Last Hillingdon for a few weeks was a dismal affair. Everything about it could be found on a list of reasons why most people strive to get out of the 4th Cats as quick as they can.
There was the terrifying nervous atmosphere almost from the start where you are immediately ill-at-ease following the wheel in front of you because you just can’t tell what they are going to do and the chilling noise of a heavy crash wasn’t far off.
It took a few laps but on the downhill bend someone decided that they couldn’t hold their line round a corner which you don’t need to brake into and which is comfortably wide enough for half-a-dozen riders to get round abreast. Across they came and down went several riders, in a clatter of bikes, bodies and shouting.
I was sitting fairly far back from the accident so was unscathed but one of the riders came down hard, vaulting over their bars and landing in a crumpled heap of the sort Robert Millar so aptly described as looking like they’d fallen out of an airplane. As no one else had got as far as checking they weren’t seriously injured I thought I’d stop and check then hop on when the bunch came back round.
The rider who’d come off worse was one of the Agisko-Viner girls who has been riding with the men, and very much holding her own the last few weeks in the bunch. I stayed until the first aider arrived and she was in more medically capable hands then went back up the finish line to check it was OK to rejoin as if a lap out.
I asked afterwards and she had quite a nasty concussion and had injured her knee as well. Her friend who rides with the 4ths as well was going to drive her to the hospital to get her checked over, despite her own protestations that she’d be fine. Hope she recovers quickly as she’s pretty much one of this season’s “familiars” in the Hillingdon 4ths – those riders who’ve not chalked up the ten points to move up but who are there most weeks and enjoy their racing and actually say hello to each other from week to week.
The rest of the race was increasingly twitchy with people braking unnecessarily into corners and switching lines for no good reason. With what I reckoned wasn’t much more than the three laps to go there was a break away of two and I tried to bridge up betting that it was better to try and get away than chance it in a bunch sprint given the race thus far. I thought I’d got the gap but one of the familiars was on my wheel and we’d only succeeded in dragging the break back.
A lap later the “3” came up. I swear the commissaires do that to wind me up. That’s about the fourth time this year I’ve been on the front or just come off it when they show the board. I think I need to work on my timing.
No points again and now a two week period when I can’t race due to work commitments and can probably train even less. That’s a right bind so I’m trying to figure a way to fit riding time into it all by commuting to where I’m working.
I can’t believe we’re almost at Le Tour already and I haven’t even mapped out my watching schedule for it.