Sunday was a real rip-snorting cold-catcher of a day. Before going to bed I had gone outside and checked the weather and it was clear and dry. We left the house at 7 and drove through the pissing rain up to Ipswich where the rain continued to pound us.
I had largely 'normal' outdoor clothes -boots, Rapha tweed softshell and normal trousers -note to self: buy waterproof all-in-one. I pitted for Kev in the Vet's race, then Boom in the Women's race, all through the still pissing rain. By the time they had finished I was soaked through, which wouldn't have mattered so much if it had been above 5 degrees C.
I got on the turbo under the open boot of the car and tried to warm-up. Gridding at these races makes little or no difference to me. I can make my way into the bunch from the back reasonably easily, from where I am quickly pumped. So, on Sunday, when I had a whole row to myself at the back of the bunch. I wasn't too stressed.
There was a crash at the start as people tried to muscle their way along the start straight -I suppose this is reason enough to want to be further up the field, meh. By the time we were round the first corner and working our way up the filthy muddy incline, the back of the field was splintering apart. It was very quickly a war of attrition for those of us vying for the Lanterne Rouge.
I slogged away and didn't blow. In an improvement from the first Trophy, I was far from last and managed to hold off the leaders until they had half a lap to go. So they lapped me on their way to the chequered flag, meaning I rode the full 60mins. There were a number of handy Belgians left over from Saturday's Euro Champs, including Peter Ghyllebert of Ampost who won the sprints jersey in the TOB last year, Van Tichelt of Sunweb-Revo and Kevin Eeckhout of Coolens Cycling Team, along with Hargroves Cycles' new Belgian signing, Tom Van Den Bosch.
As always, my goal is to finish on the same lap as the leaders but as ever, I'm coming largely from zero fitness at this time of year, so am working my way into the season. My target this season is to do my best ever ride at the National Championships, this year at Bradford where I had one of my best results last year. And this time, it is a couple of weeks after New Year -even better.
1 Kevin Eeckhout Coolens Cycling Team Belgium Elite 59 48
2 Tom Van Den Bosch Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant Elite @ 0 25
3 Oli Beckingsale Endura MTB Racing Elite @ 0 36
4 Steven James Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant Under 23 @ 0 56
5 Yorben Van Tichelt Sunweb-Revor Under 23 @ 1 1
6 Paul Oldham Team Hope Factory Racing Elite @ 1 6
7 Peter Ghyllebert Ampost - Belgium Elite @ 1 13
8 David Fletcher Orange Monkey/Cannondale Elite @ 1 17
9 Jody Crawforth Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant Elite @ 1 34
10 Nick Craig Team Scott UK Elite @ 3 2
1 Louise Robinson (V) Islabikes Woman 36 7
2 Adela Carter Team Hope Factory Racing Woman @ 0 43
3 Diane Lee www.Zepnat.com RT/Kuota/GSG Woman @ 1 49