The Screentek International North West Junior Tour is race completed over the course of 3 days and contains 4 stages, individual TT, Road race and two criteriums on the final day.
Day 1 – individual TT
On the first day in sunny Morecambe was a short prologue time trial along the promenade where, as you can see from the photo above, I decided to do my best puffer fish impression.
I was the 11th rider off which was quite near the beginning which was unfortunate for me as the wind died off as the day went on. But what can you do. I still managed to bag a top thirty which I was pleased with as im only a first year and I knew that this would be the day I would struggle with the most as I need something a bit longer than 3 minutes!
Day 2 – Road Race
This was the queen stage of the race and it was the one i was looking forward to the most. 13 laps of a hilly circuit around Lancaster in the sun, whats not to love.
I was active in the front group of just over ten riders for the whole race along with a lot of my team 22 teamies. A few attacks went other than the brief gaps that appeared for the QOM points but none stayed away which meant for a hill-top bunch sprint. I was feeling really good and was in prime position the whole way up the final climb but when we finally reached the plateau and the final sprint began I got stuck in my little ring. so I finished a bitter 15th. This did mean however that i moved up to 16th place on GC. I was really disappointed with the final result but was really happy with the process of the race as I kept in with the leaders and had good positioning.
Unfortunately one of my team mates, Gaby was taken out by another rider on the road stage and had to get stitches in her leg. thankfully she is okay and on the bright side somebody got an amazing photo.
Day 3 – Crits at Salt Ayr
Today was supposed to be two races however the second race had to be cancelled due to every race being an absolute crash fest as we were riding through what was basically a monsoon. One of the u14 girls even had to be taken away in an air ambulance. thankfully she is all okay now though.
My race started off well as I managed to get some sprint points which allowed me to finish in the top ten overall in the sprints qualification. Then the crashes began, as soon as anybody touched their breaks you lost all control of your bike. I got stuck behind the first crash and had to chase back on, luckily I had some riders around me to work with.
Once I got back on I attacked and my team-mate April followed me and we got off the front for a bit. This was the most relaxed I felt in the whole race because I was out of the hectic bunch.
I was feeling good in the final laps of the race however I let my bunch positioning slip with 3 laps to go. So with 2 laps to go I went for a big move back up the bunch when a massive crash happened right at the front of the bunch leaving only around 10 riders left standing in the front group. Luckily I managed to avoid the tarmac and any road rash that came with it. Unfortunately I didn’t quite make it away that easily as I did manage to land in a big patch of nettles which made for a very uncomfortable drive home.
Overall an amazing weekend was had and I was happy to finish 15th overall and top 10 in the young riders and sprints classification. Another bonus was the two teams we put in for the race finishing second and fourth in the team competition.
Id like to say a bike thankyou to Colin Batchelor for being an awesome DS for the team and LM therapy for really helping our recovery in between stages with massages and of course Billy Bilsland Cycles for the flawless bike.
Also thanks to my dad for driving me down and Tony Morgan and Gary Enever for the photos.
Thanks for reading,