Iona at Peterborough Crit

Iona at Peterborough Crit

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

National Road Race Champs - 24th June

I know its a bit late, but I have finally found some time to catch up on my blogging.
Sunday 24th June saw the National Road Race Champs head to Glasgow as a test event for next years Commonwealth Games, and 3 GB Cycles girls made the journey - me, Brit and Hayley.
The course has been widely viewed as being a 100km long crit race, as at no point did the circuit hit any countryside, unless you count Kelvingrove Park.  I was dubious myself being an avid crit hater, so the best thing we did was to ride the course early on Sunday morning (after the roads were closed), after which my fears were passified (although Brit's and Hayley's were not).
After a good warm up, we all positioned ourselves well on the start line, getting valuable TV coverage for our favourite sponsors Geoffrey Butler Cycles.  With the Proclaimers blasting over the speakers I was getting excited and pumped to get started.
From the gun, Anda-Jay Burgess (Sandy Wallace Cycles and Glasgow local) obviously had a plan to make the most of a home championships, getting a whole lap up front to herself to enjoy the crowds.  Having had a skid into the first right angled bend, I moved myself right to the front of the peloton so I could pick my own line through all the rest of the corners on the first lap.  The rest of the field (including all those Olympic and World medallists) were happy to sit behind me.
It wasn't until the third lap that the race really started kicking off, and I found myself stuck behind a few people who weren't holding the wheel in front.  A small group of us formed, and with powerhouses like Alexie Shaw, Natalie Creswick and Laura Massey we pulled ourselves back on for the next pass of the finish.
The same happened on lap 4, and, in hindsight, a split second decision to climb in the saddle rather than power out of it might have broken my race, and this time Alexie, Laura and Natalie made the break, leaving me in a smaller group with Jane Barr, Jessica Learmouth and Helen Ralston.  Unfortunately, Brit hadn't managed to get back on after the pace increase on lap 3 (and rode the rest of the race on her own - chapeau).

Our group came and went a bit - we gained Lucy Coldwell (who had punctured earlier on in the race) and up and coming track star Katie Archibald, and lost Jessica to a mechanical, and Katie, but the other 4 of us stayed together and mostly worked well together.  With 2 laps to go, the bell rang and tannoy announced that we had only one lap to go, despite being told from the side of the road that we were still within 10mins of the race lead.  Helen and I had a dig on the last climb up Montrose Street, but Lucy and Jane came back to us.  Back in Glasgow Green, Helen led out the sprint, and it turned out that Lucy and Jane hadn't clocked that we were finishing, so seemed a bit pissed off that Helen had sprinted.  On crossing the line, the tannoy confirmed that we had been racing for 24th - 27th places, and finishing 3rd in our mini sprint, that gave me 26th place - a highly respectable performance.

Getting pulled out a lap early has its advantages, as I was then able to watch the leaders coming through.  A big solo effort from Lizzie Armitstead got her the win, with Wiggle Honda girls Laura Trott and Dani King taking 2nd and 3rd.  The most impressive performances on the day came from Natalie, Alexie and Laura who rode straight through the field to finish 9th, 11th and 13th respectively.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Sheffield GP and Prissik 4th Cat Mens Race

 After a poor National Crit Race I went to Sheffield GP with a different frame of mind. Due to illness I had 3 weeks of hardly any training after the National Road Race this made me unable to race the Curlew Cup and affected the Essex Giro and also the Otley Crit where I struggled on the Saturday in Essex and got dropped on the last 3 laps at Otley. I have recently managed to pick up my training again so went to Sheffield with the intention of it being a hard training session for me. It was a great course with a short climb and lots of cobbles. It set went from the off and was a very fast pace as to be expected. I lasted longer than York and pulled out with 15 minutes to go after I got dropped around the final corner to the finish when I lost a wheel. Helen Wyman went on to storm away from the bunch pulling 48 seconds and taking a solo win. Hannah Barnes won the bunch sprint. I will definitely be back next year to the race hopefully with better form than present!

The next evening I went up to Prissik to support Rob who was racing the elite race and thought I may as well race with the 4th Cat men for some training. I ended up feeling really strong again which was a nice change! I came 3rd in the prime and took 3rd in the final bunch sprint. It was nice to feel abit more like my normal self after afew months of illness and injury. Onwards and Upwards!


