For good measure (and since my flight was only back on Monday morning) I decided to take part in the English Marathon Championship that took place the day after the British NPS Round in Crow Hill. Since it wasn't a UCI event, I was able to take part in the race and win it, I just couldn't be crowned English champ in case I won.
The course was the same as in the NPS yesterday plus some extensions and grassy bumpy linker sections and an added loop in the forest so that each lap was 12.5km, with 8 laps, i.e. 100km to do for the champs.
The Senior 100km women were set off first. Jenn O'Connor took the lead in the first lap, setting a steady pace so that we could accustom ourselves with the newly added sections. I and Maddie Horton followed and I stayed closely stuck to Jenn's wheel, while we opened a gap on Maddie. At the end of the 1st lap I had to stop at the feed zone to get a new bottle, and Jenn O'Connor upped her speed and she managed to open a gap on me. My strategy was to keep it steady and stay on Jenn's wheel for 6 laps, and then attack and try and open a gap on her on the last 2 laps. So when Jenn got away in the 2nd lap, I had to work hard to reel her back in, which I managed by the end of the 2nd lap. In the 3rd lap then I took the lead and she stayed on my wheel, but then started to fall back a little. I took this chance and decided to attack and increased my speed. When I didn't see her behind me at the start of the next lap, I settled back into a comfortable speed and kept it steady for the rest of the race, so that in case Jenn caught back up that I would have enough energy to attack again. I constantly looked back and wondered if I would see Jenn catching back up again with me. I only found out after I finished that Jenn had dropped out after the 3rd lap due to feeling unwell.
And so I finished the race in 1st place, ahead of the new English Marathon Champion Maddie Horton. I had a really good race, and I am really happy to see that my endurance is still good, since I hadn't done very many long rides since February, until very recently in my training.
Race results are available on the timelaps website.
Joolze pics can be found here.
Britishcycling also have a report up here.