The Smithfield Nocturne on Saturday night saw some great racing, from Bromptons to the Elite Women. It was a late one, with the Elite Mens race taking place well after dark, however it was very much worth it.
I raced in the Mens Support Race and with Seventy seconds cats on the start line it was bound to be a pretty quick affair. After lots of jostling and squeezing at the start we set off, I hadnt really ridden the course before, preferring to just leave it to the day and although I probably lost a little ground on the first few laps, this paid of as I didnt overthink the race. I knew it was vital to stay well up the front, with five pretty tight corners and a good scattering of road furniture the race was strung out from the off.
It was brilliant having lots of support from the club and others dotted around the circuit, a real lift to the sprits and great fun trying to entertain the home crowd.
The relentlessness of the race was brilliant too, never a dull moment and always someone on the attack. The fans are mostly to thank for this, it defiantly makes riders think twice before sitting on and refusing to give a turn. I put in a few pretty big attacks, going clear on my own twice, however unable to make anything stick. It was frustrating as when riders came across I always seemed to lose momentum rather than gain it, Alex Dowsett (Team Sky) showed later on in the evening that if you can commit and really put your head down on your own, your much faster than a group of riders. I eventually got a little swamped on the all important last lap, coming in seventh in the bunch sprint. Pretty disappointed with the overall result but pleased to have atleast made a show in the race. It was defiantly a hard race, which suited me, however one where the best tactic on the night probably would have been to sit in and then sprint at the end. But stuff that, I had a crowd to entertain and who wants to race like a boring sprinter anyway!
The other highlight of the night was the four time Track World Champion and 2011 Tour Down Under winner Cameron Meyer (Garmin Cervelo) warming up on my rollers (see picture below!). A great night and a huge thankyou to everyone who showed up to give their support, next year maybe I can repay it! Hopefully some more photos of the race to follow, so keep an eye out.