Friday, 19 July 2013

Oakley Village Races, Guildford Crits and Essex Giro

I was writing my last post on the road south for a 10 day trip down south. I'm now home so heres an update of how I got on in all the races, I've also added a load of photos from the past few weeks at the bottom, thanks very much to Huw Williams for taking most of them!

After Otley I had a day off as we were travelling south to the Travel Lodge at Gatwick Airport which was my new home for the next week and a bit, then on Saturday we head north to Oakley for the Womens Team Series where I would be guesting for Team ASL360 again. It was a boiling hot day and it only got hotter throughout the race, the race was 6 laps of a very flat course, with primes at the end of laps 2 and 4. There was plenty of attacks but the nature of the course didn't make it very easy to get away, I tried myself after the first prime lap but got nowhere so decided it was better to bide my time in the bunch. When we came round for the second prime I made sure to stay up in a good position and as 4 women came round the side of the bunch I managed to accelerate onto their wheels and come round them at just the right time to take the prime, I was pretty surprised at that seen as I don't consider myself that good a sprinter! So it all came down to the final sprint after a tense last 2 laps where I was more concerned about staying on my bike than anything else at there was at least 2 crashes. At the end my team mate Dani attacked with about 1km to go and was looking really strong just in front of the bunch. At this point I was on the wheel of Hannah Barnes, perfectly positioned, or so I thought, however due to Dani being out front Hannah decided to start her sprint very early. I couldn't quite hold her wheel in the initial acceleration leaving me between the front 2 and the bunch just burying myself to get to the line, 2 girls from Matrix Fitness came past me but I managed to stay ahead of the rest of the bunch for 5th. I also picked up the prize for first junior which I was pretty happy with!

Straight after the race we were off to Birmingham for the Dudley track meet the next day. Having not raced the track in a good 2 months I was severely struggling to find my track legs. The fact that the first event in the omnium was a 400m TT didn't really help either, not something I'm very good at! So first event wasn't the best, then in the points race I got 3 points to finish 6th, in the sprint I wasn't last (happy with that!), pursuit I was 6th again. Then came the final event, the scratch, 20 laps to leave it all on the track and finish the day on a high. So I attacked and attacked till I got away, then I just put my head down. Seeing I still had 11 laps to go I knew this was not going to be the most fun! But the bunch had sat up and soon I had half a lap, then a bit more, every time the bunch swung up the track I got a bit closer and eventually managed to lap them. I then just sat in the bunch to take the win, very nice way to end the day!

On the cobbles at Guildford
We then had one easy day before racing Hillingdon weekly races on Tuesday night, we were racing with the 4th cat men so it was just for training effect but I got in a few moves but nothing stuck and I was out of it at the end. Anyway the next day was more important, we were off to Guildford for the town centre crits where Joanna Rowsell would be racing. The course included a uphill cobbles section which was just perfect for me, I really like the cobbles because you have to be really strong to get over them. From the off Jo Rowsell was away, I was straight onto her wheel and surprised myself managing to hold it. We were soon joined by Hannah Barnes and then Alexie Shaw, I was taking my turn and I knew we were getting away from the rest of the field which was just in pieces I think. I stuck with the 3 till about half way through when Jo Rowsell put in an attack on the cobbles which I just couldn't follow. So I was on my own but I just kept going and kept ahead of the small bunch behind me to take 4th, but it was very, very tough for a 25 minute race!

Start line at Guildford
On the climb at Essex

After this the road home was in sight, just 2 more nights at Gatwick Airport then I would move to Stansted Airport for the Essex Giro at the weekend. This started with an 11km TT which was on a rolling course, I struggled to find my rhythm for the first half but got into it and managed to catch the girl in front of me and take 9th place. Next up was a kermesse over 8 laps of a tough course with a hill on a single track road. I did my best to be at the front of the bunch for the start of the climb every lap and found I was climbing quite well. There was some breaks away but everything got brought back on the fast descent. It all came down to the last lap up the hill, I didn't quite have the legs to go for the win but I managed to stick with the front group which I was happy with. The next day was a long road race, the longest I've ever done at 128km. Luckily it was on a slightly flatter course so the race went quickly. An unfortunate crash meant the race had to be stopped for 40 minutes as ambulances were brought in, I think everyone involved was ok though. After this the race was shortened by a lap to 110km, there was a break away in the early part of the race but was brought back and the race was all together for the final lap. I managed to maintain a good position but was just on the wrong side for the final corner so couldn't find a way out and finished 6th. This left me in 9th overall which I was happy with.

Next up I've got the British Crit Champs this Sunday before the British Junior Road Race Champs the week after, will keep this updated with how I get on!
Ahead at Woking
Thanks for reading.
On the attack at Woking

Podium for most combative rider at Woking

London Nocturne
Aylsham in the pouring rain

Time Trial at Surf n Turf
Time Trial at Surf n Turf

Attacking in the crit at Surf n Turf

In a break at Surf n Turf
Off the start line at Otley
Front of the race at Otley
Front of the group at Surf n Turf

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