Having found out a few weeks back that I had made the selection to race the Milton Keynes World Cup, the time had soon flown by and it was race day!
Having spent some time on the circuit on Friday I was looking forward to the both the technical and physical demands of one of the best cyclocross circuits I have ever ridden. Very muddy, slippery and lots of running it was going to make for some great but tough racing.
This would be my first Elite World cup and the first world cup I have raced in 6 years since racing regularly as a junior. The atmosphere at the event was amazing, anyone who went or has seen pictures will know just what I mean; it really was packed with supporters for every rider.
The race was always going to be a tough one, let’s face it, I would be racing against the best guys in the world! My aim was to race as hard as I could and try to mix it with the best. I had a grid position towards the back, but I usually have a good start so that wasn’t an issue.
As the gun fired and the 60 strong field raced towards the crazy first corner the atmosphere was amazing! Early into the race I soon found myself struggling to keep a decent pace going. Just not quite as good as I have been lately. Generally I struggled on the day, not by a lot, but I was certainly off the pace so to speak.
The race for me gradually just rode away and left me scrambling to hold onto any respectable position. The experience of the race was fantastic even though I wasn’t having the best day in the office so to speak. The crowds were amazing and made the event as special as it was.
Personally, I was not very happy with my performance, it was just average and that simply doesn’t cut it at world cup level. One of the days it just didn’t quite come together, even so, I had a fantastic experience and was cool to have Pedal Heaven colours racing at world level.
I did manage to finish on the same lap as the leaders and eventually came home 42nd, far from a good result, but that’s what I had to give on the day.
With the world cup over, it was onto the National Trophy at the same venue the day after. A very slight course change removed a long running section, a real bonus for me having struggled with the running yesterday. Having put yesterday behind me, I was very aware of the possibility that I could be leading the Trophy Series depending on how today goes.
A few international riders had stayed over for the national race and this was going to make for another tough day racing. Having spent the morning watching back the video from yesterday’s world cup, I felt I had some good little improvements to make and hopefully help me to have a stronger race.
A second row grid today, not too bad. My plan was to try and ride a smoother race and flow with the circuit rather than battling it like yesterday. As the race rocketed down the fresh tarmac, I was in a better place and feeling more in control then yesterday in the mud.
Almost immediately the top 4 guys rode a bit clear. Three international riders went away and left Ian field just tailing off slightly. With my new found rhythm and smoother technical skills I was racing far better today. Still not at the pace of the top guys, but more competitive today. I soon found myself in 5th place for almost the entire race, not all the far behind Ian to start with.
As the race progressed I was racing against current series leader Jody Crawforth and one Belgian rider. We eventually tailed Jody off and went clear, but soon joined by the legend that is Nick Craig. Coming into the last lap Nick, the Belgian and I were clear of Jody and Steve James.
With half a lap to go, I started to lose a bit of pace and made a couple of small mistakes meaning I had dropped to 7th place and Steve/Jody had closed the gap to me quite a lot.
From this point in my mind I was quite sure I had secured the yellow leaders jersey and I just made sure I got to the finish in one piece. A better day than yesterday and always cool to take the series lead and yellow jersey.
A quality weekend, what an experience.