Monday, 22 July 2013

National Crit Champpionships, York, 21st July 2013.

Having ridden this course once before in a men's 3/4 cat race, I knew the course well.  That is to say as bumpy has hell, and full of cobbles!  For that reason I was glad it was dry!  It's a fast course essentially a triangle in shape, with only 2 notable corners, but both of these can catch you out if your not careful!  From the off it's cobbles and speed bumps, then a fast 90 deg bend before more bumps and then a tight u turn back on it's self of a final corner, and a fast run to the finish. 

Normally I'll talk myself out of a race before it's even started, especially if it's a town centre crit!  But for this race I was actually looking forward to it.  As usual I managed to start at the back, not intentionally I might add!  As I knew there was going to be less opportunity to move up the bunch, unlike Otley with it's wide roads.
The race was fast form the start.  But 2 laps in and a crash!  Jo and I we're stuck the wrong side of it and there was me thinking, well that's may race over with!
Luckily the race was neutralised and then re started, while we had to wait for the course to be cleared.

We we're off again and again, I hadn't managed to move up!  Each lap tho the bunch seemed to be getting smaller.  I just had to keep moving past those being tailed off and each time I felt a little closer to the front.  Brit was up at the front in the right place, until the point where I caught her up, and then I thought either, I've moved up drastically, or your slipping backwards!    

About the half way point, I punctured, great, just what I needed!  I rolled around to the pit's, where Stuart was on wheel duty!  Stuart suddenly realised and luckily he grabbed a front wheel!  Wheel changed I was surprised at how long it took for the bunch to get back around!  There was a break of 5 off the front that included Hannah Barnes and Amy Hill.

The bunch finally came around again, and it was go go go!  I found myself at the back as I tried to get back up to speed.  The second half of the race slowed a little, probably given that the break had been allowed to get away.  If I could have got to the front, i'd have attacked.

By the time I did make it to the front it was 2 laps to go, and I came to the front to close down a couple of riders as they tried to get away.  1 and half laps to go, and Helen Wyman attacks, I'm on the front so don't follow, but knew that would have been the move to go with, she stayed away to finish 6th.

1 Lap to go and I'm on the front again, I hear my name called over the mega phone!  I wasn't really attacking just annoyed it had taken so long to reach the front!  I enter the 90 deg bend in the lead.  This corner is a fast one, it's just frustrating that if your at the back, there's so much breaking, as there's no need to go so slow into it!  Out of the corner onto the bumpy road, and I let others come around me, not wanting to lead out the sprint.  I know it's going to be a hard one to make up ground here!  Maybe I should have stayed on the front, maybe not, but in the end I came in to finish 17th.  

A really good evenings racing, and for once glad not be ridding the same pace as the bunch off the back of the bunch, but instead in the bunch!  Thanks to Stuart for being on pit's duty, all that talk of puncturing at the start Stuart, trust me to then go and puncture, brand new tub too, grrr!

Next day and results are up.  I'm not on the results, hang on a minute!!!!  I quick email to the organiser, and a look at the photo finish from the Chief Com and the problem is amended.  I was number 24, but my number had been read as 14 in the photo finish!

Next week and Ryedale GP, and another local race, this is a bit too good to be true, no travelling yey!  Only wish we had a few more participants, it's either the're all scared of the north or it must be the massive hill, and this time I hope to have a better run at that hill than last year!


Monday, 15 July 2013

Essex Giro 2013

With Steph back from Malta, and Charlotte over form Jersey, we had 5 of us for the weekends race along with myself, Brit, and Hayley.

Stage 1 Individual TT, and Hayley led the way for the team with a great position of 6th in the morning's opening stage.  The TT course was part of an old   RR course used in previous editions of the Essex Giro, and so I knew the course well.  It was a tough lumpy 7 mile course and I managed a time of 19:20 to finish 22nd.

Stage 2, and the first Road Stage.  With what was turning out to be one of the hottest day's of the year, this was going to be tough.  After a hard weeks training the previous week, I could tell this wasn't going to be a good stage for me.  I lasted 1 lap before going backwards up the climb to the start finish line.  I saw Steph fly past me up the hill!
Steph did a fantastic ride finishing brilliant 25th in very testing conditions.

After day one, it was back to Sandra's who very kindly had us all to stay for the weekend.  Then out for food that evening, all organised by our most sensible member of the team!  A big thank you from us all there Sandra.

