Monday, 23 September 2013

Westminster GP, Scottish Crit & Scratch Champs

Haven't updated in a few weeks, mainly because I haven't been racing that much! After Stafford I had the British Track Champs, it went about as well as it could I guess. It's pretty hard when you're up against Junior Girls fresh from the World Champs, I finished 8th in the points race, 18th in the scratch race and 7th in the pursuit with a new PB. After that I had a bit of a break for a week because I was feeling pretty tired. When I started up training again the end of the season was insight and I knew my last race would be the Westminster GP, to be held before the last stage of the Tour of Britain in London. This was really good motivation and in the lead up to the race I also raced the Scottish Crit and Scratch Champs.

In the crit champs there was a very low entry, with only 10 starters I think, but me and Katie Archibald attacked pretty much from the start and managed to get away. From then on it pretty much turned into a 2 up TT till 1 lap to go when Katie put in a bit of an effort which I followed and decided to counter. I got away but Katie chased me down on the back straight and I had nothing left for the sprint to the line. So second, but one place higher than last year so I was happy with that!

Comedy moment on the podium as the banner nearly takes me out!
The next weekend was the Scottish Scratch Champs up at Dundee, after a fair amount of waiting around for the track to dry we finally got up to race. It was an even smaller turn out for this one with just 5 starters. I attacked and attacked until I got away on my own half way through the 25 laps, this however meant nearly 5km out front on my own, in the wind. I got a good half lap gap though and held it to the end, but it wasn't easy! So I won the race and was awarded the Junior Womens Championship.

That brings me up to my final race of the season. The Westminster GP. Me and my Dad travelled down on the Saturday so the drive on Sunday morning to central London was relatively easy. It was pretty crazy driving up towards Big Ben and knowing I was going to be racing past it later, very exciting! So I signed on, warmed up and started doing some prelaps of the course. This ended up being quite a lot of prelaps because of a delay to the start. Eventually we were lined up and it was great to see there was already pretty big crowds round the course. I started quite far back but managed to move up in the neutralised section and was in 2nd wheel as the motorbike pulled away and the first attack went, which I decided to follow. There was four of us away and we worked well but I could tell we weren't going to stay away. The course was longer than most crit courses we race on and with less corners too, this meant it was much easier for a big bunch to pull back a break away. I tried to get away a few more times but it just wasn't working, so I sat in. This isn't something I usually do and I knew it meant I was pinning all my hopes on the sprint, but it was the best I could do. So heading into the last lap and the bunch was all together after a late breakaway had been brought back. Down the back half of the circuit I made my move up the outside, staying in the wheels for as long as possible before making a big effort up to the front before the final bends where I managed to get onto Hannah Barnes's wheel. I knew I just had to hold it for as long as I could, which is what I did and managed to hold off everyone behind to the line to take 2nd. I was really happy with that, it was great getting to go up on the podium in front of such big crowds and a brilliant way to finish off the season.

I'm having 2 weeks off the bike now before I start training for next year, where I hope to make as many improvements as I have this year. I'd like to thank everyone thats helped me out this year, including Alan Denman, my coach, and everyone at ERC, its been really nice to get so many congratulations from people in the club.

Thanks for reading, some photos below, thanks again to Huw Williams for most of them, and there was a brief bit of coverage at the start of the Tour of Britain highlights which you can get on ITV4  player here: Tour of Britain Highlights And a good article in the Evening News by Colin Renton here: Louise Borthwick likely to land pro offer