Round 2 of the Natioonal Trophy was just about as close to home as I'll get this year (possibly a tie with the final round near Skipton, I'll have to measure it!). Organised and run by people I know, at a venue I've done a few races at now (I'll neve forget racing into the top field there at a NW league race only to be confronted by a flock of sheep on the course!), I was looking forward to it.
A bit of pre race drizzle while I was warming up brought about some pre race panic I my 'main' bike had intermediate tyres and feedback from the fast v50s (cheers nick!) was that grip was at becoming a premium. Heroically, Mick stepped up and was dragged off by Angela to change the wheels over while I started on my old bike. Not that that was an issue, I still love riding that bike, even if it is a little battle scarred now.
The course had just enough of everything to make it utterly brilliant, some decent, fairly straight sections to get the power down - and nice longish climb to issue forth more watts and bring the hurt to everyone around you and loads of corner/corner/corner/corner secions for me to look spectacularly average!
I had a crap start and went from front row hero to about 16th in the blink of an eye, then rode too conservatively for the rest of the first lap until a charging Matt Lawton flew past. I hopped on his wheel, nicked a bit of his flat-out riding attitude and spent the rest of the race battling with him as we worked our way back up through the field. It was tough to stop grinning at how much fun it was! We eventually finished 7th and 8th - I got a small gap on the last lap and finished equalling the 7th from round 1. A totally different type of race but the same outcome, I'm pretty chuffed with that. :)
It being the 'local' race I thought I'd better show willing and help out on the Sunday, so another early start was undertaken so I could ride up there and spend the day on the other side of the course tape.
Just like at the race the day before, getting around the course was tough simply due to wanting to stop and chat with everyone, but instead of having a blast racing round I got a great insight into the all the hectic work done at the timing tend throughout these races. Calling out numbers all day (and getting involved with the end decision to the sprint finish to the elite men's race!) was pretty thirsty work, but the coffee van didn't turn up. Properly gutted. (Luckily the hog roast van did, and a hog roast butty went down a treat!).
Overall, a great weekend!
HUGE Shout Out to everyone (else!) involved in making it happen - an utterly brilliant "big time" event that seemed to run super smoothly. From the classy racing to the perfect organisation (apart from the missing coffee!), from the heroes in the pits looking after me to Lee @ Transition who's proper sorting my legs, lungs and mitochondria function this year. Visible (and "feelable"...) progression. Ace.