Women’s Tour of Alexandria

If I’m honest I was rather apprehensive about the first of the British National Women’s road series – the Women’s Tour of Alexandria. Billed as the “toughest course in Europe” I was concerned about how my injuries would cope and expected to be grovelling at the back in pain on the climbs.

Much to my surprise my legs had been feeling really good in the run up to the race. Maybe its the switch to training to power or maybe its the fresh batch of Osmo that’s arrived so I can now use it for every training session… I was surprised because I had PMT and my legs usually feel awful – sore and like I’ve got no power on the bike. It was perfect timing to use Osmo Pre-Load the night before and morning before to see if it would help counter act that. A pre-race spin on my rollers in Hexham high street amused the locals who wandered past. I had a lovely chilled out session – my legs felt amazing, light, fresh and effortless. I was lost in the music on my ipod and the rhythm of my pedalling as dusk approached, looking at the daffidols in the park. 20140416-125855.jpg

Sarah arrived and joined me outside for a while on her turbo. I’ve obviously done my job as brand ambassador for Osmo well enough as Sarah was trying Osmo for the first time, so our night was spent drinking Pre-Load, using the foam roller and (for me) what seems to have become the norm to help my injuries – a cold salt bath.

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An early start was in order on Saturday, and we both drank more Pre-Load on the way there with our warm up starting at 8.15am.

I’d got to the assembly point early, only to then find myself right at the back by the time briefing had started. So as soon as we’d set off I set about moving up on the first climb which was a massive shock to the system as by this point I was stone cold.

The first 20mins of the race were one of the sketchiest 20mins of any race I’ve ever been in. I was mindful to keep moving up where I could as the bunch kept getting strung out and I expected a split at any point.

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There was some nervous inexperienced riders in the bunch and I tried my best to stay away from them but unfortunately one of them fell off going uphill(!!), knocking another rider, Karen from GB Cycles off and into me. I was lucky in that I stayed upright, managing to unclip and get a foot down, leaving my bike to take the impact. And take the impact it did; the damage list is broken spokes in my deep section wheel, possible damage to the carbon and it looks buckled. The mech hanger was ripped off, leaving a bent screw stuck in the frame and my drop out is bent. There’s not a mark on me.

That’s my first crash since I started road racing (this is the start of my third season) and an expensive race to boot – I work full time to fund my love of road racing and there’s little room in the budget for unseen expenses such as this. It was such a stupid crash too and I hope the rider who caused the crashes takes some time to learn to ride in a bunch uphill. Skill is something that a lot of riders neglect over time on the turbo for example, but is something that has been drilled into me since I started racing. Its just as important as being fit and strong. As I stood at the side of the road knowing my race was over after a mere 20mins, neutral service rolled up and then tried to work out what to do with me to get me back to HQ. At that point, Team 22 sponsor Ian from Padon Contracts turned the corner in his van. My saviour – so I was able to get safely back to race HQ and find my car key on route.

And back to Osmo my legs felt great in the brief time I was racing and not how they would normally feel with PMT at all – thank you! I think in hindsight the course might have actually suited me better than my pre-race worries but I’ll find out next year. Thanks to the organiser and helpers for putting on a women only race on closed roads.

I hit the road for home and went straight to Alpine Bikes to get my bike looked at. Big thumbs up to Alpine for helping out and sending my bike of to the Trek hospital where I hope they can fix it. Meanwhile I headed home to take out my frustration at a rubbish day on my winter bike only to find it had been stripped down and not rebuilt…it seemed something out there didn’t want me to ride my bike. Thankfully my other half built it back up the next day so at least I’ve a training bike in the short term even if it is a harsh ride and a tank at that. I have had to make the hard decision to pull out of races in the short term until my bike situation is sorted but on the positive, I’ll get in a decent block of training even if its on my winter bike as everyone is switching to summer bikes, ouch!

Photo credit Padon Contracts

Racing bikes in the sun; my first win of 2014 and a hilly road race

It’s funny how things turn out. I ended up having a really fun weekend of racing down south in hot sunshine yet on early Saturday morning, I wasn’t even sure I was up for racing for some reason.

My journey down south was some what eventful and stressful. I sat in the car park eating my pre race snack of quinoa cake with honey and drinking Osmo Pre-Load. I’d opted for Pre-Load today for hyperhydration – ok so it wasn’t roasting hot, but it was warm and being a short aggressive crit, there’s little chance of fuelling or drinking during the race itself. It was also partly as prep for racing the next day at Capernwray which would be my first hilly road race of the season to make sure I didn’t end up dehydrated before the start line.

