This weekend was my first trip to Flanders of the year. Last year started with a baptism of fire, however after around 20 race days abroad last year, this time round I was leaving British shores with high ambitions. Both days where extremely windy, the first with loads of gravely corners and the second, right on the coast, with two long straights. It was hard getting used the very team orientated nature of the races out there, being on your own means you must judge all your efforts, in order to not get taken advantage of by the bigger teams. I attacked a lot, finally getting away with a kilometer and a half to go, unfortunately two riders where up the road. I just held the bunch of, turning left with 250 meters to go, almost catching the leading two on the line but eventually being caught by the lead rider of the bunch for 4th.
Sunday was a completely different race, with only 35 starters in comparison to the 80 riders the day before. I ended up of the front alone on the second lap, on my own into a very strong headwind, with what I thought was an absolutely huge gap. However it was perfect testament to how quickly a race can change out there, very shortly nine riders came across to me, I could see the bunch splitting big time behind so kept the gas on a little longer, before sitting up joining the break. I was wary of not giving too much to early, however I ended up misjudging it slightly, not riding to my strengths and making the race hard. Saturday I had probably given slightly to much but ended the race really happy and learnt lots, Sunday came down to a sprint, I ended up 6th. I even managed to negotiate my first Prime (a sprint for the line, normally every lap, with a small amount of prize money) in broken Flemish/English. I finished the race disappointed but had learnt a lot, ready for the first national series next weekend in Bristol! Oh and the small matter of my sixteenth birthday on Wednesday.
P.s. Click on the photos to see them a little bigger!