By John Leitch
Posted: Sunday, November 19, 2017 - 09:27

Basking in sunshine in November….. makes for another lovely session at Canon.

It was the same combination of coaches on Sunday as a fortnight ago, so we switched round, Sean Lamberth climbed to the ‘upstairs’ car-park with the younger riders, and I had a clear run of the lower level, which has added length, for the older group.

With a heaving, healthy pack of riders (in fact so many that we had four ‘spares’ in addition to the nine who rode in formation) we had the opportunity to do an exercise that is generally a muddlefest, and so it was this time.

Riders in three lines of three all in close formation. In the dead centre was the ‘prisoner’ wearing his red bib and the other eight riders were his/her guards…. by riding in a tight formation they could prevent the prisoner from escaping through gaps.

A gap between the handlebars of two bikes in front is one escape route… and a gap between the back wheel of one bike and the front wheel of another to the side is a second (potential) escape route.

Joseph Armstrong was the first in clink…. and he promptly escaped almost as soon as the whistle went to start. Dear me.

Things got better on the straight but minds got addled on the corners and we had leak after leak until finally a group of nine did a complete circuit and delivered the prisoner to ‘gaol’… wonderful.

Another exercise that has been missing for several sessions was ‘sumo’ where everyone is within a circle of marker cones, riding in their lowest gear, and trying not to fall off/put a foot down which results in elimination.

The coaching book of words classifies it as a contact-free sport, but Alex Palmer negotiated rights to come shoulder-to-shoulder with Joseph…. and by the time we were done with their chit-chat, they both had clearance to use their hands as well… but only on each other…. no pushing anyone else.

As riders dipped their foot on the ground and left the ring, the circle got smaller and smaller, calling for lots of bike handling skills….. it was quite impressive, all in all.

Final race – handicap, younger riders in the Level 1 car-park group – 4 laps

1 (dead heat) Lakshin Wickramasekera and Harry Plumadore

3 Harry Adshead

What a finish…. Lakshin came into the last lap still with a lead but was being harried (or is that Harry’d) by two pursuers, Harry P and Harry A, aged six and five respectively. Harry P came level but Lakshin found a bit of extra speed to reach the line at the same time as his rival…. so good to watch.

Final race – handicap, older riders in the Level 1 car-park group – 6 laps

1 Joseph Armstrong

2 Mackenzie Fowler

3 Henry Jacques

Joseph was too strong and was going like a train right from the word go…. we’ll have to load him down with Christmas puddings and such stuff next time.