Sunday was my first ever open road race in the UK, organised by Ipswich Bicycle Club. It was also the first round of the Women’s Eastern Racing League this year.
The race started off at a good speed with various attacks, all to be brought back again by the group; my positioning was good as I was close to the front, so I could close down any breaks. However, I made sure I didn’t do all the chasing as this was going to be the longest race I’d ever done- 90km roughly. This is quite a big step-up for junior riders, I believe, as it’s tough going from an hour of crit racing as Youth A’s to nearly three hours of racing on a rolling course. Fortunately, racing in Belgium last year helped me prepare for similar durations and intensities. There was great communication in the group and the work was shared out well- the first few laps were really enjoyable and productive for me.
After roughly 2.5 laps of racing, the decisive attack went; the group became strung out quickly, and people were going off the front to try and close it down. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t quite make it, along with many others who ended up coming back to the main group. The lead rider Sophie Coleman (Drops Cycling) and chasing group were moving fast, and created a gap very quickly.
For the remainder of the race, various attacks went, few successful but contributed to an exciting race. Unfortunately through my own misjudgement of not drinking enough, I suffered cramp which affected my sprint at the end. However, I was pleased with the race for several reasons: I helped animate the bunch, I was moving up well and I felt strong and confident throughout the duration of the event.
I’m pleased with how my first open RR went, and am excited to guest for Team Footon Velosport at the Junior UCI Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.