Stage 3 – by Helen
It was another early start to get us to Saffron Walden for 8am. I don’t think days should begin in the hour of 5, but sometimes they do.
The following dawned on me over that weekend: that there are similarities between bike races and music festivals. There’s the pre-event excitement, packing all your stuff and forgetting your hairbrush, stocking up on baby wipes (I don’t clean my bike with anything else), lack of sleep, weird eating patterns, seeing the sunrise (although revellers will be thinking of retiring, whilst the cyclist will be just getting ready to go), and on Sunday a further resemblance was added: the portaloo.
Due to some miscommunication the facilities at HQ were not available, and just when we were all hesitantly looking for suitable foliage someone discovered a portaloo. Never has a plastic cabin been such a welcome sight.
Jo, Anna and I went into Sunday’s road race with a complex game plan called surviving. In a field of the quality we were in (comprising a ridiculous number of Olympic and Olympic Development Squad riders, professionals, national champions and sheer badasses) this seemed like the best plan. Whilst Jo and Anna had redeemed themselves in the crit on Saturday, my performance had remained under par, so I really needed to stick in with the bunch.
Almost instantly, I went wayward!
Within a couple of miles of starting a lone rider was out front chasing the lead car, and somehow I had managed to push away from the peloton and got over to her. I can’t really explain it, but I imagine that riding with the bib of my shorts hanging down provided me with the distraction I needed to get away.
As nobody pulled through, my new-found friend, Brit Tate from Dirtwheels Cycles of Otley, and I started re-attacking off the front. This was perhaps not the wisest for me, while she was strong, I was just impatient, but this was a lot of fun too.
Then the inevitable counter-attack happened which prompted me floating backwards through the pack and yo-yo-ing off the back. But what did I care? I had already raced beyond myself, and I was stupidly pleased.
Eventually I did fall off the back properly, but as luck would have it for me the race was stopped up ahead to let the men’s support race finish so I was able to re-join. Naturally that is annoying for those who had successfully stayed in the bunch, including Jo and Anna, as all those dropped re-joined…although we all seemed to get spat out again in the same order but in reverse so no harm done. Plus some angels at the side of the road gave us more desperately needed water (thank you!).
Clearly I missed the winning move when 2 riders rode clear of the peloton, but on the bright side there was a point when I was on Lucy Garner’s wheel (young Motorpoint wonder), next to Laura Trott (Laura Trott!!!), with Hannah Barnes (see note on Lucy) on my wheel, and Emma Grant in sight. I can’t wait to tell my grandchildren!
Anna and Jo held onto the bunch throughout like honey badgers onto a lion’s privates. With Anna providing amusement for Jo as the pre-race coffees (in hindsight a slight overdose) turned her into a non-family friendly version of Muttley.
Fu’assafu’ssarasckum racing fu’ckarrrsskum lines fu’ckarrussum stopping…. (Compliments to chococristy at deviantart.com. This is genius.)
Losing the bunch on the last lap, I time trialled to the end in the sunshine with Metallica playing in my head (thank God it wasn’t Enya). Dropped my chain and still held my place. My overall position was exactly what it was last year, but what a weekend!
Jo and Anna had finished in the bunch, and mustered the strength to sprint across the line. Overall Anna finished in the top 20 which is a brilliant result, and Jo, who hasn’t done this race before finished 23rd – no mean feat! Badgertastic!
Thanks to all those involved in organising and running the event. Superb commissairing as always. Congratulations to Anna Fischer – she’s an absolute animal (that’s a compliment) – on winning the Giro, Lucy on winning the series, Lowri on winning the race and Rohan for getting in the winning breaks twice. Respect to all the racers.
Final Overall GC
1 Anna Fischer Abus Nutrixxion 4:03:55
2 Rohan Battison For-Viored-Brookvex @ 1:30
3 Lowri Bunn Abergavenny RC @ 2:27
4 Lucy Garner Motorpoint @ 2:52
5 Rachel Bamford Dirtwheels Cycles of Otley @ 3:46
6 Elinor Barker Cardiff Ajax @ 4:14
7 Emma Grant Private Member @ 4:15
8 Laura Trott 100% ME @ 4:19
9 Hannah Barnes Motorpoint @ 4:21
10 Amy Roberts For-Viored-Brookvex @ 4:35
11 Sarah Byrne Abergavenny RC @ 4:43
12 Penny Rowson Horizon Fitness RT @ 4:47
13 Lauren Creamer Abergavenny RC @ 4:49
14 Delia Beddis Inverse / Cyclaim RT @ 4:54
15 Clare Leaver Team Zappi’s @ 4:55
16 Kimberley Ashton Jersey CCC @ 4:58
17 Anna Grundy Look Mum No Hands @ 5:04
18 Laura Massey Inverse / Cyclaim RT @ 5:05
19 Adel Tyson-Bloor VC St Raphael @ 5:11
20 Ella Sadler-Andrews Horizon Fitness RT @ 5:20
21 Eve Dixon Maxgear @ 5:32
22 Brit Tate Dirtwheels Cycles of Otley @ 5:33
23 Joanne McRae Look Mum No Hands @ 5:37
24 Laura Murray Velocity 44 Stirling @ 6:47
25 Iona Sewell Squadra Donne @ 7:02
26 Dyanne Holland Inverse / Cyclaim RT @ 7:27
27 Gabriella Shaw For-Viored-Brookvex @ 9:55
28 Anda-Jay Burgess Sandy Wallace @ 10:44
29 Molly Weaver Halesowen A and CC @ 12:28
30 Siobhion McNamara Inverse / Cyclaim RT @ 12:55
31 Helen McKay Look Mum No Hands @ 13:33
32 Rebecca Eagger Cambridge CC @ 13:57
33 Joanna Le Coq Inverse / Cyclaim RT @ 20:44
34 Nicole Oh Pearson CC @ 20:57
35 Nicole Walters Primal Europe @ 20:58
36 Coralie Glaunes Pearson CC @ 22:28
37 Crystal Lane Abergavenny RC @ 26:23
38 Averil Milligan Cambridge CC @ 32:08
39 Vikki Filsell Pearson CC @ 44:35
PS Can’t wait for next year!