The Tour of the Reservoir is well-known for being cold, tough and hilly- it really was just that last weekend.
The Saturday stage was delayed by an hour due to ice on the roads, so everyone wrapped up warm in anticipation for a chilly race. We got underway just before 10am, and when the flag dropped the race went hard. Unfortunately we only got to race ten laps of the circuit for Saturday due to the delay, but it was a good race nevertheless. I found it tough due to the stop-start nature of the race, but finished after working with a smaller group for most of the race; I knew the next day would suit me more, as it was longer and tougher, and less likely to have such drastic pace changes. My main aim for the weekend was to gain experience, so although I’d have liked to have finished in the main group, it wasn’t the end of the world. Hopefully, it’s something I can improve next year.
Sunday’s stage started just before nine, on an equally cold and icy morning. However, the ice hadn’t settled quite as much as the day before, so it was safe to race. It started fast on the approach to the reservoir, with several riders being sent out the back. My aim was to stay in the bunch for as long as possible, as the rolling nature of the circuit meant the peloton was very likely to split up. After two laps when we reached the QoM climb, the race sped up at the front and I began to lose places. Before I knew it, team cars were coming past. Luckily, a group of three juniors (me, Maddie Gammons and Sophie Thackray) came together and chased back on to the group. After 43km we turned onto Carrick’s Corner, and the speed went up yet another notch- I couldn’t hack it. I rode about half a lap on my own, then joined a group of another three riders that I remained with for the rest of the race. We caught a lot of riders who couldn’t manage the pace of the race either, and joined another similar sized group with just under two laps left. The hills were really getting to everyone, and cracks started appearing in the small groups. We eventually split up just before the long descent into the reservoir, but pretty much came back together on the final climb to the finish.
After that race, I didn’t really want to look at a hill again, ever. However, I finished, and a fair few people didn’t get to that final climb. Despite the hills and cold weather, I loved Sunday’s stage and had a good performance. I achieved more than I expected, which is always a result. A huge congrats to my awesome teammate Alice Cobb AKA the Baby-Faced Assassin for an amazing Tour of the Res, who came away with 5th on GC.
And how could I not thank my parents for taking us, and the fabulous owner of our B&B who made us porridge at 6:30am!
All in all, Tour of the Res was pretty fun.