10 more inches of gear does not the U16 rider defeateth.

Katie Archibald | Saturday 11th May, 2013

And making up words does not me Shakespeare maketh? 

To the point! I was away in Reading last weekend doing a women’s and U16 derny race. Good fun, let’s go from the start…

To qualify was a distance-that-I’ve-forgotten-but-was-around-10km scratch race which was pretty tame. Two U16 lads and I went away and took a lap in the spirit of “better safe than sorry” since only the top 9 qualified. We then sat in the bunch to watch Janet Birkmyre handle the sprint finish like a pro and others qualify to join us in the final. 

So, it’s time to explain the blog title. U16 (youth) riders are restricted to an 88” gear (e.g. 49t chain ring and 15t cog). I was riding a 98” gear (e.g. 51t chain ring and 14t cog) and was sure that the lads would end up spinning out when their derny drivers took them to speeds in excess of 50km/h during the 15km race. Turns out that’s bollocks. I’ll ruin the end for you: youth rider Mr Tom Sefton wins, Janet Birkmyre comes second and I’m third. Here are the overtly biased details that are aimed at convincing you I should have done better:

I bagged Tony Hibbert (hereafter referred to as THDDG (Tony Hibbert Derny Driving God)) as my pacer. Our 8 second tactics meeting went along the lines of ‘let’s time trial to the front and just stop people coming round’. This was something THDDG was pretty darn good at, all I had to do was sit as close as I could to him and stay relaxed. Derny racing is fantastic for giving you a false sense of security and then suddenly making you pop. I wish I had a humorous or interesting way of explaining the logic behind this, but I don’t, so just believe me. 

So anyways, with about 5 laps to go, THDDG and I are at the front of the field. We’ve lapped a few stragglers and about six riders are still in the main field. It’s at this point that the U16 chap starts trying to come round and THDDG does his thang, forcing the competition to take the hardest route around us. This is when I get the fear.

The fear of popping. I can basically feel my legs fizzing, waiting to go bang. We keep holding them off and I keep siting in closer to the back of THDDG’s rear wheel. But with two and a half laps to go the U16 boy definitely seems to be riding strong. I put my head down to squeeze more out of my legs. I put my head down and go right into the back of THDDG.

Someone later described this as an Andrex moment.

I lost a huge gap on THDDG, a couple heartbeats, and two places as Mr Tom Sefton and Janet Birkmyre soon came round me and stormed ahead. Luckily I didn’t fall off so fought back onto THDDG’s rear wheel to keep third place. Race over.

With the main event finished I stuffed my face with Jelly Babies, chugged some Powerade, took photos of Callum Watson’s pain face in his men’s derny final and got back on my bike for the scratch race. This part of the story isn’t really relevant; I just wanted to tell you I was first woman, hoorah!

Day 1 over, the City of Edinburgh troops headed to Scunthorpe for more racing.

I was planning on telling you about it but I don’t think I have the endurance for more typing. Fingers are exhausted and I think I’ve gone into ABC story telling mode.

Got the Scottish 10 mile TT coming up in Fife and also my first round of the national women’s omnium league in Dundee. Tell you all about it soon! Goodnight for now.


Chris Hoy


Endura Equip