Just like last year my first race of the season was the Velo 29 criterium at Croft racing circuit in Darlington.
The day started with a 6:30am alarm. As it was race day I was straight up and out of bed, on any other day it is a very different story…
My dad and I began the three-hour drive down at 7am, so actually not that early, but still. My breakfast of choice was porridge as always before a race. Although in a slightly different form…👌🏼
When we finally arrived at the circuit I immediately knew it was not going to be shorts and jersey weather. Being from Scotland it wasnt that much of a big deal but its safe to say I am definitely missing the warm weather in spain.
The circuit at Croft is a little long for a crit at 2 miles but it is one of my favourite crit courses as it always makes for an interesting race with its many sharp corners and s-bend into the home straight and more often than not it will be blowing a gale.
On the day the winds were 15 mph, with a headwind on the home straight, I knew this would make an interesting race. The wind further played into my hands as this was a women’s race therefore my restricted gears would not be a disadvantage in the final sprint.
As soon as the race began a split of me and two other girls formed but due to the conditions we were brought back about a mile in. Splits continued to form for the first 5 laps but they were all brief as the wind was too powerful for anything to last.
The final two laps were a game of cat and mouse until the last half lap where it turned into a bun fight. After my elbows were sharpened from racing a UCI in Holland last year, I was able to hold third wheel despite many barges from other riders.
This was the first time in years that I was coming into the final few hundred meters of a race and I was saying to myself, I could really win this here, and I did!
After a long hard 3 years riddled with lots and lots of injuries I finally got my hands in the air again. Ah how I’ve missed that feeling.
Yes this may not be a championship race but for me this is one of my favourite race wins since I started cycling over 10 years ago. All the hard work is finally starting to pay off and all the bad luck has finally subsided and I am coming back stronger than ever.
I’m glad that part of my career is over and I managed to get through it. I am now looking forward to what the rest of the year brings.
I can’t thank James McCallum at Whats your M.E.T.A cycle coaching enough for bringing me out of a really dark place and helping me back up to where I am now and not letting me give up.
Also a massive thanks to Billy Bilsland Cycles for my pre season bike check to ensure everything was running smoothly and for the amazing new super feet insoles that were on point!
And of course a big thanks to my dad for driving me around for 6 hours, couldn’t do it without you.
I’m glad that part of my career is over and I am now looking forward to what the rest of the year brings.
Now onto the team launch this Saturday and the Mad March TT on Sunday!
📷 Gary Enever
Thanks for reading,
Whats Your M.E.T.A