A couple of weeks ago Dave Braidley put on the 6th Annual BSCC road race. It’s by some distance the best road race in the area and a savage test for the innocent and hapless 3/4s who line up with all the unbesmirched joie de vivre of the spring lambs gambolling in the nearby Mendip pastures. All it takes is once around the block, the first ascent of Stowey, for things to come unstuck. With a further eight to go, it’s a war of attrition. There is no break per se, just riders rolling on out the back as the bunch reduces lap on lap.
This year, in light of not organising any races, I took on marshalling duties from a scenic roundabout on the A37. It gave me a perfect viewpoint to see things unfold, the attempts to get away and the subtle changes that shape the narrative of the race. Two things stood out; firstly the doomed early attempts to ride away from everyone else which can result only in la fringale, even if you do get a few precious seconds of exposure for the sponsors. The second was the superb race from the uber-jazzy and post-hipster outfit, Das Rad Klub, who managed to win and come third, with Rob Borek, once of this parish, remaining steadfastly invisible until the last few moments. Kieran Ellis, still of the South, rode an incredible race. His was a classic case of the returning second cat with legs of steel, bullying the nervy neo-fourths, but nonetheless, he animated a breakaway and then somehow managed to bag second place after being swept up by the rampaging chaos of a 3/4 peloton on the a formless hurtle through Bishop Sutton.
I guess if you’re going to crash in a bike race, you may as well get points for it by scraping across the line on your collar bone. It reminds me of a chap in Lynton near where I grew up. He smashed it down the hill on his Chopper, before having a bit of a speed wobble which ended with him sliding down the hill on his front teeth. As far as I’m aware his friends and family still call him ‘Sparks’. You can’t beat a good face plant.