The warmth from Natural Hero Hot ginger rub felt good despite the sunshine and I got on with my warm up. Then I was reluctantly standing on the start line for the crit at Salt Ayre which was sponsored by Total Cycle Coach thinking to myself i’d rather be at home on the club chaingang.

That feeling only lasted for as long as it took me to get clipped in, then it was smiles. Eve went for an early attack and stay away for 18mins. I let the other riders do all the work and when the catch was made, I attacked. I didn’t think it would stick. I looked back and saw I had a decent gap as my team mates got on the front. Approaching the start/finish line, the bell rang for the prime lap so I thought i’d plug on and take that for the team. Much to my surprise I took the prime with ease. I felt pretty chuffed with that. The gap was bigger when I looked back.

All thoughts of keeping my legs fresh for the race at Capernwray the next day went out the window. There was only here and now. I’d deal with tomorrow when it arrived. I rode the rest of the race with my head. It sounds a weird thing to say, but all the marginal gains added up and each lap the time gap grew. I used the tailwind to add on more gears and up the speed, carrying speed into the hairpin and pedalling through it before dropping a gear into the headwind to spin my legs a bit more and delay the fatigue. I was mindful going round the course to take the fastest lines. The gap gew to 30secs. Two lines from songs randomly popped into my head: “You can go hard or you can go home” by will.i.am and Eminem’s Lose Yourself “if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment, would you capture it or let it slip away”. Focus. Breathe. I sat at my threshold HR because that it felt good and was enough to keep the time gap increasing without blowing up.

Pedal. Breathe. Focus. I looked at my garmin, 30mins of the race had passed and the gap was steadily increasing. I could see the bunch through gaps in the trees. I wished the comms had decided the race would be 40mins instead of 45mins as I started to hurt pushing into the wind. Colin who was at the finish line shouted (encouragingly) at me each lap to keep going, and the comms did a great job of keeping me motivated with the time checks.

Soon it was a 40 sec gap and I was gaining on the bunch. 40mins came and went. I began to suffer. 3 laps to go. My hamstrings weren’t used to this kind of effort and started to complain a lot. I did what I do best in racing and blocked out the pain. I was still increasing the time gap because there was no way I was easing up to enjoy the last 3 laps as I had no idea what was happening in the bunch. I saw Eve attack at least once. On and on I went, round and round. I was hoping moral in the bunch would have dropped when they realised they wouldn’t catch me and they’d start playing a waiting game with each other for the sprint. But I couldn’t count on that so I kept my effort on until I was about 100m away from the line – and by that point I was around 150m away from lapping the field! It was a great feeling! I’d also won the prime and prize for most aggressive rider so our team took away most of the prize money as Jess lead Eve out for 2nd place, Sarah 4th and Jess got 7th after her stunning leadout for Eve. I love the photo finish where you can see Jess with her hand in the air as Eve crosses the line. Huge thanks to Jess, Sarah and Eve for getting on the front of the bunch and letting me get away.

winning

The race had been a harder effort than I’d planned so I opted for Osmo Acute Recovery with almond milk before my cool down, then 2 hours later a second protein shake and a cold bath followed by Natural Hero peppermint spray. I’m actually a recent convert to the peppermint spray, usually prefering heat but the cooling effect on my legs was bliss!

Waking up early on Sunday morning (no thanks to the clocks changing for less sleep than normal!) I went through my usual race rountine. Anytime I squatted down to pick something up (i squat whenever i can these days to continue to build up my strength!) my hamstrings screamed in pain at me. Hmm. Other than that, i felt good. The hot ginger rub provided a lovely heat to my quads just before I got on the rollers to warm up. I actually could have done with some new hamstrings because during my warm up my hamstrings were tired and sore. No time to worry about that though.

The neutralised start took us to the top of Sunny Bank climb and it was during this time up it that I learned its not a climb that suits my riding style. At the top, the flag dropped, and Eve picked up the pace. The first lap saw several attacks, including one from Jen who was racing despite suffering from a wisdom tooth infection. A break of around 9 got away on the second lap but we didn’t really work together properly – sometimes we chainganged but then other times riders would come blasting through and attack or sit on the front. Eve told me there was a chasing group of 3, one of which included Sarah from our team. The 3 chasers caught us as a result of the breaks lack of organisation.

