Well this was by far the worst weather I have ever had to race at Castle Combe, massive respect to all those who worked with Andy Cook cycling to put on the event, cold riders and volunteers at an epic days racing. This year I was racing in the E/1/2 race, a planned 90 minutes plus one lap for a bonus, with three primes throughout the race.
Due to my sister racing I was at Combe from the early morning, so was seen as very keen by people in the sign on when I signed on over 3 hours ahead of the race! Due to the nature of the day we went out for lunch after Laura’s race, then back to the circuit in plenty of time.
I got kit on ahead of time and went for a ride on the roads as an extended warm up, and did a couple of loops of a local road circuit, before returning to the circuit to see what the state of play was. The racing was delayed by about half an hour, so instead of standing around for more time I just went for a longer ride, getting in another road circuit!
With that rideI got fairly wet, so then went back to the van to change into dry kit, have two massive numbers pinned on me, and then out to race.
The race set off and pretty much stayed at 30mph for the duration, despite the horrendous conditions. With the weather the bunch riding was very good, with everyone realising that dangerous riding would just leave to crashes.
Junior gearing made the race fun, from the start it was straight into the 52-14, and I didn’t change gear again! partially due to freezing in the rain, wind and spray and partially due to not having the need to, spinning the gear out on occasions.
As the race went on i started to get colder and colder, and despite riding up and down the bunch to keep warm, i was starting to shiver on the bike. Having just come back from a cold I didn’t want to push it, and definitely didn’t fancy a bit of hypothermia, so after a few laps of shivering I pulled myself out of the race, and then tried to undress in the van… zips are impossible when you can feel your hands and are shaking like a leaf!
Whilst the result wasn’t there, this was definitely a learning moment, where I realised that when conditions aren’t good I need to increase they layers and take extra precautions, such as a gilet under a skinsuit, or even racing in a warm winter training top! Just a bit of learning for the future, and some quick riding, all looking good for the next couple of weeks racing, next up a TTT on Sunday!