The month started by taking a couple of weeks off of the bike, allowing me to recover from a very active first half of the year and refocus before the biggest goals in August.
Since the break, I’ve felt far better than I did at any point from May onwards, so things are looking up for me. With only one race in this month, it is quite easy to define the level success during July.
The Bath RC National Junior Series road race was something I’d been looking forward to for a long time, as the race takes in some of my training roads, and is as close as I’ll get to a ‘home’ race. It’s a relatively flat course, but is seriously grippy, and with a couple of steep ramps it makes for a very attritional and attacking race.
The conditions on the day added to the attrition rate, with temperatures above 30 degrees by the end of the race.
As usual, the start of the race was fast up the first long drag, with many trying to get away, and after 10k a small group had established a lead of just over 30 seconds. However, the bunch controlled the move and it came back 15k later, kicking off the attacks again. I made a move solo, hoping others would join to make it a small group, but it was a couple minutes before 2 others started to bridge across the 20 second gap. We worked for 10k or so, before being joined by a 12 man group that had come from the bunch. This would prove to be the winning split, and the group managed to maintain some cohesion, and prized itself away from the bunch, before splitting on the finish line climb. I made the front split of 5, and we took a lead which extended to 45 seconds on the chasers. Two others bridged up to us with around 30k to go, helping to keep the pace in a slowing break. On the last of the 20k loops, another group joined us as the front began to finesse, bringing the group size to 10 riders with 10k to go. It was evident the winner would come from this, with the next nearest rider 90 seconds back, and the group started to attack itself. I held back, and saved it for the sprint on the final incline, but unfortunately when the time came I did not have the sprint I’d hoped for, taking 7th place.
However, I’m happy with the result and the way I rode, National top 10’s are proving to be hard to come by this year, and I’m feeling far stronger than I did a few months ago.
Next on the schedule is the Andrews Trophy National B, before going to the Junior Tour Of Mendips and Tour of Wales, and then finishing the season at the GP Ruebliland in Switzerland.
Until next time,