Monday, 8 February 2010

2010 National Champs, Sutton Park

Following my near complete loss of form over the festive period, my resolve to put in a solid 4 weeks of training before the postponed Nationals seemed to pay off -relatively speaking.

With my track record since Christmas, and my gridding (at the back as always) in mind, I was sceptical of getting more than 30minutes of racing in before getting lapped. I think my record for previous Nationals is somewhere around 40mins.

In amongst the carnage of the first lap, a rider ahead came off on one of the sharp climbs out of the copse and as the rider in front of me dismounted, his heel came straight back at full-force, into my forearm, pole-axing me as I hit the incline -I now have a big egg!

I surprised myself by being able to then turn myself inside-out for the next hour of racing. Many tussels ensued and at one point I thought we might be able to hold-off getting lapped by the race leaders.

However; all good things must come to an end and as I was right on the rivet, things at the sharp end were just beginning to hot up. I could hear over the PA that having won the Vets title the day before, Nick Craig was now attacking the lead group!

Spectators were dashing madly from one side of the course to the other to catch the action as the deciding moves unfolded. Despite a second wind which saw me take a further two places in what would be my final half lap, the lead group of Bibby, Crawforth, Field and Oldham caught us two thirds of a lap after the bell had rung for the first time.

Ahh, what could have been... I said beforehand that I would've been made-up to not get lapped. And in the end, for the first time (at that level) I came tantalisingly close. When I saw the leaders come back past me in the other direction, Ian B had nailed his colours firmly to the mast and already opened a gap on Jody with the finish line less than a minute away. Again, what could've been... Not to mention the possibility of Nicky Craig taking both the Vets and Elite titles in one weekend!!

Far and away, one of the most exciting races I've been a part of and despite finishing way down in 44th place, my best ever National Champs.

Photo by larry Hickmott of British Cycling.

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