Fat tyre racing in Nottinghamshire

That’s racing on a bike with fat tyres by the way, not competing against a fat tyre, and otherwise known as a mountain bike (MTB) race

Now we’ve made that clear, Pete Middlemiss decided to ditch the skinny tyres and (relatively) smooth tarmac for something a little more demanding on 15th March and headed down a misty M1 to Robin Hood territory to compete.

Although there were races for all ages from little kids to big kids, Pete decided that his best chance of success would be with the other 73 old men – his description, but not a million miles from the truth – although the organisers might have had a large influence on this decision.

A very official looking man in a blazer – no track-suits here, oh no – gridded the competitors and, as he likes to be as free as a bird and doesn’t like to be hemmed in, Pete was thankful to be gridded at the back. Lack of UCI points or lack of ambition (delete as applicable) may also have had something to do with him bringing up the rear.

Starting pistol at the ready – they don’t do things by half at these MTB events – the 30 second warning came and went before the carnage began with plenty of crashes at the start and even chains snapping. Ah, the exuberance of youth!

After the first lap which seemed to go on forever as is usually the case, Pete settled into the second by actually passing other riders, However, he was then brought quickly back down to earth and put firmly in his place by the leader of the women’s pro race politely asking him to get out of the way. Taking the opportunity to follow the wheel of someone obviously much fitter than him Pete passed 10 other old men but couldn’t hold her wheel for much longer and was, inevitably, dropped.

With two more laps to do, Pete dug in and by the end of lap 3 was half way up the field. A moment of delusion and thinking he could win (in his head anyway) meant the last lap was his fastest one of the race. He’s still unsure how it happened – probably not the only one – but he passed another six riders and managed to finish the race with the last BC points available in his race (result!), his first for many years.

After his great efforts, Pete finished 30th, not bad for an old ‘un. Keep up the good work Pete, and keep on eating the pies!