We started the day early, not TT style early but still early. Now before we begin proper, I will share a bit of info. On Friday, my ‘rest day’, I went for a ride with Luke de Quay aka Agonal Spurt Master, aka Spurticus for what he said would be an easy ride. This of course involved many sprints / spurts (agonal style). We discovered that I have a diesel sprint in that it takes me a while to get up to speed, however this gives me a longer sprint than most people.
It was the first race in the South East Junior road race series which had been open to 3rd cat entries due to lack of junior numbers. There was still a good turnout with roughly 60 entrants on the line. I found out that there were only 13 3rds on the start sheet which gave me the idea to race for points rather than anything special, so I could at least get something on the board for this season so far.
The rules were quite simple, there would be one big race with two seperate races. 3rd cats and juniors would all be in one race except there would be points for the juniors and points for the 3rds, like I said; simple.
Nick decided that I should receive encouragement by telling me that the junior national champion was on the start line as were a couple of other infamous riders. Nerves now settled knowing I was only racing against the best junior England could offer over a distance I had only ever raced once before, watched by Sean Yates.
The course was a 12 mile lap with a big hill in the middle and a slight rise to the line which we would cover 4 times. First 2 laps were uneventful. I had a plan of sticking to the wheel of the highest placed 3rd cat with the aim of just beating them, I technically didn’t need to get involved in the junior race (this tactic didn’t last very long). On the third ascent of the hill the serious attacks came and, caught slightly out of position, I had to work hard to stay with it and move up. Splits started to form and I was the last man across into the first group, behind nick who chose this as another moment to offer some encouragement. He started speaking to me about something but in honesty I couldn’t have cared less. I was balls out going up the hill and it appeared Nick (who only ways about 20kg) was having a whale of a time spinning up the climb. I tried to tell him to shut up but I decided that the time might be better used breathing.
This was when I thought about how Peter Sagan was the last to make the race winning split in the Doha world champiobships, pretty much the same situation. After a fast descent the pace settled into a fast but controlled effort. We caught a break, which I didn’t realise had happened, just before we crossed the line for the penultimate time. This is where Nick leaves us after deciding to take on a pothole which ended in a puncture, this continues Nick’s run of bad luck with equipment this season. The group had been whittled down on the previous lap to about 15 riders and the final climb went by with no real attacks. After the descent there is around 4 up and down miles to the finish. With 2 miles to go one of the VCL team decided to attack and I followed. The attack seemed too gentle for us to get anywhere but after noticing we had 20 meters on the bunch I put my head down and rolled through, we worked well as a 2 up team and before long the moto pulled alongside and informed us we had 20 seconds on the bunch. We came round the final bend with me on the front, I wasn’t really expecting this as I had no idea how close we were to the finish.
Now having found that I have a longer sprint than normal I decided to launch early, I could hear the guy coming from behind but I hadn’t got up to speed yet. I hit the sweet feeling you get when all the power is flowing through you like zen in a well ‘centred’ house. I saw the line and knew it was mine, I finally had some points and something to show for the horrible training, a win!
I won the race overall and the 3rds race whilst the junior behind me finished second overall but first in the junior race. You see it’s simple really. Some say a Sagan style win, I’ll take that. A link to the race on Strava