Colchester Rovers CycloSportive

Colchester Rovers 50 mile (80km) CycloSportive – (previously known as Reliability Trials) 2nd March
Straight out again next day after the Breckland 10, I elected to drive out to Gt Bromley for this event. Met up with Terry and Mac who had turned up to do the 25. (They probably felt obliged to, as the event was organised by Mac’s daughter Julie.) Again choosing the Silver event (2:45 hrs), I set off among the now familiar sea of Blue/white VCR tops. The unusually gentle start led quickly to the first pile up of the season

Something happened ahead of me everyone braked and swerved, I braked, the gentleman behind me didn’t. I felt the familiar old feeling of front wheel overlapping back wheel – and then a yell – and then a crunch. I looked behind to see a Colchester Rover in the road on his knees with his (helmeted) head in his hands. We all stopped (as is the VCR way) and several of us went back to see if he was OK. He stayed on his knees for some time and blood ran down the side of his face. It looked bad. But then he sprang up and declared he was fine! However I knew from my Scouts First Aid that a bang on the head must never be dismissed and we persuaded him and a couple of team mates to return to the HQ barely a mile back up the road.

So we went on. I found it really hard today having ridden yesterday and been unwell (again) this week – I was hanging on from the start, then in Mistley my crank came loose (not very reliability!) and although I had the tool to tighten it, after the few minutes it took, I had no chance of ever catching up again. After about 10-15 miles alone I was caught by the two guys who’d returned to the start with the faller. (Apparently he was OK – only cutting his eyebrow on his broken glasses.) The three of us worked well together, battling into the fierce headwind across the Tendring Hundred. Eventually we caught up with a couple of VCR riders who had been dropped. It made me feel better to learn that they are not all superhuman – but not better enough. Together we fought on but at about 10k out we took a wrong turn. Although we realised immediately and all turned around we’d seemed to have gone off the boil. I found myself alone ahead of the others and it occurred to me that we weren’t going to make it back in the 2hrs 45min allotted time. I was unsure whether to wait for them or not, having worked so well together but the gap opened up and I unwittingly left them behind. I thought I might just make it if I raised my pace, so found some extra energy and pushed on for the last 5 or 6 miles. When I got back I was declared the last rider to make it from my group and I felt a bit guilty that I’d dropped my colleagues so near the end. My guilt was abated though when it turned out they had had their start times reset when they returned to the start at the beginning. They had 15 minutes in hand on me and came in five minutes later – well inside their time! I’d have been so cross if I’d sat up. Still we were all friends again – so that was nice.

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