Photo Chris Maher

Start First UCI race of 2017  
Finish   ✓
Enjoy  ✓

Going into the race having already seen the course I really had no idea how I was going to do. It was only my 4th road race of the year and longest race of the year so far. At best, I thought I would hang on to a group of some description towards the back of the race if I was lucky.
We set off and I thought to myself:
‘My legs actually feel alright!  I might not do completely terrible’
Not that it actually meant anything because I had no indication of how my fitness was compared to anyone else in the race.
Mentally, the race in my head was to the bottom of the climb in order to get a good position at the bottom. If I did this then I will have given myself the best chance I could.
10km before the climb I thought ‘start moving up’
I know I am not the best at holding my position so I had to keep telling myself to constantly move forward and not get swamped.
I was about top 25 at the bottom of the climb, not too bad!
More or less as soon as we hit the climb the bunch started to stretch and gaps appeared. I just rode my own pace and I was very happy with how I was climbing. It gave me a lot of confidence because my form is better than I expected.
A group of 17 up at the front of the race, followed by a group of 6 riders just in front of me and a larger group not far behind me. I was by myself over the crest of the hill.
Photo Chris Maher
Photo Chris Maher
The front 17 riders we wouldn’t see again. After the decent the group behind me and the 6 in front merged to form the main group of the race.
I stayed with this group more or less to the finish. I got distanced with 1km to go when someone crashed in front of me… This stalled me and a gap opened . A gap which I couldn’t close.
I was just so pleased to finish! I did far better than I expected and I feel like I am heading in the right direction to being closer to the pointy end of UCI racing again.
I had a great day out, fantastic support out at the side of the roads. I am sure my sister Rhiannon and her friend Lucy were the loudest people out there cheering/screaming.
I enjoyed every minute of it!

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