Well suddenly the 2012 race season was upon us, and for me that meant pulling on the CNP-Orbea team kit for the first time! The Sherwood course is definitely not one that suits me, but with some hard training over the winter I knew that I had improved a lot on the flatter courses. Going into the race I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I was moving up to the junior category. However I was keen to get stuck in and give the new Orbea Alma bike a good thorough testing!
My new steed for the 2012 season!
The start – which is usually my weakness – went surprisingly well for me considering I was gridded 18th, and I went into the first singletrack around 12th. This wasn’t ideal considering the lack of opportunities so I had to push myself to the limit just to make up 1 or 2 places. I went hard on this lap and found myself moving into 5th, with the leaders group of 4 having created a gap early on. Riding by myself I went for it, but my legs never quite had that snap they needed for the Sherwood course. I kept my head down and caught up with some guys who had been dropped off the lead group but was still trailing around 20 seconds of the leader. Going into the latter stages of the race I was sitting in 3rd with one of my ODP team mates – Mike Thompson - stuck to my wheel and going well!
photo at sherwood by CNP-Orbea
Last lap I pushed hard but my legs felt heavy and my back was also hurting a lot. I tried a few small attacks but realised it was going to come down to a sprint finish for 3rd. Knowing that my sprint has never been great I made sure I was leading into the finish straight and went for it as much as I could. However just metres from the line Mike edged past me and pipped me on the line by less than a wheel length!
As nice as it would have been to get on the podium, I was really happy with my result, but know that my legs still have more in them! And from this I am excited to announce that I have been selected to race the Junior World cup in Houffalize, Belgium as part of team GB! Thanks to the team for the great bioracer kit, Orbea bike with Marzocchi forks and CNP nutritional products.