Monday, 11 July 2011
Inter Regional Road Championships
Thursday morning; ten hour train journey up north for the Inter Regional Road Championships in Perth, Scotland. The event consisting of a Team Time Trial, an individual road race and a team road race.
The team time trial went very badly, we started fast and everything was looking good, however within a couple of kms we where a rider down, this wasnt too much of a problem as the course would suit anyone going fast and hard, three men or four. We slowed slighty over the next km, waiting for our third rider over the main climb of the day, however on the twisting damp descent my team mate punctured and crashed, race over. The two of us remaining rolled in the last few kms, saving our legs for the two days too come. The time was taken when our third rider eventually crossed the line, we where dead last by a minute.
However I stood by my saying, Morgen is een andere dag, tomorrow is another day, and looked onwards. Saturday came and with it some Scottish Sunshine in the morning for the girls race, the course was pretty interesting, with some fast downhill tailwind sections. There was plenty of gravel on the course and a nice bit of wind, this would all make for a very interesting race. However the scottish weather had other ideas, as we started to ready ourselves for the race, the rain started to get heavier and heavier. Soon the inevitable, a crash, it was big and bad and according to a few that saw it, one of the worst they had ever seen. Part of the problem was that the crash occurred in the first five riders in the bunch, although our speed wasnt super high, so I guess it could have been worse. I am still very impressed with Matt Hargroves, who rode along a grass verge at speed, just next to me, to avoid the crash. The combination of a the crash and some stupidly deep standing water on the course meant the race was abandoned the next lap, great! So far I had made the ten hour journey up to scotland for pretty little, however we had one more race to come.
Sunday, dark clouds, rain, this is Scotland for sure. The race had been lengthened, an extra seven km, that would hopefully split the group. Todays race was a team road race, with a Tour Series style count back to decide who won todays prize, along with the overall inter regional trophy. The road race consisted of a lot of marking, teams not wanting to give eachother an inch. This meant pretty much free reign for some, an early move went and my team mate made the break. This was good news as I didnt really have a chance to get in an early attack, being watched by quiet a few riders. There where alot of counter attacks, about 45km worth, with super high speeds, the racing was fantastic. I eventually managed to get away with Germain, leading him out in the sprint and watching him pip me for fourth as my legs tied themselves in a knot. It was a great race and I was pleased with how I felt, on the countback we placed second, one point of first, by far the teams best performance that weekend, atleast we had ended on a high!
This weekend I paid homage to Bradley Wiggins, for his early exit from the tour, sporting long black Rapha Merino socks (although the weather was also awful!) They are a really great product when in bad weather and at pretty much any other time, keeping your feet warm whilst offering the high wicking properties that makes Merino such a great material to wear. Poor Bradley exited the tour with a broken collar bone, I felt really gutted for him as it was defiantly gonna be London boy Wiggo's year, he is a huge fan of long black socks, so what better way..!
I would like to thanks the organisers for putting on what was, on the whole, a brilliant event. I think it will really help any rider to be part of races like these, learning about team tactics, aswell as racing on closed roads. I really hope they can continue to hold the Inter Regional Road Championships in the future, and maybe introduce a Junior event so I can still be part of it next year!
Thanks to Lisa Brambani and Andrew Harper for the photos.