After my success in Essex the previous weekend, I was on the road up to Northumberland with the team for the Beaumont Trophy – a classic British race first run in 1982 and now on the UCI calendar.
Somehow five boys, four bikes, seemingly endless bags, bottles and food was rammed into a Land Rover which heaved itself up the A1.
We recced the course and the infamous Ryals climb in some incredible evening sunshine and managed to find the remote farm with hostel style bunks where we had a room for the night just a stones-throw from Hadrian’s Wall.
The next day dawned and it was another scorcher. We arrived early and had plenty of time to change, warm up and take in some of the women’s racing that was taking place before us. Given our excess of time, I was one of the first to line up and was well positioned throughout most of the first lap. That was until I slid into a huge bank of gravel on one of the lefthand corners on the course. I floated over the stones but managed to hold myself upright. As a re-emerged from the otherside I saw just how far up the field I had been. A mass of riders filled the road ahead of me and I fought my way up to try to reclaim a decent position before the decisive Ryals climb.
I managed to hang on for a couple of ascents but to my horror on the third ascent I cramped awfully! What’s more frustrating is the bunch took this climb the easiest of all, soft tapping up the rise with a breakaway well established up the road. I could barely turn the pedals as I watched the group slide away from me.
3654 Bikes team car gave me a bottle of electrolyte mix and after downing the lot, I regained ability to ride again. But it was too little, too late; the bunch were too far up the road and chasing back on solo was a fruitless mission. I was passed by the broom wagon and was told my race was over.
I was gutted, as I’d been feeling strong and was sure this time I would finally finish a UCI race. I don’t usually suffer from cramp so had a google in the Land Rover over some food. Over-exertion and loss of electrolytes seemed to be related. Beaumont was certainly hot in many ways, so this seemed to fit with my experience.
This was my last race before a mid-season break in the Alps and a bitter way to end a long block of racing. Hopefully a change of scenery and a tan will bring some fresh morale and better form.