Not all midweek crit races get a write up, but for this one I’ll make a slight exception. Every Thursday this summer the Cycle Development Pendle Partnership along with Cycle Sport Pendle have hosted midweek crits for every age and category group, their volunteering goes along way to keep events like this running and the passion that is shown from all the volunteers makes this perhaps one of the best midweek circuits races in the country.
Heading into the race I knew I was needing 6 points or a 4th place in one race to progress up to 2nd category, one of my main goals for the season. The race set off at a fast pace with groups splitting from the start, the first of the 5 laps I was chasing to get to the front group as I prefer to start at the back, once I managed to latch on I started trying to get into a rhythm whilst chasing down all the numerous attacks each lap. As the race progressed I could tell no attacks where going to be let go and coming into the last 2 laps I positioned myself within the first 3 riders, as expected coming into the last lap a small gap opened just behind me on one of the final corners, me and another rider in front pushed the pace and coming into the final straight we had a gap of around 5 metres, I decided to hit out for a long sprint, effectively giving the other rider a lead-out but it was worth it. We stayed away and I held on to second place which was better than I expected and now means ive gained my 2nd category licence for next years racing. This result also lead to me placing 6th overall in the league standings for this seasons racing.
CSP Summer Crits.
Having recently gained my second category licence I still decided to race the CSP crits to keep myself fit and see how well I could race after a pretty long and tiring week. Arriving at the start there was some very good riders currently in the race and shortly after the start I decided to turn the pace on and ride on the front to line everyone out and incentivize the other the riders into a mindset of making this a hard hour of racing. Just over 15 minutes in the pace had been consistent and not to many attacks had gone, all had been brought back quickly but I decided to attack from the middle of the bunch just before a tight right corner followed by a long sweeping bend, surprisingly this worked really well, and whilst turning back through the headwind section over the start finish I could see that I had a gap of around 5 seconds.
I put my head down for the next few laps to see if the gap would grow or be brought back. I kept pushing on the pedals committing to my move and the gap was slowly growing. After 20 minutes of being on my own a rider from Bill Nickson Cycles managed to bridge across and the two of us worked together really well; building to a gap of 15 seconds.
Coming into the last 2 laps we could see the gap coming down and really started to take short turns on the front to maximise our advantage. We showed to be strong together and made it to the final turn with around a 5 second advantage over the group. The Bill Nickson rider took up the sprint with 300m to go and I managed to get a good lead out for my sprint, eventually winning by around half a bike length. It felt great to get my first win of the season and gives me great confidence looking forward to next season, where I have plenty goals i’m aiming for.
I’m pretty proud of my consistent season this year, I’ve been around the top 10 in every race I’ve entered and my power keeps rising. In the CSP race at the weekend alone I set my new personal best 30 seconds, 5,10,20 and 30 minutes showing my training is going really well. Now to focus on the remaining races of the year and start training towards the goal of getting my first cat licence next year!