I got to Combe and signed on in the E/1/2 in plenty of time, so that I could prepare. I asked other riders about it, and got some advice for the race having never done it before.
I was a bit nervy, but this went away during the warm up, where by the end I started to feel quite good. I made sure that I didn’t rush.
Once underway I made my way to the front early on, and stayed there as long as I could. The gearing was my main issue, I was able to keep up, but when the speed hit 55kph, it became difficult, and it felt like I was sprinting.
I tried to hide from the wind, and stay concentrated throughout, although sometimes I had to be in the wind.
When it slowed I moved up through, and held my own when it sped up.
A break went, and I was at the front, so ended up trying to bridge it. I ended up with a rider, but I was unable to close the gap, and it was stupid to try and do so and stay out in the wind.
I then returned to the pack, and clung on. This was the hardest part, and there was no let up in speed until the break was caught with 2 laps to go.
When it settled I moved up, and into the final lap I was in a decent position. By now I felt like I was close to being out the back. In the run up to the sprint I kept moving up, but the final sprint on youth gearing was amusing, and a few riders came past me.
By the end I felt like I couldn’t have kept doing that for much longer with that gearing, but I was extremely happy with my ride. I received plenty of help during the race, including another rider giving me a push to get back onto the wheel, and advice generally, which was much appreciated. It was a good ride and other local riders recognised that, and it was a massive confidence boost ahead of the national race at Hillingdon at the weekend.