By Joe Bowers
Jon, Tom and I lined up in the wind and rain for the 2018 NW Regional Championships last Sunday. The race was being held over 9 laps of the Capernwray circuit, featuring 10 times up Borwick Hill a 1.26km climb at 7%.
After a good early season I was just working my way back to race fitness after a couple of months with not much racing. The course profile coupled with the weather conditions was always going to make for tough race and I was just hoping to get round! From experience I knew that it was probably going to be just as hard in the bunch as off the front so I decided to be as active as possible at the start of the race and try and get away.
I knew the race was going to kick off on the main climb so just before the second ascent of Borwick hill I’d chipped off the front with a couple of riders. The hope was to get onto the climb with a few seconds advantage and then jump on the back of any moves which went. Looking behind I saw James Gullen (JLT Condor) and Cam Jeffers (Saint Piran) attacking on the climb as they came past I tried to get on their wheel but couldn’t hold the pace.
Over the top of the climb I was 7 th wheel on the road. There were 6 up front including Gullen and Jeffers, me in the middle and the bunch behind. As I looked back I saw Jon trying to bridge across to me with Mike Ashurst (Bioracer) on his wheel. I sat up and waited for them and we joined up and formed a small chasing group.
For the next 2.5 hours we rode as a 3 man group chasing the leaders. We realised that we weren’t going to catch the front group but time-checks from behind told us we had around 3-4 minutes gap on the main bunch. We pushed on ticking off the laps, with two to go I was starting to suffer with fatigue and twinges of cramp in the left leg. Going into the final climb I think our finishing order was decided: Jon clearly the strongest rode off on the climb finishing 7 th overall, Mike pulled away from me for 8 th and I rolled in 9 th happy to get it over with!
Kudos to everyone who battled on and finished on a challenging day. Well done to the 6 leaders for attacking and making the race and to James Gullen on a good win; his 4th Regional Championship victory I believe. Finally thanks to the organisers, marshals and anyone else involved in putting on the race – much appreciated by all.
Photos by Ellen Isherwood: https://www.flickr.com/photos/100713057@N05/albums/72157694555566980