|View from the B&B window|
I'm not sure if I regret Friday night's meal or not. The Kings Arms in Reeth served the best pub chilli con carne I've ever had and it was a HUGE portion. Needless to say I polished it off fairly quickly!
Saturday morning saw us wander round Richmond for a little while before having lunch in Reeth and then meeting up with Jack for the ride out to recon the Stang. Riding out of the village, I thought I was going to have a heart attack, even at 200w I felt like I'd never ridden a bike before! 4 miles later and we were cruising up the Stang, with a brisk tailwind helping us along as I knocked out a few short efforts to open up my legs. Nothing spectacular with the first run in about 10.40 and the 2nd at 11.34.
It then turned out that we'd battered our way into a headwind on the way to the Stang and 10minutes later we'd flown back into Reeth for another visit to the cafe!
Obviously the night before the Nationals I'd choose the healthy option for dinner, sausage and mash! It was then an early night, even with an extra hour in bed!
|Jack on his way up the Stang|
I had to wait for Jack to get back - I only had a 50t chainring on and had forgotten to bring any spares, with the roaring tailwind thankfully I'd got my 11 sprocket back in action but I intended to borrow Jack's Quarq Elsa powermeter to replace the Quarq Cannondale I had on my S-Works. Stripping the cranks off Jack's left me scratching my head - there was no way I could get the Cannondale ones off mine with out a specific tool. It would be easier to swap the chainrings.... then I realised I had a compact and not a standard. After a short panic, I just decided to get on with the job at hand!
This season I've probably not warmed up for most events as well as I should have, it's been too wet most of the time! Luckily being out of the rain I managed to get my legs going on Jack's CycleOps turbo - which is much better than mine! I'd actually remembered some earphones, got olbas oil up my nose and enjoying a nice healthy can of coke! My warm up itself probably wasn't the best, but it got the legs warm and before long it was time to go.
|Perhaps I overcooked the start! Photo - Rob Shields|
As I rolled out over the cattle grid and on to the moor the road ramped up and I got the full force of the wind blowing me sideways across the road - this was where it was really going to hurt after that first 3 minutes. It might have been at this section where I knew I had to push on and get some speed that I lost the race. This was tough going, it was at this point where you really didn't want to be on the bike!
With the road leveling, I went to put it into the 50t ring - and the front mech didn't budge. I knew I just had to get on, so as I hit the descent the chain finally changed as I dropped through the rollers - hitting 36.7mph - and recovering slightly from the initial efforts.
Over the rollers I just caught my minute man Ben Lane and I tried to keep it in the big ring and make full effect of the tailwind by standing up. I just didn't have it in me, so there I was back in the small ring, just wishing for the line to be in sight! It would be a big-ring finish, but as I got out of the saddle with 200m to go, the acceleration caused me to wheelspin just as a gust of wind caught me - I thought I was joining the sheep on the moorside!
|I was glad to be here! Photo - Trevor Gornall|
After the horrific descent back down (it was slower than the climb back up!) I was soon back in the car getting warm and changed. Becky soon came running over, "You got third!" I was in a bit of disbelief at this - I had to ask several times if this was correct! I'd not held myself as a favourite for this climb, I knew I had potential to win, but I also knew I'd been below par for the whole season; I've not been able to dig as deep and I'd not won a single climb. Yet this 3rd place was worth a win on any other climb, it would mean seven consecutive years on the podium - no-one else has ever achieved this! Of my 10 National Championships now ridden, only once, in 2004, have I finished outside the top 6 - being 19th.
It was to be no surprise that Tejvan Pettinger had won - he's been flying this year and despite upping my game for the Nationals, it wasn't enough. James Gullen also did a stunning ride to just miss out on the win. It's just a shame I didn't pace myself a bit better to push these to even harder!
So now to forget about trialing for a while and just enjoy riding. Next year's Nationals is on Pea Royd Lane in Stocksbridge once again, I was 2nd here in 2009 and I have a feeling I can go one better in 2014!
A big thanks to all those who supported me this season - Mike Vaughan Cycles as ever and Bob at Cyclepowermeters who have both helped me with equipment and training.
|My trusty supporters, just before drowning out the PA!|
Here's the ride on Strava for those of you who have made it this far!