The only one wearing tights for a change!
That was hard work. Hills, wind, hills, wind, hills, wind, finish! I entered the Scottish National Road Race Championships back in January after doing a few crit races and fancying a go at a road race. I never quite got round to doing the training for it though, enjoying the crit racing, running and general chilling out a bit too much. Nevertheless I thought it would be a good opportunity to find out what the competition is like should I fancy having a proper go at it next year.
We travelled up to Ayr a few days early to ride around the course: 3 laps of a 17 mile undulating (read: hilly) loop with a good wind coming off the sea. It was going to be a challenge for everyone, no matter what speed they tackled it at.
Come race day, fortunately the weather forecast was wrong and instead of heavy rain and strong winds we had light rain and moderate winds. Lap 1 felt fairly steady, I stayed in a good position, responded to attacks and had a go myself which didn't amount to much. On lap 2 Lorna Ferguson got a good gap and no one was chasing, so I bridged the gap without taking anyone else with me. Then Jane Barr (last year’s winner) came past, fast, so I jumped wheels. This was THE move and brought all the big guns out of the pack. Coinciding with the biggest hill on the course this blew the race apart. I held on for about 30 seconds before my legs gave way and I ended up riding with Lorna with 5 girls up the road. Once we'd recovered a bit, we worked well together and caught Ashleigh Fraser who'd been dropped by the leaders. Time checks from the 13(!) motorbikes were useful and for the next lap we were 1min down on the leaders steadily losing time and 1min up on the main bunch behind steadily gaining time.
Lap 3: I was really getting tired now and when we hit the biggest hill again I lost the wheel in front. With 14km still to go I just had to ride as fast as I could to stay ahead of the bunch. Moderate up the hills so as not to blow up completely and as fast as possible down hills to try and hold the gap. Thankfully I managed it and after 84km and 1227m of climbing, I crossed the line in 7th, absolutely spent.