Castle Combe Easter Classic

So this was it. The race that always seems to signal the start of the race season, Easter Classic time! The race has memories for me. Two years ago it was a broken collarbone in the first lap, and one year ago it was the number thirteen for me and it proved lucky as I managed to avoid a crash in the final half lap, although it meant I couldn’t contest the final sprint. This year I was looking to have a very positive race, and show what I could do in what was essentially a national quality field of riders.

The morning started with gear check, sign on and number collecting, not thirteen this time, before I headed away from Castle Combe on a short road ride as part of a warm up and nerve remover. Once back I got into my race kit, before speaking with my coach about the race. Once through the plan, I got onto the rollers with my team mates to finish the warm up process, all the while drinking lots and visiting the little boys room a few times!

I made sure I was at the start line ahead of time, to guarantee a place on the front row, a crucial step for doing well in the race. Once on the line it was the normal brief from the commissaries before we got going.

I got a good start, and I was aware that Zach would attack immediately, so embedded myself at the front end of the pack. I kept this position in the pack during the first lap, and when there was an attack and I was near it. When this attack was brought back I countered it, as I was near the front and felt good.

Once a gap opened I got into TT mode, and was able to extend the gap. A few riders came across to me, not the ones I would have preferred but still better than nothing. Annoyingly after about 100m of work they sat up, however I still had a gap, so I then kicked again and got rid of them. Where the guys had come across, the pack had sped up, so after the chicane I sat up as they were close. I got back in the pack, and was straight into the front, and covered another attack at the front of affairs.

After this I tried to sit near the front, aware whilst trying to recover as much as possible, as the attack had been a good effort. When I was sat in I was able to recover a bit, and the laps went by quickly.

In the final lap I was near the front end going through the bell, although I then lost this position, dropping back. I then found George Bazley, my team mate, who was moving up, but I wanted to move up a little quicker, so out of the top chicane I had to work to get to the front, exposing myself to the wind coming to the finish, but making ground up. I was in a better place, but not close to the front enough, and in the final sprint my legs went, so I fought to the line, but I couldn’t put in a good sprint.

I was pleased with my race, and my aggression and attacks during the race. I was near the front often, and even with an attack was still able to remain there and make a sprint attempt at the end. I enjoyed the race, and it felt good to be going that quickly around a circuit that I had spent so much time over the winter training on, which no doubt helped in the efforts today.

After a cool down, a chat with the Southern Road Team Coaches and with Peter from EPIC, I stayed to watch some of the racing in the sunny weather, before heading home to prepare for the final track Icebreaker at Newport the following day.