2019 where have you gone?
What an incredible year to date. I would have written sooner but following the training camp there simply hasn't been the time. It has been flat out since April. Racing all over the country and getting near to winning. Not yet repeating the successes of the early season but there definitely is something in the locker for the final run to the round up of the year. Who knows maybe there's something spectacular round the bend.
The past few weeks have been an absolute blast. The first few months of racing were pretty tough as I was mainly racing local races solo. This let me gain some serious confidence, every race I did in the first 4 months of the year I was only once outside the top 10 and that was finishing 14th! I stormed my way to a 1st Cat license, finally, but am yet to win that illusive National B. who knows maybe I'll win a Nat A before a Nat B. The Nat B's certainly feel harder! Though my first National series race this year ended badly. I was called up last minute into the squad for the Lincoln Grand Prix. A famed 13 lap race around the city of Lincoln centering on the Michael gate cobbled climb. I was not fit for the race. I had been on awesome form. I had that week just recovered from illness. In my desperation to race and prove my worth I said yes to the call up without even a thought. Very badly managed on my part. Even more daft considering I launched the very first attack rather than waiting and settling in! My naivety meant that the next race with the team was at the national championships at the end of June. I was very ready for this and rode well. I did not eat well however and that caught up with me in the final 30km. It was the first time in an elite national race that I had found myself actually attacking. Yes I may have missed the main move but it was great to feel as though I was actually racing in such illustrious company. Before blowing spectacularly and crawling in 90th something! a great day out nonetheless. From there it has been getting better and better. I did my job at Beaumont trophy to the dot. riding on the front of the bunch controlling the breakaway for most of the day. Nailing myself to get some bottles to the lads in the final 40km (as I learnt later that was a very bad idea). Then again at Stockton I did my best to look after Chris Latham who unfortunately got dropped in the closing stages of the race. I then struggled to move back to the head of the race but still finished 36th, my best result in a national series road race to date. Eastbourne did not go to plan for anyone on the team, I was out of the race on the first lap with a mechanical problem and much too far down to see the race again and we were tactically outfoxed very early on by the other teams. This was not to continue though.
We entered into the Manx International Tour with a positive attitude and great morale. I was unsure as to how I would fare in the opening stage as it was a crit. My track record in criteriums is - substandard to say the least. Though the record has slightly improved following this weekend. I finished just off the back of the main pack! Just finishing was a great feeling for me but I did have a slight guilty conscience as Ed had won the stage with the incredible help of the other riders and I had not been able to give any assistance. This feeling was only compounded by Dylan crashing out and breaking his collarbone! I made a solid effort in the Hill climb TT, it was nothing special just a solid effort putting me mid order and in the top 5 on the standings for a short time. I then made amends for my absence on stage one from the front by riding with madison at the front to control the breakaway for Ed to win his second stage! I really enjoyed that as I truly felt part of the team and the success! The final stage was an epic 180km twice up the great big mountain right in the centre of the Isle of Man. Following the exact route of the Isle of Man TT. The first lap was fine, Adam pushed himself into the breakaway in typical "Kendog" style. We crept up the climb the first time and I felt confident, I felt I could finish this race if not be in a good place. I must add it was a race of two halves: lovely weather and abismal weather. the island had seemingly been divided in two between the god of rain and sun! It is the only time I have ridden at 70kpm+ and not been able to see where I was going! the race begun to kick off on the 2nd lap, madison were eager to bring the breakaway back, temporarily splitting the race in the process. 2nd time we reached the climb the real racing begun. I fought for the first 2-3km of the climb but the pace became too much and I dropped off. I quickly found Ed and we set to work trying to minimise the damage, we thundered past riders that had totally blown. but our efforts were in vain. into the mist the bunch and cars disappeared, our day was done. We nonchalantly discussed whether we would in fact climb off. I joked that I wanted to carry on despite being soaked through and freezing. Mick, our voice of reason, the soigneur soon talked us out of any daft heroics and we climbed off into the warmth of the camper. Job well done. A half the race each between Madison and us! A great rebound from the south coast classic.
Now all that lies before us is the Ryedale Grand Prix. I have unfinished business with this race and I am going to make it a priority to get my arse into the competition for myself and my teammates sake. This is another event which we most certainly can win and I am going to do everything in my power to see it through!