10th March was the day the 2013 road racing season got underway for this blogger. I was in the ABC's at the NVRT Baines Racing road race held on the popular Towcester circuit.
What a day to kick things off, it was the worst weather the race had ever seen in it's long history, snow, sleet, rain and a strong easterly wind was going to make for a very hard days racing.
We set off from the HQ which was the old A5 Rangers club room and out to the course a mere fifteen minutes ride away. Despite wearing the most clothing I've ever worn during a race I was still freezing, so I upped the pace to get to the start, it worked I was warming up - at last.
The snow was getting bad and Don Parry was already talking about cutting it short; a bad omen?
Feeling pretty warmed up I decided to recce the finish which was a steep uphill effort, and today it was made worst by the strong headwind blowing down it. Contending the finish when it came would require a Herculean effort.
Don didn't hang about and got racing underway as soon as we had all gathered.
I felt comfortable riding along, until I got baulked out at a crucial point when an optimistic break went off leaving me to battle with the pace and the poor position I was forced into. I hung on and moved back up on the climb when the pace slowed.
All went well for some time, I found I could move about the group fairly easily. Then it all started to go wrong. The rider who's wheel I was on suffered a major blowout, his tube wrapped around the hub and he was riding on his rim desperately trying to keep control. This caused a split and by the time us few stranded riders got our act together the race tail car had driven into the gap.
I estimated that we could catch the main bunch in time for them to slow on the hill. A quick talk and we agreed we were up for it and swiftly formed TTT formation. I could tell we were going quicker than the main race so I was prepared to bury myself and hoped and prayed I could get a rest later on in the bunch.
Something wasn't right. I had the tail end of the bunch in my cross-hairs, and now they were nowhere to be seen? We pushed on, it wasn't right.We had gone off course, race over.
We can only assume that an essential marshal on the left hand turn to the finish had gone back to the warmth of his car after seeing the race car pass. It should have been obvious by the size of the shrunken bunch that riders were still coming through, oh well.
I was so hoping to put in a good effort, slightly annoying to fail through no fault of your own. Still we live to race another day, which just so happens to be later this month.