Last weekend, Josh Price of the Backstedt HotChilli team rode his first UCI 1.1 Junior road race, the Danilith – Nokere Koerse voor Juniores – here’s his story
Blog: Josh Price (Backstedt HotChilli)
Thanks to Darren Moody for the following …
Blog from Josh Price (Backstedt HotChilli) at Danilith – Nokere Koerse voor Juniores (UCI/1.1) last weekend
Josh writes … So today marks my first adventure into the UCI world of racing with the Nokere Koerse Danilith Classic in Nokere, Belgium.
After travelling down to the tunnel on the Friday and seeing some of the world’s nicest sports cars on the same train as us, the team and I arrived at Nokere at around 4.30pm in order to recce the course before the race.
The team for the weekend for Backstedt Hotchillee was; myself, Dan Coombe, Ben Moody, Matt Burke, Joe West, and Harry Hardcastle (who was guesting for us for this race), all of whom are great guys and great bike riders.
So we parked up and started riding round the course, and Joe had been very prepared and already had the map of the course on his Garmin so it was very easy to follow.
In the race we were going to be doing two bigger laps of just under 30km incorporating three cobbled sections each lap, then after those laps we would complete six smaller laps of 11km with two cobbled sections in each laps. We quickly realised in our recce that these cobbles were much more than we were expecting with one sections being roughly 3km long and that it was crucial for us all to be as close to the front of the group going into each section as possible to be safe. Our recce ride turned out to be crucial in the end so I was very glad we managed to do it!
Saturday came around quickly and started off with a team breakfast in the car park of our hotel in Lille of porridge and bread, then we travelled down to Deinze where the start was, and the whole experience of the team presentation and everything that went with it was really cool!
Two o’clock came around soon enough and all 200 of us starters lined up behind the neutralising car and then the car rolled off and the race had begun, 122km of tough Belgian racing was to come. As soon as the car had started, I was already trying to move up through the group as I had managed to start about 130th rider back in the grid, and within about the first 3km I had managed to move myself up to the very front row, but it wasn’t for long because as soon as the car dropped the flag riders came round from both sides. … continued after advert
Having not done a race for some months with a big field and being in close quarters it took me a while to get used to moving through the huge group and being so close to so many other riders. For me, the first hour was a matter of survival and being as close to the front as possible. I was very apprehensive before getting to the first section of cobbles which was the 3km one, but I managed to go into it in the top 50 and even made up a few places during it so after that I was filled with some more confidence for the coming sections.
After about an hour of racing it finally settled down a bit with the occasional break going but being brought back soon enough, and the cobbled sections getting more and more painful each time after going over them, throughout the whole race so far I had stayed in the top half/quarter of the field which was good news for me as Matt had already had a puncture which ended up putting him out of the race and Ben having lost his drinks in the cobbles and ending up bonking hard.
After the two hour mark, Joe unfortunately got caught up in a crash which meant he had to chase back on to the group and all that effort meant that was the end of the race for him. So with an hour left in the race, only Dan, Harry and myself were left in the group.
When we had about 17km left of racing, which was just over one lap left, I saw a chance down the right hand side of the road to attack and as Dan was at the front I shouted at him to come with me and we attacked off the front of the group around a roundabout. We knew that for us to have any chance of getting away from the peloton then we had to go full gas in to this attack and not look back.
Soon enough, we crossed the line with one lap to go, and all we could do was push ourselves to the limit and hope for the best. At this point my gears started jumping uncontrollably but all I could do was keep pushing through it and hope for the best. Coming into 3km to go, we knew we were going to stay away with a breakaway ahead of us and Jacob Vaughan in a solo move just in front of us.
Coming onto the final cobbled climb for the eighth time of the day, I had nothing left and just about crawled up it in my little ring, with about 30 seconds on the main group behind us. Dan crossed the line in 15th place and me in 16th. For my first ever UCI 1.1 race, and I couldn’t quite believe how I’d managed to do it and was absolutely chuffed with my performance.
Now I can’t wait until my next 1.1 on the 19th March back in Belgium for the Guido Reybroek!
After finishing, I looked at what the problem was with my gears and it turned out I had managed to break my chain and the link was only just being held together somehow! I definitely had someone big looking out for me today!
Huge thank you to all of the parents that made this trip possible, especially to Magnus Backstedt and Darren Moody for managing to get us into the race!
Also a huge thanks to the Wiltshire Council Funding for Future Olympians Grant which helped get me there.
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