Saturday, 8th June is a date I have had in my thoughts for quite some time. It is a date I have been looking forward to and one that at the start of the year I was anxious about.
The first of the big two on Saturday will be the IG Nocturne Folding Bike Race at Smithfield market. I entered this last year using my S2L which I have now sold and somehow managed to get in to the final. This year as the title of this blog entry suggests I will be taking my Titanium Orange Brompton with me. This is virtually the same weight as my old S2L but with all those extra gears.
The Nocturne is a great event. Fast, competitive and providing the nervous tension and anticipation that only out and out racing can bring. There will be some who will pontificate about what they are and aren't going to do and some who might imply the many spectators who turn up to watch will be in the presence of greatness. They are usually all mouth and very little trouser. I am there for the taking part...the experience....the atmosphere. If I get into the final great. If I don't...I don't.
The Nocturne is in two heats. Each heat involves racing to ones folded bicycle, unfolding and cycling at speed around the tight Smithfield circuit three times. The top half from each heat progresses to the final where five laps will need to be completed. It's tough believe me!.
I haven't really done anything in the way of training for the Nocturne. The big ride to Whitstable last week served that purpose. I have merely commuted on my Brompton, have porridge for breakfast, drink lots of fluids and have pasta for dinner.
Saturday morning will consist of me giving the bike a clean, oil the important bits and make sure that I am at Smithfield to sign in at about 15:00ish. If the Nocturne is anything like last year the atmosphere will be electric. The crowd really do make this event and even a humble rider like me can have several total strangers cheering them on. It is great really and for all of five minutes it is as if one is a professional sportsman.
I am in heat one with a number of friends. Progressing to the final will prove to be difficult as the field looks set to be very strong. The final with me in it will require almost Devine intervention.
Once the Nocturne is over I will have to get changed, fuel up and somehow get myself over to Alexandra Palace by 23:30 where I will take part in the charity Nightrider which will see me cycling 60 miles around London to return to Alexandra Palace early on Sunday morning.
When I signed up for this ride 60 miles sounded daunting, however having been on so many rides of similar and longer mileage, 60 miles is not really going to hold much fear for me.
Saturday is going to be quite a day. If you are going to the Nocturne and you see me (I'm sure you'll know which is me) make sure you shout out a few words of encouragement. I'm going to need it!