This was the first junior national series event of the season, and it was a very early start for me and Mum, made even earlier by the clocks going forward, so even less sleep. Waking up at what was 5am felt like the middle of the night!
We arrived in plenty of time, even having enough time to make a few phone calls after someone might have forgotten a race license, and then forgot all about driving instructions! And a good time to make it on a road with no turning point for 5 miles, which was just great.
Warmed up and felt ready to go on the new bike, felt fast and was looking forward to racing it. After a lengthy rider briefing with numerous mentions of no crashing, bit of an omen, and safe riding we were set off.
Neutral zone was carnage, lots of nervous riders fighting for 5-10 places at the front, as that is where the race is won, doesn’t matter about the next 70 miles. Despite the briefing we had 4 crashes in 4 miles, even one on the climb! The race was then re-neutralised over the climb, and we were given a commissaire warning for riding, with those that crashed allowed to get back on to the pack.
I was at the front for opening parts, and it took me a while to get used to pack again and the movements, but I had it sorted after a bit of riding. I missed the break, despite being sat at the front and seeing it go, but there was still 50+ miles of racing to go, and I just didn’t think it would last the distance. Of course the pack sat up due to big teams having riders up the road, and despite efforts from myself and others trying to attack to bring it back it just wasn’t happening.
I then stayed near the front, but then got caught in a mass pack pile up! I wasn’t far back at all, with those riders at the back able to get off, walk through the crash and get back into the bunch! I then spent laps chasing but just losing time.
I completed the race, although died with 1.5 laps to go. I was pleased with my effort in the race, but know I had good legs and it could have been massively different if i hadn’t thought too much about the break or had been in a different place in the pack! A good opener to the season despite the result, definitely have some good form to take into the next few weeks and sustain into Junior Tour of the Mendips on home roads in a fortnight.