|The tough run up|
It was just great to be able to walk around the different team camper vans and talk to the elite riders. They all seemed so amenable and friendly.
|Helen Wyman loved it|
For me, the highpoint was the women's race. I have to say it was a really momentous occasion standing on the long run-up watching women I knew battling it out against the world's elite. It seemed quite surreal.
I have written a few accounts of the event for Sportsister and for Cycling Weekly on-line and in the magazine, but I would just like to share other thoughts.
The course looked pretty mean as well. People described it as a more challenging World Cup course - more like a World Championship course. It's only when you see it for real that you get a full perspective of just how tough these courses are, how steep the hills are, and how muddy it can get. Even just walking around the course was challenging at times - I was worried I would slip and fall on the bankings!
The following day the National Trophy race was held on the same course, which meant us mortals could have a go on it. I had hummed and haa'ed about whether or not to enter it - then 5 minutes before the deadline a couple of weeks before I started my on-line entry. I typed in personal details, then I proceeded to the payment page and typed in those details. Suddenly I got a message saying "payment unsuccessful" - I was 30 seconds passed the midnight deadline and the system had rejected my entry. I don't think that was a bad thing!
As a spectator to the race last Saturday, judging by the looks on the faces of the junior men, who looked at times like they were going to cry, and even some of the women who looked exhausted going round, it was a good job I spared myself the humiliation and also the potential waste of £25 and the cost of a night in a hotel. I am not sure I would have got in even one lap before being pulled out of the race!
I have lots of quotes from riders that have not been used in my write-ups so I will put them out in future posts.
|An exciting finale to a great race to the women's race|
(Photo: Bart Hazen)