Like all good PRO racers I attended my first Majorcan training camp of the season. Unlike all PRO racers my training camp revolved around a Friday night worshipping the mystical Majorcan spirit know as Túnel. I don't know what's in it, but the fact it's green and has bits of plant secreted in the bottle says something about the potent powers of this liquor. Tastes damn good that's all I need to know.
So with a Saturday rest day (some would say repenting) I was all set to race Leverhulme Park, Bolton on Sunday. Or so I thought. I awoke with a time delay upset stomach which didn't seem to have the impetus to leave me. I organised myself with plenty of time to spare (unlike my previous raceday) and with a combination of stomach calming tablets and coca cola was on my way to race.
The journey there had all the hallmarks of a late arrival and missed opportunity. We were hopelessly lost yet still managed to find the spot, sign on, cram a 10 minute warm up on a section of the course, throw a gel (or two) down my throat and get on the start line. Good fortune.
With a large field (120) we were called up according to National/Regional status which left me on the second row, looking at a midpack finish from the off, a place I was happy to occupy.
From the off I thoroughly enjoyed myself, grooved through some sections, remounts were sweet, had to grind through other sections and pretty much rode a flawless yet unimpressive (speed wise) race. Rain half way through the hour caused grass to turn greasy, mud to become tracked out and caution to be had when descending.
On the whole I had a great race, felt a little more powerful, could get the hammer down on some parts of the course yet was floundering on other parts. Many thanks Horwich CC I had great fun.
Gentleman award goes to Luke Beswick who lapped me by announcing his presence on the right then proceeded to thank me as he passed. Thankyou Sir.
I was battling with a Gent over the last few laps, managed to drop him on the last half lap and ride alone to the finish. Yahoo! Unfortunately the rider I was battling with in Northwich swept me up and dropped me immediately. How fortunes change within a few weeks. Boo!
The starter's officiousness broke all our game faces...Yeah that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Photos pilfered from Dave Haygarth here. Dave gave a cheery "Here Come the Belgians" chant as I rode passed - much appreciated. I intended to introduce myself but thought stopping to shake hands a little foolish on the first lap of many.
Thanks to the Belgians fanclub attendees for giving moral support (Jo & dog). The dog's face was a picture as I shouted his name prior to ascending the stairs. Note to self - the breath you just expended shouting your dog was needed after remounting, heck, made me chuckle though.