Bath CC Road Race
An early morning start leaving the Surrey Hills to arrive in a scenic (but drizzly and oh so breezy!) Bath, on this journey I stopped at 4 different locations to pick up a banana – nowhere stocked bananas, I couldn’t believe it and now had nothing for my pre-race porridge… Honey would have to do!
The field was a good size with over 30 riders and as usual I had done my homework and knew who to keep an eye out for. The course was described as hilly but it was rolling at best, I would have loved a few hills as I would hope to break up the field on a real climb! For the first 20 minutes or so I kept safe and was at the front of the peloton ready for any attacks, the first being from Tamara Davenne of Zappi’s Cycling Club this occurred on a straight with some wind so was quickly reigned back. The next attack seemed far stronger and was made by Emily Meakin (Mammoth Lifestyle Racing), I had previously seen her across the car park and thought ‘bloody hell she’s got strong legs’ so she was an instant target, I joined her as I did not want her getting away. I bridged the gap with no one joining us and we stayed away for a short while before being consumed by the chasing peloton. The pace was high on the climbs, due to some commanding riding from Fiona Hunter-Johnston (Fusion RT Fierlan), and a few technical descents ensured that those hanging onto the rear of the pack were dropped.
The second lap saw another strong attack from Emily, I was in the middle of the bunch and was unable to get out and chase her down, no one from the bunch wanted to either and with the unrelenting wind Emily was, once again, brought back in due course. The peloton kept a reasonable pace on the climbs which increased as we crested the hills, despite being confronted with some brutal headwinds.
Upon the third and final lap an attack was made by Anna Morris I chased this down solo and caught up onto her wheel and then accelerated once again hoping that she could take my wheel and we would work together. I looked behind me and she was no longer there, I continued to pedal hard knowing a descent was approaching and knew I would have the freedom to pick my lines and drive hard. Following the descent was a straight road with a slight ramp and as I approached this I looked behind again and the chasing peloton could not be seen. One of the bike race officials was also between myself and the peloton who then came beside me and told me how strong the wind was, as if I didn’t know – all I wanted was for them to go in front so that I could draft them!
As I crested the ramp I was unsure of how much of the course was left but I kept telling myself (and visualising a breakaway victory!) that the end was near, I remained away from the peloton for a good period of time but the vicious winds took its toll and I was no match (just yet) for a strong chasing group. As they approached I ensured that I was not swallowed and I regained second wheel. Knowing that there were a few climbs left I knew I had more in me to not be counter attacked and I actually found myself on the front again for the climbs, I kept the pace medium but was aware of any attacks that may occur. The attack happened on the final turn before the long straight and slight descent of a finish and this was by an Elite Velo Sportswear rider (there were two riders so I’m unsure of who it was), but it was a strong attack ultimately starting too early. The pace on this final straight was high particularly with everyone wanting a good position, I was being engulfed by the peloton and needed to get out. I was able to wiggle out to the right hand side and accelerated forward towards the line trying to catch Tamara Davenne, but was unsuccessful but I was very happy to gain a second place, particularly knowing that I held a good position for the entirety of the race, a lot of it at the front, I chased everything down (bar one) and I even went solo for a while and still had something in me for a finishing sprint.
A big thank you to Bath CC, their marshals and the commissaires as this was easily one of the most enjoyable races of the season which was well organised and fun to take part in! Congratulations to all of the riders as it was a great race, and particularly to Tamara who came away as the winner.
No report attached