Katie's Blog: August
So once again, the minute we crossed the border into Donegal, the rain started and did not stop until we crossed the border to come home again. Once again the Errigal International Youth Tour did not stop raining for the full 3 days of racing.
At 11am on a drizzly Saturday morning the Ulster team met for a team briefing. At this they gave us a talk about the weekend, about teamwork and having fun and then they gave us our Ulster jerseys. Unfortunately by the time they gave me mine they had run out of small sizes and I ended up getting a medium. Now I’m only 5’1 in height so this jersey was massive on me. My Dad and I went back to the club van and sat for 10 minutes pinning it up. I had pins sticking out all over the place trying to make it fit better. This meant that every time I put my hoodie on or wanted to take the jersey off or on I had to have someone help me or I would risk being stabbed by multiple pins in my back. Now all was going fine, the rain seemed to have stopped, my warm up was all done and I was ready and rearing to go for Saturday’s stage 1 race. This was when the bad luck started... when I was putting my jersey on the zip broke. So I was moments away before my race with a broken jersey. In the pen we had to have a quick wardrobe change getting me out of my Ulster top back into my NDCC top and take the numbers off the back of my team top onto my club top. Due to my wardrobe malfunction I was stuck at the back of the group in the pen which meant my day’s race was going to be very hard. Being stuck at the back I spent half of the first lap going round people. I ended up doing the majority of the race myself and catching the group in front of me. Then after the race it was time to go back to the hotel to the swimming pool so the cold water could help my legs recover.
Day 2 started off with a time trial in the morning which was all uphill. I put in a good time trial which earned me 5th girl overall at that stage of the race. After the time trial, Dad and I headed back to the hotel where I had a 2 hour nap before we had to go out to stage 3 that afternoon. Luckily, this time, I had no wardrobe malfunctions.
This course is one of the toughest youth race courses that I think I have done. It has two very hard and steep hills to do, then a short downhill then straight into another hill. The minute we got onto the hills the groups spilt drastically but I finished the race maintaining my position of 5th girl. After I cooled down I went with my friends to watch the rest of the races and I must say it was nice knowing I was done with that course for another year. When you are standing spectating the race, the hill doesn’t come across in its true glory of how horrible it actually is!
Day 3 was the final day and we were all up early to go the last stage which was Criterium race based on a 1km looped circuit. This was all flat and very, very fast. My legs were knackered and all I wanted to do was finish it safely and not lose my position overall in the race because last year I got involved in a crash going round one of the corners.
Overall I came 5th girl, 2nd Ulster girl at the Youth Tour and I was very pleased with it considering the course and the toughness of the weekend.
Also this month I had the track Inter Provisionals, at which Ulster won for the second year in a row and I also got a personal best in the 500m sprint knocking 2 seconds off the rest of the girls. Last weekend was the Ulster Championships at which I got a 4th in the time trial which was mostly uphill with a sharp decent at the finish. Then later that day I bagged myself a 3rd and a Bronze medal in the road race which was hilly with fast descents. The next day was my own club North Down’s grand prix where I finished First Girl.
I’m back to school this week but that doesn’t mean training and racing stops there, I have the road nationals this weekend in Westport which I’m feeling confident about and also I leave for Manchester to compete in the Sainsbury’s school games next Thursday. I’m looking forward to both weekends away but I’m also looking forward to finishing the 2015 season and having a well-earned rest for a few weeks in September.