The British Cycling Masters Road Race Championship

The British Cycling Road Race Championships were held at the end of last month, Fred Wright winning the men’s and Pfeiffer Georgi winnng the women’s race. There were other categories including the men’s and women’s under 23 races then, this last weekend, the Masters Championship with age categories for both men and women held in Bridestowe Devon. As it was close to home I entered the men’s 70-74 age category. Our race included all entrants aged 60 and above – most of these regularly race and some are ex professional. There were 59 entrants but many didn’t start – maybe put off by the combination of the Devon terrain and the prospect of some showers.

In a much reduced field we set off on the old A30 with the race neutralised behind the cars until we had crossed under the new A30 at Sourton Cross.

This was my first road race but I’ve watched enough on telly to know how important it is to remain in the bunch. This is comparatively easy in rolling terrain but our first steep climb really spread the field. I was stubborn enough to climb back on to the lead group along with a few other stragglers. Then it was fairly plain sailing until we returned to the old A30 again and the road kicked up. This is where several of us lost touch and formed a small group of our own. We could see the bunch ahead and we got tantalisingly close at times to the following cars but it wasn’t to be and as the final draggy climbs hit we lost contact. As more fell off the lead group our own little group grew in size over the second lap – though not everyone was prepared to do a turn at the front.

I finished with Cat2/3 riders riding in the 60/64 category in just under three hours. I think I would have been forth if I was riding in the 65/69 age category and finished in the top 20 of the race, but most importantly I was first home in my own category.

Brian Cookson was the only other rider in my age category that was at the start but unfortunately he hadn’t recovered fully from Covid and once he was separated from the bunch had the difficult challenge of riding mostly on his own. Credit to him for persevering – and for putting the effort in to supporting the event.

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