This time I’ll give you a whistle stop tour of the experiences……….. First Three Weeks of July
Course: 60 miles, narrow and technical round Bristol Cathedral city centre, crash barriers everywhere!
Level: National A
(with the big boys!)
The Bristol GP was a city circuit National A, a big event and my first Premier event of the year. It was going to be the fiercest competition I have ever faced, with many turns into which you brake hard and then accelerate hard for about 3 hours! It got worse though because a one hour delay to the start of the race (due to problems from safety inspections) meant that the start would be gridded like a grand prix – guess which of us were at the back of the grid. Continental Level Teams were at the front. The 60 mile race was decided on the first corner!, no chance of catching up – they had created a gap by having a free run at the first lap of nearly 1 minute. The Continental Teams were attacking each other while the rest of us were still clipping in on the start line.
I gave it everything but it wasn’t enough. I got pulled out with 5 of 18 laps remaining but was by means the first but nothing counts if you don’t finish. I was exhausted and felt cheated.
Course: 115 miles, rolling and then technical onto a city circuit crit.
Level: National A
(with the bigs boys! again)
A 115 mile Premier event. An overnight trip got us up there after a night at Andrew Hillman’s – thanks Andrew. The race was set to be 8 laps of a big circuit and and then 6 laps of a little circuit – all straightforward…………..but not if you have a massive crash 20 mins into the race requiring ambulances. The race had to be stopped for 2 hours.
I was very close to being in the middle of the mess, with a guy falling infront to my right and another falling infront and to my left. I pulled the brakes, then realised I had slowed too much and was going to hit both guys as they fell in front of me! Just before we all collided a guy hit the back of me, punting me forward through the gap. Then the two from either side and the one who hit the back of me collided together. I got through the space. Twenty racers had hit the ground in total, 7 didn’t get up immediately. Everything from cracked frames, a chainring to the leg, cracked ribs and an ear being glued.
I was pretty freaked for the next 2 hours and didn’t race very well but did hang in there. The average speed was between 29-30 MPH, with the flats and the downhills being between 36-42 MPH!
I rolled in at the tail end of the bunch. I finished 62nd. Pretty disappointed that I had freaked out so much but on reflection I can see why.
Duncan Murray Wines Road Race, Naseby, Northampton Shire
Site of a famous civil war battle – a lot of brown signs but not much gunfire!
We got up at 6:15am on Sunday morning. It was my birthday. Surely a bit of luck please.
I decided to keep it small! Only 50 miles, a Regional A race. I felt great and raced aggressively. My first race as a nineteen year old (which no-one seemed very bothered by?!) I did miss the key break towards the end of the race and ended up being the one to led the charge. I worked my socks off and brought the gap from 35 seconds to 11 seconds. I was still able to take second from the bunch in the uphill sprint to the line, which I was pleased about. I am gradually getting better at sprinting and this sprint-climb combo was a new one - fortunately I did well at both. Get me !
I went home happy 7th out of 70 knowing that the legs are good - just got to nail the tactics now. And I got some prize money.