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Thought I’d have a go at a race report for our Dave Peck race yesterday….might not be as poetic as Chrissie’s but here goes…

Laura, Emma, Chrissie, Clarry, me & our guest rider Lowri arrive at the sign-on to find Mac has lined the turbos up in prime view of everyone…we’re all praying for no human dominoes this week….Sign-on, count the riders, 80 starting….count the cat 4 riders, five starting (minus one for Chrissie who achieved her Cat 3 the day before – congratulations!!!)

The TCC cavalry arrive & I’m starting to feel nervous about the race….the fabulous TCCers are brilliant at reassuring & encourage us, Mac tells us “you’re the best looking team here!”, Kay & Clare promise cheering & a “special dance” for any Twick Chicks who get dropped! We start warming up, Emma leading us & Roland & Bill making us feel like pros with the professional photos.

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20 mins to go, we make our way to the start, moving to the front of the bunch as the home team. The briefing starts and over the next 15 mins a good half of the field slip around & in front of us…

We set off on the neutralised lap, tightly bunched, 80 riders jostling, speeding up & braking suddenly, staying alert, over the 1st roundabout, over the 2nd roundabout and we’re off! 13 laps of the first circuit which is part of the Saturday club ride, with a detour for a longish draggy hill. All of us are hovering around the middle of the peloton for the first 2 laps, then in the 3rd I, Chrissie & Clarry start to slip back….

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By halfway round the 3rd lap, on the long drag hill I start to slip off the back. Clarry & Chrissie stay with the peloton a bit longer than me, then slip back as well but manage to stick with each other. Emma, Laura & Lowri ride strongly & stay with the peloton. I spend the next hour and a bit mostly riding by myself…for about 20km I can see Chrissie / Clarry about 200m ahead of me with another girl, I’m keeping pace with them, but can’t catch up!….trying to push myself as fast as I can, I catch up with other dropped riders who become too slow to stick with. Other riders who dropped behind me & have recovered catch up with me, but are too fast for me to stick with!

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(All photos from Duncan Schwier Click link for more!)
The cheering from TCC marshals & supporters the whole way round was absolutely fantastic – supporters had positioned themselves perfectly at the bits where my brain was definitely starting to think, sod this! Everytime I heard someone cheering I gave myself a kick up the backside and tried to push a bit harder.

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13 laps of the 1st circuit, and about 1.5 hours in, we move onto the 2nd circuit, sightly shorter than the 1st but with a steeper hill. 1 lap in, we’re stopped at the top of Staple Hill. The chief marshal lectures us about not cycling on the wrong side of the road to overtake…but as we’re being stopped, one girl wobbles & catches the wheel of another, and the 2 of them come down. Crash no. 1.

Everyone back together again, waiting for 5-10mins while the 2 crashed girls pick themselves up, then we’re off on another neutralised section. I stick with the peloton for half a lap or so, but my legs are too dead to keep up on the hills. Another lap or 2, and the 2nd crash happens…this time it’s a big one, about 20 riders down…I see one WyndyMilla girl lying face down, not moving, on the road, next to a pool of blood. Other riders are lying and sitting down, some not moving, a few picking themselves up & jumping back on their bikes to race to catch up with the peloton. Another lap down and the WyndyMilla girl is now on her back, surrounded by paramedics. Another lap, & the ambulance has arrived.

Finally the finish, with an extra sneaky lap of the 2nd circuit. Lowri does fantastically well to finish in 6th place, Laura & Emma do brilliantly to finish in the bunch with 22nd & 31st place. Clarry & Crissie finish close together with 51st and 54th I’m happy with 57th out of 80 starting riders, glad to finish in 1 piece & with fantastic training for the next time I fancy doing a 70km individual TT…!

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A tough race, my first open road race & the longest one I’ve ever done. Pretty terrifying at times, but I have never felt like part of such a fantastically supportive team as I did – before, during & after the race, the number of TCCers looking after us, cheering for us, reassuring us made me incredibly proud to be a Twick Chick & part of the TCC team.
Jess

P.S. Still waiting to see what this “special dance” looks like Kay!

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