Cycling Weekly plans to have a rider blogging from every round of this year’s Tour Series, offering insight, comment and humour from the fast-paced proceedings.
After Tuesday’s opening round in Durham, we give you the stream of consciousness of Endura rider and bunch funnyman Ian Wilkinson.
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Tuesday morning started at eight with a quick roller session to loosen up. After a bit of breakfast, I packed my bag for the next few days on the road.
Then it was off to catch a bus. And another bus. Then in the car. Finally, I was picked up by the Endura team van at Wetherby Services with Scott Thwaites. It’s a glamorous life, this.
The sun was out, but the wind was raging. I was hoping it’d be pretty sheltered in Durham.
A couple other teams were stopping to freshen up, Sigma Sport and Willier. It was only an hour up the motorway from the pick up, so there was time to chat about goings-on in recent weeks: races, wins, losses, women, sex, drugs, rock n’roll. The usual!
We make it into the race village which is already buzzing with activity. I spend a bit of time adjusting my new helmet and bike as I’ve barely seen both since my crash seven weeks ago [Wilkinson broke his collarbone in a nasty crash at the Tour of Normandy – ed].
I start to get a twitch in my stomach; another visit to the porta-throne sorts it out. I take a moment to speak to my good lady and the others who made the trip to watch.
All of a sudden, it’s time to race! Ten minutes to go. The music is being turned up and the crowd are getting excited. It’s making me really revved to get going.
Endura drew team eight on the grid. No problem, we soon move through.
It’s a hair raising course in Durham, a real game of two halves: leg-busting climb, brake-burning descent. And repeat, for an hour plus five laps.
On the steep cobbled decent, the smell of carbon and rubber is strong in the air from fifty guys braking heavily into a sharp right also on cobbles, which kicks into a tough, rough climb back to the finish.
Things were looking good with four of us in front group on the last lap. After the dust settled on a super close exciting finish, Dempster dropped another win out and Endura Racing rolled second team by a point. Argh, so close!
But on our weakest course, it’s a very positive start to the 8 round series.
It’s back to the van. I chuck some clothes on and head to the hotel for a shower and steak, and try to repair the muscle damage with a sirloin building block!
The great crowds and a well-organised opening Tour Series round kept me buzzing till midnight. But watching the idiots on Police, Camera, Action soon took my mind of racing and off to the land of nod.
One late night down, seven to go. Zzzzz.
Your correspondent in Durham last year, sirloin steak on the mind.
Dempster takes the opening round in Durham