The first weekend in August was the National 25 mile TT championships. As I was approaching the start line it started to rain and with the first few miles being a slight descent, it was the last thing I wanted to happen. Fortunately, not long after I got going the rain stopped. Nevertheless I took no risks on the downhill section due to the conditions. At the turnaround point when re joining the dual carriageway I made the silly mistake of going down the wrong slip road, I ending up doing a bit of cyclocross up the pavement to reach the roundabout again.
After getting back on the dual carriageway I struggled mentally to focus, resulting in taking 4th place with a rather disappointing time. However I was pleased to see my teammate Savannah get on the podium after a year off racing due to injury.
The following weekend was a race very local to me, The Scarborough Cycling Festival. I had previously raced this, but during my triathlon days, so I tended to be quite inexperienced racing this as a solo event. This year has been my first year solely focusing on cycling, so I was looking forward to being a part of the race rather than being dropped straight away. It made the race even more special to me having teammates there this year. Lauren certainly gave us a lot to live up to when she won the under 16 girls race before ours.
For the first few laps the pace was reasonably steady, Liv AWOL soon then dominated the race with Connie and Rosie both putting in attacks on the top circuit. The race all came back together as we dropped down onto the full circuit ready to tackle the hill six times! This soon split the race into pieces. With two laps to go Connie, Rosie and I found ourselves working with a few others, yet by the last lap everyone was making their own way to the finish.
On the final time up the hill I gave everything to get up as I knew if I was with anyone at the finish I would certainly not have anything left in my legs to sprint. Approaching the finish line I managed to roll in 7th after a good effort up the hill.
On the 19th August it was the Yorkshire Road Race Championships, another very hilly race. The race consisted of 43 miles and 3500 ft, including riding up Bulmer Bank four times! The long descents split the race apart as I reached up to 48 mph (according to my Garmin)! I found myself working in a group of 3 for the majority of the race, which made it a very tough day out. Approaching the last time up Bulmer Bank I felt quite strong; soon to be ruined by my chain dropping off up the hill. Having to get off the bike to put it back on made me determined to catch them back up again. After about a mile I had caught up the rider in front. The last 3 miles was extremely tough yet very tactical between Charlotte Dalton from Team Jadan-Weldtite and I for the final junior podium spot. Unfortunately, in the final 50 metres my legs had completely given up resulting in me settling for 4th junior.
The first weekend in September was the National 10 mile TT championships. The week approaching the race had felt like I’d somehow pulled a muscle in my back so I was struggling to even get on my bike. Once we’d arrived at the HQ and driven around the course, I felt it seemed to suit me because it was undulating. It was only after the first 5 miles that I managed to get in a rhythm and was going at a decent pace. My Dad took various timings of me and other riders at the halfway point and that showed I had lost a fair bit time in the first half of the race. Nevertheless I was reasonably happy with my ride and coming 5th.
After a couple of quiet weeks It was time for the last race of the road season; the Cycle Show Pirelli Super Crit. After having a recce around the course it became clear that it required riding a few more times to get a feel for it as the course was full of tight corners and speed bumps. I was in the top 3 coming around the first corner which is probably one of the best starts I’ve ever had in a crit considering I always get left behind. During the first 15 minutes I was still within the lead group. Whilst going round a tight corner a few others and I found ourselves getting squashed by the rest of the bunch against the barriers. I hit the foot of the barrier causing me to go over the handlebars and land on my shoulder. As the race went on, I realised many others had also crashed and were soon joining me in the ambulance. After a long night at a hospital in Birmingham I was finally home at 7am the following morning. I suffered a dislocated shoulder and a broken collarbone. Thankfully my Giro helmet did its job well. I am now in the process of recovery and hope to be back on my bike soon.
Featured photo ‘ Hannah B, Rosie and Connie after Scarborough race’ by Phil Moir