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By Kris Zentek.
After the excitement of my first stage race of the year in the Midlands, the bitter disappointment of the 2nd day of being cancelled, and the sheer boredom of spending 5 hours in the car, I needed to get out on the bike on Sunday. Intending to go out and smash myself round North Wales for a few hours, I remembered it was the 2nd race of the North Wales Road Race Series. A quick and timely message to the race organiser confirmed a cancellation was up for grabs, and I took it! I hastily re-packed my stuff, and scarpered off to bed as I was pretty tired from the two races that day, and the hours of travelling either side.
Morning came and the sun was shining – ish. I piled as much coffee down me as I could and set off to North Wales. In the warmup I felt sluggish, but managed to kick start the engine in time for the off. There was a strong field today, and many teams were well represented with 4+ riders. I knew I wanted to get in a break, and I knew this was going to be a tough ask. I wasn’t wrong.
As soon as the neutral flag was dropped, the attacks started. I did everything I could to stay up front, following every wheel and every attack I could, but I knew I couldn’t do this all race so I started to pick more carefully, and dropped back to sit on the stronger, more likely wheels.
As there was a prime every lap over the climb to the start/finish, the pace stayed high throughout. Riders were being shelled out the back each time. Attack after attack was brought back, and for much of the race the dwindling peleton rolled through the primes.
After one previous potential break I was in came to nothing, I used the last of my energy to bridge to three riders distancing themselves quickly. Making it across, we were soon joined by two others and in no time the bunch were out of sight. We started to roll through at pace, and for a minute I thought this would be it. Stay away, points in the bag. But out of nowhere, all of a sudden, the bunch were back on our tail. Bitterly disappointed, I sank back out of the wind realising that I had no more attacks left in my battered legs.
Come the final lap, another small group escaped. This proved to be the winning move. The pace was fast as ever as the bunch chased them down, but the represented teams did their best to disrupt the flow and a sudden bunch up caused a crash. I managed to skip through the chaos to stay with the now even smaller bunch.
Sitting towards the back we rolled toward the finish line and I rolled across the line just behind the bunch sprint.
I really like this race. I like the course, and I like how well it is organised. I’m disappointed I came away with nothing, but also appreciative that I wasn’t 100%, and riding without a team in a race full of teams was asking a lot. But I’m glad I made the journey, and really appreciative of the organiser giving me the opportunity to race.
So thanks to the organisers for another great event, thanks to the NEG support and volunteer marshalls for keeping us safe on the roads, and thanks to the support at HQ for the generous spread at the end.