Stage 3, and an 80mile road race.  The day was cooler and the circuit looked to be less demanding.  It was just the distance rather than the hill's today.  The course was rolling with a few good small kicks up, and on the first lap, i found myself on the front of the bunch, (this was a good start for me!)  A few early attacks and I went after a couple of them.  First time up the small rise just after the first feed point and I decided to come to the front again, only to lose my chain around the corner.
Two girls now attacked off the front a London Dynamo and a Les Filles rider.  They got a little way up the rode then sat up!  I was on the front, well they weren't going very far!  Then Les Filles team mate went up the rode, she pressed on, but the other two didn't seem to be working.  It was then that two Les Filles girls came to the front to block and slow things down, I was now on the inside second wheel back and slightly blocked in.  At this point Hayley flew over the top, I was ready to jump and go with her, but couldn't get out, grrrr!  I thought best just try slow things down, I wondered a couple of times if i was to try jump away if i would be let go, but i didn't risk it as chances we're the bunch would chase.  After staying up front quiet easily for the first lap.  It then I found myself slip back through the bunch.  It was here, that I saw Brit who said that Steph had come down, and hadn't seen her get back on bunch!  I was close to back of bunch and thought maybe should drop back, knowing how good i am at riding at the back of a bunch!  But I then I somehow found I'd managed to get back to the front again, miracle!

Next lap and the bunch was slowed down, and the first thing we saw was our team car parked at the rode side, not good I thought, and then Steph's voice shouting encouragement to us!  There had indeed been a crash on the opening lap, I couldn't see Steph but there we're two riders on the ground covered in silver foil!

Next lap the bunch had picked up some momentum and seemed to be closing in on the break.  They had a lead of around 22seconds, when we came upon the the crash site next lap, the race was brought to a halt, while we waited for the Ambulance and Police to do their job.  Around 4 riders came down with two taken to hospital.  Steph thankfully was ok, her helmet doing it's job!  Her bike however was a bit worse for wear, with a crack in the frame!

The race was re started after 50 minutes and race distance reduced by a lap.  Hayley still in the break, their lead going out again.  Until Hayley punctured and with no service car near by, she was forced to wait until the bunch had passed her for a change of wheel.  2 laps to go and the break was in sight.  With no Hayley there now, I jumped off the front to the break, they had all but sat up.  It got them working again and prolonged things for a little longer, but we we're soon swept up by the bunch.  Last lap and things seemed a lot more hairy in the bunch.  I managed to move up a little before the 1 km to go, but a car coming the other way into finishing straight caused several riders ahead of me to break and so lost a position into the finish.  Brit had a much better day, more her type of course finishing 18th.  Sandra who had been comfortably in the main pack all race, rolled in a little after the main bunch over the finish, having seen Hayley puncture, she dropped back to help.  A pep talk form Sandra ensured Hayley finished the race, after an awesome job in the break for most of the race, there's nothing worse than puncturing with less than 2 laps to go!

So an eventful day for all, and everyone in one piece luckily!  It was then time to say good bye to Jersey girl once again, as Charlotte headed back home after her two weeks racing here.

Photos of the weekends racing:


Sunday, 7 July 2013

Curlew Cup

Right here goes, time to catch up on the last weeks races.  Let's start with the Curlew Cup, last Sunday, 30th June.

Karen, myself and Jo who has been guest riding for us this season started the race.  Having ridden the race last year and it proved to be a good race for me, so this year was hoping for similar.  I was hoping for the race to break up.  But this year was different, it was a larger field of around 60 riders and the pack stayed together until the last lap where 3 or 4 riders went clear.

For me today was about staying with main pack, I moved up when I could, but as usual found myself at the back most of the time.  Last lap last time up the drag, a nearly came down, when a rider stopped dead in front of me going up the drag section of a hill.  I had no where to go, I hit her, but luckily stayed up right.

By the run into the finish i had somehow managed to move up through the bunch for when it really mattered.  I was on Karen's wheel coming into the last couple of bends, Karen who had been up front all race, and had even tried a few attacks.  I knew what was going to happen, as we found ourselves on the inside coming into the finish.  Karen had to slow as we were squeezed on the inside as the barriers narrowed.  I had to check my speed and continue, losing several places.  I finished 21st, Karen 20th just inside the points.