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Adam Lewis journal: racing on home soil

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #4

Adam Lewis and three other riders are keeping rider journals for The British Continental this season. Adam, 23, rides for the Dutch UCI Continental team BEAT Cycling Club this season, an innovative team that markets itself as a professional cycling team based on a club. This is Adam’s 4th journal entry…

Before the East Cleveland Klondike Grand Prix. Photo: James York

Approaching the final I was amazed at just how great I was feeling. In my mind I’d planned the point where I was going to attack

It has been a long time since I have been home in the UK during the month of April; usually I am found slugging it out in a gutter somewhere in Belgium. However when the Rutland Melton CiCLE Classic appeared on the team programme at the beginning of the year it was one I immediately couldn’t wait to come and do. Not only was it on home soil, it would also be my first time competing in it, and after hearing many stories from riders’ experiences in previous editions, my motivation was high.

With a small gap in my racing programme between the Volta Limburg Classic and the CiCLE Classic, it allowed me to come home for two weeks prior to the race. This gave me the opportunity to compete in a total of three races in the UK – a rarity for me – as well as catch up with family and friends. Something I normally wouldn’t have the chance to do in April. It was a refreshing break from the constant day to day life in Belgium. Anyway, onto the races…

East Cleveland Klondike GP

The first round of the HSBC UK |National Road Series was the first of my races I had lined up. Funnily enough, it happened to be my first ever ‘Prem’, making me slightly nervous as well as excited about what to expect. I headed up north early on race morning ready for the race start in the market town of Guisborough.

Having seen the severity of the parcours, I was looking forward to the race as it suited me well. We had some fairly harsh conditions to deal with, temperatures hovering around four degrees and a brisk wind making it feel very cold. The first hour of racing was very aggressive, making for a hard start. The main break of the day formed as we hit the moors for the first time. It then settled down, with the peloton lead by Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother for the next two hours. I rode myself into the race feeling better as it went on.

During the East Cleveland Klondike Grand Prix. Photo: James York

I spent my pennies too early as they say and when it really kicked off I had no legs left to follow

It all came down to the final hour when the peloton exploded on the short punchy climbs. As we started the final lap I was still in the mix but, to cut a long story short. I spent my pennies too early as they say and when it really kicked off I had no legs left to follow. I rolled home in the second group, in what was a disappointing 34th. I had had high hopes for the day but a combination of circumstances meant it wasn’t to be. Overall I have to say the event itself was extremely well-organised, had a great parcours and an awesome crowd lined most of the streets, which was great to see. After a positive experience I am definitely hoping to participate in at least one more round of the series later on this season.

Stockbridge RR

Easter Sunday bought about another chance to race, this time down south in the Stockbridge RR, a National B event, ran over 140km on a rolling circuit around Upavon. I was using the race mainly as a ‘leg tester’ ready for Rutland the week later and this I certainly got. Having made the race’s winning move of fifteen riders after 30km we spent the rest of the day out front. Coming into the final lap I made a few attacks but to no avail. Coming into the final there were two riders hanging out front which I managed to jump across to and then on the final ramp I jumped hard to go solo for the final kilometres, hanging on to claim the victory! First one of the season, first one in BEAT Cycling colours and a nice confidence booster heading into the next one. 

Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic

Britain’s answer to the Belgium classics was to be my last race during this trip home. The race itself was a fantastic experience; 200km of single lane roads and gravel tracks was great fun. Having an awesome feeling in the legs no doubt made it more enjoyable. I found myself making all the front splits over the ‘sectors’ and was in the pivotal 40 man group contesting the finish as the action really kicked off the last time over the Somerberg.

On the move at the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic. Photo: DJ Perry

Approaching the final I was amazed at just how great I was feeling. In my mind I’d planned the point where I was going to attack but then bad luck struck: not once but twice I suffered a flat in the final 20 kilometres. I made it back to the front after the first, the latter though came too close to the finish meaning I rolled in solo to cross the line 45th, thinking what might have been. Hat’s off to the organisers for designing a fantastic race, one which I will definitely be back at.

What’s next?

As I finish writing this I am back in Belgium. The next big race comes this weekend at La Flèche Ardennaise (12 May), the route taking in some of the best roads in the Ardennes. Hopefully, this will be followed by a couple of jaunts to France for some stage racing with BEAT Cycling Club. Stay tuned!

Before the East Cleveland Klondike Grand Prix. Photo: James York

Read more

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #3

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #2

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #1

Rider journals: introducing Adam Lewis

Follow Adam on Twitter here.

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