The break

The break

The race was uneventful other than the attacks – none of which were allowed to get away. Coming into Sunny Bank climb for the 3rd time I could feel my hamstrings start to cramp. I knew from the prime laps who was likely to win or podium and I also knew that today it wasn’t going to be me given the state my hamstrings were in – i’m delighted that they are working now but they aren’t used to working in hilly races yet! I grabbed some more to drink and hoped my hamstrings would settle down. I ignored them for the last lap but every climb really hurt and I mean really hurt. Cramp is evil. Coming into Sunny Bank for the final time, Jo and Karen from GB Cycles went for a long attack from the bottom. I weighed up my options and decided they’d both blow up before the top so didn’t go with them. The more I climbed, the worse my hamstrings got. Ahead I could see Jo and Karen who had opened up a gap, going on to take 1st and 2nd place. I was a rather sorry state grovelling up the climb with cramp but decided I’d grit my teeth one last time to see if i could take the 2 riders in front of me. I stood up to go and the cramp immediately got worse and I sat straight back down again to take 10th, having lost 30 secs on the winners in the final 1km climb! Eve faired better than me on the final climb, despite having put in an effort to take the primes and took 5th. Sarah got 12th and Jen 16th.

Crossing the line in agony with cramp about to fall off my bike

Crossing the line in agony with cramp about to fall off my bike

With the stunning weather and the first of the National Series races fast approaching, we headed out to get some more miles in our legs. It was a social ride, enjoying the sunshine, blue sky and looking at the lambs in the field. There was some muttering about the hills and terrain on tired legs from the race, most of it from me as my poor hamstrings and glutes wondered why I was trying to kill them but it was a great to ride in shorts and a short sleeved jersey in March!

Many thanks to everyone who has helped me on my path to recovery and full strength over the last 6 months including Colin, George and my other half Andy.

Thanks to Total Cycle Coach and Graham Atkinson for the photos.

Why I choose Osmo and a week of serious DOMs….

Osmo Nutrition is about hydration, not fuel or carbs. Given I race short distances (women’s road racing in the UK is no more than 100km) it may seem a strange choice of product to choose. I’d done my research and what appealed to me out of all the sports products on the market was Skratch Labs or Osmo. Osmo won on the basis that the products are women specific as they recognise the affect our hormones have on our bodies during exercise and recovery. So although I am brand ambassador for their products, I do it because I choose to, not simply because I get free stuff thrown my way. I was so happy to read the science behind the products and realise that its not just all my head. Its my physiology.

We have 2 hormone phases each month. In the low hormone phase we are physiologically similar to men in our carb metabolism and recovery. High intensity intervals = no problem, bring on the pain, I feel invincible. Racing? Yes please! Fully recovered and ready to go again? You bet.

During the high phase, well… high estrogen makes us spare glycogen and increases the amount of fat we use for fuel — not good for road racing. High progesterone delays the sweat response, core temperature goes up, sodium loss inreases and blood plasma volume decrease meaning exercise feels harder. I personally lack instant energy during this phase – long training rides are fine but high intensity intervals are a disaster as if i’m training to HR I often don’t get where I should be and I get hot – like uncomfortably internally hot rather than sitting in 30deg sun hot – and my muscles don’t feel right. The over heating is the first symptom I get and one of the worst.

Looking back over my data on Training Peaks, I can clearly see the affect this has on my races. During the low phases I have my best form even if i’m coming off a big block of training. During the high phases – especially if its combined with a taper week – I have my worst race performances. Its not a case of wtfu or mind over matter. I love to suffer but for a while I simply can’t, my body won’t do what it should. I relied on gels to try to block out this feeling but they aren’t a magic solution for my hormones by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not sure why I feel worse when I taper but i do. I’ve just switched to training to power so I’m interested to see if the power numbers reflect HR numbers with this knowledge, and how Osmo will help me longer term. When I’ve done some longer term testing I’ll share my experiences with you.

But for now I’m off to look after myself ahead of a crit race, road race and team training ride over the weekend! I’ve spent this week with serious DOMs from my physio exercises. Working full time with (usually) two races at the weekend means I end up doing 2 weighted physio exercise sessions back to back, on top of training and normal (unweighted) physio exercises. I’m finally beginning to see big progress both on and off the bike with my injuries and strength in my glutes, hamstrings and core, but that comes at a price – DOMs! Six months ago I was asked to tense my glutes and hamstrings during a physio assessment. My physio said: “umm, i said tense them”. Me: “I am, as hard as i can”. Followed by a stunned silence from him. Today I tensed both my hamstrings and glutes and can feel the difference – there is finally muscle there and they are working! Woop woop! I’ve finally worked out how to ease the DOMs – foam roller, then a warm bath with epsom salts and Natural Hero hot ginger soak , followed by the Natural Hero peppermint spray and holding some long yoga poses.

