Sunday, 15 July 2007

Wenlock Olympian results

My Olympic dream has come true! After competing in various cycle events over the years I have at last won something. I came home with two golds and a silver. The racing took place on an athletics track and as well as the mile race I competed in two other events.

The first race was for all pre 1930 machines so I was up against a mixture of bikes including one other penny farthing and several safety bikes. A safety bike looks pretty much like a modern road bike, they were called this as they are a lot safer to ride than an Ordinary (penny farthing). The race was a kind of a knock out, with the last rider each lap being eliminated. After a tactical start I moved up to second to ensure I at least stayed in for a few laps. As the laps went by nobody came past and it was down to a sprint for the line. In the wet conditions I felt my only chance was to stay second round the final bend then go for it on the finishing straight. I won the sprint by about half a bike length and with it my first gold!
I hadn't got my breath back when we set off for the second event. Again open to all bikes but this time a set number of laps, I think five. Anyway I decided to try and time trial my way off the front of the bunch but after two laps I still had a rider on a safety for company. I then changed my tactics and slipped into second place to try and recover and stay in touch for the last lap. Entering the final bend I was certain that I was not going to get the win as I was losing ground on the corner. I got the bike upright as soon as possible and sprinted, giving it everything I had. If the finish line had been a metre or two earlier I wouldn't have made it but as it happened I led the race at the only point that matters, over the finish line. Gold number two....
The third and final race of the day was just for penny farthings. It was a bit of a shame that there were only two of us. For me it was also a bit of a shame that it was decided that the other rider would be given a head start of one and a half laps. I think I may have been taking the event a bit too seriously for some, but to me a race is a race and if you're not aiming to do your best then there is little point taking part. Anyway, I was unable to pull back the gap so my final prize was silver.
I should mention that most, if not all, of the other riders had chosen to do a 25mile reliability ride in the morning so they may have been a little tired. I didn't do this ride as I didn't know about it untill it was too late, I got to the event at 10.30 to find it had left at 9.00. In truth I probably wouldn't have done it anyway as the weather was truly appalling and I came to race. However, I truly believe that if I had done the 25 miles as well it wouldn't have changed that much. If I ride at a sensible pace I can ride the penny all day and I do quite a bit of cycling so 25 miles, and then a rest of over an hour,wouldn't have taken that much out of me, even so the other riders deserve a round of applause for doing the ride in the worst july weather I have ever seen.
Just before I go I would like to say congratulations to my Dad, he also became an olympian today when he completed the 7 mile road race. Also thanks to Mickey, Cassie, Mum and Charlie for braving the elements and coming to watch and offer their support.....

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