The week of Victor Berlemont came round (25th) and 4 days before the race I had my first pain free ride in a long time. Not wanting to do anything stupid, I just tried to build intensity and distance with each day before the race. I was apprehensive on race morning because I've never come into a race anywhere near as unprepared I was, having ridden only ~1hour/week for the past 6 weeks. To add insult to injury it was going to be an awfully hot day for bike racing ~ 33'C. The race itself is considered one of the hardest Nat Bs in the country, taking in 108 miles of a hilly circuit. Since it had been a while since I last raced/trained in the heat I was very naive when planning how many bottle I needed. I decided I would only need 2 bottles handed up to me and I devised a cunning plan and froze my bottles the night before to ensure I was drinking ice cold water during the race. Our helper (Sam Hucks) wasn't arriving till 2 hours into the race which we thought would be fine. The race began and all was well in the world, I was content to be back in a peloton, the sun was out and my injury wasn't causing any issues. Time began to tick by and the temperatures rose, before I knew it I had already drank both of my 750ml bottles and at this point we were only 1 hour in! The next hour my throat gradually became increasingly dry to point where breathing starting to hurt. fortunately, after 2 hours, Sam was there to hand us some bottles. My saviour! That was, until my cunning plan of freezing bottles unraveled and I went to take a drink but nothing came out....they were still frozen! It was another lap before I could get a normal bottle and by that point I was already on a downhill trajectory to getting dropped. Sure enough, a lap later at the top of the climb I was distanced from my group of 10 and that was game over. Half the field had already dropped out by this point so it was clear I wasn't the only one struggling. Whilst I was disappointed not to be able to race like I wanted, I was just happy to be back in the mix again and to be riding my bike.
This season has clearly not had the high ending I was planning but I have some exciting projects for this Winter on the track and some very exciting plans for next years road season so stayed tuned!