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Brittany Championships- Quemperven

After having spent the majority of the last 2 weeks off the bike, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my racing ability- although I haven’t had a weekend off racing, I’ve been off training. On the upside, I would be very fresh, on the downside, I haven’t been training. Also my main objective was simply to not crash, and stay upright! Anything other than that would be a bonus.

It was quite a technical course, of 8.6km, rolling terrain, and plenty of corners. I was preparing for a breakaway to go in the first lap, and I decided to start the race aggressively, being very attentive on the front, trying my best to spot any potential moves which looked like they would be successful to the line. Typically, a move of about 6 riders got away, including one of my team mates (Harry). I realised what was happening, but I couldn’t react, as it would be inevitable that everyone would follow me. 2 more riders attacked to bridge across to the breakaway, but I was too slow to react, and this breakaway got established quickly enough by the end of lap 1.

This was too predictable, it was just like the race was over after that. I wasn’t in a position to chase, because my team mate was up the road so I had to just let it go. I did join people when they attempted to attack and get a gap, but nothing came to it. As the race progressed, the peloton had less and less motivation to chase the breakaway, and the weather was miserable. It was very hard to get a gap from the peloton, as you always had to brake a lot for the corners, and in the rain it makes it even harder, but as soon as you get 20 seconds you can escape- it’s very much like ‘out of sight, out of mind’, but as soon as you’re in sight, you’re going to get hunted down by whoever’s behind you.

The peloton got whittled down to maybe 14 riders in the latter stages of the race, so it was a very small selective group. My team still had 4 riders in the peloton, so we just kept attacking in a bid to get away and last to the line. It was almost quite boring as races go, because we just kept attacking each other and nothing came to it. We accepted the loss, and prepared for the sprint finish. I had been doing lots of work in the early stages of the race, chasing many attacks, and being aggressive, so by the end I was tired and looking forward to getting out of the rain! I finish mid bunch, and 17th overall. A very average day out for me, but no complaints. I couldn’t expect much, and I am very glad to see my legs haven’t lost much strength.

It took me a while to realise what mistake I made in this race, after lots of talking and having a day to think about it, I finally realised where I went wrong, and how I can improve it for next time. Like I said at the beginning, I was being aggressive and very attentive at the front, but that isn’t where I should be. I’ve realised it’s much easier to join riders in forming a breakaway if you sit a bit further back in the group, but not too far back to block yourself from attacking. If I do this then I’ll then be able to see riders start their attack and build of momentum before it’s too late, and hop on their back wheel. By the time they’ve reached the front of the race they’re already zooming past everyone else with much more speed, which is why it’s that much more difficult to join attacks if you’re at the front of the peloton. Being further back means you can build up your attack so that you carry momentum, making it much harder for anyone to chase you down, because they will be working much harder to build up the momentum and close the gap to you by the time they react.

Essentially, in simpler terms, it’s sometimes more sensible to sit a bit further back in the peloton, so that you can see who’s about to make a move to go up the road, and join them before it’s too late, or too difficult. I’ll be taking this idea into my next race. I’ve got a lot to look forward to, as I’ve done the hard work now, I just need to make the right moves and look out for who to follow, before they’re far ahead!

I’m very glad to be back to normal now, after a different couple of weeks, and luckily my wounds have healed quicker than expected, which allowed me to race in the first place! Looking forward to focusing again, and getting back into the strong routine.

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