As my body changes and I begin to use different muscles, I’m discovering that my once perfect bike fit no longer works for me – I can’t get far enough forward to sprint or climb properly (which activates my core and glutes that I’m working hard to build up) and I end up hitting my knees off the bars when I climb and sprint (!) so I’m off for a bike fit next week. Safe to say I’ve come a long way since my last bike fit when I was 100% quad dominant!

Brand Ambassador for Natural Hero

Very happy that I’m now a brand ambassador for Natural Hero

I’ve been using Natural Hero products for a few years now, having been recommended them by fellow brand ambassador @xfmgirl (she’s worth a follow on twitter). The hot ginger rub comes everywhere with me – it’s been to Majorca, Lanazarote, Ireland and across the UK. I love the fiery heat from it pre and post training and have recently started using it before races to keep my injured areas warm when training especially in cold and wet conditions (so most of the time in Scotland then!)

It’s very important to me that I use as natural products as I can, and Natural Hero has over 98% natural ingredients and is also WADA approved.

Thanks for the goodies which are really needed this week! natural hero stuff

A weekend of sunshine, chaingangs and crit racing

On Saturday I headed out for my first chaingang in 7 months to ‘open up’ my legs before Sunday’s crit. It was great to see everyone after so long, and I had a lot of fun. We had a tailwind on the way out and it was pacey before I turned off and headed for home to chill out. The chaingang is probably the best thing I could have done as it gave me a big confidence boost in how my injuries are progressing – I’m getting stronger as the weeks go on, and my weak muscles are getting used to race intensity. I was more than capable of working in the chaingang and felt comfortable aerobically so hopefully this is a sign of a good season to come. Big thanks to Tom and another guy for stopping to help me with my mechnical and towing me back onto the group. Nothing quite like a mechanical as your chaingang group leaves, and slowly all 100+ riders who’d been waiting to ride all leave too…

Total Cycle Coach arrived on Saturday afternoon to support me in Sunday’s race and we headed to my local cafes to spend the afternoon drinking tea and eating cake.

On Sunday we woke up to more spring sunshine, and packed up the car to head to Stirling for Crit on the Campus. I sipped on my newly delivered supply of Osmo Nutrition. on the way there, made a minor pit stop for more coffee and gave my legs a rub down with Natural Hero hot ginger rub – quite apt as they were sponsoring the race. Big thumbs up for sponsoring women’s cycling! I had a good warm up on the rollers, decided it was warm enough for shorts and short sleeve jersey so took my layers off and made my way to the start line in shorts. Unfortunately we were then to hang around for 40mins before the race itself got going and by this point I was full on shivering and definitely not ready to race.

I knew it wasn’t going to be a nice start as a result of being so cold. We had a neutralised lap and I assumed we’d just go straight into the race after it. Two riders led the way and I stayed second wheel back, close behind them so I’d be in a good position coming into the start line. However we were all pulled in for more briefing. I think by this point my body had just about had enough of being so cold and stop/start exercise and when we were finally allowed to get going, I mucked up clipping in, losing valuable places going into the first corner.

Finally I got clipped in and then going into the first ramped chicane, I got cut up by a novice rider who didn’t hold her line through it and that was my chance of getting in a break gone in the first 30 seconds. The field of 34 was blown to pieces in that time scale, and a break had gone which included Katie Archibald, Kayleigh Brogan and Jane Barr. Initally I was stuck in no mans land with riders behind me, and a few stragglers in front of me, I worked hard to chase them down and to try to warm up. It wasn’t fun though and it was really tough to warm up and get going. Finally I was in what remained of the bunch with riders dotted around in the course in small groups or solo. At one point I tried to talk to a rider next to me but my face was so cold I couldn’t!

Loving the technical course. Photo credit The Press Room

Loving the technical course. Photo credit The Press Room

Rather frustratingly only 3 or 4 of us in the bunch were working. Occassionally we got a gap but then those that had been sitting in came blasting past and sat on the front. Maddy from VC Moulin and I plotted to go with 2 laps to go, but in the end, I ended up having a dig with 1 lap to go but the gap wasn’t big enough to stick and I knew I’d get caught so sat up and moved back onto a wheel to recover. My positioning coming into the final corner had always been perfect every time aside from the last time. Flora snuck through a gap to my right to go for an early sprint and a rider tried to push into a non existent space on my left between me and the kerb so there was a fraction of a second where I couldn’t do anything then was able to react, move and sprint, taking 7th place behind Flora and Maddy.

