This blog post was written by Harrison Wood, a new rider funded by the Dave Rayner Fund for 2019. You can read the original post here.
In my last blog post I reviewed all of my races in the month of April. I have decided after my latest race I would highlight what happened and how it went.
This was my second French elite national. These are a good level and include most if not all of the best amateur teams in France. Bourg Arbent was organised by the Bourg Ain Bresse cycling team so it of course began and finished in Bourg en Bresse. We travelled to the race on the Saturday as it was around a 3.5-4 hour drive. Our hotel was an Ibis Budget and I was sharing with Adria and Alex. Sadly being the youngest I was demoted to the bunk bed. Those who are aware of these types of rooms will know its near on impossible to climb the ladder without hurting yourself.
The morning of the race had arrived after a good nights sleep. I had my usual porridge and some bread. I was ready to go. The weather however wasn’t quite so good today. It was very cold around 5 degrees and there was a possibility of rain.
We left the hotel in lots of kit and signed on at the start. It was now 6 degrees but the sun was breaking through. I decided to wear knee warmers and also a le col waterproof jacket over the top of my jersey. This was perfect and kept me warm and dry through the cold and rainy showers at the beginning of the race. The beginning of the race saw lots of attacking, I followed several moves and the rest of the team followed the others. After around 30 to 40kms the break finally went with 2 Aix riders in. The race now eased off and some teams set a tempo on the front. I went back to the car to take my jacket off and replace with a gilet as I knew the race would soon explode on the hillier 2nd part of the race. Once I returned I began to move up the peloton when a big bunch crash occurred. I was tangled in it but got back up and back into the peloton with some cuts and bruises.
By this point Chambery had began to chase the break so our team gathered together near the front and the breaks advantage began to decline. On the final climb around 25kms from the finish I was positioned in the first 20 riders. I removed my gilet and was ready to dig deep. As soon as we hit the climb (which was 3kms and 8.5%) the attacks began. I rode a tempo knowing that I could pick riders off who had tried going with these attacks. It worked and over the top a selection of around 10 guys had formed and I was one of them. We then had a technical descent which saw me and 4 other guys slip off the front. We worked together but the rest of the break caught us. There was now around 17 guys in front and very stop start in pace.
This continued all the way to the line and with 1km we were bunched together and everyone was fighting for the win. I was hoping for a top 5 at this point but in the fast sprint I was blocked in and not able to launch my sprint. I rolled in for 12th in a close sprint. I was really happy with this as it gave me confidence that I have the ability to follow and attack with the strongest guys in France and the u23 peloton.
I hope you enjoyed reading this latest blog about my most recent big race in France.
Thanks to the Dave Rayner Fund for supporting me in my racing this season.