Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Masters Road Race Champs

I’ve been trying to kid myself I’m still an under 23 for far too long and I’ve got no excuse to carry on pretending anymore since winning the National Masters Championships on Saturday.  For anyone who doesn’t cycle you have to be over 30 to even enter but I tried not to let that put me off.

The championships for the various age categories were held over the weekend in Virginia Water over the courses often used for road racing near Kitsmead Lane and Acoommodation Road.  The women’s race was the first event combined with the men’s over 60s.  Lining up I had no idea what the racing would be like and how having two championships in one race would affect the tactics.  I was only informed that veterans don’t like crashing, which was absolutely fine by me!

I’d spent much of the week before the championships camping in Snowdonia experiencing almost every season available.  It felt like my feet had gone mouldy yet I’d also been sunburnt but I was happy to have enjoyed a week under canvas despite everyone telling me it was a ridiculous idea.  It turned out to be great preparation for a road race all the same, helped along by the numerous tea shops and cafes.  I can particularly recommend the bread & butter pudding from Caffi Gwynant and under no circumstances should you believe anyone who tells you I ate that for breakfast!

Back to the race, my eyes were firmly fixed on Adel Tyson-Bloor (VC Raphael) and Elise Laverick (Look Mum No Hands) whose eyes were also fixed on me it seemed.  Everywhere one of us went the others weren't far behind!  My plan was to watch any early moves but not to attack myself until 4 laps to go on the Staple Hill Circuit but as always seems to happen I found myself attacking while we were still on The Valley End loop.  There were some strong legs on the early laps with the bunch being well strung out up the drag but the elastic never seemed to snap.

With 5 or 6 laps to go (I’m not to sure of the exact amount, my eyes were a bit blurry from then on) I was in a good position on the way up Staple Hill so decided to launch a bit of an attack.  At the top I was on my own but could see Adel and Elise putting in a big effort to catch me.  The men had reportedly sat back and made them do the chasing which was nice for our race but no doubt very frustrating for theirs.  Perhaps something to do with the cake fueled previous week I really wasn’t feeling happy as I tried to stay away from the chasing bunch and my breakfast (a more appropriate bowl of porridge this time) kept threatening to make a re-appearance.  Despite this, I was really happy to start extending my lead and came over the line 1st about a minute and a half ahead of the sprint finish which saw Adel take 2nd and Elise 3rd.

Now I'm just looking forward to my team mates getting old enough to join me for the racing but sadly I'm in for a long wait!

Natalie xxx

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