by Gabby Day
I went into the National Championships this year not as well prepared as I would have wished. I had suffered with a cold since the World Championships the week before, so had not trained until the Friday before the race at Sutton Park. I did a very easy spin on the turbo trainer on Friday and again on the Saturday morning. Instead of going to the circuit, I decided not to visit the course until race day as I wanted my legs to be as fresh as possible for the race.
I checked out the circuit in the morning before the race and was happy with the way it rode so I just had to make sure that I warmed up well as I knew the race would be super-fast from the gun.
I had a good start and was ahead up the road until just before the first corner, where I dropped in behind Helen (Wyman) and Nikki (Harris). I had decided before the race that I didn’t want to lead on the first lap, as I wanted to follow for the first couple of laps to see how I felt.
Unfortunately I had a puncture after only a minute or so of racing, so I lost contact with Helen and Nikki and was forced to ride to the pits on a flat rear tire. I got to the pits 30 seconds after the leaders had passed and was down in fifth position, so I had a big chase to get back to a medal position.
I got back up to third within a lap and the rest of the race was a flat-out battle as Nikki tried to keep ahead of me and I tried to catch her. I got her back to within 10 seconds at one point, but as I hit the road for the last time, I knew it was not to be and had to settle for the bronze medal.
I think the rest during the week had helped me and I only wish that I had raced so well the week before at Tabor.
My season is now over, so I’m taking a few very easy weeks where I will ride for pleasure before I start to plan for next winter’s cyclocross season.
A big “Thank You” to all my great sponsors for their support this season.