Adam Lewis and three other cyclists are keeping rider journals for The British Continental this season. Adam 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 6th journal entry…
All race I was feeling awesome and held my position inside the top 30 the whole time
I think in any walk of life seeing people succeed around you will only inspire you to strive for further success. This is true for myself and my team, BEAT Cycling Club, the past month.
In terms of racing it has been a busy four weeks, with a big focus on Belgian UCI 1.1 races. At the beginning of the month I returned home from the Tour de la Mirabelle (2.2), one of my main aims for the first part of the season. Unfortunately for one reason or another things didn’t go as I had hoped.
I had a week to recover and get ready for a block of 1.1 racing, kicking off with the Ronde van Limburg. It seems as though we had all benefited from the stage race the previous week. We managed to place five of the team, including myself, in an elite bunch of 40 come the finish. One of the only teams to do so, we came away with a great top 10 placing – first highest-placed Continental rider. I crossed the line in 24th. Nothing special but I was satisfied with my feeling and the job I had done on the day.
The following weekend was a triple header of 1.1s. The first two were particularly special to me as they were raced on my ‘home’ roads in Belgium. Dwaars door het Hageland was first up, a truly epic race covering over 40 km of gravel paths. No big results, but we took confidence from the way we rode going into the Heistse Pijl the following day. It turned out to be a great race for the team as we secured a nice top five finish after a day long breakaway. Some great publicity. Nothing to write home about on a personal note but I knew the form was good. And I helped the boys back in the bunch each lap to be in position for the cobbles.
I sat out of the final race of the weekend, the Elfstedenronde in Brugge. I was able to watch the race unfold live as we placed another rider in the race long breakaway and came away with another top 10 placing in a UCI 1.1, showing ourselves to be one of the strongest Continental teams out there.
A brief glance behind allowed me to see the peloton spread wide across the road and at that moment I knew the five of us were away
Halle – Ingooigem was the final race of the Belgian block before heading home for the National Road Championships. After the previous weekend’s successes, motivation was again high. I wanted to show what I could do. My main target and job for the day was to get in the early breakaway. After nearly two years of trying in 1.1 races, I knew this was easier said than done. However I was so focused on achieving this that after 30 odd kilometres of jumping in moves I finally latched on to the right one. A brief glance behind allowed me to see the peloton spread wide across the road and at that moment I knew the five of us were away.
Unfortunately the Deceuninck – Quick Step-led peloton never gave us more than three minutes advantage. I took maximum advantage of my time out front though, getting some good TV time and picking up the KOM prize. To round off a successful day, Piotr (Havik) pulled off an awesome result picking up 2nd place. Fair to say we were all ready for our respective national championships.
On to last Sunday then. This year the National Road Championships were held on a relatively flat 190km course around the Norfolk lanes. As always with the nationals, the race itself was very unpredictable and going into it I was unsure of what to expect. My plan for the day was to race aggressively from the outset, which is exactly what I did. With mainly a tailwind out, the pace was constantly high meaning any attacks were shut down quickly and nothing was able to stick.
All race I was feeling awesome and held my position inside the top 30 the whole time. Eventually, after 120km, the race winning move went containing six riders. I was slightly too late to react so wasn’t able to bridge across initially. However I rode away from the peloton in a group of 4, later joined by a group of 6. We rode hard and made the front of the race with 20 km remainin,g at which point it split again almost immediately and I found myself flagging on the wrong side of it.
That was the move of the race unfortunately and I found myself riding in a group of 6 for the remnants. That is, I was until I was taken down in an innocuous crash with 10 km to go. Fortunately I dusted myself off pretty quickly with the mindset of I wasn’t letting all this hard work go to waste. A solid chase and I was back with the group with a couple of kilometres to go. By this point though I was completely cooked and could only muster up 14th on the line.
Looking back on the past couple of weeks I can be extremely happy with the progress I made. I rode one of my best races at the nationals and with a bit of luck on my side, I could have made top 10.
Oh and that fairly innocuous crash I said about has resulted in a fractured elbow unfortunately. This has cast a big shadow on whether I can compete in the Beaumont Trophy this Sunday. I am still hopeful, but the season is still long so I have to be smart about it. Luckily my team has a bit of a summer break now until the end of July, giving me time to recover and get a solid block of training in.
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #5 – the behind the scenes work
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #4 – racing on home soil
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #3 – a winning start
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #2 – cycling to a new BEAT
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #1 – a postcard from Girona
Follow Adam on Twitter here.