Royal Victoria, Queen of promotion
Every so often I find myself involved in an event, a series or a something where I get a sense of something important "happening", something which will go down in local cycling folklore should it not happen again. I think the last time I can say this of a race was at the innaugral Brighton Big Dog race in 2009. The May crits in Bath have that feel too. What a bloody fantastic idea, whoever concieved this love child well deserves at least a Blue Peter badge in my eyes.
I am not old enough, or been in Bath long enough to remember the racing in Victoria Park from days gone by but it doesn't take much digging around a friendly bike shop (the nice one near that cafe...) till you find someone who will happily reminisce about the old racing. As pleasant as it is to hear these stories I hope that this event becomes a May tradition in Bath rather than lost to the archives of memories of Bath cyclists
So much is good about the race, the course and the location quite simply couldn't be bettered. But there is another tradition in Bath which adds real value to the event. Bath is like no other city in the bike industry "celeb" spotting stakes. Well not quite celebs, but Baths gravitational effect on the UK's cycling media means about 90% of it is based here, plus a load of sattelite activity. This makes a Bath crit more populated with the infleuntial members of the industry than any other evening or local event I have been to. Not that these people are more important as a spectator than any other but it does mean that this event is getting much better coverage than any other similar series happening up and down the UK on any given Wednesday. Its online presence is making this event a real big "Event".
This week it was nice to see is a few black armbands on show. The Bath Univeristy/road.cc Cycling Club promoted wearing one on their Twitter account earlier in the day (@BATHuniCC) and thanks to a retweet from none other than David Harmann I think a few people had also decided to pay their respects. A small but pleasant gesture, thanks to everyone who joined us.
This weeks racing was much better populated than last. The 3/4s was by far the biggest field and big enough for a couple of groups to form on the road this week which was great. A bit of classic nervous action in the bunch up the climb had the rider infront of me down, taking one more with him. At the point whilst I was still up right and his rear wheel made contact with my shoulder I decided to stop pedalling to try and avoid the mess. Thankfully nobody was hurt, but I dare say the aforementioned local shop and cafe is making some good money on rear mech sales this morning and a while you wait long black....
Bath Uni/roadcc's Liam Glen took the win again in fabulous fashion, edging the sprint from a break of three strong riders. He even had time to crack out a polished and well practiced victory celebration.
I am already looking forward to next week, and I hope both specator and rider attendance can grow again. If you are in Bath, Bristol, Chippenham, Swindon, Weston or where ever in the South West; I stronlgy urge you to come out and be part of this fantastic event. If not I am sure you can read about ext weeks somewhere online......