If you don’t fall off, you finish

First, I’ve been on holiday which is why I haven’t posted in nearly a fortnight. Apologies for that but five and a bit days in Rome is something I couldn’t really pass on or interrupt for blogging.

As for the bike-racing, well I managed to fit in watching the Giro while over in Italy… mostly in an english pub on British Eurosport. I did manage to watch one day’s stage on Rai Tre, the Italian state broadcaster, but that was marred by poor reception and very little understanding of what the dickens they were on about most of the time.

Now I’m back on home soil I feel less embarassed about tuning in to the sound of Harmon and Kelly on Eurosport. Which is why I started this on Wednesday and am finishing it on Thursday morning. The title seems rather fitting having watched Stage 11 of the Giro and the miserable luck of Fortunato Baliani who fell in the last kilomtre when the chance for a stage victory beckoned.

I was going to write about how I’d been avoiding crashes with some luck recently. When you’re a 4th Cat it feels like there’s a crash more often than not, although I’m sure that you remember the races where there was more quickly than the others. The last two races have seen tumbles which resulted in some nasty looking bumps for a few riders.

First the Surrey League race down at Chertsey where the concertina effect caused by people slowing up on the front, either due to braking or simply sitting up and not pulling into the wind. The Dulwich Paragon rider who hit the deck fairly hard was blameless as he got shunted from behind as well.

I managed to duck round it but by that point I was struggling with cramp due to the unseasonably warm spring weather and not really in contention. It kicked in with about three laps to go and was the sort of leg blocker where you can’t move at all without screaming in agony. I got home after the race with only one more attack near Kew having rolled in at the back after deciding that the sprint for 40th really wasn’t worth contesting.

What worried me a bit was that the chap who had fallen was clearly quite banged up but it seemd that none of his clubmates had thought to go and get the medic who was available to patch him up. I know people don’t like to make much of an injury but I think you should always get the medic if one is available to take a look.

Then to the Hillingdon Tuesday night race which saw my clbmate Mark Drayton disappear up the road with five laps gone and stay away for the whole race, nearly catching the bunch in the process. That’s some pretty impressive riding which you don’t see often. I put in my statutory early dig and got a fair way up the road for once, I even stayed away on my own for just over a lap or so. Then when Mark had slipped away I did my best with the rest of the Dynamo contingent to general be awkward and get in the way of attacks and efforts to chase him down.

The crash on the last lap was another of those ones you know is going to happen but can only really do your best to get round. A combination of hauling on the brakes and luck saw me safe round it. Apparently it was down to a rider switching lines in the bottom bend, bad handling which is a hazard in races where many people have got the fitness but not developed the handling skills as yet.

Since then (13 May) I haven’t been on a bike at all. What with working this weekend, I’m probably not going to have a chance to ride properly before next Tuesday’s Hillingdon race which is a fortnight off the bike almost. Not ideal training but I’ll see what I can do.

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