MR PORTER LONDON NOCTURNE
Ah, the Nocturne, a day we look forward to each year. With equal measures of silliness and seriousness, it just about manages to condense London's vast cycling scene into one single event.
We were very happy to see the return of the fixed crit (Mango Bikes Criterium) with Alec Briggs of LaClassica Racing & The 5th Floor taking 1st place followed by Alex Blomeley & George Garnier of The 5th Floor taking 2nd and 3rd.
Of course with all events like this, it would have been amazing to see a separate race for women. It's become increasingly evident that there's enough women wanting to race fixed within the UK, last years 1st Red Hook Crit in London and this years newly formed Thundercrit proved that with the right promotion and organization, the women's field is large enough to warrant it's own event. Our friend Lina from Velociposse was one of the 4 boss women who took to the start line in the Mango Bikes Crit, she was taken out quite early on by another rider but rejoined the race with what looked like a mega painful knee injury. You can't stop this girl!
Let's talk about another women who stole the show, Alice Barnes. Similar to the performance Katie Archibald put on at last years event, Alice managed to finish the Elite women's crit 1 minute 45 seconds ahead of the bunch in a solo effort. She dominated the race leaving a gap too big for anyone to bridge across.
We're pleased that the elite races now award equal prize money for female and male counterparts, TV coverage has also improved, with the full elite women's race being covered as well as the men's.
Another highlight was the Penny Farthing race, which turned into a 3 lap dash this year due to an overrunning program, I can't believe how quick those things can go! This race is usually a bit of a leisurely parade around the city roads but it as clear from the outset there were some serious competitors who managed to keep the pace up from the get go. There was a group of spectators next to me offering up a can of gin(?) to any willing takers. No one grabbed it, not one person. This is the first time I've watched this race finish without at least one can/glass of beer in the hand of one of the riders crossing the finish line. Penny Farthing racing is serious business.
Another event which can be taken as seriously / pleasurably as the riders wish is the 'Boris Bike' race. Our friend Dimi from NLTCBMBC smashed the event coming 1st at a continuously furious speed I don't think I've managed to reach on a hire bike before.
There's something special about this event. It draws in cyclists from nearly every discipline, age group and fitness level and manages to mash everything together in one streamlined day out that everyone can take part in. Rider or spectator, tweed draped folding bike enthusiast or double cow bell wielding child, there's something to entertain everyone.
Bring on next year, but with the only thing that I think they'd missed out, sunny weather please!
All photos by Sam Dunn.