The last few weeks Charles has been racing as usual and I have been playing a few more hands on roles at races, which on the whole, I have thoroughly enjoyed!
To kick off these cycling tales, is the John Andrews road race which was held on 7th June. The John Andrews is a fairly local race for us, which is always nice as it feels less rushed and stressful to get there and get ready for.
The weather was lovely that weekend and I made my way to the feeding zone. Getting to the feeding zone is something I always find stupidly worrying as usually there is a small section of the race route where you can pass bottles to the riders and I don’t want to mess up! The feeding went well though and for the first time this year our camping chairs got a look in and I had a semi-sunbathing session – in between leaping up for the arrival of the riders! Although Charles broke away on the final lap, up to the finish, he was caught on the climb and consequently sent out the back (I have no idea if this has anything to do with the excessive Guinness drinking that took place on our short break in Dublin…?!).
Following on from the John Andrews, I took an impromptu half day and Charles and I headed to Bath for the tour series. He was racing in the support races, before the main events in the evening. The Royal Crescent was part of the circuit route and even though I have visited Bath many times, I’m not sure I had ever fully took in the amount of cobbles that place has! It was a boiling hot day and the temperatures lasted long into the main events. The field of support riders quickly dwindled a few laps in when after a long drag up hill, the riders hit the cobbles and it was tough – very tough! Charles, not a fan of hills at the best of times, managed to last an impressive 30minutes of the short and fast paced race circuit.
We made an evening of it with dinner in ‘The Stable’, a great Pizza, pie and Cider restaurant that we have visited a few times before before heading to watch the main racing. The evening racing was great to watch and it was so nice to still be outside at 9pm and not feel cold at all. Everyone watching was in high spirits and the atmosphere was amazing.
My duties as the devoted cycling widow have also moved to a supporting role at events. More recently at Ilton, I volunteered to lap count at a team time trial event. Lap counting is no easy task and involved ticking teams off on a sheet as they passed in front of me – counting their laps as they went, to make sure they did the allotted six required laps! This sounds simple enough, but when the teams are numbered 1-100, with four in a team and flying past all at once, it can get pretty confusing! I managed to stay on top of most of the laps and luckily there were 2 others also lap counting, so we could compare notes at the end! Charles was racing with 3 others from his team and they came 7th overall – not too bad after they nearly crashed at the finish!!
I have also been volunteering at the team circuit races, which I have mentioned before on a blog post (which can be found here). I have been at ‘sign-on’ which is a great opportunity to meet all the riders, as well as being coined, ‘Official Photographer’. The 2nd race in the series (which was technically the 3rd, due to the official 2nd race having to be cancelled due to severe bad weather) was a great night, and Charles came 2nd after a long ride off the front with another rider. The 3rd race was also a good night, albeit a little chilly and wet. The Henstridge series has now finished for the year but there will be a new road race for the club in August. The club is very lucky to be able to gain access to the airfield as the runway makes for a great circuit – very flat and fast paced – although the dead turns have caught a few out!
To finish off this mammoth update, we also had a Summer BBQ for the cycling club, held on the 26th of June at Henstridge Airfield. Although it had been raining for most of the day, the weather held for the evening and everyone enjoyed the BBQ, live music and raffle. Charles managed to fulfil a dream and win to go on a flight around the local area, put on by some of the guys from the airfield!
More race updates soon!