So… I didn’t actually make it to the Round 1 of the National Trophy on the 14th of October, due to my chest flaring back up again and also getting really high temperatures and sickness. Needless to say that the start of my winter training hasn’t exactly been perfect. In the last 3 weeks I‘ve had a less than 2hrs of pedalling and one withdrawal from a race. The Thursday before the race I tried 30mins on the cross bike. However, by the time I got back into the house I was shaking and sick which didn’t really go, even on the day of the race. Though with 4 guys relying on me to race, I made it to the start line for Round 1 of the Rapha Super Cross Series in Broughton Hall, North Yorkshire (20th October). After two laps I was forced to retire, still really suffering the effects of the cold and feeling really hot and weak all over. It was a real shame as I took the win this time last year. It would have been nice to repeat the result, although sometimes bad stuff happens and you just have to get on with it.
I was off again until the following Thursday, where I went for an easy mountain bike ride. However this time I knew I was recovering- I felt normal on the ride and had no after effects. Choosing to have the Friday off as a precaution, I then made my way to Misterton Hall, Leicestershire for Round 2. This weekend was a lot better mentally as even though I knew I wouldn’t be fit, I knew I could smash it without any risk of getting ill again.
BANG! The gun went and the race was underway. But I wasn’t part of it! As ashamed as I am to say it, it was the first time in the 14 years that I’ve been racing that I have ever missed the start of my own race! I stripped off my warm-up gear as quickly as I could and got underway. Already close to 2 minutes down on the pack (nearly half a lap of a cyclocross course), I made my way back into the pack and rode through the field for the duration. I made it my aim to pick off as many riders as I could before the finish. I ended up in 21st place, which to be fair was a decent ride considering the circumstances. The final result actually shows me being last, at a lap down. However this was because my timing chip didn’t register on the very first lap. It was my error in thinking that the start was at 1:30pm when actually it was 1:00pm. My biggest apologies goes to my composite team members as it was a very unprofessional thing to do, although no one was more disappointed than myself, believe me! The Team did secure Team of the Day and move up in GC, so top work boys.
The following day we drove to the third and final round in Alexandra Palace, London. After spending the entire evening and of all the morning right up until the race in my 2XU Compression Tights, I did still get to the start line on time! Feeling a little sore, yes, but on time nonetheless! Ordinarily I don’t think racing two consecutive days would have had too much effect on me but given I’ve done so little riding in the last few weeks, I did find myself rather sore after the effort of Round 2. Over the first few laps of the race, I made my way from the back of the field to about 12th. I was fighting hard on reasonably tired sore legs to hold every position I could, ending up in 15th and losing a few spots in the last laps. Overall our Wiggle/ Rotwild/ Forme Coaching/ Bee’s Bikes team finished 3rd overall. We were part of a joint-win for Team of the Day on a level 16 points with Hargroves Cycles. At the end though, the award was given to Hargroves as they had the highest overall individual rider.
This event was again a great success and I will do my very best to be on the start line for 2013 series! The next race for me should all go to plan and it is probably the Southampton National Trophy. Hopefully I will be in a lot better shape for it!