After my last two races in Belgium I made the trip back to the UK to see my family and to do some base miles around the country lanes of Lincoln, we have just moved to a new house so Im still learning new routes with the help of my partner Rick.
While back home I decided to ride the Lincoln Wheelers race which was literally 5 minutes away from our house at the local Police headquarters, the course is mainly grassland with some woodland, nothing too taxing but would a good challenge as I would be racing with the men which is something I don't do too often these days.
I knew I had pretty good form as my last two races indicated but I didnt expect to be going so well after all the training and traveling, at one point I nearly caught my partner Rick and Pete Middlehurst who were first and second the week before at the race in Lincolnshire but they managed to hold me off and I came home 8th just 29 seconds behind them.
After that it was a few more days training before I travelled to Koksijde in Belgium on Thursday for the world cup to be held on Saturday. This isnt one of my best courses, its hard and ultra sandy but Rick kept telling me I had to use my running to my advantage and not worry about the sand as my form was getting better week by week.
Friday came and I did a few laps of the course making sure not to go too hard in the sand, it was raining a little so I made sure I had my Schlamm waterproofs with me. I concentrated on the parts I thought I needed to improve on before going back to the car where my For Goodness Shakes recovery drink was waiting for me. The sand at koksijde is hard on the bike chains so we tend to run them dry for this sort of race, Im lucky that this year I have a great sponsorship deal with Squirt Dry Lube who supply me with a wax based lube that is perfect for these conditions as the sand doesnt stick to it, no messing around with talc on my chains!! I chose to ride my FMB file treads because they are the tyre option for sand and the roll a lot easier on the tarmac, every bit of spare energy needs to be saved on this type of course so I didnt want to be using tyres that made things harder.
Race day and it was raining hard, this makes the sand easier for me to ride as it packs down more so I was happy about that, I was gridded on the third row so I knew I needed to move up quickly on the road section before the first big sand hill after around a quarter of the lap.
The lights went green and we were off, I moved up and managed to miss a crash on the second corner where Belgian favourite Sanne Cant came down with a couple of other girls, by the first climb I was well inside the top ten so I concentrated on staying in this position. Later in the lap I passed Katie Compton when she crashed, this is something of a first for me as I normally only see the back of her in races, it didnt take her long to get back ahead of me!!
I was racing for 8th position for much of the race but lost a couple of places when I changed bikes and then towards the end Sanne Cant came through to not only pass me but also my two ex team mates from our days at Vision 1 Christel Ferrier-Bruneau and Helen Wyman who finished 8th and 9th. I held on to score my second best world cup result with 10th place which now moves me up to 13th in the world cup with four more rounds to go.
I would like to thank all the Brits that were cheering for me at the race, it really makes you want to go as hard as you can when you hear a British voice shouting your name and also my sponsors who make all this possible, Cyclefit, Bontrager, TRP, For Goodness Shakes, Crank Brothers, Schlamm, Qoleum, Squirt Dry Lube and Fracture Sport