Sherwood Pines is a funny race. I’ve never been very good at it and on Sunday, I had no grit with which to step up and take it on. I was utterly outclassed by the Belgian Champ and British Academy riders and did not even attempt to respond! Choosing battles at this stage in my season is what it’s all about so on the fast, flat, twisty course Sunday was more of a battle with myself really.
If you miss the lead bunch in the fist few minutes, you are going to go backwards at Sherwood Pines. Out of the wheels of your competitors and without them to keep your pace high, you are dependent on your own ability to keep your heart rate and leg speed high, neither of which I found I could manage after a week spent knocking lumps out of myself with the British squad at Dalby. Alice Barnes and Beth Crumpton seemed to ping back a bit better that I managed after our week of training and worked hard up front with the amazing Annie Last to keep in touch with the race lead.
Lumping round the course alone and empty of fight, any momentum I had drained away after stopping to gas a slow puncture on lap 4 although being over taken by 3 chasing riders gave me something to aim for in the final 2 laps which I was strangely grateful for.
In the end I finished 7th and broken but with my sprit intact. Keeping this race in context and perspective, I fully anticipate bouncing back to form for the British Champs this Sunday in Ludlow (where I am now, sipping coffee and passively recovering from my ordeal!).
After defending my British Champ jersey this weekend its straight into the Commonwealth Games athlete village in Glasgow where the real battle is to be fought on 29th. I’m packing the Saltire Onsie. Go Scotland!