Friday, 13 July 2018

The lead up to nationals

With 4 weeks to go till national and in the middle of that block I have 2 UCI 1.1 races in Denmark in preparation for the nationals. My main goal is the national time trial champs and hopefully get a top 10 as a first year in the elite men’s. 
All my training is geared towards the time trail and also to carry form into July where I will be going to China to compete in the tour of qinghai lake UCI 2.HC. This race is a 13 day stage race so along with hard threshold efforts I need to get plenty of hours in the legs to get in good condition for the stage race.
Denmark only 10 days before the national tt champs will set me up well with race speed. Day one I Denmark was 200km rolling and expected to be a bunch sprint. The race didn’t go to plan with both our sprinters having technical issues and there for dnf’s I tried a few late attack that came to nothing and finished just off the bunch due to a crash I was caught behind with 2km to go. Day 2 was more of a rolling day with an early break expected to go. I tried to get in there but got swamped at a critical point in the race and ended up mid bunch on the narrow lanes. After 90 the race went full gas in a cross wind section. I was too far back and rode across 2 groups but then the group I got in looked to be giving up so people started attacking it and it split to bits and that ended my race. Pierre managed to do a solid ride and finish 18th.
Once I got home I was only focused on the time trial. Riding my tt bike everyday getting use to the position more. The day of the nationals was hot conditions of high 20’s and little wind. When it was time for me to set off it was still really warm and I went out hard and after a lap I thought it was unsuitable so eased off a bit the. The last lap I was all in and knew then I had took the second lap too easy. I ended up 11th 7seconds off 10th so fairly pleased at the results, but gutted at the same time due to such a bad second lap. 
National road race champs on the Sunday the aim was to at least finish it due to the fact I’ve never finished it before. My plan for the day was to get in the early move and the race come to me or it all get brought back and to hang in till the finish. Again the weather was really good, low winds and high temperatures. Hydration would be key to getting round. My dad and Peter Hale were in the feed zone to ensure I could get at least 2 bottles a lap. At the start of the race I started near the back but managed to get to the front after 8km or so. Once at the front I made sure I was active attacking and following moves as I wanted to get in the break. A group of 6 got away after a bit and I missed it so as soon as a gap opened I attacked across to it then the race came back together. Another move went and I followed and got in that, as that was about to be brought back I attacked solo and got a gap. As I was coming into Stamfordham for the first time 5 riders came across to me and I jumped on the back of them. They really put the pressure on up the feed climb and I had to dig so deep to stay on the wheels. I managed to hold on and work with them after we had drop one guy so it was only 5 of us riding for 15km until a group of 11 came across to form a lead group of 16. This group was well committed with everyone riding and keeping it smooth at the half way point it looked like it would be the winning group. The 3rd time up the ryals I was riding it steady like the other times and there was an attack which I wasn’t expecting as there was still 70km of racing to go. I ended up getting distanced and had to ride myself back into the break. Going into the last 25km I realised I was in the mix for the race win and was running off adrenaline I tried a long attack as I knew that was my best chance. That was brought back but then I made it into every major split after that. I attacked again about 15 km out but was brought back then Connor Swift attack I tried to follow him but was unable to get to his wheel and just hung in no mans land until a group of 4 came to me and the we worked for a bit to get Connor back but as soon as someone missed a turn everyone started looking at each other. I tried a few more attacks as I knew I was the slowest finisher in that group. I was unable to get away and ended up 6th which is way more than I expected going into the race and was super happy to pull off such a ride. I definitely surprised myself and proved to myself I can compete at that level now. 
Now I need to carry the form and positive vibes into China for tour of Qinghai lake.
Sorry for the late post of this I’ve been super busy getting sorted for a month away and had a lot of people messaging to congratulate me on my nationals results which I massively appreciate! Thank you everyone for that :) 

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