This weekend was about the Cheshire Classic. But before we get to that let's talk about Saturday. Saturday was a small local crit in York, and I'd decided to ride it, just because, yep just because. .......because I wanted to! No other good reason, if there's a race I'll usual try to ride it regardless of if I should or not!
Now after returning from Tour ta Malta and Sicily training camp two weeks earlier, I'd managed to nearly train myself into a black hole the previous week, with no rest followed by a Easter weekend of a planned 4 days of back to back racing, (I say planned as I had to finally admit defeat and pull out of 2 day stage race, and that's a first, I never abandon a race!) Here you see the flaw in the plan with trying to enter every race possible!
So anyway back to last Saturday! Today was going to be first day back on bike after forcing myself to have complete rest week (well 4 days!)
There were 20 women on the start line, and Brit and I hoping for something a bit more interesting than the usual 2 up team time trial of a race! So we were happy when they didn't handicap the start.
The race went of steady enough, I came to the front straight away and decided to make sure it at least stayed a decent speed. Next thing and a lap or two laps in Brit shouts and comes around me to take a turn. Apparently we have a gap! Wow ok so I hadn't even attacked and 3 of us were away. Someone had simply let a gap go on a corner and it had caught quite a few of the stronger riders napping! Brit and I pressed on all to aware that we had escaped a few potential threats in the bunch behind!
Our third break away companion didn't seem keen to work but we solved that problem, when Brit let my wheel go forcing the other girl to chase!
The race was only 30 minutes today, and we worked well with a good lead over bunch. Up until 8 laps to go when I thought I'd mix things up a bit, and through in a few attacks. I had no expectations to get away but it at least forced the other girl to chase.
3 laps to go and stale mate, she didn't trust us now and working together was long gone!
Now we were in was cat and mouse, the pase slowing as Brit and I tried to force her through. It certainly made things interesting. We were be caught again by lapped riders we had just caught. And apparently we weren't far off being caught by bunch! With two laps to Brit took up front, before I took over, this was was going to be a long lead out with 1 1/2 laps to go!
I led the sprint out from last corner, and just tried to hold it right to the line, and hope no one but Brit can get round! This time however I managed to hold on for the win, Brit in 2nd (but she'll be back :-)!)
Now for Cheshire Classic!
There was 3 of us riding, myself, Jo, and Nicola. Sandra hadn't made the start sheet, so our suicidal attack from the gun trump card was missing, but she was there in force riding the course in reverse to yell support at us as we passed each lap!
This year the field was stronger than ever, and this proved true of the pase, fast from the start! But for some reason today none of this bothered me. Early on Eve Roade up and said something like, u can do this, get stuck in there! I don't know why but I moved up! I kept losing position on the climb a few times, but it was certainly easier moving up the bunch than in previous years. Wheather the faster pase was shelling out more of the dodgier riding I don't know, but it certainly felt like a safer bunch than a lot of flat team series races andoso for once I was happy to be in the bunch.
End of lap 2 and I was out the back of bunch over fast section after top of climb! We flew past Sandra shouting to get back in there! Legs wouldn't go any faster but by the dual carriageway, me and another rider made it back to bunch.
The first lap it was like they sprinted up that climb. Subsequent laps it eased a little and I felt that I could maybe survive a bit longer.
Lap 6 of 12 tho, and it was finally the prime lap that caught me out, the one time I hadn't managed to move up bunch before climb and I find myself without a wheel to follow as they sprint into the hill for the line. I'm gone and out the back! Damn if only I could of survived till top of climb I might have had a slim chance of getting back on, but not now!
Instead I caught Hannah Walker, who had been in an earlier break. We worked together for another 3 laps before we were pulled out with 3 to go.
Jo was still hanging in there, well more than hanging in there, taking turns on front, getting in breaks, and making it her mission to mark the strong riders, it certainly worked and she hung in to finish with the bunch, great riding Jo, onwards and upwards!
I too strangely enough enjoyed the race, despite being dropped, it was still a good race for me and progress on last year's result!
Now for over coming the bug bear of Bedford and the flat horrid courses, with cars around every bend and choppy riding! It's never a favourite race of mine, but all I need to do is believe it's an absolutely fantastic course, and all will be fine ;-)