Brutal. That’s the only word to describe round 4 of the Junior National Series.
Starting off in Melton Mowbray in the heart of the East Midlands, the route totalled just over 100km and included much of the same route that is used for the UCI-level men’s edition of the race that takes place in April.
Here’s Michael’s account of the race:
“This was my first road race after injury meant I was out of action for the first part of the season.
“I started the race at the back and definitely wasn’t used to riding in a group again. I managed to work my way up to the front for the first sector and made the front split. Once we were through the first sector, the race was pretty calm and just an enjoyable ride.
“Then for the second sector I was a little far back so me and Theo had to chase back on. The pace was quite high at this point so it wasn’t easy.
“The third sector came quite quickly after and it was the longest one at 2.2km. I loved riding the gravel and I was passing lots of people to get to the front. I was still with the front group and Theo at this point.
“We went past the feed station and I grabbed a bottle. Then I had a momentary lapse in concentration, I hit a pot hole and went over the bars. I managed to get back up and change my wheel. I carried on the race with the hope of trying to catch back on to one of the groups but unfortunately I was too far behind at this point so my race was over.”
It was a similar tale of misfortune for most of the team. Dan, Elliot and Sam were all held up by crashes and, with the unrelenting pace at the front, their races were brought to an abrupt end.
Theo rode brilliantly all race to stay near the action and then sprinted well from his bunch to finish a creditable 23rd, continuing his consistent performances at National level.
George put in a great ride to stay out of trouble and finish the race, something only achieved by 57 out of the 120 starters.
All in all, it was an epic day out and one we certainly won’t forget in a hurry!
Congrats to Will Tidball and Ph-MAS/Paul Milnes/Oldfield ERT for a superb victory.
Photos: Alex Reed