This blog post was written by Calum Johnston, a new rider funded by the Dave Rayner Fund for 2019. You can read the original post here.
So after 10 weeks of hard training in Spain it was time to see if it would all pay off. It was the first race of the Season which was just 2 hours south of Calpe in a place called Alcantarilla just outside of Murcia. ‘Trofeo Guerrita’ was part of the ‘Copa Espana’ series with top teams riding such as Caja Ruyal, Equipo Lizarte and the Fundacion Contador Team, just to name a few.
The race was 160km including 5 flat laps of around 7km at the start, then it was into the mountains where we would have to tackle 2 ascents of the same climb which was 14km long. The weather was unseasonably warm for the time of year with highs of 26 degrees which was good for me as I get on well with the heat. Lining up I was more than ready to get going. For me the race went really well, I found myself in the main break of 5 with my team mate Fergus. We decided to try give the sprint primes a go even though we aren’t sprinters just to try get something out of the race. I ended up getting a 2nd and a 3rd whilst Fergus managed to pick up a 2nd. On the open main roads towards the mountains the moto gave us the time gap which was a decent 5 minutes, then the butterfly’s really started to kick in. 100km in and we still had a good gap to the bunch, the plan was to go hard up the first climb to try and get rid of the other riders in the break and then hopefully hold on to the next time up where we knew that the teams behind would really drive. This almost worked. 3/4 of the way up the climb Fergus and I were alone at the front of the race, that was until I took bad cramp in both legs which is never ideal in the middle of a big race especially when your leading. I managed to get to the top before getting caught by our fellow breakaway companions. The 2nd time up the gruelling 14km climb was just a case of getting up and over without any problems. The main group came storming by and that’s when I knew it was game over. On the day I ended up rolling in 55th out of 170 starters but team mate Tim James did a mega ride sprinting to 5th. The funny thing was that before I could get changed into my casual clothing I was asked to go to the podium, I initially thought it was doping control but to my amazement, I had won the sprint classification. The reason behind this was because the riders who were in the break didn’t finish, which meant I won automatically!
Overall it was a successful first race of the season for myself and Team Holdsworth – Zappi. A day spent in the break with Fergus which was a good workout none the less, the sprint classification, and a 5th from Tim! It was also really nice to catch up with last years team mate and fellow Dave Rayner funded rider Jake Wright! Thanks to the Dave Rayne Fund for their continued support! Ciao for now
Now all the work has been done, It’s time for Italia! Ciao