Rider Man ~ UCI Round 7
We've spent the year tracking my own progress through the UCI Golden Bike Series. Three months ago, I bought a bike for my wife, here is her second event and her story...
Germany could only be described as cold and wet. In fact, very cold and very wet. It was 6 degrees and rain looked as though it was going to be a feature of the weekend.
The Rider Man is different to all the other UCI events as it's a two-stage event, with a time trial on Saturday and a Road Race on Sunday.
The TT course is predominantly the same as the road race course but takes a detour at the foot of the big hill. Which means it just has one big hill instead of two..
Ve vill ask ze questions
This is going to be Dianne's second event. She's doing the RiderMan Light. A 20k race over one lap of the TT course. I'm entered for the 150k road race and the TT. We both go to sign on and pick up our numbers when we're nabbed by the press, interviewed then have our picture taken. The very next day we're front page news in the local rag which is equivalent in size to the Sunday Times. There's obviously a lot of news in Germany!
Dianne's main concern is to not finish last. Lining up with around 50 other bedraggled competitors they huddle together for warmth as the commentators babble on and the photographers struggle to put up marquis-sized umbrellas.
In the half-light of a Black Forest autumn, the gun fires and the race heads out, through the town and in to the country side and the first wind swept "Jubilee-type" hill.
The hares race off and Dianne, under instruction to "ride-steady" gets into an early battle trying to stay with the front group. In the last third of the hill the gaps open but she stays in touch. A youngster weighing all of five stone, an old master of experience and a "mature" lady in her second ever event end up together at the front and spur one an other on.
With a steady descent and a flat bit before the next hill they form an uneasy alliance and stay together.
Experience Over Youth
On the next climb it all kicks off. The master goes to the front. The youngster, emulating his hero Jens Voight, grabs the wheel and takes shelter. Dianne, sits at the back and concentrates on surviving the 3k, 75 metre climb.
Two thirds of the way up the vet gives a kick and the youngster begins to wobble. A gap opens up and Dianne moves around the kid whose now blown it. The true reality of bike racing hits him at such an early stage in his career. He'll get over it. It'll probably be the making of him.
As they reach the top, the vet senses danger. Unsure of who this person next to him is he puts a sprint to clear the crest and heads the three kilometres, downhill, to the finish.
Dianne, unsure of what to do, chases then remembers her instructions and eases back.
She then remembers Voigt junior behind her and picks up the pace again.
Forty-eight minutes after setting off, Dianne crosses the line alone, bedraggled and frozen. With little shelter at the finish we return back to the car.
Didn't she do well?
It's not until we return back to Jersey that we get the results from the event. First lady, three minutes ahead of her nearest rival! Two events and one win! It's a long way from the two kilometres torture ride first undertaken in May and an effort well worth recording.
Me? I start the time trial in the cold and wet and just concentrate on not falling off as I ride through the town centre of Bad Durrheim.
I survive the cobbles and 90 degree bends and head out in to the country side. Thirty eight minutes later I'm back and in 67th place. Not bad out of 1500. The next day it's the road race.
The Germans race in a style completely opposite to the Italians! They scream up the hills, where I kept getting dropped, then I'd be dragging them along spending kilometre after kilometre on the front of the groups as we chased others down on the flats.
No concept of through and off and no concept of pacing yourself on the hills. Anyway, I have a half decent, if not very warm, race and move up to 32nd. A nice way to end my season. It's not a win I grant you, but I enjoyed it.
And I enjoyed traipsing all around Europe for a year, racing the UCI series. Must do it again sometime. See you next year...