Tuesday, November 19, 2013

National Trophy Take 2

When BUCS wrapped up on the Saturday, we visited the Lumiere festival in Durham then headed home to commence the bike washing before Sunday's national trophy. I have to admit there is probably only one thing I enjoy less than washing my bike, and that's doing it in the dark. Together with my Dad however, we managed to wash the bikes (practically by candlelight) and get everything ready for day 2.

I felt optimistic when I woke on Sunday. The conditions were the same as the previous day where I had raced well, so why couldn't I do that again? I felt I would almost have an advantage having ridden the course the day before so long as my legs could last the duration of the race. Although, one area I thought I could improve from Saturday was my warm up (or lack of!). Instead today, I dedicated a good 30 minutes to looping up and down the river side, getting the legs ready for the off.
Tackling the 'Durhamburg' 

I was gridded poorly from my previous venture into NT racing, but when the gun went I got the foot in straight away and immediately moved up into the top 5. For the first lap, I tried to maintain my position, through all of the carnage. The 180 degree turns on the top pitch were really sketchy when people battling for position and overtaking, and I saw 2 girls crash behind me. I just wanted to stay upright through that section. Myself and Delia Beddis had a good battle first lap until she took a new bike in the pits and I lost her. By the second lap, the top 4 girls were away and the real race started between places 5-8; jostling, undercutting and blocking was the name of the game. For a couple of laps I sat on the back of the 4 girl chain just watching all of the position swapping and trying to avoid crashing. I knew we wouldn't bring back the top 4, however we did put lots of time into the girls chasing behind.

With 2 laps to go, I moved from 6th to 5th on the stairs, nicely remounted and started riding. I took a little glance over my shoulder and realised I had opened a small bike and half length gap to Amira Mellor who was just behind. In my excitement, I attacked and started to open up even more of a gap with 3 girls chasing. At the one lap to go mark, Amira made it onto my wheel, I slotted in behind her, then Alexis joined us too. Hitting the stairs for the last time I was absolutely exhausted from my solo lap and at the top I missed my pedals, allowing both girls to sneak in front. As hard as I tried I couldn't catch them, however crossing the line in 7th place was a pretty nice feeling.

Top 10 was the dream in a NT this year, so to make 7th on only my second attempt was pretty satisfying. I would have struggled to have had such a good weekend, if it were not for the support from my Dad, Scott, Ted and Cyclocross magazine who helped in so many ways from being pit crew, helping me to wash my bike or give me little tips on how to ride the course better!

Happy! Crossing the line in 7th 

I can't wait for BUCS next year to defend the title and for the next round of the trophy in Milton Keynes in 2 weeks time.

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