Saffron Walden Grand Prix, 25 August 2019

On Sunday, I competed in my last crit race of the season and I was determined to finish the season on a positive ahead of next year. The standard of the field was quite high, so I knew I was in for a fast race. The weather was very hot, and the course was pretty technical with 90 degree bends, cobbles, short hills and chicanes, all in 1.1km laps. In the first 20 minutes of the race, my legs started to feel it, but at the same time I was still catching up some of the riders in front , so knew I had to just keep pushing. All the riders were split up quite early in the race, with the roads being so narrow and technical. I was quite surprised that it took the lead group almost the whole race to lap me, which they finally did with 5 laps to go. All lapped riders were told to leave the circuit, so this was the last lap for me.

Overall, I was very happy with 15th place - probably the best I've raced and certainly my best placing in a field of this size. I was especially pleased because I was racing with women older than me, and I had gear restrictions as I was a junior rider. It's been nice to see the improvement that I have made over the season, as in the first couple of crit races, I had been coming almost last. The training that I have been doing has really helped me to cope with the changes in speed, which is essential for crit races because of the corners. It has been tricky to develop the ability to cope with the speed changes, having come from a time trialling background where you stick to the same pace the whole race. I hope to remain on a positive for the last few time trials of the season, including the national youth TT championships. This is on a technical circuit this year instead of a dual carriageway course, and I’m feeling confident for this event having done well on a technical course on Sunday.

Izzie Johnson

Tim PhillipsCrit, Criterium