Rapha RR: Eastern Div Championships

Up until this year, this race 2 years ago was my best result in a road race. I got 7th that year when the race was a 2/3/4 Regional A. This year the race stepped up to a Nat B E123 and Eastern Divisional Championships, making it an important race for everyone, and it attracted a strong field.

We lined up and rolled out for a long neutral section before the flagged dropped ollie1and we were racing. Unlike the previous week, the start was incredibly uneventful. So with a little encouragement from a friend. I gave it a go. A lap later, I was joined by 3 others to form a front group of 4. We stayed out front for a further lap, before getting caught by a large group included the race favourites. So now with a big 20man group out front with all the teams and big riders in, the gap quickly went out to multiple minutes over the peloton. The group was rolling around, and it was clear that is where the race was gonna happen.

There was the normal attacks, none came to anything more than spitting out the odd rider. ollie2For the first time in a while, the legs didn’t feel too bad. Although that began to change quite quickly after about 110km. I was certainly starting to pay for my efforts earlier in the race. I managed to just suck the wheels and dodge my turns and thankfully the hitters in the groups never rode the climb too hard. A fairly strong headwind stunted any attempts and it meant that I could easily sit in and then it was just a job of holding the wheels every time it got lined out in the gutter during the tailwind. For the first time in the while, I started to suffer with a bad stomach. I haven’t had this problem in a race for a long while. I think once I started to really suffer late in the race I tried to get as much energy in as possible, which wouldn’t have helped. Thankfully it didn’t hinder my legs too much and I could stay in the group until the penultimate time up the climb.

It was the first time rocking my Rule 28 aero socks too, so that gave a few more gains over the competition, but sadly it was my legs which were the issue…

ollie3

All of a sudden I was hit with cramp pretty hard. Firstly in my right hamstring and then later in my left quad. I was trying to pedal it out while the group was still close enough to regain contact, but it wasn’t to be. I ended up riding the final lap solo and knowing the peloton behind had been pulled a lap early, I wasn’t in any rush. I ended up rolling in in 18th place. Not fantastic I know, but I feel like I rode strong, so I am happy with that. And with this being possibly my last road race for the year, it is nice to know I’ve been able to hold my road racing legs all year, even if it has recently been a struggle.

Thanks as always to all the sponsors that make this possible (check them out below), my coach Mark Walker and my Dad for putting up with my expensive and rollercoaster ride of trying to make it as a pro cyclist…

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