This weekend didnt go entirely to plan, but I think its important to blog about the ups and downs of racing! I flew over on the morning of the Prolouge, Friday, to lovely sunshine and strong Irish sea wind. My first trip to the Isle of Man was amazing, and its not hard to see why the Island has produced so many top cyclists, with very rolling terrain, strong wind and an abundance of good riders to train with.
The Prolouge was a 1.3km effort down the sea front, with one dead turn and some really strong wind. I didnt go great and finished about tenth place, not sure how much the wind had affected it but sure that I would try to make up for it the next day.
Saturday saw a pretty hilly course, starting up a reasonably steep hill, dropping down a touch and then taking on another slight climb, into a very strong headwind, before dropping all the way back down in one kick to the start of the first hill. We where down to do five circuits, at 36ish kms it wasnt going to be the longest race, but I was hoping for a hard one. After a lap and a half I saw an opportunity to attack and thought why not, one of the North west guys, a good friend, came with me and we had a nice gap. Riding under team orders he refused to give me a turn, I slammed on the brakes and then accelerated hard, soon finding myself alone into the wind. I was caught just after the crest of the next lap, almost exactly where I had attacked. Nothing was really going, with a lap to go I pushed hard up the hill and got away again, however the guys pulling behind brought it back and it was back to square one again. Chris Lawless, who had been just off the back, rode through the bunch and went off the front. I attacked a little later but again was caught halfway up the last hill, eventually coming in about sixth in the bunch sprint for second.
I was really annoyed with myself for being so impatient and not making the most of having pretty good legs. I left really strong up the hill but hadnt ridden the race tactically well. I was a little down but learning is what its all about, as some say, 95% mental and only 5% physical.
Monday went along to pretty much the same script, I attacked to early and finished in the top ten in the bunch sprint. It was a really flat course but again I was annoyed not too have done what I wanted to in the race. However that said, I learnt a lot and for sure im going to take these experiences into my next races. A huge thankyou to Jake (Jelly) Kelly and his family for having me to stay whilst riding the Youth tour, I am hoping to get Jake over for some racing in Belgium some time soon.
P.s. I did manage to scoop the Green Points jersey, just for the day, for the rider taking the most points at the top of the hill every lap on the second stage on Saturday.