Me and Tom Pidcock riding away – Cadence 2017 (Photo Credit: Alex Reed)
Today was the first round of the Junior National Series, kicking off at the Three Cocks course near Brecon, Wales. After having my obligatory Overnight Oats we set off to the race with an extra passenger; Will T’s Dad better, known as Tids. We took pity on him having had problems with his van the day, we rescued and fed him, and gave him B&B. The alternative was leaving him on the side of the road at the mercy of the welsh sheep somewhere near Brecon.
When we arrived the first thing I did was take a look at the course in the car just so I had some idea of what was in store for the next 115km.
Welsh Team Warming Up – Proud to be wearing the Welsh jersey !
After the course recce I met up with the rest of the welsh team James, Rhys, and Sam before heading swiftly to sign on to collect our numbers and get changed. We then had a quick warm up, leaving just about enough time for Sam to oil his arms (???), Rhys to slap on Majorca in a bottle (as he calls it) on his legs, and James to put more oil on his legs than popcorn chicken at KFC, before heading to the start line for riders briefing. The weather was looking good and we were all ready to go.
The flag dropped and the race had begun. To begin with the race was rolling along staying together until the race commissars pulled in front of the race forcing riders to stop suddenly in a lay-by at the bottom of the of the climb. The Commissaires laid down the law, telling us that if we didn’t start ridding properly the racing would be cancelled. Adam Kelly, having come all the way from the Isle of Man, didn’t seem too impressed with that proposal.
Eventually we got going again. Quite quickly a couple of moves started to go up the road. The most significant a group of two riders containing Dylan Hughes (spokes) and a Brother NRG Driverplan rider. They stayed away until the main group squeezed on over the top of the climb and started to roll through and off until we caught them on the lanes leading to the main climb. Charlie Calvert and Josh Price from Backstedt Cycling countered the move but were brought back. Going over the Top of the climb Jake Wright of Zappi Racing Team attacked it looked like it was coming back as a couple of riders bridged across in ones and two’s. The bunch then eased up and I knew I had to go.
Off the Front. (Photo Credit: Alex Reed)
Eventually a group of seven riders formed: Jake Wright (Zappi Racing Team), Mark Donovan (Zappi Racing Team), Matthew Shaw (WHEELBASE CABTECH JUNIOR RT), Stephen Dent (Spokes Racing Team), Theo Modell (Team Corley Cycles), Thomas Pidcock (PH-MAS/Paul Milnes/Oldfield ERT) and myself. We were all working well together riding through and off and built a maximum lead of 1 minute over the peloton. I felt good but knew if I were to win I’d have to be clever. With a lap and a half to go I could see the group was gaining on us, at this point Tom attacked through the chicane and pressed on up the climb, I followed. When i looked round it was only Tom and me left, with the rest of the bunch about 15 seconds behind us. I knew from this point it was all in. Tom and I worked well together and pushed the gap back out to 44seconds with about 7km, maybe 8km to go. Over the drag on the back half of the course, I pulled off after a turn and Tom attacked. I pressed on the pedals to try and catch him but wasn’t making any inroads. I just kept ridding, holding the bunch, eventually finishing in second place behind Tom, with Jim brown finishing off the podium.
Unfortunately a few riders got caught up in an incident with one of the escort motorbikes, and there were a couple of other crashes. Fortunately no serious harm done, other than to bikes. Let’s hope we don’t have any incidents in the rest of the series.
Podium – 1st Tom Pidcock (middle), 2nd Me (left), 3rd Jim Brown (right)
Overall it was a really good race, getting lots of positives and learning points to take with me onto the rest of the season. Really enjoyed it and looking forward to the Mendips next weekend.
Thanks to the organisers and volunteers, as always your time and effort is greatly appreciated.