First of all, I’d like to thank Team Moda Anon for having me along for the ride this weekend otherwise I wouldn’t have been in Lincoln at all.
The annual war for the national jersey happened today and boy were there battles on the road to victory in both the women’s and men’s races. It was such an honour to be able to experience it from behind the scenes and get involved with the race from the get-go.
On Saturday, the stars aligned and the weather was absolutely beautiful, akin to what I’m used to from the glorious land down under. Phil, Fin and Jack arrived just after lunch and after the bikes were set up and we’d all changed and fuelled for the day ahead, we rolled out to find the course for Sunday’s carnage.
I had never been to Lincoln before and it is truly a beautiful city. You can see the Cathedral as you arrive and Lincoln Castle is at the heart of the city, surrounded by quaint houses dating back hundreds of years. Despite it only being a small city with more of a town feel, there appeared to be a wining and dining scene as well as many niche independent shops.
Our ride took us out towards the RAF base in Scampton, through tiny villages decorated with bunting and bikes not far different from the sights you see around Yorkshire post TdF. We went along the long straight roads that Lincoln is famous for and to our surprise, Lincoln does have hills!
I’m definitely used to weather like Saturday’s so I was very pleased to see the tan lines appreciated the top up too.
After we finished the recon, we rode back into town to see what Michaelgate would be like the next day. It’s a cobbled climb right in the centre of the city and it was also the finish line for the race. I’d heard so much about it in the lead up that when I actually saw it, I thought it was ok! I climbed up half of it before ducking all the way down again to get back to the hotel before dinner.
Sunday came along really quickly and before I knew it, I was trudging a heavy bag of bottles, gels and bars towards the feed zone in the city. I’d never been soigneur before and here I was putting myself up for a gig at a National Championship! It was a strong field with Pete Kennaugh (defending champion), Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe, Scott Thwaites, the Yates brothers, Mark Cavendish all battling it out for the stripes. In the women’s field, there was Dame Sarah Storey, Katie Archibald, Lizzie Armitstead, Laura Trott (defending champion), Helen Wyman and many others.
As I was in the feed zone for most of the race, I didn’t get to see much of the action but seeing all the athletes fly by in the city centre circuit was unreal. I couldn’t believe I was seeing these heroes of mine doing what they do best! This event was up there as one of the best events I’ve ever been to.
Lizzie came by in the last few laps of the race on her own, completely untouchable from the main peloton – she had dropped Laura up Michaelgate! The wind didn’t appear to have any effect, she rode her race and she came out on top by a couple of minutes.
In the men’s race, Pete, Mark, Ian and Luke fought for many laps at the very end to seize the jersey and after Pete dropped back to third wheel, it didn’t look like the former champion had it in him to catch up. I was proven wrong: he dug deep to overtake Cav and Stannard who ended up second and third respectively.
We also found a Team Wiggins jersey which I couldn’t resist trying on before we gave it back!
Is it next year yet?