We showed up early in Ipswich last Sunday as I wanted to take some photos and Claire Beaumont wanted me to show her all the best lines before the women's race. The weather was great and the ground, though damp was drying out quickly in the wind.
The course was a lot less technical than the previous two trophies, from my point of view at least, as you carried a lot more speed through the corners. This suited me fine as, coming from MTB'ing I enjoy the more flowy stuff a lot more. We did a couple of laps then Claire raced.
Despite a pretty spectacular start where she led for the first half a lap, she ended up in sixth, behind Gabby Day's mum. If Claire can stay on the right track (literally, not riding into the tape) she should be coming top five every race, not bad for her first season.
Photos are here:
My race went pretty good. It started bad, but ended good.
Coming to the end of the first straight, I saw a sneaky gap up the inside of a corner and tried to jump into it. Unfortunately, the guy I was trying to pass came to halt and put his foot through my front wheel, bringing me to a standstill too. That put me dead last.
I moved up quite a few places on that first lap and found myslef in a good group.
Next lap, Will Bjergfelt came steaming through our — until then fairly cohesive — group on his way back from a puncture. This split the group, with me stuck in no man's land. I was confident that most of the riders that went with Will wouldn't be able to maintain his pace, and sure enough, half a lap later I started catching riders as they got dropped. This was really good motivation and gave me the carrot I needed to chase for the rest of the race.
With one to go, I caught onto the back of a good group of four. Just as I was catching my breath to recover from the effort of bridging, the attacks started.
I made it across a couple of times, but a couple of sketchy moments on the corners made me resign myself to second last place of the group.
Still, that was good enough for 29th place, my best ever finish at a National Trophy and good enough for a couple of ranking points. The icing on the cake was not getting lapped — another first at this level.
At the start of the season, my two ambitions were to stop getting lapped and to start coming top 30. With this achieved I'm now looking ahead and thinking I want a couple of top 25's, and come January I want to come top 20 at the national champs. Anything's possible right?
This weekned it's Haloween Cross at Herne Hill on Saturday night, where I'm going to look like an absoloute idiot in a particularly unpleasant outfit, followed by the inter-area champs on Sunday. If you see me drinikng alcohol on Saturday night after the race, feel free to give me a talking to. I'm really going to need a good night's sleep before Sunday's seriousness.