I thought it was about time that I wrote a bit of a report about my British Championship race at Redbridge Cycling Centre earlier this year – July 6th to be precise.
I was looking forward to the race as I have raced at Redbridge before - unlike most courses it has Hoghill in it which suits me as I really like climbing - so I was hopeful that I could be in with a chance to maybe get on the podium.
Before we set off to London I had been told by my coach Richard Davison to watch the top 3/4 riders for the first 3 quarters of the race and sit near the front with them and after that to go for it if the right chance opened up.
Before the race I warmed up with my ERC team mate John Macleod and we then went to the grid near the back of 120 riders because they were going to do random number gridding in the pen. They started calling all the numbers with 8 in it to the start line which meant I was in the 3rd row on the start line but that was no problem as I knew there would be plenty of time to get a good position in 33 laps of the 2km circuit. Once all the riders were on the start line, the race was started by the chief commissaire with the wave of the flag.I was right where I wanted to be once the race began - there were a fair few attacks during the race - one including fellow Scot Grant Martin which stayed out the longest with about 40 seconds, but in the end they just could not stay away as they went a bit too early.
I stayed calm and concentrated ,staying near the front - I could look at my SRM and see how long we had been going. I recall asking my dad how many laps to go as I could not see the lap board because I kept on the right hand side of the track going up the hill towards the line each time.
We were now about 3 quarters through the race and I was feeling good so I tested my legs - and I guess the others’ - up the climb by attacking a bit. But as I looked back I managed to get a little gap but knew the attack was not going to work as the good boys were right up at the front chasing me down.
I then sat back in near the front, at this point there were probably six laps to go, and I was still feeling good. Another attack came with 3 laps to go from Daniel Tullett but he was chased down by the bunch straight away. As the bunch brought him back, I knew I had to do something as the bunch slowed down. If I didn’t go for it now I would have to risk it at the sprint up the climb so I went up the right hand side of the bunch from near the front with two and a half laps to go and I managed to get a considerably big lead on the bunch. I looked back to check where I was and I realised that William Gascoyne from Specialized Race Team had went just after me and we were able to work together.
I knew I had too give it everything and keep a high cadence to stay away and I remember saying to William once we got away "come on we need to absolutely nail it " and he just went faster (he is a great rider) ... this is probably the first time I really was thinking “jeeeez I could win this” and I my next thought was “what happens if the bunch catches us”... but luckily they didn't!
I was in behind William coming up the final climb and I came round him with two hundred meters to go after hearing my dad screaming at me from the side to nail it (thanks Dad) and I just had that little bit more acceleration up the hill and sprinted all the way to the line and lunged after it just to make sure I won and I did - with 2 seconds to spare. But I did not even know what to do so I just kept riding on and all I could think was 2 Scots in 2 consecutive years both from the same club.
Climbing is my strong point and that's why the British Champs suited me . I don't like the flat as much as you can't do as much with the restricted gearing and the races are always too short - the British Champs was great as it was probably the maximum distance/time you can race at youth age giving us enduranceguys a chance!Stepping on the podium was quite cool as you could see the whole of the London sky line and it felt amazing when the jersey went on.