A puncture early in the race meant a big chase to contend for a medal.  Photo courtesy Gabby Day.

A puncture early in the race meant a big chase to contend for a medal. Photo courtesy Gabby Day.

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.

See also Cyclocross Magazine’s race coverage and  Highlight Videos from the Men’s and Women’s British National Championship races.