Started the day with a big bowl of wonderful overnight oats. Followed by a short trip in the car to Abergavenny Leisure Centre. Pouring with rain and windy in Cardiff.
Luckily much better in Abergavenny – very windy, but no rain.
This was an E/1/2/3/4 handicap race with a staggered start. I was in the third and last group along with with other Cat 1s and 2s. Starting 7 minutes down on first group and 4 minutes down on the second group.
The race started with big tailwind section along the A40 dual carriageway. followed by a big head wind section back along the old A road. Three laps, total 78k.
My group chainganged well until a few people started to sit on, ending with only 15/25 (ish) working to catch the groups ahead. Despite this we caught both groups with just just under half the race to go.
The race settled with a few riders trying to get off the front. I tried to get away turning into the upwind leg back along the old A road, but failed. The bunch stayed together until the sprint finish pretty much.
I came 9th, second Junior behind Rhys Britton (2nd overall).
Looking forward to Icebreakers next weekend and the first Junior National series (Cadence), the weekend after.
I’m really enjoying my racing at the moment. Feeling good. Going well.
Here’s the finish (I’m 8th wheel, black Gabba, Giant Halo bib shorts).
Today was the E/1/2 Betty Pharaoh race starting and finishing in Cowbridge, a rolling 28km loop which we completed 4times ( including neutralised, 120km).
I knew the race was going to be fast as there were a number of One Pro riders racing including Kristian House. Learning my lessons from the Primavera race in Devon I was rolling with the moves from the start. However I probably should have been more aware and looking around at what was going on behind. The first lap was full of attacks. I tried to get away a few times, getting into small groups of 4 which looked like they were going to stay away but the bunch was chasing hard.
At the end of lap 3 one of the One Pro riders got off the front, unfortunately I had just come back after going with a move so hesitated and missed the break. For the next lap it was very attack, stop, attack stop, repeat.. Eventually two Bath riders jumped away. I probably should have gone as I was in a good position to go but just didn’t have the guts and was unsure so I hesitated. If I had gone with them I possibly would have made it across, but I’ll learn for next time.
The next two laps were full of attacks. Again I got into some good moves and on the last time up the slip road I attacked with a One Pro rider and Ride Bike Canyon rider. I really dug deep to push the move on but the field was strung out with 10m then a bunch of riders then another 10metres and another bunch of riders. This meant it was easier for the peloton to come back together. I tried again and jumped across to a group consisting of 2 One Pro riders and a Catford rider, but again it came back together about one km later.
I then knew it was going to come down to a sprint. I stayed near the front about 10th wheel whilst some riders pushed hard on the front making it easier to sit in the bunch. I started my sprint about 6th wheel but went backwards, finishing about 19th.
Extremely happy with the way my legs felt, just disappointed I missed the break, lots of learning points for next time.
Thanks to Howard Goldberg at http://sportphoto.wales for the photographs – great job Uncle H.
Harelbeke – Saturday 4th March
The race today was on a narrow course with lots of different road surfaces and tight turns, so it was key to stay near the front. 83km in length 13laps of a 6.3km circuit. Weather was cold, damp, breezy.
At the start I stayed near the front knowing that was the best place to be about 7th wheel. The race went off really hard but my legs felt good. As the race went on there were a few crashes that split the main group and eventually a break of 8 riders including myself got up the road. With about 6 laps left. We worked well as a group and stayed away from the main chasing bunch.
I was positioned 4th wheel in the sprint but Charles Page got the jump on us in the last straight so I ended up finishing 5th. Well done Charles, but bit annoying for me. But I felt like I rode the race well, and legs were feeling good.
De Klijte – Sunday 5th March
75km long with a long 2km draggy climb and lots of twisty narrow roads. The weather was grim at about 6 degrees C, and very windy – making the racing hard, especially with the cross and head winds. Jacob Vaughan attacked after the narrow chicane on the first lap, the group didn’t respond so he got away. I knew I needed to try and bridge across to him so i waited for the cross wind section which was up a little kick in the road and attacked over the top after a hard period of racing with Theo Modell. A couple more riders came across and we became a group of 6. We closed the gap down from 50 seconds to about 10 seconds, but as soon as we had Jacob in our sights the momentum within the group seemed to fade and the chase became more erratic. Jacob managed to stay away for the rest of the race. On the last lap I attacked over the last kicker into the final bend because there was a head wind finish. With about 200m to go I realised I had started my sprint too early and our breakaway group came past me. Really happy with how my legs felt. Keyt learning points – probably should have bridged across to Jacob and made another selection within the break – that way we would have been fighting for the win not 2nd and 3rd. As well as this I should have waited to start my sprint later as it was a head wind finish.
Really happy with how my legs felt over the weekend, and two breaks in two days is a definite improvement.
Thanks to John Barclay for organising the weekend and for inviting me.
The accomadation in the hostel was great – recommended if you are in the are Groeninghe Hostel, 1A Passionistenlaan, B-8500 Kortrijk.
Great weekend’s racing, great company, great experience. Can’t wait for my next Belgian experience.