This was my first race with 1st category riders, and I was really quite nervous coming into it, simply not knowing what to expect. The course is brutal, simply. 4.3km, with a 1km climb, short flat technical section through town, then straight back down and onto the climb again. I had no real expectations for this race, other than to stay safe in the bunch, and if I got into any moves that was just a bonus.
As we started, it was simply brutal. The first few laps were full gas, there was no real chance to catch my breath, as the climb pushed me to the max, the technical bit was just maintaining position, and the descent was my only chance to make up some ground and get in a decent position for the climb. Once a breakaway got established, things gradually managed to calm down, which was quite a relief. For most of the race I was simply trying to maintain a strong peloton position, about top 15, as this made it more relaxed going up the climbs, being able to slip back if it got too hard, and also not having to fight for positions so much was nice. in the final 8 laps of this 27 lap race, I began to feel stronger, and much more comfortable in the group- but not confident to attack, as I was convinced the group would just catch me on the climb and drop me. With about 2 laps to go more people started to attack and get a gap, as no one was really chasing, and it was every man for themselves. At about 1.5 laps to go, my friend Max attacked up the climb, and I managed to follow him for a bit, getting a strong gap, but I simply just didn’t stay on his wheel and was left in no-mans land. In the final lap, it was just full gas, even descending, and on the climb I was overtaken by a few more riders, who attacked from the peloton.
I ended up finishing 22nd, which I was content with. While I was hoping for a better position, the course was just very difficult to get to grips with, and my legs were not the best, so for my first race of this standard, it was satisfactory.