I was going into this race with 30 points so I knew top 3 would give me 2nd Cat. Team Chronomaster had a strong team of 8 riders in the 3/4 race so top 3 for anyone was definitely on the cards.
The E/1/2/3 race went off first (5 mins ahead of us) with 3 riders from Team Chronomaster amongst the field. We were to complete 5 laps of 10 miles with approx 3,500ft of climbing.
We set off and I did have a little thought of catching them (yes the Elites) but reality hit me and so I thought “what if they lap us”?
It was a slow first lap with very little going on. We kept a close distance to the lead out car for a full lap and then some small attacks on the hills started. No real threats with everyone fresh and so the breaks didn’t stay away so early into the race.
Into the second lap we had our first accident with someone’s chain coming off on a climb which brought him to a complete stop in the middle of the bunch. This caught some out by surprise and a few people fell off. Luckily nothing serious and nobody from our team were involved. Everyone was soon back in the bunch.
Tomos Owens from Pro Vision SJ Academy and Dave Powell from Horwich CC made a break towards the end of the second lap and soon had a 1 minute lead over the bunch.
I made an attack with my team mates Adam and Nick in the 4th lap but couldn’t really get any distance from the bunch. Then Adam put in a good effort pulling us up the last climb with one full lap to go and I managed to break away with Nick. I looked back and we had 20m on the bunch so we started working hard to increase that gap. After a tough 10 mins we were caught which I was gutted about as there was now not a lot left in my legs. Still with 5 miles to go I went back in the bunch to get as much recovery as possible.
John Bamford then made an attack and he was joined by another rider and they managed to stay away until the final climb (approx half a mile from the finish).
With my legs screaming at me I somehow managed to get front position from the bunch going into the bend to start the final climb. The 2 lads in the earlier break away had not been caught so that was 1st and 2nd out the window! I needed to sprint it out for 3rd.
Nick came in front of me pushing as hard as possible and I kept inches behind his wheel. He moved over with approx 100m to go. I shouted some encouragement at him but the hard effort we did earlier had also taken its toll on Nick’s legs. Adam then passed me and I looked back to see we had a 10m gap.
With 20m to go I gave it everything I had and picked up 4th place with Adam getting 3rd. A brilliant effort by the team giving us 18 points.
Big thank you to the race organiser Robin Clark from Rock to Roll CC and our favourite photographer Ellen Isherwood for the awesome photos!