Today, Sudocreme4SagaSeniors fielded an elite team of oak-aged veterans at the magnificent facility that is Lea Valley Velopark. Big Mig, Iron Mike and The Wattmeister were joined by Lion King, Quiet Assassin and Slayer.
But, the old boys nearly didn’t make it after a Haringey School Bus driver decided to drive on the wrong side of a traffic island in Wightman Road in an attempt to save the State Pensions department some money.
After a reconnaissance lap, the peloton set off for 20 clockwise circuits, each loop is one mile. From the first pedal stroke the youngsters set about breaking the seniors’ minds and bodies. Fearsome Lion King set a vicious pace, followed through by Slayer and Quiet Assassin. The Wattmeister was already doubting his ability to hang on for 20 laps, never mind come through and do a turn.
However, sporting a fetching combination of calf length compression socks and bibshorts, TW urged his mind to ignore the immediate pain, and the pain that was yet to come. Following the example of redoubtable Iron Mike, and undroppable Big Mig, the trio pulled strongly when required.
After five laps, Lion King punctured, the pace eased a touch. Slayer was next to go, his injured thigh screaming at him to stop the torture. Iron Mike began to feel the pace and missed a few turns. With four laps to go, just The Quiet Assassin, Big Mig and The Wattmeister remained. QA took on most of the workload. With two circuits to go the group began to focus on the final sprint. The Assassin made a big effort on the slope up towards the velodrome to try and dislodge his older colleagues. Phew! That must have hurt.
Half a mile left. Assassin pounded on the pedals and opened a small gap of maybe three metres, but it was quickly closed down. A haze of effort mingled with the mist and murk which hung over the track like a holy shroud. The trio charged for the line, a blur of spinning legs and arms thrusting up the tight slope. The desire to be victorious laid naked over the tarmac. At this level, the power only lasts for nine or ten seconds. A neuromuscular peak to define the rider and the ride.
Who won? It matters not.
The ride home part way along the canal towpath is worthy of mention, comprising cobblestones, muddy puddles, bridges and a wonderful sense of solitude away from the busy impatient traffic.