DAP National B — 5th
Velomax National Junior Series — 9th
My month began at the DAP CC National B road race, a 121km jaunt near Beccles, Norfolk. A strong field on a flat course meant that some pace was to be expected on the course, and with an average speed just shy of 46kph, that is exactly what happened. It was a cool morning, with a 9am rollout from Beccles to the circuit, but we soon warmed up with the hot pace being set by the Richardson’s – Trek team, pinging members of their 6 man team off the front at every possible opportunity. After one hour, the decisive break of 5 went, containing myself, Sam Asker and Steven Parsonage of Richardson’s, Matt Lord (Hart Performance Coaching) and Barnabas Purbrook (Sigma Sport). We rolled through and off for the next 30 minutes, with the gap being held at 30 seconds, waiting for the elastic to eventually snap. For a long time, it seemed that we could be caught, but after an hour of being out front, the gap turned into a fissure, and went from 30 seconds to 2 minutes in 10 kilometres. On the last lap, the Richardson riders started to rotate attacks, and I was simply unable to respond, after being at an unsustainable wattage for well over an hour already. Fortunately I managed to hold on until the last 3k, which was then all downhill, so I was able to limp home across the line for a well earned 5th place in my first National B. Afterwards, a trip to my brother’s nearby brewery offered ample chance for something of a recovery drink.
Six days later, it was the Bovington National Junior Series race, at the tank training centre there. The course was winding and rolling, but also very isolated, making for a lonely race, although I was grateful there were no cars/tanks on the road to worry about, instead of the usual traffic dodging! Attacks from the off from many riders meant that the break of the day went very quickly, only 25 minutes in to the race. The plan with my only teammate of the race, Mark Lightfoot, was that we would rotate the attacks until one of us got in the move. This time, it was Mark making it into the breakaway of 6, where he stayed for the next 80k, taking a deserved 4th place for the team. Back in the bunch, I marked the counter attacks, making sure that no one could take a flyer and bridge up to the front of the race without a passenger. In the final laps, I launched a well timed seated attack to aim for a top 10 placing, and I was quickly joined by Jacob Bush (Fensham Howes Mas Design) and one other rider. We quickly established a gap on the bunch, and with a lap to go we were in play to catch the break, which we got within 150m of before running out of lega, from a 2 minute gap when we first went. Unfortunately, the 3rd rider in our trio was rather uncooperative, meaning that making the catch was a lot harder. With full cooperation, we would have been in play for the podium, but that’s bike racing. This gentleman then kindly outsprinted Jacob and I at the line, and I claimed 9th place, my 3rd consecutive top 10.
In May, I have an exciting schedule lined up, including the inaugaural Junior Liege-Bastogne-Liege!