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Thrills and Spills

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Saturday at Blackburn

Yesterday was the start of the BBN track season and for the past few months I have been really looking forward to giving it a go. I paid my $10 and tell Doug that I have never raced before, Doug puts me in "C" grade much to my disappointment. (I was hoping that I would start in "E" or "D" grade) Doug says just see how you go, if you don't do any good we and put you in "D" grade next week.

The first race is a scratch race and "C" grade is the last to go, I watch a few of the races and can't believe how nervous I am getting. The "A" graders race was pretty fast, I have absolutely no idea what gear I should be racing in, I have already finished the water in my bottle and decide to head up to the club rooms for a refill and say hello to some of the abocer's.

I say hi to Bev and we both start cheering Carl & Dino who are racing in "B" grade, Carl and Dino are racing well and both look pretty strong then suddenly there is in almighty crash involving Peter, Dino and Alan. I have no idea how it happened, but it all happened so fast and right in front of where Bev and I were sitting. I jump over the fence to see how Dino is and try and make him comfortable, while other people see how both Peter and Alan are going. Peter is in a bad way and an ambulance is called while Sue and me try and patch up Dino.

Thankfully both Dino and Alan are okay apart from some nasty abrasions and no doubt today they will have some pretty bad bruising. Peter is taken away in the ambulance and he seemed okay as he was talking, he was even asking everyone how bad his bike was!

After seeing this crash I was completely spooked and I walked up to Nathan and Sue and said that wanted to pull out, Nathan laughed and tried to talk me out of it, then Sue said that I really should race and just stay at the back.

When the "C" grade was finally called I was completely shaking, I wasn't sure if it was because I was so cold or spooked, maybe it was a mixture of both. We do a rolling start and Doug blows the whistle to say the race has started, we start by doing rolling turns and I remember yelling out "I am coming up the bank", I was so loud I reckon the guys playing cricket must of heard me!  With 8 laps to go and couldn't believe how thirsty I am and I thinking to myself how am I going to finish this. The race finishes and I can't believe how quick it all went, I finish somewhere in the middle of the pack and was more relieved that I had survived.

The next race was a points race and I was looking forward to this as this is very similar to "take a lap" that we sometimes do at DISC. Carl tells me not to go out too hard and when the whistle blows for the first points lap basically the whole field just takes off. By the time I get back on the back the pace was getting a little slow so I decide to take the front for a while, I turn around and noticed that there is quite a big gap between me and the next rider so I try and slow down a bit, but I seem to be getting further in front. Maybe it was because of the wind, I take the points on the next round and with 4 laps to go I tried to keep a consistent pace and ended up winning pretty comfortably in the end. I was pretty happy and was really glad that I Nathan and Sue talked me into giving it a go.

The next race was an elimination race and I felt strong for the whole race, it ended coming down to Jamie and me and I had a beautiful ride in Jamies slipstream with one lap to go. I did not want to go too early so I sat in behind him and left my move way too late and Jamie won by a few meters. I congratulated Jamie and was really happy how I raced. I am sure that the more racing I do I will get better at knowing when and when not to attack.

This morning I ended up doing my normal ride up the 1:20 and stopped off at the Black Kettle for breakfast. I was talking to the owner Con who is a great supporter of BBN and it was his son Peter that was taken away in the ambulance. Fortunately he is fine apart from some bad bruising and scratches which is great news considering it could have been alot worse.

Yesterday reminded me just how dangerous our sport can be and taught me that you must pay attention to what's happening at all times. Dino and Alan, I hope your both okay and only have a few bruises, I just can't believe the amount of bad luck that Dino has had over the past few months.


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