As I’ve said before my season has not really gone quite how I thought and hoped it would but things are on the up! It seems like a waste not to put all my hours of training to use so I’ve entered some single discipline races just to see how I fare against single sport athletes. I’ve entered the Stirling 10km and most recently I raced Stirling Bike Club’s Battle of the Braes, and it really was a battle but I finished.
Battle of the Braes is recognised as one of the hardest Regional A races around, very little flat riding you either seem to be going up or down and neither is easy when the roads are pot-holed and really rough, there is never any time to lose concentration or you’ll end up on the tarmac. The race route consisted of 1 large fairly rolling lap and 3 shorter much harder hilly laps.
My first impression of the race was it started very fast, was very buys and I felt very uncomfortable in such a large group but also wondered how I was going to finish while yo-yoing of the back. These feelings were short lived, soon as we hit the first of the hilly laps many of the racers got shelled out the back, the group virtually instantly became much smaller and a higher quality of rider seemed to emerge. I basically sat in the group for the majority of the ride but this was more though my inexperience getting boxed in and pushed into the side so it made it really hard to get to the front or get in a breakaway. I initially thought the race was going to be around 80km mark but to my surprise I crossed the finish line at the 102km mark, 8min behind the winner. I rode for all the way till the last half lap with the front bunch then on the 2nd last real climb just didn’t have enough left in my tank to go with the jump in pace as the rest of the racers started to smell the finish coming. My main issue was I didn’t really bring enough food with me for the whole race, but even if I had enough I’m not sure I would have taken it while being so focused on racing, I was having a blast. After I got dropped I soloed my way to the finish, it was really hard and on the final climbs my legs felt like they were going to explode. I thought it would be a shame to drop out of my 1st road race so the hurt was worth it, not to mention I have always thought as long as I’m still breathing and conscious the race isn’t over till I cross the finish line. My final result was 27th across the line, Second 4th Category rider, I felt my result was very good seeing as over half the field of 80 riders didn’t finish the race which made me feel much better about getting round even if I was dropped. Here’s a couple pictures taken by Robin Wilkins and Owen Philipson respectively.
Image courtesy of Robin Wilkins
Image courtesy of Owen Philipson
Coming up next I have 2 French GP races and my 1st Ironman 70.3 in France, Stirling 10km and potentially a Cross Country mountain bike race.