This Saturday, Anthony Morris and I went over to a town in Belgium called Hulste for a race called a Omloop that we found on the Cycling Vlaanderen website. The race consisted of 8 laps of the 8.4 km to make a 67 km race.
When we arrived, it was very warm so we knew we had to prepare for a hot race. Anthony and I went round for a lap of the circuit after the elite women had finished. We followed one of the teams that were racing as we had no idea where to go!
When the race started, Anthony and I both made our way up the group after being at the back after gear check at the start. Anthony stayed at the very front of the race controlling the pace and I stayed a little further back to shelter early on. I started to move up the group and as we reached half distance, I was at the front of the race fairly comfortably. My mum was a big help by handing out bottles for us in the heat. We wouldn’t have finished the race if we didn’t have more bottles being handed to us in the heat.
As the race was drawing to a close, I was marked by many riders and I was not strong enough alone to chase the groups that the other riders had let go, but out of frustration I attacked the group I was in on the last lap and I pulled one of the riders that had broken away with me and we worked together to the line. I had to lead the sprint out and I managed to hold him off to claim 25th.
When I was researching the course that we would be racing on, I noticed that we were 30 mins from Roubaix. I asked Stella (Anthony’s Mum) if we could go to Roubaix and see if we could ride the velodrome and she said yes. We made the detour to Roubaix and the velodrome was not only open but Anthony and I had the velodrome to ourselves. It was a special moment to ride on the velodrome that greats of the sport have won on.
Racing internationally is very special and an amazing experience. I’d like to say a massive thank you to Stella for taking us to Belgium for us to race and see a very special piece of cycling history. Hopefully I’m lucky enough to do another race internationally soon but for now there are big races coming up in England so please stay tuned for those.