This event was in my bookmarks on British cycling for quite some time; not because I was unsure whether to enter; I couldn’t decide which race to enter. To choose between racing in the less exciting, less ambitious Cat 2,3,4 race and be in contention to fight out for the win. ( Arms down till crossing the line, of course.) or… As I’m sure you can tell from the way I described that race I ended up entering the main E,1,2 event. Where some real big hitters were in the field, including: Jon Mould ( JLT Condor and one of the best criterium racers in the uk,) James Lowsley-Williams (NFTO, last year’s winner) and a number of other UK domestic professionals.
The main race was in the dark of night with just street lighting to help us see the way round the technical course. The short 1km route was fast, with awesome flowing corners, strategically placed potholes and cobbles on the apexes which all added to the real adrenalin rush of a town centre crit.
I was out of the race before it had even properly started! Gridded near the back of the bunch behind a rider who couldn’t work out how to use his pedals. So I was chasing on before the first corner right at the back of the train. This was basically the story of my race. As riders failed to hold the wheel I would go round them and close the gap. Probably much harder than being on the front of the race.
The crowds were amazing, and really helped motivate me to stick in, especially down in the tight left hand corner where a number of the Cirencester rugby team was located. They were so loud shouting my name I’m sure a number of the pros where wondering who the hell “Jacob!!!!” was. The race was one of my favourite competitive experiences. Don’t get me wrong; it was properly hard, with a normalised power of over 350w I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sick riding a bike. I normally try to find a photo where I look cool and calm as if it were easy, but as you can see the true pain face was on full display!
The race was won by Jon Mould in a photo finish just beating James Lowsley-Williams to the line with George Pym (Team Raleigh) following for a close 3rd. I was down in the order and crossed the line in 15th position. Probably the hardest single British Cycling point earned.