TCDG Circuit Racing League, Ashton-Under-Lyne Circuit, 14 May 2019

Having watched one of the Ashton circuit races a few weeks ago, I decided to give it a go on Tuesday. As a very different experience to the time trials and large peloton racing I took part in over the summer in the Basque Country, I was a little nervous before it began, as I really didn’t know how I’d fare; it was certainly an experience and a very unusual one at that. I was in a really good position as the race started trying to make sure I wouldn’t be dropped when the bunch strings out early on and was sticking with the pace. I was well placed on the left side of the track, at the first bend: imagine my surprise when a rider came through like a cruise missile from inside the bend on the right, straight across the group and rammed into two people. I backed off as I could see they'd take me down with them if they fell. As I backed off they had space to save the fall but the cruise missile was still coming; by this point the shape of the bend had her aiming towards me on the perpendicular. As the bend continued I made sure she collided with me shoulder to shoulder, I had visions of the whole group going down and I was barged onto the grass - everybody stayed up. The group sprinted off, I re-joined the road and nearly caught them but they left me behind on the succession of tight bends. Once I was into the wind and after a couple of laps of trying to get back on, I treated it like a closed road training ride - I used the two straights to practice sprints and worked on keeping a high effort. It was a different skill set and a different kettle of fish to what I’m used to but I did set a new maximum heart rate so as a high octane training run, it was good!

Julia Wardley-Kershaw