I made my way down the M6 on Friday evening after work heading for Cambridge to stay at a friend’s house who I race with. On the Saturday morning we made are way to Kent, which took another 2 and half hours (I had a 2 and half hour drive on the Friday evening).
Both Chris and myself had raced at Fowlmead in 2007 when the track had not long opened. I remember getting lost the very first time, and again the second time. After eventually finding the track, I signed on at race HQ and began to get my Handbike together and make sure it still works. The weather was nice, but with a very strong wind as the track is high up and very exposed.
All the handcyclist (17 in total) started there warm-up, the circuit is 2 miles in distance and twisty with a long home straight which climbs. Along the straight we had a tailwind, which helped with the climb, but was punished very hard half way round the circuit with a strong head with which seemed to change to a crosswind on some laps. The male handcyclist had to do 8 laps, and the females did 5 laps, which with the factoring system only in the UK! The men had to make the laps on the women 6 miles advantage. The men’s race was not factored this time to make it fair for once. I started at the back of the grid, the race set-off at a fast pace, I got straight on the wheel of 3rd man hopping just to sit and draft for a while, but Dave in front of me started to let a small gap appear. This gap got bigger and I told him to chase hard or let me pass to bridge the gap, but he did neither and I got blocked in and could not get around. When I did eventually pass Dave I dropped him and started the chase to catch Chris and Rob, who were working together and had over 100 meters on me already due to getting blocked in.
I worked really hard and found it very hard in the wind on my own, but I eventually caught Chris with 3 laps to go. Chris stayed with me for a bit but was too tired to continue the pace, so I continued after Rob lapping the women as I chased. I had run out of time and laps to catch Rob so in the end had to settle with second place in the men’s road race. Next time I wont get blocked in, but as I ve had a serious neck injury resulting in time in hospital and no feeling and only 45% use of my right arm due to nerve damage, I was pleased with my performance as I was not sure I would even finish the race.