Hi, I’m back on the blog writing bang wagon! Sorry, i have missed a few blogs but I’m updating you with my latest race at Bank Holiday weekend…
Me and my team, Bike Pure, were honoured to be accepted as a team to ride in the Woman’sBedford 3 Day Tour organised by Jon Miles, which contained off 5 stages. Your probably thinking, how is this possible in 3 days? But it meant that we had to do a couple of races on the same day. The race started Saturday 3rd May with Stage 1, as a 50 km road race which started at 1:30pm giving enough time for all the riders and teams to arrive, getting ready for the first stage of the Bedford 3 Day! I was quite optimistic going into the first stage, as i had never done Bedford before nor done as much racing on the road in the UK. I went into the race with an open mind and staying positive, as when we drove around the course it had 3 good kicks init which as people know, are not my strongest points. However, i proved this all wrong! In Stage 1, i gained a 7th placing out of 90 women who were competing in this race. It was mental! I felt quite strong throughout the race, staying in the middle of the bunch and allowing the rest off the peloton to do all the work, basically pulling me along. When it came to the last lap, i thought I’m still here, even though it is an uphill finish i have a good chance! I positioned myself in the top 5 for the bottom of the climb, this is where the sprint all exploded and started… I just powered my way up, overwhelmed that i could only see the finish line in front of my eyes with no other riders in front of me bar Grace Garner. I will be honest, i actually cried when i crossed the finish line! I was just so overwhelmed with happiness in what i had just done and the people i just beat as a first year junior!! Wow, just WOW!! But with my team as well, we are positioned very highly in this race all 6 of us getting in the top 60!! Myself 7th, Sophie Black 18th, Francesca Morgan-Slader 21st, Anne Marie Hughes 25th, Hester Stembridge 26th and Lucy Harper placing 58th. Which put us all starting off in great contention for GC and the team competition.
The night soon flew by and it was crazily the next day, time for Stage 2 and 3 of the Bedford 3 Day on Sunday 4th May. Stage 2 consisted off the Team Time Trail (TTT) which was 10km long, not very far at all and it flew by! Before hand, we all got together and discussed team tactics in the TTT ensuring we have our order perfect, knowing what changes we are doing and how long we have to stay on the front for. As we really didn’t want to try and loose our advantage what we had on overall GC at the time… However, the TTT got under way we were all working efficiently together as a team and ensuring that we stayed together, ensuring any individuals did not get a time disadvantage. As for a change, within the TTT if you got dropped from your team your time would count as when you cross the line not when your team cross the line… As this happened with one of our team mates, she had 10seconds added on to her time! Due to, there was a corner just before the finish off the TTT. It came to that i was on the front and we had nothing too loose, so i took the correct line round the corner and went round at the speed i would normally take it in a race. However, a couple of my team mates aren’t that confident in going round the pace i go round as when i went round, one behind me braked as she realised she was cornering which then caused a problem for all our other team mates behind causing them to take a very wide line over the other side of the road. Luckily no car was coming!! But, we got it all back together and the first 4 of us crossed the line, stopping the time at 10:08 placing us 10th , out of 16 teams. We were all pretty chuffed with that, baring in mind we have never done a TTT with each other before… Nice one girlies! Least we learnt the mistakes for next time!!
After this TTT, Stage 2, in the morning it was time for Stage 3 the road race in the afternoon… It was 80km, setting off at 1:30pm in the afternoon, giving all the riders enough time to refuel and back on the bike for round 2 of the day! It was a toughy today, as it was more off a rolling course and more of a drag up to the finish line allowing the elite riders to kick over the top of the finish line giving all the other riders a sufferfest session. It was a hard one! I just kept watching my garmin, seeing my heart rate increasing and increasing but luckily it recovered very quickly, as it muchly needed too!! We have been very lucky with the weather to, as the sun has been shinning make it very warm and lovely to ride in, with a big bonus off no winds at all. The race started and i settled in very quickly however when the 2nd lap came around, baring in mind it was a 6 lap race, i very much thought this was the end off my race and I’m going to get dropped!! As on the climb i got stuck behind a straggler who was dropping off the main peloton, but i was feeling it myself! However, i dug deep and powered my way past jumping back into the middle of the bunch. But, you could tell riders were tiring as more and more got dropped off the race and pulled, unfortuantly a couple of my team mates did too! I managed to stay with the main bunch and contest in the bunch kick in the end, gaining me 27th. But with a couple off laps to go, there ended up a brake off about 10 riders who managed to stay away for the whole race… I didn’t even know they were off the front!! It ended up in a very tiring day at the end off it however, one of our teamys mum’s counteracted as a team physio for us giving us massages at the end of the day…
After a very tiring day, we very much deserved a nice hot bath and a film to watch in the Premier Inn. That is just what we did as a team, after food of course… As the day was ending, we highlighted on our successful day and hoping for the best with the last 2 stages the next day!
Monday soon shot round and it was time again to repeat the daily routine of getting out of bed, breakfast, going to the race and getting into race mode. The last 2 stages were the hardest ones by far… Stage 4 consisted off the Individual Time Trail (ITT) where we all powered our hearts out, as it was the same course as the TTT. It was an hard race! The wind was upon us, which made it even harder on the rough service. i would never say ITT are my favourite events, as I’m on my own and can’t wheel suck anyone… But they have to be done!! I lost a few places from my ITT as i placed 68th, not the best but i gave it my best and thats all that counts. However, the rest of my team mates gave it a real good shot and did really well. But, how spooky is this? Me, Anne Marie Hughes and Spohie Black… All team mates! GOT THE SAME TIME. Strange… After my ITT, i could defiantly tell my legs were feeling it a lot and i very much thought I’m going to suffer a lot in Stage 5.
The afternoon came around, which meant it was time for the last stage of Bedford 3 Day, which was a 80km road race again… It was tough! As it contained one big, steep hill in it where the finish line was however, it didn’t flatten and go down over the top it carried on at a gradient which wasn’t idea for me today, going on how my legs felt!! Everytime i went up that hill and pushing over the top, i could just feel my heart wanting to explode, as my heart rate was getting very very high and by high i mean the max bpm was 226!! CRAZY. It made me feel ever so light headed, but it thought ‘paige you got to keep going, don’t give in! dig deep..’ But i did and which granted me staying with the bunch! On the 3rd lap in, out of 5 there was a crash up the hill which unfortuantly i was in and the rest of my team. This meant that i had dropped from the bunch, as they sprinted off the time i got going again… i was very disappointed and upset, but hey thats racing!!
Overall in GC i managed to place, 53rd.