Personally I was able to take a lot of positives from the race despite being so cold and my clipping in incident, and I headed off after the race to get some miles in and finally get warmed up on the bike. Big thanks to Colin for coming up to support me and an even bigger thumbs up to Stirling Bike Club for putting on a top race with equal prize money for women. Stars!

Next up for me is another crit race followed by round 3 of the women’s CDNW league at Capernwray.

Expectations, going backwards to go forwards.

The more I train and race, the more my expectations move. I started this season expecting to feel much better than I did this time a year ago. I’d had a consistent winter and worked so hard to improve my back injury and increase hamstring and glute strength. On paper, it all looked good. In reality…well, my race legs are missing and haven’t been since since the 2nd day of the Ras na mBan when I got injured. On one hand its great that my hamstrings and glutes are stronger and working. On the other, they aren’t strong enough yet or used to racing, and as a result of not using my quads as much, I have less power than I did this time last year when I was only quad dominant. Longer term, I’ll be even stronger and more efficient which is great, but short term, I’m going backwards to go forwards. It’s been a tough 3 weeks adjusting my expectations around this, knowing I’m looking at 8months – 1 year to back to full strength. I’m doing all I can to get there, I just need to trust in myself and everyone who is helping me get there.

Last weekend I headed back down south and first up was a crit at Salt Ayre sponsored by Total Cycle Coach. that I’d been at the weekend before. I got off to a decent start and felt fine. Eve attacked early and I sat in to cover any moves. After a while there was an attack and I stood up to go and couldn’t! My legs were unresponsive, full of fluid and it felt like my hamstrings were being torn with every pedal stroke. A gap opened up with initally a group of 5 and Jess was on my wheel. I stayed calm and figured I’d just chase back on as the gap wasn’t that big but i started to go backwards. Jess came off my wheel to pass me and I couldn’t turn my legs enough to go with her. The break contained all the race favourites and went onto stick, with team mates Eve coming 2nd and Jess coming 4th – another good result for the team! As for me, I was stuck in no mans land, cooking wearing too many layers (it had been snowing at home the day before the race in my defence!) I mulled over my options, bearing in mind I was racing the next day: stay where I am and work hard or sit up and be caught. My attitude in racing is Never Say Die so I got my head down and worked and worked. It had been a long time since my legs had felt this hideous or since I’d been in a position like this but I was able to hold the break at the same distance and the chasers behind me.

Feel grim on my own

Feel grim on my own

I eventually caught a girl who’d been dropped and sat up to work with her. In hindsight this was a mistake as the pace was slower and 2 chasers bridged across. The last few laps were a bit of a game as we swung across the circuit, fighting for second and third wheel back. Flora Gillies went long from 4th wheel and I kicked from 3rd wheel, taking 7th in the end.

I cooled down and then headed further south to Chester where I was staying with my friend Gina from Chester RC. She was a top host, cooking me an amazing tea and driving me round the course so I could see it. I was concerned at the state of my legs which still felt sore and full of fluid.

The next day my legs still didn’t feel as good as normal so I rubbed them down with Natural Hero ginger rub and kept them warm as I signed on and carried out my usual pre-race faff. The sun was shining and I was able to race in summer kit. Woop!

Feeling much happier today, racing in bioracer summer kit :)

Feeling much happier today, racing in bioracer summer kit :)

After the neutralised start, I quickly realised that today I was on form…maybe I needed yesterday’s harder effort to open up my legs! I loved today’s race – its been the first one I’ve actually enjoyed this season and needed to enjoy it as I’ve been questioning myself a lot recently. I chose to work a lot to stay near the front and to get in a decent workout too, and was confident it wouldn’t affect my finish if I fuelled properly and hydrated well. There was a lot of attacks but none stuck, not even the 8 strong chaingang I managed to get going as my team mates sat on the front of the bunch to disrupt the chase. Crashes and hills had whittled the bunch down.

on the front chester

I tried out different gears on the finishing climb each lap and settled on a gear I wanted to use for the finish. Coming into the sprint finish, Jen said she’d give me a lead out but we lost each other as everyone jostled for places. Gina ended up on the front, and did her usual “I’m on the front, PANIC, time for a loooonng sprint”. This meant we started sprinting on the flat before the climb which meant I was in the wrong gear (slightly too hard) for the actual climb itself. Jen took her 2nd win of the season, Gina 2nd, Eve pipped me on the line for 3rd and I got 4th. Great team work again today and top team result again. I was just happy to have enjoyed racing today and be feeling better leg wise.

