After a week off my bike, as ordered by my new coach and teammate Chris McNamara I was feeling skeptical as to how yesterday’s race would pan out. Hoping to of recovered somewhat from my efforts earlier in the season.
We had a very strong line up with pretty much the whole team riding, including inform Dante, who has won the last few Road Races he’s done, we were all looking to get up the road early on and be aggressive from the off. Someone said after the race that the first lap had been the fastest ever lap of the Lamberhurst/Frant SERRL course.
After a good number of strong looking moves went up the road and came back Francis Cade (Pedal Heaven) and Lawrence Carpenter (AW Cycles) slipped away around 35 miles in, gaining a minute at one point. After they were away for about 10km a small chase group managed to nip away on a short drag. I just slipped into the move, and started to get the guys in the group to work together well, catching to two up the road shortly. Having a teammate in the break is always better than no teammate! Francis said he had good legs so I began pulling turns for him.
Queue 2 hours of hard through and off and big turns in order to stay away from 8 chasers, 50 seconds behind. And the bunch at 2.50. They got us down to 42 seconds at one point put a few big turns and a couple of attacks later it went back out to 1.20 to the chasers.
Two laps to go on an 800m steep climb Harold Evans (Aprire Bikes) attacked over the top, I was nearly tailed off but managed to keep within 20m or so off the leaders. With Francis sitting on the back of the front group, I was given a free ride back on by another rider in the break.
The last lap consisted of one big effort on the main climb from me, just to minimize my losses should anyone attack, cramping pretty badly at the top. But I think I had damaged some people’s legs. I hope!
With about 12km to go I rolled off the front in an effort to soften things up for Francis in the sprint. Last time we raced this course he beat me pretty easily! Somehow the guys in the break sat up and let me go. Rhys Howells (23c Focus) rode across to me, and then past me! I had to ruin myself to stay on his wheel on the decent. We then did some of the hardest through and off I’ve ever done, the road averages a good 5% for the last 5 miles. I managed to get Rhys to be on the front in the last few km, knowing he has a BIG sprint on him, I wanted him somewhere where I could see him.
With 300m to go I jumped away and rode all the way to the line, hands in the air.
Francis sprinted in for 7th, he was pretty spent after being away for a good length of time and marking the attacks from the other riders in the break once I’d attacked, so a big thanks to him for mucking about in the break after I’d gone.
Jamie Pine was 10th. Rob ‘Random’ McCarthy just behind in 12th. Dante was 17th and Chris 20th. So all of us in the points! Which is great of the team.
It was a big relief to win yesterday, out of 13 races on that course over 4 years I’ve only ever finished 3 and as it had been a while since my last win. But with just 2 weeks of coaching from TrainSharp, one of those being a complete rest week. It’s great to see that coaching works and having the support of teammates is always. Always worthwhile!
I’m now 12th in the UK Elite Rankings, as well as 1st U23. The team are in 7th. Ahead of some big name teams!