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Freshly Glued Tubs – the British National Road Race Championships 2012

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The British National Road Race Championships 2012 are one of my favourite events of the season. The race is strange because I have no specific job to do, no pulling on the front, no marking, no driving the break and no one to let down apart from myself.

The first British Elite Championships I took part in were in 2008, somewhere in Yorkshire.

I went with the guys front An-Post, who helped me out a lot in getting to the race and finding a place to stay. It was an adventure. I drove on the ‘wrong’ side of the road for the first time up to the race in a van we had borrowed to get there.

Some parts of Yorkshire and very remote and I just didn’t believe I was in England when we forded a river and I lost mobile reception. It was amazing to find such a beautiful place in the England.

Most of my previous cycling experience in the UK involved trying to trace training routes round cities in the Midlands. I didn’t finish that race because I bonked, but I had been in the break with Rob Hayles who went on to win the race.

Since 2008 I’ve gone every year to the championships and had varying degrees of success; either in the break, or finishing respectfully.

My best year was in Pendle in Lancashire where we just went up and down a massive mountain for five hours. I remember just feeling I didn’t have that extra oomph to follow the ten or so guys of the front, but felt comfortable because it was a hilly race and there wasn’t much need to scrap for position in the peloton.

My bad luck began with the equipment. My team forgot to bring my race bike from the north of Portugal the previous weekend, so I was stuck with my training bike.

The wheels were still an issue, so the team had them sent down, however due to a problem with the courier these arrived late, really late. I had to go to the Algarve depot on the morning of my flight and more or less dig them out myself at 05:00 am when the depot opened and then rush to the plane which left shortly after that.

We arrived in East-Midlands, a place I’m really familiar with as I spent two years in Loughborough and even worked in a mailing centre, just a stones throw away from the airport. We got the little rent a car and followed the road north to York, to my cousin’s place.