It was my first race back after 3 months of time off and I was pleased to find that the Christmas pudding hadn't weighed me down too much. (Though my training carbs are still coming from carefully packaged Christmas Cake). The race started out cautious, a few familiar faces in the bunch, and some new ones too together with headwinds on the straight (usual for Hillingdon) meant that the first 20 minutes or so were spent sizing each other up and staying tucked in. Then a series of attacks to test how everyone was doing after base season began to break the bunch up a bit, and eventually whittled it down to 5 riders; Savannah of LIV AWOL, Claire of Twickenham, and two riders; Gem and Kitty, who are part of a soon-to-be announced team which I'm looking forward to racing against more in 2018.
A few more attacks tested the break but it stayed together until the sprint. I tried to keep my head out of the wind as long as possible and picked Kitty's wheel knowing she was the sprinter of the two, but she knew this too, and they'd picked Gem to give it a go. Savannah had led us into the final corner and closing in on the finish line she kicked (on junior gearing, no less), and I was boxed in until Gem went, and was only able to get past Gem with a throw on the line, following a strong win from the brilliant Savannah. Well raced, great to be back out there. I celebrated with a foil wrapped piece of Christmas cake.
Essentially a difficult ask to try and pull away in windy conditions, riding the course the 'wrong' way round.
With the small group sticking together, about half way in I decided to have a dig, making a small break. Shaking off half the field, we then pacelined it for the remainder of the race, with the windy conditions making it impossible to break again.
With a raging headwind on the finishing straight, the sprint was a pretty grim affair. Fair play to talented junior Savannah taking the win, she got a good jump I just couldnt pull back. I was then pipped on the line by Hannah from Les Filles. Headwind sprints do not appear to be my forte.
|2||Hannah||Nicklin||Les Filles Queen of the Mountains|