The opening round of the 2018 Scottish National women’s road race series kick started in Aberdeenshire with a one day stage race containing a prologue in the morning and a road race in the afternoon.
My dad and I along with my team-mate Abby travelled up the day before hoping to have a recce of the two stages. However for once the weather was actually better in East Kilbride than it was up north so unfortunately our pre race ride turned into a hotel car park roller session. Never the less I was itching to get back racing after struggling with illness meant I missed out on the British Junior series.
Stage 1 Prologue
The race manual deceptively suggested that the 3 mile prologue was on a slight gradual gradient for the majority of the stage so I decided to bring my TT bike for that extra advantage but when we got there it was clear it was going to be much harder than I previously thought! therefore the TT bike idea was very quickly out of the window
I was one of the last riders off so I had plenty of time in the morning to watch the starter to see what his style was and assess how long the effort was going to be and of course identify the wind direction.
I gathered that the effort was going to be around 6-8 minutes long, so basically flat-out, and that the holder was pretty decent.
Possibly thee hardest prologue ive ever done! With no surprise it turns out riding around IOM promenade for a minute is pretty easy compared to the Northern roads of Scotland.
When I crossed the line i was seeing stars and couldn’t catch my breath, to be honest I don’t know if it was from the effort or from my raging hayfever…probably a bit of both.
Happy to be sitting top junior and a top ten overall after stage 1, I knew it was going to be a challenge to be up there with the top women in a TT on my restricted gears.
Stage 2 – Road race
After some much-needed rice pudding and jelly babies I began preparing for stage 2.
The course was about 7 miles of rolling roads with a super fun technical descent and a hilly finish, not forgetting the amazing views. I was feeling confident going into the race as I knew this course suited me quite well.
After an amazingly last-minute gear check from the comms just as we were all about to roll out, made better by them somehow managing to measure the distance wrong so every single junior failed. Luckily they realised it was their error and not ours and we were allowed to start.
Straight from the off attacks were pinging off the front from some of the top contenders fortunately for me I had got my bunch positioning down to a T never leaving the top ten wheels of the bunch for the whole race, apart from the attacks I was in.
Despite many efforts none of the attacks stayed away however with one lap to go their was a split in the peloton leaving myself as the only junior in a select group of women. It all came back together for a brief few seconds before the final attack came up the final climb where me and two other women got away.
unfortunately I let my head get the better of my legs and looked over my shoulder instead of fully committing which cost me the win and left me with a third place. At first I was disappointed but in actual fact I gave the race everything I had I was totally spent at the end and truly had nothing left. Perhaps the hardest ive ever gone on my bike which is all I can ask of myself.
Besides now I have the confidence restored in my head and ill be gunning for them at the next round, and I cant wait!
Also the team managed to bag the team qualification!
As always thanks to my wonderful Dad for driving me around the country for all the races as I really couldn’t fo it without you, means a lot.
Again Billy Bilsland cycles excelled themselves as my bike rode like a dream with no issues.
Finally a big thanks to Velocity 44 and Scottish cycling for putting on such a great event, I will definitely be back.
Thanks for reading,