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Where's Jack? You don't know Jack

By  CJ Boom     22:09     
I was trying to think up a freaking good headline for this post about Nationals but I'm so tired i've given up.
It was an experience to say the least. It was stupid tough, I got stupid tired and I'm going to do it all again.

Race finished - i crashed, wasn't that great it was hot. Curley pulled out a wicked ride though (did a write up way below in read more)

2.30pm - BUT then Dan Craven called up - Picinic on the climb - Let's Roll.
I did some feeds with Curley for Simon Holt (Fabio / Holtini) he rides in Italy at the moment. When the bunch thinned and it was more managable to hand up bottles, I left the feed zoom and I walked what felt like a flipping long way to the BBQ. (well probably a mile up the mile long climb)
But my my it was worth it.
4pm - Dan tormented Chris Froome with Namibian beer.
They cooked steak and we  relaxed in wooden garden furniture to sit on during the race
Only the 2nd to last lap the Endura Car came by and Jack Bauer hopped in to follow the group containing their Endura rider.
Its 5pm - The 3 Sky breakaway then came past on the their penultimate lap after they had past we started packing up the barbie in the spare Rapha Condor team car. Sky came round again on the final lap and we jumped in the car to follow.

Amazing how when you slap a load of logos on a car, officials just let you through!
We get back round to the finish and the rest of the field had been pulled at 1 to go.
So where's Jack?
5.20pm - We searched the event village.
All the teams are trying to leave and its a mass car park / jam
What about cells - NOPE. No battery which sucks big time
So we have to drive the car all the way back to sign on (up country lanes). Find some cell signal and call Jack.
We get to sign on and give him a call and then a bleeping comes from the rear of the car.
Oh man
Then we find Jack's shoes. Oh man
There is an New Zealander walking about without shoes and a t shirt in the middle of no where
5.45pm - Remember I've been awake since 6am - i've ridden half a hard race and then drenched myself in lovely sunshine. Eaten too many Thoasages and had a few Namibian beers.
Then Larry Hickmott shoes up in his BCF little postman van. And out climbs... JACK!
And we're off pasting it down the motorway to drop Jack off in Manchester before Dan and I head to London. Let's just see what their pink and white striped Skoda can do.
I arrived home at 11pm. Man that was a long and epic day.
Good performance on the BBQ, shame about my race.

Waiting for the restart
Craven cooking it up
Curley's Breedon caramel 'slice' special
Stanndard getting his seat adjusted after the puncture
Jack before he went walk about
Kit laid out at 6am ready for the race
Food for the journey to the race - trust M&S

Battle scars

Organisers switched the race this year from Saturday arvo to Sunday morning. Motorcycle TV crews & helicopters attended.

So up at 6am on Sunday, ate such a small breakfast (Clusters baby) got that all digested rocked over to sign on at 7am.
It was soo warm even at 7ish. Usually I warm up with arm warmers or a jacket on. Noop!
I saw Lizzy Armistead sign on rocking compression socks and gladiator saddles. She looked well chilled, and "I ain't no lezza" but she is pretty hot.
In the rider briefing, straight away Cooke's camp was asking the commissaire to define the team tactic rules. Then they repeated his answer and asked about tactics again. Errr someone's making a point!
We rode out, out to the start. Hugh Porter did some intro's and we were off! Through the village and up straight up the 1milr climb. Pooley attacks and the pace wound up. I felt it instantly.
Gaps were wide mid way up the climb and a group ahead formed with me in another. Onto the descent. Over the cattle grid and more descent.
We could see them up ahead and I was slotted on a World Persuit Champs wheel (I know, just the right place to be). Jo Rowsell in blue, no sponsor and slotted behind some ridders and it was partially lined out.
Onto the descent and we all let out brakes go. A gap on lap one was not going to happen we all needed each other for the climb and the flatish bit at the back of the course.
I heard a bang and I saw bikes in a hedge, grabbing a fist full of levers I tried to stop as instanding around the bend I could riders down. I heard screaming as we piled into each other. The comms car stopped behind. But it was blind to other riders descending and more went smashing into the parked car. I could hear wails and screams.
I remember tumbling over the top of someone and seeing Alice M-G in her wicked Duval kit with blood pissing out her elbow. Wyman had her foot out using her Champion cross skills to perhaps stop.
I got up thinking don't let the gap get bigger.
Shifter was bent in and brakes rubbed I descended the last part and onto the flat, up the climb to the feed and out the saddle. Crunch instant shoulder pain. Dammit. Seeing team mechanic James in the feed I yelled I needed my bike sorting and he told me to get off. Pulling my shifter straight, I sat down to catch my breath work out if I was broken. Na.
Race neutrailised. So rode slowly back to the start. Met up with team mates and sat on wall for an hour. Counting number of black shirts and trying to work out who was missing from the peloton.
Cath broke her bike and got another. But Ang who I would have tipped for top 10 couldn't begin again. It takes a load of courage to not race, especially in a big race that you've been preparing for all year. Especially when your performance at the Nationals will determine if she gets picked to ride the Commonweath games and make further appearances for Team GB. I tip my hat to her.
When I felt my shoulder crunch and thought I hurt my shoulder. Someone said I should sit down and I was instantly arguing to tell everyone I was ok and I could ride. So I know how annoyed Ang must have felt for not being able to compete.
My whack did shake me and I wasn't really alright on the big climb. I slipped off the group and finished behind Curley's group. She nearly outsprint National Cross Champ - Helen Wyman. A good performance by her.

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