If you want a clue as to the average age of our team for the 2018 Peter Taylor Memorial Road Race, then the fact that the 2 films we talked about on the way to the race were Tango & Cash and Over The Top. If you’re too young to have seen either of them then I’ll give you a brief synopsis. In Over The Top, Sylvester Stallone wins at arm wrestling by doing this thing where he wiggles his fingers, and in Tango & Cash, Sylvester Stallone drives a custom truck and does a rad dirt jump.
I’m motivated for this race because it’s got a significant climb in it. Not even the commissaire reading us the riot act before the race does anything to dampen my enthusiasm. He tells us that the police will be watching our every move and implies that at the first sign of a discarded gel wrapper, they’ll ban all bike racing in the whole of East Yorkshire. I expect this is the same briefing given at the start of the Tour De Yorkshire. Part of me wishes they would ban cycling here, just so that I could write a screenplay for the cycling version of Footloose. I’d get Kevin Bacon to play a struggling fourth cat who always lists the myriad reasons why his race went wrong in the name of his rides on Strava.
Incidentally one of the best titles for this ride on Strava is 2 of the worst races I've ever ridden in one week. Cheers to all the chodes who don't have the capacity to ride their own race without following my wheel. You’re right mate, everyone should just let you win.
For all it’s having a climb in it, this race is better characterised by the narrow country lanes it goes down. Looking down the line as the gravel and dust is kicked up, you could be forgiven for thinking that this race is an epic. For Jimmy who wins solo after dropping his breakaway companion, that might be true, but for the rest of us it’s just a stodgy mess. It’s cycling porridge.
I was expecting the hill to thin things out, to add more water to the porridge, but there’s still a decent sized group of maybe 30 riders going into the last couple of laps. Ryan from THRE Datawolves turns to me in the bunch and expresses his surprise that so many of the bigger lads are still in the bunch. I think about moaning about it in the title when I upload the ride to Strava but I’m desperate to prove to you that I’m better than that.
On the last lap and we catch half of the breakaway but the winner is already having his recovery drink having crossed the line well over a minute ahead of us. The rest of us blast up the hill, fighting for a decent position in the sprint that will open up as we hit the false flat at the top.
I wiggle my fingers which means I’m about to do something really special and is a reference to that bit in paragraph one where I talked about Over The Top starring Sylvester Stallone. It’s a brilliant literary technique which is far more effective than my sprinting.
In order to not get boxed in I burst out of the line on the right hand side and can see clear road ahead of me. Unfortunately that clear road also contains quite a lot of air that I’m supposed to move out of the way. Like a plastic bag in a storm I am vanquished by the malevolent, invisible foe that is the Earth’s atmosphere. I end up in the points but one more rider in front of me and I’d have finished in the point, singular.
On the way home we recce the route for the Huddersfield Star Wheelers Evening Road Race. Everyone really enjoys hearing for the millionth time about the day that I won solo on this course. If you’re interested in hearing the story and having me take you, your Institute, Guild or Fellowship on a tour of the roads, then I’m currently taking group bookings for summer 2021.
Thanks as always to Jamie and High Peak Cycles for supporting the team.