Race report from supported rider Matthew Kingston M1 It was about 20 degrees and hazy, which was a relief as it would make climbing the infamous long, steep hill slightly more pleasant. The hour-long race consisted of five shorter, rolling, laps on the hilltop, then six full laps, which included a steep descent in to a hairpin and a long, steep hill climb.
For the five top laps I made sure to keep out of trouble and was marking any strong breaks. Holding position was crucial on the fifth lap as everyone wanted to be first to descend on the full circuit. The first of the full laps was tense, heading downhill at just under 50mph in to the left hand hairpin, then on to a rolling downhill ahead of the main climb. I didn’t have a great position at this point going in to the climb (about 20th), forcing me to climb faster than the riders at the front in order to get in to the front split. This split ended up coming back together with about 50 riders in the front group and two riders off the front (the eventual winner and second placed rider).
On the second lap, Emile and another rider broke away on the steep hill and I got in a group of about 15 riders. With a team mate up the road, this gave me the excuse not to chase. I felt good on the hill as leaving work to other riders meant that I could follow attacks and neutralise them to try and help Emile to stay away.
With half a lap to go I attacked, making sure that I brought nobody with me. I bridged to Emile on the brutal climb and passed him. This put me in fourth. However, I went too hard on the climb and blew up on the long drag to the finish line. With about 100 metres to go, I was passed by the group and finished 14th.
I was very happy with my performance as I have improved my climbing from last year; however, I was disappointed with the result as I was so close to finishing fourth.