Saturday I had a spectacular win in the women’s omnium at the track in Portsmouth. This had absolutely nothing to do with the recovery drinks I’d had the night before or the fact I was the only woman. I was made to race against some of the finest young racers this side of the Solent and John McLelland. They were all there to race for the Kingsbury Cup, part of the National Endurance League. Mainly through fear of being mown down I tried ever so hard and was not completely humiliated even though lunch came up a couple of times.
In the morning at the same track I raced a circuit race. There were 10 women in with 35 3rd Cat men which was the maximum allowed on the rather narrow track. Fortunately I had remembered my road bike if not my helmet. I had to wear the emergency spare helmet that had been found in the back of an abandoned vehicle and given to me by compulsive trainer and ex-Gregario, Mike Diggins. Vile pink and enormous it sat on my head like a 60’s blobby lampshade. Conscious of my unsightly headwear, I nipped off the front and managed to chase down a break of 5 men, so my rivals only had to look at the back of it. The break went along at a bit of a clip and I would have done more on the front had I found breathing easy. No. 62 chivvied us along and we lapped the field in an eyeballs-out effort. The final sprint didn’t go quite to plan. I’d appointed the AW boys to be my lead-out train and I’m sure if they had been aware of this honour they would have tried harder. Anyway it was mayhem.
Anyway, it was mayhem. How nobody ended up straddling the metal railings instead of their carbon, deep rimmed lovely, shows the skill involved. I kept my eyes closed like when you go between buses. It works for me.
So I came top out of the women and, at worst, 6th out of the men.
I copped my winnings and went off for a recovery drink and the cheese baguette I was to taste, on and off, for the rest of the afternoon. During the point-to-point point’s race, it was every lap.
It was a great day of racing. The weather was hot and sunny, we all died of heat exhaustion and my protein shake grew in to a new life form.