What's Cool In Road Cycling

Archer GP: Just Smile & Keep Going

The UK’s very own spring classic took place last weekend and in our own ‘classic’ style, PEZ’s Nick O’Brien was at the business end of the Archer GP… but not like you might expect.

Living only a couple of miles from the Chiltern Hills where the race is based and being the hottest day of the year so far, I decided to take a ride out on an old Vespa scooter that I own (I know, I should have used my race bike but sometimes you’ve just got to let go…). So I chugged out to the race like most local riders, bumping into a club mate on the way, who once he realized who I was decided to take up my offer of a bit of derny style pacing.

I was only doing as instructed by the moto-cop – apologies for the lack of focus but I didn’t have a clue what I was doing there.

As we steamed along twisting lanes thinking we were well ahead of the race we came up against the tail end of the convoy just as it began to climb. My friend waved me off in my mirrors and I continued behind the police car at the back – he’d obviously clocked me in his mirrors – pacing a rider and waved me past him.

Got a bit distracted on focusing this shot, for obvious reasons… I had to keep one hand on the clutch & the other on the accelerator.

With a view to cutting across the circuit to watch the race on the fearsome Whiteleaf Hill – I took up his kind offer and began to work my way through the convoy until I reached my cut through, flying down it as quick as possible to jump ahead of the race, at the end of the lane I was back on the supposedly ‘closed circuit’ and again got waved through by a motorbike marshall without hesitation, despite wearing shorts and trainers and bearing no resemblance to any official – but I was not going to disappoint him.

This is about as close as I’m going to get to keeping up with the big boys.

Now, although I was ahead of the main bunch & convoy – I hadn’t realized a break had formed early and I had slotted in right behind them as they began to ascend Whiteleaf.

A superb Archer GP win for PCAs Simon Gaywood from Matt Talbot – Rapha Condor and Andy Roche – Yellow RT Pinarello.

It’s probably the only way I could ever get up it at a reasonable pace but I did manage to get some shakey snaps of the arse end of the break – that eventually after a long hot 115 miles stayed away from the peloton (that slowly disintegrated on every one of the five major climbs) producing a worthy winner in Simon Gaywood from Plowman Craven Evans. I obviously retired to the side of the road much earlier – but it was a fun angle on a race I’ve watched for years.

In years to come I can tell my son that his dad was in the race winning break of the 2007 Archer GP…

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