Words: Ben Ryder Title Photo: Big Events
“Go! Go! GO!” I scream at the two riders with me. We’re on our own, four and a half laps from the finish. Finally I was out ahead in a bike race. The Big Events Hillingdon Cat 4. I look round, the bunch swarms in the distance. I look ahead and bury myself with a taste of glory, could I make it to the end?
0 – 5 minutes: The race starts, thankfully not as fast as last time. The now familiar of bikes, spinning wheels, brakes and grunts envelopes me.
6 – 8 minutes: I ride near the front, confident in the corners, happy on the straights.
10 – 12 mins: It’s windy today. We accelerate down the back then riders slow as we turn onto the finishing straight. The bunch swells.
13 minutes: I feel comfortable for once in a race. The pain of previous races is forgotten.
14 minutes: Woah! A rider swerves in front, the bunch panics. A crash is narrowly avoided.
16 minutes: A rider escapes up the road. The bunch slows again on the finishing straight, I ride hard to join him.
17 minutes: I am alone. Chasing down the guy in front. I am racing hard.
18 minutes: I reach him. I look back. I’ve towed the bunch with me. Shit.
20 minutes: My body aches. Why did it try that? So early on: Idiot.
25 – 30 minutes: Back in the bunch I ride. I regain my breath. Recover my legs.
32 minutes: Fuck! A guy cut’s me up, a gap that isn’t there. I open my mouth to shout. He’s already cut someone else up and they give him an earful.
40 minutes: The sign appears as we fly through; five laps to go. This is my moment. I attack. I break free from the bunch. The hubbub of the race disappears. It’s just the wind, an eerie silence and me. My lungs burn but I push on, harder, faster as much as I can.
41 minutes: I round a corner and spot two riders ahead. I join them, encouraging them as we go. We can do this.
42 minutes: These guys don’t care. Or they can’t push any harder. I ride on with them behind.
43 minutes: I hear it now. The creaks and groans of the bunch approaching. I can’t give anything more. I dare not look back. The wind blows. My energy is sapping.
44 minutes: They reach me. My bid for glory foiled. I ride at the front briefly before being swallowed up.
45 – 48 minutes: The pace in the bunch is fast now. Nervy. People fight for position. I’m exhausted from my effort. Happy to stay with the pack.
50 minutes: We round the final bend. Riders strung out ahead of me. I sprint but haven’t really got anything left for it. I finish 29th.
I’m still yet to register any points but felt like I was actually part of the race for the first time. It was fun to have a go even if it came to nothing. Thanks to Big Events for the great organisation. I can’t wait to get out racing again.