After Redditch we headed back to Edinburgh and I had a few easy days at home to try and recover for Saturday when I was racing the London Nocturne. Early on Friday morning I was on my way south and met with Scottish Cycling Junior coach Alan Denman at Abington as he was taking me and some other Scots south for the weekend. The long journey went quickly seen as it was so early and we got to London early afternoon, after a quick spin on the rollers we were just relaxing till our race which wasn't till ten to 9 on Saturday night.
We set off on Saturday and made our way to Smithfield market in London, already there was lots of people about with the racing starting at 4. We chilled in the van till we could sign on then got ready as we could hear over the loud speaker the commentator continuously reminding us of the level of talent in the womens race with Laura Trott, Dani King and Jo Rowsell along with the rest of their Wiggle Honda Team Mates as well as the top domestic teams all taking to the start. I was guesting for the ASL360 team at this race so me and the other ASL girls warmed up and headed to the circuit, we managed to get on and round to the start finish line before being stopped and all going out on a practice lap behind the motorbike. After that we were stopped again and the Olympic champions were called forward and then all the rest of us lined up. Then we were off and luckily I managed to get my foot clipped in and was straight up into 5th position. The back half of the circuit was quite technical before a slight drag up and a bit of a headwind before turning onto the start/finish straight. On the second lap I got a bit excited and attacked through the corners, I managed to get quite a gap and pushed on into the headwind but there was a Wiggle Honda rider on the front and my advantage was gone before we got back round to the finish line! After that it was just about hanging on for as long as possible and I was on the rivet for a good 4 laps just hanging as the fast girls drilled out the pace at the front. Eventually I couldn't hang on any longer and dropped back to the second group which still had some of the top riders racing in the UK in it. I stuck up near the front of that group and we just avoided getting lapped but unfortunately I had no idea when the last lap was, probably due to the insane noise from the crowd. But yeah meant I ended up 23rd when our group was sprinting for 16th so maybe could have done a bit better but was happy with the race other than that.
The next day we were off to Hillingdon, thankfully not till 11, for the next round of the British Womens Series. The race was 50km so that was 33 laps of the circuit at Hillindgon which was pretty flat and fast but with a headwind up the finish straight. I kept up near the front of the bunch for most of the race following attacks and making a few of my own, I managed to get a fair gap at one point, but everything was just getting brought back and on such a fast circuit the bunch stayed mostly together and with 3 laps to go it was looking like a bunch sprint. I was determined not to lose position in the final lap and I managed it much better than at the Milk Race to come out the final corner into the finishing straight in 2nd wheel. Unfortunately I can't sprint and I finished up 11th but happy with positioning throughout the race.
So last up was last night (Tuesday) in Woking for the 4th round of the Johnson Health Tech Series. Legs were feeling pretty good in warm up and once we started I kept a good position and when Louise Mahe and Hannah Barnes got a bit of a gap I managed to bridge across. I went through to take my turn just before the tight turn at the top of the course and as I went round the corner I heard a clatter behind me as Hannah came down.. I had a slight moment of indecision, it is bad practice to attack when someone crashes but seen as Hannah would get a lap out and the bunch was behind chasing I decided to push on, this meant I was out front on my own. Next time past the pits and I saw Hannah waiting to be put back into the race, the commissaries had decided to put her in with Louise Mahe, I think, who was just behind me. So I was still out on my own, I knew I had to push really hard for a few laps to establish a gap which I managed to do and was still out when the klaxon sounded for the first sprint lap, I took the points and kept going. I could see the bunch at the point where the course doubled back on itself and I was holding my gap. The klaxon sounded for the second sprint lap and I was still out although they were getting closer now so I dug deep to stay ahead for the sprint points, which I managed, before being caught the lap after that. From then to the finish I was really suffering from the effort and just hanging on at points as the pace was really being pushed but I managed to stay in contention and finished 8th overall. My exploits out front meant I had picked up the most combatitive rider prize as well as the prize for the sprints on the night. Happy with that! Meant I got to go up on the podium twice, pretty exciting! Congrats to Hannah for crashing and then getting up and winning.
Next up I'm racing the 5th and final round of the series in Aylsham tomorrow. Then up to Blackpool for the Surf n Turf 2 day this weekend which is the next round of the British Womens Series. The nocturne is going to be on channel 4 at 7:35am this Sunday and on 4oD after, you might be able to catch me and the Johnson Health Tech Series from Woking will be on at 10pm on ITV4 tonight and then tomorrow nights race will be on at the same time on Friday.
I've now finished school and am spending this year focussing on my cycling, hoping to get a bit of a job at some point and then to head to New Zealand for a month in January. Plans for next year are yet to be formed but will hopefully involve going to Holland for a bit. I would really appreciate if anyone had any contacts they could pass on if they could email me at firstname.lastname@example.org that would be great!
Thanks for reading!