Blog: Patrick Salt

Patrick Salt writes… It’s been a bit busy over the last few weeks, but I managed to get to a few races anyway, as you do.

Last Sunday, lovely weather and the Masters Road Race. Four championships in one race! I suppose wins in the older age groups were the reward for holding on to a busy race. At first it all seemed very complicated, just as a spectator, but in fact the three different small circuits interlocked really well, and it was no hardship to potter round and have a good look at the race. One lovely feature of races like this is the number of families – and very nice ladies – about, helping out with bottles and so on.

A really nice atmosphere up on Staple Hill, high on the open ground, with the riders passing through about every 10-12 minutes, so plenty to see of the race. And some of the helpers outfits were quite, er, summery, as well. I’m sure that there was not a lot of skin left without a tan in a few cases! Very nice…

The pictures show the race in it’s best light, the marshals were spot on and everything seemed to be well handled and safe. Only one or two NEG though, so I asked around and found that most of them were in London at the triathlon. Now, what I don’t understand is, if BC do all the training and provide the kit, plus I’m told insurance cover during the race, what are lots of NEG doing at a tri when there are national championships to be covered? The race could have used a couple more at least, and the two people there looked shredded at the finish.

Photo: Dave Reed.

Obviously working very hard to help keep things safe, but a bit stretched. I also heard that even the Richmond GP was a bit light, as some NEG guys from as far up as Yorkshire were in London. Just doesn’t seem right, I presume they are independent, and can do what they want, but surely road races are the priority?

Anyway all went well, and Doug Collins the organiser looked well pleased at the end. The same Doug Collins who is in a very old book I have by the late Chas Messenger, pictured getting a placing in London-Holyhead – all 265 miles of it – riding for Army CU, way back in the late 50’s/early 60’s. And still in the sport – what a man!

Oh, and the racing was great as well, just because the numbers of years go up, it does not seem to slow them up much, and a very close finish too. I can’t remember seeing a break more than 45 seconds away all day, and only a few seconds gap at the finish, in the lovely dappled lane at Valley End.

Thanks to all who put on a great day’s racing, it made going off back to work late on Sunday almost bearable! Back on the bike next week, it’s going with me on a trip down south again, and I might just get to one or two of the evening races. Happy summer days!

One thing I noticed on Sunday which was a bit of a shame, club riders rolling around the route the opposite way, who mostly pulled over and waited as the race went by. But sadly, there were a couple of times I saw groups who didn’t want to do that, and then cars tried to overtake in the face of the race, even one pair of ladies chatting away happily side by side, seemingly oblivious to what was about to happen with a car (and it did – twice that I saw).

We would like for people to be patient with races, but if that’s what we want, surely we should set an example ourselves? I’ll pull off the road when the lead cars come and spare a minute to watch the race go by – and at my level of fitness a breather is often welcome! Most people do this, but if everyone did – who knows?


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