Sunday was Round 1 of the Richardsons CC Go-Ride MTB Summer Series. Filey has become the traditional opener, with the course perched on the cliff top at Filey Country Park. Previous years have seen an on-course wind chill factor that belied the relatively pleasant forecast, so it seeemed all competitors and support were sporting an array of cold-prophylactics - down, hats, fleeces, thermals... most of these would be discarded by lunchtime.
VeloCake representation took the form of my two - Saul (veteran, moving up into under-10s this year) and Ezra (keen after a year of "will he won't he" racing last year) - plus Flo Levell who was making her racing debut. Full family support teams were in evidence. Saul disappeared to show off his new bike (I fielded the first question about it before I'd got it off the car!) and Flo and Ezra tentatively tried out the course, best described as rolling grass with some isolated (and hopefully avoidable) mud pits. Pre-race jelly snakes were distributed and all te riders were called to the start area.
There was an impressive turnout so the under-8s were split into under-6s (five riders) and under-8s (lots of riders!). So Ezra and Flo lined up first. With the eldest racers being 50% older than the youngest two (that being Flo and Ezra) it was always going to string out a bit, but the surprise was that it didn't string out that much. Downhill to the first corner and Ezra was in last place as Flo's bigger wheels showed their advantage, but his habit of refusing all help on hills and bloody-mindedly grinding his way to the top unaided meant he got to the top of the first hill in third and held that to the line. Flo lost ground on the first hill but held her own finishing fifth, but not out of touch.
Both Ezra and Flo then started asking when they were racing again.. in "are we there yet?" style. This is actually a result. But there were a pile of races to get through before that, not least Saul's inaugural outing on the new little bike. There was a big field in the under-10s - over 15 riders - and considering it was his first race in the older category, and his first proper ride on a new bike, he did really well keeping in touch with the podium places before getting pipped for fourth on the line.
With three full races being run (rather than the usual race - sprint - race) the VC under-6s had to dig deep into the sweetie bags to see them through. Ezra picked up a fourth and another third, and Flo fifth and then showed supreme bike handing to bag a fourth in the last.
Saul was fading but kept digging deep - a sixth in the second race and then pipped at the last again to finish 8th in the final race.
A complicated under-6 prize giving made sure that everyone went away with something. Ezra picked up his bronze medal and went to bed with it last night, and took it to nursery with him this morning. Flo seemed very pleased with her bottle. These things really do matter when you're four!
We rounded it off with bacon butties from the caff and a play in the park as the sun came out. A cracking start to the racing year.