Rutland always has a different feel to it than other races.
The UCI status, the challenging parkour, the 195km distance, all the way through to the fact there is more helpers buzzing around you trying to ease the faff of the pre race ritual.
Photo: Alex Duffill Photography
The Rutland Cicle Classic is a red letter day for Uk Elite racers and this is our second crack at the event for Flamme Rouge.
Photo: Alex Reed Photography
Coffee drunk, muesli consumed, numbers pinned and pockets filled we roll to the start. Another unique moment at Rutland is the signing on. Usually this process is confined to a small village hall in the middle of nowhere with a lovely old lady asking for your race license. Not at Rutland. Up on a travelling stage, to sign on in front of our adoring fans with a running commentary on Jack’s height.
One last wave... Race time.
This year the route has changed slightly, we’re heading anti clockwise around the Rutland Reservoir, doesn’t sound to bad!? There is now a looooong drag up past the water which is said to make it safer, just makes it harder. 80km done, 2 laps of the Res, and we’re flying back into Oakham.
By this point 4 riders are up the road so there’s no need to for the bunch to contest the sprint for their weight in Beer. The pace is still full on for positioning on the first sector. Ollie has been riding like a machine all race, rarely outside the top 30/40 riders. I on the other hand, constantly at the back. Moving up, only to find the fluidity of the peloton overtaking me and I’m near the back again. Not cool.
We hit the first sector... Crash! Couple of riders in front hit the deck. Not moving fast but we get held up, and suddenly a full gas chase is on to get back to the group. Hitting 80kph down the decent trying to close the gap... The main group is tantalising close. Get back in at a sharp left just as we hit the main road. And relax.