The National Championship week, the week you and your team separate and go along to your own nations Championships and race for the victory to win your respected National jersey. With nine riders, coming from six different countries all racing on the same day the team staff and resources are stretched and they can't physically be there to support all riders.
Thankfully my partner, Tao was the only rider from his team as well so we got to spend the week together in a little cottage on the coast. This year we were a lot more organised than we were last year so managed to avoid staying in a hotel. Having your own kitchen and the freedom to cook and eat what you want is a lot nicer than picking something off a restaurants grease based menu, not ideal the evening before a race.
The time trial took place on the Thursday. Three laps along a dual carriageway, with a technical 1km section through the centre of town. I came in 5th place behind the eventual winner, Simmonds. I was happy with the result and also the improvements I and made on last years performance.
We had two days between the time trial and road race so Tao and I went for some steadyrides along the coast. Both rides heading to a google approved cafe for a big piece of cake and afternoon chill in the sun.
Of course those two days flew by and it was time to focus on racing again. I hadn't pre ridden the course before we raced, but after a lap I had an idea of how the race would materialise. Being a solo rider it’s a fine line between being patient but also making sure you go with the dangerous moves. 40km’s into the 106km race a group of 13 got a slight gap. We worked well together which soon took the gap out to over a minute. Coming into the smaller laps, there were a lot of attacks, but understandably the will to work together had reduced. I was getting very nervous coming into the last km’s. If I was in a good position in the final I could potentially take the win.
It was my first victory since my injury and for it to be the National Championships was special and to have Alice, my sister come second and share the podium with me was amazing. I will wear the red, white and blue with pride over the next twelve months.