Saturday saw the last of the Rapha Condor Summer Series races at Hog Hill and my first E12. As a youth with full dispensation to ride as an Adult I can ride pretty much any adult circuit race but had so far just ben riding 3/4s. After seeing some lads getting decent results and riding the E12s at Palace I decided it was time to move up.
To my disappointment the organisers announced we would be riding the circuit the opposite way to usual, I have the National Champs next Saturday on the same circuit and was looking forward to some final practice. I finished in 5th place, admittedly a whole lot better than I had been expecting but I was also disappointed... I had eaten to near the start of the race and had a really painful stitch by the end, this messed up my sprint a bit but I was still pleased with the result. Learn from my mistakes!
Next day was the British School Cycling Association National and Southern Regional Champs, I wasnt sure what the field would be like as this wasnt a British Cycling run event but was looking forward to one last tune up before the National Championships. After about half the race we had established a 3 man lead group, we had been working well together in the hilly conditions and had a nice gap. Coming up the hill with 1 lap to go I put in an attack, after pressing on the hill every previous lap, I gapped the other two riders and set off for one lap to the finish, the only problem was although I could out climb the rider behind (Dan Murphy from Milton Keynes), I was going to find it very difficult to out ride him on the flat, I pushed on for about a third of the lap and then slowly sat up getting as much rest as possible. There had been a strong headwind blowing into the hill all day and naturally coming into it know one wanted to take up the lead. The other lad in our group caught up just before the climb and all three of us spread ourselves out in a line, a matched sprint - going at walking pace. About halfway up the climb the other lad kicked, Dan went as soon as he did on the opposite side of the road, I reacted and was behind both of them deciding which wheel to latch onto! Dan was defiantly moving quicker so I jumped on his and sprinted hard. Coming into the steep and decisive section of the hill I saw he was veering more to the centre of the road, preferring the lower gradient for a longer line, I took no hesitation to jump into the inside line and try to get past him. I kicked hard and edged up to his Bottom Bracket, then his handlebars and finally I started to edge past him as we hit the flat just before the line, this is when the real time is made up as you can raise you speed if you have the legs, I pushed on hard and only started to labour of the gear just before the line.
Boom I had won! Sprints always feel sick when you win, you have that moment or two when nothing hurts and you raise your arms and usually in my case shout with delight! Then you grasp back onto the bars and it hits you, all of a sudden you are shattered but it doesnt matter because you have won! A solo win is different because you have lots of time to realise what is happening and to savour the moment, a sprint is nothing more than a flicker. Losing a sprint is the exact same feeling except you dont get the moment of 'nothingness', instead you just feel even shiter and it really does matter because you have lost! Anyway I was really glad to win, I had been doing so many adult races that the wins had slowed down a little and this was the first in a while, still felt great!