Tweedlove Women’s Sprint – Race Report by Lucy Grant
The tension was growing like a massive balloon as got it closer and closer to the race. We were all standing on the line on the high street but I was feeling very, very nervous now. Having seen the competition they all looked so pro with their carbon bikes and skin suits which made me feel out of place. Soon a voice came on over the loudspeaker announcing “2 minutes until the start”. I bent down to tighten my shoes and standing back I was suddenly aware of how MASSIVE the crowd was that surrounded us… Wow! This was something I had never experienced before, there seemed to be just SO many people which was really cool. It was 30 seconds to start…. Everyone stood up and clipped their cleats into their pedals. The build-up of tension was peaking now. The balloon was about to explode!…And the gun went off!!!
There was no messing with these women it was immediately super-fast. The first lap was going to be the fastest, and this is what I was most scared about; just trying to stay in the bunch for this. We smashed it along the high street and then it was flat out round the corner and down the hill to Tweed Green. Everyone had singled out onto a long line now. We rounded the second corner and it was a maximum power effort up the hill, this was fast!! The hill was so steep yet there was no slowing down. On the second lap coming round the corner onto Tweed Green was AMAZING!! The atmosphere was unimaginable!! There were people shouting and cheering EVERYWHERE! I had never ever experienced anything like this before and it made me feel so happy! The pace had eased slightly now which I was glad of because my legs were aching. For the first 3 or 4 laps nothing happened but after that people were going for attacks and trying to make breaks keeping the race exciting.
On one of the laps I came over the line at the front of the bunch and the cheering crowd was insane! It was so loud and there were just so many people. It felt amazing. It gave me even more adrenaline and just made me want to go faster!
Soon our 25 minutes were up and it was “5 laps to go”. I could feel the atmosphere in the bunch had changed now, everyone here wanted to win and we were so much closer to the finish. It had been almost laid back in comparison to how it was now. It felt like a different race and everything felt so much more serious now. Every time we crossed the line I expected a big break to go, but it didn’t. There were a few small attacks but none that got away. 3 laps to go… 2 laps to go… and still nothing was happening. The pace hadn’t even seemed to increase. The tension was unbearable, I just wanted an attack to go and take the pressure away. 1 lap to go… this was it. I was sitting in the top 3 now and I was so eager for a break to go. This felt like the longest lap ever. I was aware of everyone in the crowd cheering but it was blurred as I was focused on the race. It wasn’t until we were going up the steep hill that anything happened. A rider from the back came along beside me and then an attack was launched. Up the hill… MAD!!!! But I was quickly aware of just how close the finish was; I jumped on the attacker’s wheel and sprinted as fast as I could to keep up with them. As we went along the high street past the traffic island it was only me and two other women now. They were both in front of me; I sat just behind them. But now was my chance as we passed the traffic lights. I took a deep breath and pulled up alongside them. The next few seconds passed in a blink. But I remember standing up and pedalling, my lungs were burning and my arms were aching. I could feel my bike beneath me going from side to side and I could feel my legs frantically spinning around. I could see the line. I dug deeper and found my last bit of energy and crossed the line.
And we had NO idea who had won! Me and the other two women spun around for another lap chatting about the race. We came up and stopped on the line. The commentator came over to me… and told me I had won!!!! I was so shocked; I just didn’t know what to say. It took a while for the words to sink in. There was tonnes of cheering and it felt amazing. My mum was watching at the finish so she saw it all but my dad was marshalling at the bottom of the course and I instantly wanted to tell him so I rode down. It was now that it hit me, I had won… or so I thought. After I had told my dad I went back up to the start finish area. The commissaries called me over. They told me I hadn’t won and showed me the footage. I had however finished second. At first I felt a bit gutted but I very quickly realised that second was just as amazing as first. I had no idea at the start that I would have finished so well so this was incredible. Well done to Charlene Joiner who won and to Kate Archibald who was third.
Thanks to Tweedlove for organising such an awesome event and also to everyone who was there cheering us on and making the atmosphere amazing.
Photo by Colin Bell