Not to mention the two take away pizzas a couple days before! I new the nerves would come but given it was just a training session with some light competition I thought i’d be okay?!
The ride to bradford was awful, the conditions in general were grim and rather then it being a warm up ride it was more like a brutal 13 mile CO2 Max test! The head wind was crazy and unfortunately to add to it, the course was on top of a hill. The winds were strong as hell and made racing incredibly difficult – It was a test for even the experienced!
We set off as a group and I decided to stick front middle, see what the pack were going to do and try and go along with it as long as I could hold on. After about 4 laps I found myself in a pack of 3/4 almost chain ganging – each person taking a lap in front at a time. I can’t really describe how rough the wind was but at some points it physically moved my wheel aside on certain corners. The final section towards the lap line was probably the worst, no one could really push more than 10-12mph the wind was so strong.
I soon got into the zone, in fact it’s more like I soon zoned out rather then ‘got in the zone’. About half way through the race I’d found my self developing a gap from the 3 others I was originally working with, I didn’t realise it at the time but I figure I must have done a few laps head down pushing on and not realised. In honesty if I’d thought more about ‘race tactics’ I’d have been better sticking with the front peloton and getting them to do some of the work, saving energy for the last few laps but I’d made to big a gap and was still feeling strong so I just decided to go with it.
There were a few scary moments, wind swept and on one occasion where I had to slam on the rear wheel for some one turning off the course, but no major hick ups nor any crashes!
About 5 laps from the end I looked back to find Richard Gates on my rear wheel, slowing down to see if he’d do some of the work he didn’t budge which annoyed me but hats off to the guy, he was racing and had the right mentality! No other competitor is really going to help you out on the last stretch of the race, no way! Nonetheless this bought my last bit of fight to the race, I pushed on and developed a good gap again. What I didn’t realise was there was another rider that had managed to catch me up and sucked my back wheel for the final few laps.
2nd to last lap I was pretty done for, I’d develop a horrendous cramp in my left calf and I could feel my body dwindling fast. I could feel that I’d considerably slowed down and knew it was make or break – find that last little bit of energy to cover 2 laps or finish at the back… Somehow I managed to pull through… Although I didn’t notice Jamie Tweddwell was on my back wheel the whole time waiting to make his move. The final lap a long sprint descent he overtook me… I couldn’t keep up regardless of my efforts! I managed to hold second place and came right up to his rear wheel and we both crossed the line I was still pretty chuffed with my efforts! A great day was had by all, a lot learnt and for all that braved it a huge kudos to you!
Huge thanks to Chris Sansom for the photos taken on the day!