An eventful start to my National series this year, for sure! Two heavy crashes is not the way you want to start a season…
My goals this year aren’t too lofty, last year I took it quite steady. A mixture of a growing family, more responsibility at work and (if I’m being 100% honest) some issues with anxiety and depression meant I needed to take a break from racing seriously. I did a few of the FNSS races but stayed away from Regional races and only did Dalby on the National circuit cos it’s a really fun course. I also started my own coaching company – www.owncoaching.co.uk (Only What’s Necessary and Only When Necessary!) and that’s sucked up a lot of time. It’s really helped me to focus on my own riding goals and help a few others along the way. Do get in touch if you’re interested!
Wow, I really think this was the toughest race I’ve ever done! Not only was the course hilly and hard work, the almost continual rain meant it was close to impossible to stay upright too!
I had high hopes for this race going into it as I’ve done very well in Wales before at Nationals and the course sounded pretty good so I felt pretty psyched. I just really wanted the weather man to be wrong as he had forecasted heavy rain. I don’t mind racing in the rain, I’d just read on Singletrackworld that this course was close to being unrideable when it was wet.
Interesting race, only my second 2/3/4 road race I’ve ever done and rather disconcertingly, I got dropped from the first one. This race used the whole circuit, including the hill to the finish line. My whole game plan was simply to not get dropped, and to try and finish in the pack. I wasn’t too interested in competing for the sprint – this was more of an intense training session for me instead. Attacks came and went, but none of them really managed to stick. A few times I felt like I was going to struggle to hang on, but I managed to stay in the bunch. I decided not to try and do any work on the front, but just to hide in the bunch and try to finish well. Coming into the very last corner I found myself on second wheel, and at the base of the climb everyone suddenly went for it! I had a go at competing for the sprint and managed to come in a rather respectable 17th – I was happy enough with that!
Well, this didn’t end the way I would have liked!
In a very brief summary – I was an idiot and didn’t get my entry in on time, I had a nice 4 day holiday in Wales with my family, Pembrey was properly, properly sticky and a bit washed out, I got taken out by a stupid and dangerous overtake and I still have road rash three weeks later.
I also finished 5th!
First proper race of the season, but maybe not the very best way for it to kick off! Unfortunately (…and now I think about it was probably self-inflicted…) my preparation for this race was not quite as ideal as I might have liked.
The first round of the Midlands XC series was always going to be a bit of a nervous race for me – having done my PGCE last year and not raced anywhere near as much as I would have liked, I wasn’t really sure where I should be aiming myself in the placings. Or who my main rivals were or even how the race might go. I was aiming to turn up, have a go and see what happened.
So, with a decent winter of training under my belt I felt pretty good coming into the race.
It’s been a fair while since I last raced, but what a nice way to get myself back into the swing of things!
Over the February half term I was down in Suffolk completing my Level 1 British Cycling coaching qualification – and rather handily I spotted that I was only 30 minutes drive from a local race series that had had good recommendations previously. For only 15 pounds I thought it had to be worth a spin!
Well, this started with me signing up as part of a normal race series, until I saw this tweet saying that there was a Singlespeed/Fatbike Championship as well as the normal races… This resulted in me rebuilding my singlespeed (which I recently dissembled and put gears on) and getting ready to race!
I headed over to Mansfield to the new venue with Nathan and Oli with the newly built SS to check out the course. Fueling up with 9bars, Beet It shots and plenty of water we headed out for a pre-ride.