Meeting the criteria for a criterium

Last Thursday evening two from Walkers CC ventured east to race in a criterium at the Highland Show Ground, writes Ian Anderson.

Hosted by the Edinburgh Road Club (ERC) this popular event saw two Category 4, a women’s, a Category 2/3/4 and numerous youth races.

The main circuit is a twisty 1km long loop with a hairpin turn and a chicane section thrown in to the mix. Typically riden at near 25 mph it’s a sprint from the start and again after each corner, again and again over 20+ laps (30 minutes plus 5 laps for the Cat4 races)

As last year, with Anderson and Wilson at the opposite extremes of the alphabet, we were placed into different events. Paul Wilson was off in the first race, but after a bad start and with a sore tendon from an earlier injury he was forced to chase hard back to the pack over a couple of laps. In the red so soon in a race is not a good place to be and soon he was out of points contention. Still, Paul battled on to the end to finish.

Ian Anderson was off next in the second Cat 4 event, also with some 40 or 50 riders. A better start meant a more paced effort and keeping in touch with the lead group. However a steady drizzle started to wet the course, and this was soon followed by a hailstorm. Twice Ian heard the clatter of falling bikes behind but thought it best not to look back as the grip started to get sketchy.

These crashes split the group and on the last lap only about ten or twelve riders remained to contest the sprint. With only the hairpin turn remaining after a hairy negotiation of the chicane for a last time – CRACK. The lead rider went down, snapping his bike frame in the fall,  closely followed by the WCC rider as his front wheel lost grip.  He could only watch from the ground as the rest of the group sprinted for the line. With his bike okay but with his pride a tad hurt, Ian crossed the line but not before most of the remaining riders had ridden past.