Stage 2 – by Jo
The circuit race that made for stage 2 went anti-clockwise and through the ‘alpine section’ at the top of the circuit, a new experience for me. Following some self-flagellation for a rubbish run-out in the morning, my focus was on maintaining position towards the front of the fairly large bunch from the off. The pace was high from the start and naturally the hill played its part in making a fairly lung-busting opening.
The wind was strong too and I was careful to slip from one side of the bunch to the other to avoid taking the brunt of it.
Fairly early on, Anna Fischer got away with Lucy Garner, and it was an ominous sign when Lucy slipped back to rejoin bunch. It took some time for anyone else to get away in spite of many attacks. The primes both at the top of the hill and over the finish line kept us pretty busy most of the time. At about half way the intensity was beginning to tell and as I crossed the line at 13 laps to go, I was struggling to hang on to the tail of it. Unlucky for some I thought. Gulp.
This was the first time that I saw Anna, who generously gave me a shout of encouragement as she came past. As the bunch resettled, Helen suddenly made an appearance. Having been lapped she then overtook the whole group to avoid being caught by some chasers herself. This surprise ‘attack’ confused the bunch who responded by upping the pace up the hill and Anna and I dug in again. This show of determination from Helen was one she would pick up the following day.
Once the chase group of three had formed (Lucy Garner, Rohan Battinson and Rachel Bamford), the remaining group had to be content to fight it out at the finish. With all my cunning exhausted I lost contact with the lead group the last time up the hill, whilst Anna stayed in the mix to finish a well deserved 18th.