Well, we did it. the Terrible Trio trekked up to Derby for the Nationals and we survived.

A comfortable night at Derby’s finest Premier Inn and then an early start getting to the circuit ready for Sol to sign on for the Ladies race at 9.30, Me in the 50+ at 11.00 and Martin in the 40+ at 2.30. It was a log day.

The rain all week made for predictably muddy, slippery conditions which only became worse as the day wore on. But it was sunny and warm, so great atmosphere all round and some brilliant racing in all the races, especially in the under 16 race where a young lad called Dan Tulett won. He’s won just about everything this season, so watch out for him in the future. Who knows, maybe another Froome or Wiggins. He’s amazing.

Sol lined up for her Ladies Vets race, set off and was immediately right on the pace, holding about 7th place within touch of the leaders. She rode brilliantly, beat her old rival Christina White convincingly, and narrowly lost out to a Wrekin rider for 8th place overall, 5th in the 45+ category. Ab-SOL-utely brilliant, and fully deserved.

I was next up. I set off well in a massive field of about 95 riders, and was in the top 20 on lap one only to have a rider go down in front of me. I ploughed into him and then a Crawley rider behind me landed on my front wheel heavily. There was a crack and then when I got up the wheel turned with a disturbing wobble. I nursed it round for half a lap and then ran as far as the pits. Probably took a minute or two to change the wheel and rejoin the race, but out of contention. No matter, it was great making a bit of progress through the field passing Simon Tottle who’s been the top rider in Central League this season, and closing in on Sam Williamson from Hemel who is second in the League. Just as I had him in sight I mistimed a dismount and nose planted into the biggest, deepest muddy puddle you can imagine. It was one of those days. I rolled round to finish happy as Larry all the same. Covered in mud from head to toe – at least it seemed to amuse the crowd!

Martin was last up. Again, an enormous field of 100+ riders and Martin rode really well. It was really cut up by now meaning that lots of the course had to be run rather than ridden. He was picking up loads of mud, and those who had spare bikes held a definite advantage as pit tactics came into play. A really gutsy and impressive ride from the Mad Dog yet again. Chapeau.

So many good memories from the day. Hysterical laughter from each of us as we finished, and so good to have mates there at the line to welcome you back in or to encourage you to more effort. Fantastic watching the pros ride it, and rubbing shoulders with Helen Wyman or Paul Oldham. Inspiring stuff and a fitting finale to the season.

Well done TCC. All we need now is a club jet washer so that we can wash our bikes (and kit) at the finish! Finally, thanks to Mac for all his enthusiasm and experience, that’s inspired us all to see how far we could go this season. We’re becoming a real force in CX as a club, and it can only get better.

GoTwickenham!

Le Dunc

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