We headed out for a team ride in the sunshine after a race – a bit surreal wearing shorts and a s/s jersey in March – and then it was time to head home. 4 and a bit hours later, I arrived to a cold damp Scotland, and then had to spend the night doing my physio exercises – no rest for the wicked!

I’ve a weekend off racing and a rare weekend at home which I’m looking forward too.

Photo credit: Paul Best and Graham Atkinson.

Early season races

The week between our team training weekend and my first races of 2014 flew by in the blink of an eye. I’ve never known a working week to pass as fast as last week did!

After some acupuncture I had a few days of feeling wiped out and so emotional for no reason. I was craving heat, comfort, my duvet and feeling massively sorry for myself. It’s not the first time acupuncture has had this effect but I was a bit concerned with it being so close to racing. I hadn’t helped matters by doing an early morning turbo session on water and electrolytes. I’m not sure I’ve ever sweated as much during a turbo session before, and despite 2 750ml bottles in 1.5hours, I was so dehydrated after the session. I think its safe to say now that my training has ramped up its time to start using Osmo active hydrate during every session!

I began to pick up a little on Friday thankfully, and the feeling was replaced with excitment and some nerves. Friday was spent packing, cooking meals for the weekend, physio exercises and my usual pre race spin on the rollers. Oh, and work too. I tried not to think about the weekend too much as I was over excited as it was and it was just a waste of energy. I failed.

Saturday was an early start with a quick stop to pick up some cake at the local chocolate shop / cafe for my coach. I arrived with plenty of time to kill before the crit race which was 45mins + 5 laps. I had lots of coffee and water during the journey, followed by Osmo Pre-Load. Pre-Load is something I’ll only be using in my priority races, stage races, when its mega hot (ha, in Scotland this is rare!) or during intense short races (like a crit) where I might struggle to take on board fluid during a race. Having tried Pre-Load in training, I’m confident it works and that it makes a difference, but I’d never tried the full dose so my first early season races are a bit experimental as I try the full dose to see what works for me.

The early morning ice and frost gave way to rain, which then cleared to sunshine! It was still cool though so I opted to wear my team gillet for the race – what a great piece of race kit, thank you Bioracer for top quality kit! The crit race was fun, and despite it being our first team race of the year, we worked well as a team with good communication. Eve took the win and primes, I was 3rd and Jess 4th and 1st junior. Thanks to Total Cycle Coach for sponsoring the women’s race.

salt ayre finish

After a cool down it was time for a much needed coffee before heading further down south to my coaches house where I was staying for the second weekend in a row (thanks for hosting me!). My recovery time included my physio exercises so it wasn’t exactly all that relaxing, followed by Natural Hero’s hot ginger rub and elevating my legs for 30mins as I tried to stay awake, with the 4 hours of travelling having caught up on me.

Sunday was a 50km road race on a circuit that more resembles a crit race with primes at laps 10 and 5, its wide, with one section into the headwind and mostly flat. The start sheet had 74 women on it which was exciting to see. I was glad the rain stopped so I was able to get in a decent warm up on the rollers.

In the zone warming up

In the zone warming up

I had Pre-Load again. This is the full dose and I’m now happy it works for me in races, and when combined with Active Hydrate in my bottle, I was hydrated despite not drinking for the first 30mins of the race as the peloton was sketchy with touches of wheels, various shouts and screams and a crash – so I decided I’d keep both hands on the bars until it settled down.

The blue and orange train in action

The blue and orange train in action

It was another great result for the team with Eve taking the primes, Jen winning the bunch sprint finish, Eve and Sarah in the top 10 and Jess just outside the top 20. I was 18th and pretty upset with my own result having got cut up in the sprint finish when a rider changed her line mid sprint and I pulled / strained something in my leg as I reacted to this. Even the team result couldn’t cheer me up as I didn’t leave the race feeling I’d done the best I could as a result of getting cut up but I guess I can be thankful I stayed upright. The drive home wasn’t fun and I was in agony any time I had to put weight on my leg, but I really enjoyed my recovery drink of Osmo recovery with espresso in it – it kept me wide awake and full of enery for the 4 hour drive home. I’m lucky to have a great support team around me and my physio George gave me some advice on the drive home. So far I seem to be able to cycle ok so I’ll just see how I go this week in training before racing at the weekend.

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