were told at the start that our race had been cut short from 20 minutes +3 laps to 15 minutes +3 laps.
The race finally starts. The nervous roll out begins.
I wanted a good starting position so I made an attempt to keep in the front middle but with the first corner being one of the sharp ones, bunched up, I didn’t stand much of a chance. I was more anxious about crashes on the first corners then what position I was in.
The second sharp corner on to a hill and the pack immediately stretches out and begins to split up.
The average speed of the race was much faster then I’d first expected. I recall the Hunt crit race a few years back being a little steadier but I think that might have been a longer course hence the slower speed.
After the first 2 laps I found my self in a pack of five or six people, stuck at the front which wasn’t the plan. Pushing to keep the pace I took 2 laps until looking behind to see if we’d lost anyone, 3 people still chasing, luckily one of which was my pal Neil. A nudge of the right shoulder and he came to the front which was a relief as at this point I was dipping in energy.
The two sharpest corners felt as if the bike was going to slip from underneath me
As Neil came to the front I noticed the Cinelli guys happy to let me slot back in, it was at this point I realised they were playing the tactical card by letting us destroy ourselves before the final lap. I shouted to Neil ‘ Take it easy, they’re playing games’ as to which he steadies the pace and they take the bate sprinting to the front.
It was at this point that we were coming close to the 15 minute mark and I was beginning to ready myself for the final push. The cinelli guys sprinted and we followed… It was at this point we crossed the line and that was it. Over.
Pissed off I find out that the race got cut from 15 minute +3 to 10 minutes +3 which the organises at the Nocturne choose not to tell us about prior to the start of the race!
I missed the sprint and was annoyed because if I’d have know I would have had enough in the bag to put a final push in and try for 12th/11th or 10th!
I finished the race in 13th place with no crashes, no sketchy skids or anything else on that matter – coincidently the same position I finished in for The Hunt Crit race?
It was a great experience with an amazing crowd and although focused on the race I can still remember hearing the ‘GO ON MADE IN YORKSHIRE/DEATH SPRAY’ which made it all the more worth while.
An interesting realisation having spoken about the recent change in the every day ‘fixie skidder’ to the world of serious lycra crit laps – This crit was fast and taken extremely serious especially with the attendance of team Cinelli and other people from Europe.
Was it for me? I’m not sure – It was without a doubt a challenge, mentally and physically but I think you have to commit and really enjoy competitive racing to get the most out of the experience. If anything it’ll benefit me racing the road circuits just from a mental perspective.
Many thanks to those who cheered and supported on the day! And thanks to Neil Cooper for the help at the start, Chris, Marcin, Erik and Indra for the photo’s!