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At the start of the year when renewing my Team MK club membership I had to tick some boxes for events I was free to marshal at during the year.  They are a very active club with not only pure cycle racing but also probably a more active section involved in Triathlons and Duathlons.  So I picked out some events on the list so as to ‘do my bit’.  Today was the day of the first of them.

After dubious weather forecasts all week the day dawned quite bright and sunny. even though still cold.  Milton Keynes Bowl is a large outdoor arena for the big outdoor concerts such as the bigger rock groups and the like.

The National Bowl, Milton Keynes

The first race today was for novices, that is riders who are new to racing or who have not accumulated any placings in races previously. There were about 25 in this race I would say.  I missed the end of it as I had to go and help out in the signing on area for people signing on for the later races.

The next race was for the ladies and there was only about 12 of those.  This was quite a sedate affair as you would probably expect.  My task in this race was to catch as many numbers as I could at the finish in case of problems with the electronic timing.

My view of the race from my marshalling point

The third race was for 2nd and 3rd category riders and for this race they opened out another bit of the circuit to stretch it a bit and introduce some more bends.  There was probably around 50 or 60 riders in this event.   This was were I had to do some actual marshalling as there are a few footpaths and cycleways in this area that race route crossed and the job was to warn anybody that came by of the ongoing cycle race.

This race was a much faster and harder event consisting of one hour of racing and then five more laps.  So after one hour the 5 laps to go sign was shown and then the final jockeying for positions would start.  However in this race 3 riders had broken away from the bunch soon after the start and quickly gained a twenty second gap.  This gradually extended to around forty seconds and they held that for the entire race.

Being remote, as I was I was wondering how I would know the race was over. I guessed I would know only by the fact they stopped coming past every few minutes.  In fact what happened was they did come past one final time but much slower and chatting so I guessed this was the ‘lap of honour’ or warming down lap, which it was.   So I wandered back to the next marshal positions and we made our way back to the race HQ.

It was a good day and a useful learning curve for me.  I will now hope to go there on Tuesday evenings to join in the club training session that are held there every week.  I havent done them before because of the weather and also the fact that they begin around 6:30pm and it didn’t really fit in with the meal pattern at home.  But I will organise something for this week.  Also later this year there is a summer series of races weekly on Tuesday evenings for LVRC (League of Veteran Racing Cyclists) on Tuesday evenings, taking over from the training sessions  at the beginning of May and I hope to do a few of those as well.