Tuesday saw a Seven O'clock start at one of the most technical courses in the country, I was looking to fine tune my legs before this weekends North West Youth Tour and also try to pick up a result at my first Palace of the season.
The field was small and strong, most notably Jody Crawford (Hargroves Cycles) an ex National Cross Champion, Germain Burton (De Ver Cycles), the current Youth Circuit Champion and Jake Martin (Pendragon Le Col) who is riding some of the Tour Series this year.
The course was being run the opposite way around to that I have ridden before, something I am told used to happen relatively often, however this would be my first time riding clockwise. The corners although a little faster this way around where equally challenging and made for some really exiting racing.
The race started slowly for the first half lap, however Jody Crawford soon attacked up the hill and the pace never really slowed from there. It was great racing and there was always someone throwing in a big attack. I tried a few times myself, once solo and a couple more times in small groups, however nothing was sticking.
Coming into the last few laps the atmosphere was great, the women and Category 3/4 racers had finished so there where plenty of people watching. I was placed about fifth into the second to last corner, I sprinted with about four hundred meters to go, first into the last corner and for a split second thinking I might take the win. Thats the moment when you see someone coming and sure enough I saw a Hargroves jersey edging past. Second tonight, with some decent gaps behind in a short sprint, I was a little disappointing not to take the win but pleased to have ridden strongly.
This weekend sees a trip up to the North West, with racing in Blackpool on Saturday, Lancaster Sunday and then Preston on Monday. Hopefully some good racing with the Czech and Belgian national team coming over and very strong winds forecast for the seafront on Saturday.