Thursday, 21 June 2012

Nettle Soup - Tom Simpson National Junior Road Race

Sunday brought the National Junior Series to Yorkshire. I think I need to resit my english GCSE or geography or whatever because we saw this on the way there;

Undetered from the momentary confusion and from any threats from Highwaymen
we arrived at Tom Simpson's second home, Harworth ("whore-woof").

 A cycling haven in Britain? Sadly no, but it had a couple old men doing the shopping rounds
on even older bikes;

Come along Gerard, the bread will become stale!

No, what I really like about this place is the local boozer that has a small shrine museum to Tom Simpson;

Eyup! They nicked my bike! Also, why is the an American National Champs Jersey here?

Quick history lesson over, we move to the racing.
A relatively small field of 60 of the country's best riders (see what I've done there?) started on a warm but overcast day. On previous occasions this course was fairly tough with its two short drags, but back then I worked on the farm a bit more;

We fell on hard time since..

And so this time round the hills were a lot easier. I even had a shot at glory on lap 2 or 3, but nobody else had the same idea, and they chased me down as ruthlessly as this;

So I sat on for the rest of the race, making my way to the front whenever I could hear the screech of the commisaire's car. 

Unfortunatly, with two laps to go, I was invloved in a crash. Coming up the hill towards the finish, a crash happened to the right of me. The rider (he shall remain nameless) fell against me and pushed me onto the grass verge. Me, using my god-like bike-handling skill, remained upright and started looking for a way back in. God himself was so jealous of my skills that he decided to stategically place a rather large stone in the undergrowth, thus causing me to graciously somersault over my handlebars and disappear into a ditch full of those tickly nettle plants. 
In my mind, I thought I looked like this;

In reality, it was probably more like this;

I was up before I was down and gathered by belongings, jumped on the bike and chased the bunch that was disappearing over the crest of the hill. Sadly, though, it was not to be and I never got back on, but out of sheer stubborness I finished the race with, some, of my dignity intact. 

Right, I'm off for a ride now, I'll do the write up on Otley when I come back. 

In the meantime, I give you bonkers alley cat racing, as a sort of preview to Otley.

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