British Champs Wasing – Race Report by Lucy Grant
On Friday we began our 8 hour drive down to Wasing, which is near Reading. This was the start of what was going to be an awesome weekend and the weather forecast was for sun sun sun! Wooo! I was feeling really really excited about the race but I was feeling slightly nervous too.
After an overnight half way down we arrived at the race venue on Saturday. I felt very disappointed as I looked around and saw trees and fields but no hills! And after pre riding with Katy we discovered there were no climbs and no technical sections… we were gutted.
After a fairly good night sleep, race day was finally here! The day I had been waiting for for so long. Today was the BRITISH CHAMPS!! Yaaaaaaay! I felt like I was the only one who was excited though because there was an eerie silence around the venue and the camp. You could tell that everyone was so focused on the race ahead. The dew from the night soon lifted and the sun came out. By 8:45am I was on the turbo warming up. I didn’t feel nervous now just SO EXCITED; I had thought about the race and now was too late to do any more thinking. I just had to focus: “there is a title at stake but I just need to think of it like any other race” I told myself. I lost myself in my music of the warm-up and came of the turbo feeling even more excited and ready to RACE!
It was 15 minutes to start and we were all riding around in a circle by the line before gridding. I thought back to where I was this day 4 months ago. I was doing my first race (Sherwood) after being injured, it hadn’t gone well. I thought about how far I had come between then and now. This made me want to do well even more. The next minute we were called up on to the line.
This was it. Everything had been in lead up to this. It was too late to change anything now. I was on the line, on the second grid row… It was 2 minutes to start, I changed my gear; spinning my pedal to the starting position and then tightened my shoes… 1 minute to go. I stood up over the bike. I looked ahead, past the riders in front of me and looked to the first corner… 30 seconds to go. Everyone shuffled around. Everywhere was silent. Nobody moved. The tension was unbearable!.. “I will fire the start gun in the next 15 seconds” said the Commissar. I breathed deeply…
I lunged forward my foot going into the cleat first time and then the girl in front of me slipped her foot off her pedal! Noooooo! I slammed on my breaks and then I was boxed in so basically everyone got ahead of me. I sprinted past to try to catch up. I had to go right around the whole bunch but eventually made it past and into the top 3 feeling shaky but safe that I was there.
The course started along a grassy landrover track climb. Everyone was in a bunch. This wasn’t good because when we came to the muddy single track there would just be a big pile up. I pulled forward along beside the girl and the front, upping the pace and gradually scattering the line of people. This was better now. We rode into a quick single track and then came to a steep hill. The girl in front changed her gear and her chain came off! Noooo not again! I didn’t have time to stop and hit straight into the back off her. I got off my bike and ran past her, I could hear the carnage behind me as everyone hit into her as well. Yes! This was my chance to get away; it was only me and one other girl who had managed to get past the mechanical. We were into a long single track now. It sort of switched back through the trees. She was still right behind me. We came to some log steps and then to the muddy climb. We were pleased as it had dried up now so we were able to spin up it without running. Yaaas! She sat on my wheel most of the way around the lap, but just before steep chute about ¾ around I was starting to gap her. I kept going; I knew that she might close the gap because it wasn’t that big. Strangely was really enjoying the course, it was just so FAST!!
I came out of the trees and went around the massive wheat field. I couldn’t see anyone behind me. But I put my head down and began my second lap. My legs were hurting now as I climbed up the hill and I could feel the sun beating down on me. Just one more lap. I just needed to hold my position. I didn’t know whether to feel excited or nervous. Excited because I was winning or nervous because I had no idea how close anyone was to me or if I could be caught or not. Now I was half way around the lap. All I had to do was focus on not crashing and making it to the finish. This is the time when it’s easiest to make stupid mistakes because you’re tired. I descended the final section. I rode around the field and now the finish was in sight. Nothing was going to stop me; I wanted to win this race sooo badly. I rounded the final corner and the finish was right there. I could hear people but I wasn’t aware of what they were saying. I was so close to the line I sprinted the final bit feeling like my legs were going to explode and then crossed the line. Relief swept over me and then… I had WON!! Wooohoooo!! I was SO HAPPY! In fact there isn’t words to describe how I felt. But I knew everything had gone right and I had performed without any problems when I needed to.
Standing on the podium I felt amazing. I pulled the jersey over my head and it felt so so cool. I had won and now I was British Champion!
Well done to
Isla Short 2nd Youth,
Calum Grant 14th Juvenile,
Eve Hanlon Cole 7th Youth,
Calum Magowan 9th Youth,
Millie Hanlon Cole 7th Juvenile,
Katy Winton 2nd Under23.