I had a great weekend at the National champs race. The weather was perfect and the course was excellent. It is being used for the 2014 commonwealth games.
I came home with 2nd place (same as last year). Gutted but happy at the same time.
I arrived on the Friday night with my good friend Matt Dennis (2011 Masters Champion and now a top Elite rider) and the WAGS (wives and girlfriends).
On Saturday morning we went to sign on and practice the course whilst the WAGS went shopping and hit the bar early. The Glasgow course is set to be used for the 2014 commonwealth games and this was essentially the first test event for that.
On arrival the pits were full and the venue looked great, numbers on and we were on course to ride 3 laps and warm up for tomorrow.
As I had ridden it before I was keen to show Matt all the good sections, my eagerness soon ran out as I over jumped a double and hit the corner too fast and ended up in a mess on the floor.
Some blood and dust to start the weekend (at least it wasn’t in the race!).
That afternoon we found the cycling Cafe in Galsgow city and relaxed watching Chris Froome win the 2nd TDF for Britain and cheered on Nairo Quintana the 50kg wonder kid from Columbia!
A few drinks later we all witnessed a Taxi have an accident with another car and end up in the basement of building....! Crazy stuff in the city...
Sunday morning and after a nervous breakfast in the hotel saw me line up on the front of the grid at 11am. An Ok start saw me 4th wheel into the Start loop behind Jonny Pugh (Race favourite), Grant Leavy (my sometime training buddy) and Phil Morris. We hit the start straight again to start the race properly and I powered to the front only to beaten to the singletrack by Grant.
I knew there was one chance before the long descent to get past him and I made sure I did it. I opened a small gap here after maxing out at 40kph on the descent.
I was caught by Jonny and a flying Roger Campbell – Crawford on the next climb and led them both through the first lap...
Lap 2 saw me get overtaken on a small climb by Jonny and pull away for a 10second Gap.
I closed this right down on the last descent and we finished lap 2 together....
Laps 3, 4 and 5 Jonny was pulling away by about 20seconds on the climbing sections and I knew I would have to settle for second place unless he had a mechanical failure.
On thinking this I realised my right shoe cleat had come really loose and I was losing the grip on my pedal, I had half a lap to ride and the rockiest section still to complete and to make it worse looked back to see 3rd place closing in.
The last 5 minutes of the race I rode at 100% concentration and effort to maintain pressure on my pedal and make sure I wasn’t caught.
My worst result for two years has been second place, there was no way I would finish third today.
I didn’t look back and held full gas all the way to the line finishing 90seconds back on Jonny and 30seconds in front of a hard charging Phil. Having had a great race and leaving everything on the course. Grant had a mechanical which I was gutted about.
To finish second place two years in a row is both horrible and equally amazing, I was beaten by a better rider on the day, and that’s all.
Now time for a rest and look forward to some smaller races to finish the season.