The Easter Classic – Castle Combe

So this was it. The race that always seems to signal the start of the race season; The Easter classic.

From all the training I had done in the dark up at Castle Combe I was fairly confident, but of course I was still a bit nervous; as expected!

IMG_1766 (1024x538)I made sure to warm up properly, and it was nice to be with able to do so alongside some of my team mates, with Dan the team coach there to give advice.

Soon I was on the start line in amongst a field of about 50 riders, all ready to race. The Commissaire gave the briefing, and before I could think of anything else a sharp whistle sounded and the race had started!

IMG_1787 (1024x683)The start was similar to an under 12s race, everyone trying to sprint away. I made a good strong start though and had no problem in keeping in the peloton as it formed. I knew my aim was to be on wheels of the riders i knew would be quick, and so I set away doing that.

Unlike most of my races the pack didn’t settle until the last lap, it was a constant sprint kind of thing as attacks launched and the peloton countered. I kept near the front so that I wouldn’t get caught up in it and dropped. Soon enough the last bell went and we were hammering down the hill. I was sat on my team mates wheel who was trying to catch a break.

IMG_1811 (1024x655)As we rounded the final bend in to the home straight there was a sharp scream and a big crash happened right next to me! It occurred due it it being the final sprint for the line and riders trying to get space for the sprint.

Luckily I didn’t get caught up in it, and as i composed myself everyone started sprinting for the line, so I went with the flow and put every ounce of energy I had left in to the last 300 meters.

My sprint was good, and despite distraction of the crash, it gave me a 5th place in the girls – and once more a smiling face!
I think the winter training and the learning at the Zappi paid off today as I felt well prepared.

IMG_1813 (1024x683)I’ll keep learning though, and hopefully it has me set for a good season.

Tomorrow we head to Newport in the early hours where I will be competing in the IceBreaker at the Velodrome, more on that to follow 🙂

Zappis Crit 3 – Applying the learning!

This week I remembered the lesson from last week. Instead I got away well and aimed for one of my team mates wheels, a rider I knew would be in a bunch and I had planned who to go with. I made sure to get a good steady start rather than a frantic sprint to break it all up. I got in a group with my team mate (Joe), there was also a strong girl in the bunch.

The race was fairly normal once it settled down, we got into race formation and the laps and time ticked by. One guy kept making attacks but we always brought it back together without too much trouble, and before I knew it it was the last lap.

IMG_1715 (1024x736)I made sure that when the final lap came I wasn’t going to be on the front wasting energy. No one attacked in the last lap, so we all stayed inching along in the head wind, waiting for the last straight and someone to make the first move. Eventually we were just at the corner that turned in to the home straight. I was at the front at this time and after a while of nothing I stood up and sprinted! I kept my legs going around and was just a few centimeters short of the other girl on the line, scoring me a 2nd place and a very smiley (and breathless) face!!

In conclusion, I was pleased that I applied what I had learnt from last week for this race, managing the race better, and putting myself in a better position throughout. Whilst I might not have taken the win, the learning is definitely more important – and I still bagged 2nd! 🙂

I am feeling very much ready now for the Castle Combe Easter Classic next weekend!!!

Zappis Race – an Improvement and a lesson

This week was more successful than the previous. I managed to find a wheel to sit on and a partner to ride with. I set off too quickly at the start, sprinting away to make sure I got off to a good start. I went a bit too hard and so sat up and dropped back in as my legs stang a bit.

IMG_1581 (1024x683)The race carried on, and me and another girl worked together, until the last lap where she was on the front and on the final sprint I over took and sprinted for the line.

I have learnt from this race that under 14s is massively different from last year and the under 12s. For instance, doing a huge sprint at the start of a under 14 race is not the best tactic. Not just because it is a massive expenditure of energy, but also because it meant I didn’t have that energy for getting in a front group of boys when the race did split.

All in all I finished with a smiley face though and took the win for the girls, so a bit of success and a lesson learnt.