...days since my last road race (well sportive) and I thought the Edinburgh Nocturne would be a good place to restart the engine.
Fourth cat races are special, special things. The category covers everything from the rank amateur who corner like they're riding round a 50p to up and coming club racers that haven't won anything yet (apart from every club run sprint) to those returning to low level road racing after a break after nearly three years (waves!). And triathletes.
So it was with extreme trepidation that I rolled up to the start line on a scorching Edinburgh Saturday. Quick formation lap round the cobbled side of the Grassmarket, up cobbled Victoria Street, down George IV Bridge, onto Candlemaker Row and a scream down into the Grassmaket for a hairpin back onto the cobbles. Races underway with a bagpipe send off and someone right in front of me unclips and pushes me over towards the barriers. Slim hopes of holding onto the tail of the bunch up Victoria Street fade fast.
Spend the next few laps catching riders shelled out of the bunch, but crucially not the back of the bunch. This means one thing and one thing only.
I'm caught and therefore out. Five laps still to go. Crap-o.
The pointy end of the race comes down to a sprint, result TBC after a bit of lax commissairing seemed to allow a lapped rider to help his team-mate to a win.
I head for a quick change, thank the tifosi for their support and head to the Aussie bar on Candlemaker row for a Little Creatures. The LC is gone. Crap-o.
Back down to the Grassmarket to see Gary MacRae edge the 2/3 race.
Next up it's the folding bike race featuring Chris. Three laps of the course after a Le Mans Start and an unfolding. I'll let Chris tell it how it was , but the pace was hot. Damn hot.
Once those warriors had run their race, it was on to the elite race. And elite it was. Commonwealth, World and Olympic champions bristled on the front row. Two Garmin-Slipstream riders who'd dropped out of the Giro rode and they made short work of knocking the UK based riders to submission, with David Millar taking the win in fine style in his first race on Scottish soil.
A cracking evening out. Hope there's an Edinburgh Nocturne 2010.
Thanks to Moira, Sue and the various VCM tifosi for support. Neil for post-race refreshments. Andy G for the Maxxis Columbiere tyres. Chamois Butt'r for keeping my ass sparkling despite a fair bit of Unnecessary Chamois Time.
More photos here.
Next up for me. Pairs + something silly at Bristol Bike Fest, then the Cairngorm Classic Sportive. Anyone want to get their road on?