Friday, 15 April 2011

Who knew Wales could give you tan lines?

Last weekend saw me racing on the South Wales coast. With the weather being great (around 20 - 22'C) taking the caravan enabled us to stay overnight on the circuit, allowing us to take advantage of a pre-race reconnaissance of the 4 lap course. It was going to be both fast and tough with nowhere to hide! Our race plan was to stay near the front to keep an eye on any breaks. In the early stages a break of 6 found itself away over the top of the longer climb, with Wayne plus 2 others joining us later. Unfortunately with only one member of both Wilier and UK Youth, the make-up of the group meant it was obvious we wouldn't stay away - it was soon reeled in.

The 2nd breakaway
2 laps to go and another break of 7 created a gap, 2 members of each of the major teams (Wilier/, UK Youth and Cyclepremier/Metaltek), plus me. This group built up a lead of 2 minutes, but the pace through the drinks station was high, I missed the opportunity to take on more water, a fatal mistake which caused me to suffer in the last 30km.

Steep uphill finish, being chased by 2 Wilier riders.
In the final 7km the attacks kept coming with 1 of the UK Youth riders staying away. Being against such strong teams I was blown out the back, however fought back tenaciously to rejoin them 2km from the finish. With the final kilometre being a steep ascent it was free for all, despite my dehydrated state I clawed back for 5th place. 
Post race, pretty smashed
A tough day, good result bearing in mind the strength in number of the opposition. Wayne Coombs also came in the main bunch and achieved 1st Vet.

This weekend is the Rutland-Melton Classic. New territory, racing in a UCI 1.2 event. As the only international single day race in the UK, it will be the highest level competition I have ever raced. Time to rub shoulders with the big names!

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