Race Report from Women's race winner Michelle McCarthy (BMCC)
Thank you organisers of today’s ORRL. For the first time in some time, you also managed to ensure that an event I had signed up for stayed dry!
Today I finally felt prepared for a road race, with a good few weeks of consistent training under my belt. I have to say, when I entered the ORRL events (I entered the Henley event but didn’t start as my knee wasn’t up to it), my bigger concern was whether it was really for ladies, and if it wasn’t, how would I feel?
Daunted, as it turns out! But being part of BMCC and wearing a loaned shirt for the day (thanks Pierre), made me feel much more confident. Although looking at the 65 guys around me who were clearly more experienced, and the higher category girls, I did think that just finishing would be an achievement.
The race had high drama. Although there were marshals on every corner, the roads were still open, and there was a reasonable amount of traffic. Everyone had to have their wits about them. I witnessed several crashes, the biggest one making me question whether I should continue or retire. To be honest, it scared the hell out of me! But I continued, and knew that my competition was close by. Lydia did a great job of keeping everyone safe and warning of oncoming traffic.
I lost track of the laps completed, but when I decided we must be fairly close, I thought I’d stick with Lydia as long as I could. Team (or Tim)tactics came into play, and Tim, in truly heroic fashion came up with a cunning plan. He proposed that he moved to the front before the last two corners and I take his wheel. Apparently he didn’t hear me shout to him from behind “Tim, keep me safe; Tim I’m still with you; Tim, you can go faster, I’ve got more”, but having never had that kind of support before I felt Tim was so completely selfless and I am entirely grateful for his help in my first Road Race win!
Tim aside, again, that was the first experience of being in such a brilliant team! So many team wheels to follow, and so much drama for some of the others in the team – good (Simon) and not so good (Gavin, Chris and Pierre).
I can only imagine that was a bit like jumping out of a plane with a parachute…I’ve never done that, probably never will but I very much look forward to my next road race.