Another early start at 5.45 to travel up to Margam Park in Wales for round 1 of the Welsh series. Getting told right from the start from Gary Andrews and Ben Farrer from Certini that me and Harry Birchill were going to be treated like a professional all day - well we had to hold them on that one! Right from the start I got to have a luxury sleep in the Certini van on the way up while they loaded my bike and kit and drove all the way. We even got a coached pre-riding/warm-up session, plus a portable bike wash (Ben is great with a bucket and sponge!) and non-stop entertainment/cheesy jokes. Thanks guys!
I was really nervous going to this race as this was one of my bigger races because all the women were together, which included an ellite, masters, sport and veteran woman, so I decided I just wanted to take it as an experience.
It started well though, getting a perfect starting position being at the very front! Plus, a random lovely lady came and held an umbrella over me in the rain whilst waiting to start! Thanks to her I think I was saved from pneumonia ha-ha. It's funny how you start off so cold and within about 30 seconds your sweating like a pig!
When the race started I couldn't quite believe that I lead the first 10 seconds - until Elite rider Mellanie Alexander came flying past me, she was super speedy and someone I would love to aim to be like. I attempted to stay on her tail for a while which worked well, but by the end she gained 8 minutes on me. Which still left me in second place, and being my first year in Juniors I was pretty happy with that! 2 is my lucky number as well!
For the results click here.
The course was very slidey, muddy and involved a fair amount of running. I think I forgot to breath down some of the descents, especially after my fourth fall, one being a close collision! But that just keeps it exciting doesn't it! Overall it was a fab course with a mixture of fast fire-road, to granny-ring hills and smooth or rooty or muddy descents.
I think Patsy Caines stood out for me, as she took this course well with her technical skills and also came second! Along with Gary and Ben from Certini! Also, Evie Lane was very impressive getting out there and not giving into pressure being one of her first bigger races; she held her ground well making the South West Youth Squad proud! Harry Birchill got a superb time, It's so easy to forget he's only 12 - very impressive!
I'd like to say a massive thank you to Jay and Maddie from Fully Sussed for organising the course and great commentating! Also to any other organisers, marshalls or volunteers who made it happen and to USN sports nutrition for sponsoring the prizes for us. Thanks again Gary and Ben from Certini as without them I wouldn't have had a race!