The long weekend started on the Friday with a 300 mile drive up to St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. We arrived at the accommodation at 10pm.

Stage 1 – 109km (2:47hrs – 39km/h)

After a pretty awful nights sleep, I was ready for the first stage, which was the hilliest of the two stages.  We struggled to find the HQ, but eventually found it. The race started and it was very relaxed with people chatting…then it got started. The race had two smaller loops, which we did twice each, before heading over to the final climb which stage 1 finished on. I was a bit too active at the start of the race, as I was near the front too often and got myself into 3 mini attacks, that only lasted two-minutes each.

We got onto the final circuit, which had more climbing than the last lap, which was pretty grippy.  I managed to get a drinks bottle on the second time through the feed station and I was feeling really good.  With 10k to go, an attack went up the road with some strong riders.  I decided to try and bridge the gap on the fastest part of the course at 54kph and holding 500w..suprisingly!.. I couldn’t bridge the gap. I then sat in and rested before the last climb. I got myself in a perfect position, if the stage was the actual length it said it was, but it was 4km longer. I hit the bottom of the climb in the top 10 in the front group…then I just went backwards, big time ,as I had used too much energy in the start of the race. I lost around 2-minutes to the leaders at the top of the climb.

Stage 2 – 98km (2:20hrs – 40km/h)

The second day was meant to be the ‘flat stage’ and it was much more grippy than the first day. I sat at the back of group for the first 30k and this worked out well, as I only averaged 150w which is my zone 1, so I saved my energy for the punchy climbs to come. We came to the first climb faster than I thought at 24.3 km.  Starting at the back, I had to work really hard to move up the group, holding 430w for 2-minutes. As we hit the headwind, I went to the back again to relax and consume some more food.

We later did the ‘cults loop’ that had a 7-minute lumpy climb, which we had completed during the last-half of day one. The first time up it, we weren’t hanging around averaging 300w. On the flat section I found myself at the back; as it turned out, a lot of people had been dropped up the climb.

The yellow jersey and his team mate were trying to pull back the early break and make another split, just at the bottom of the last climb. I saw the move, but I wasn’t in the right position to go with it as they weren’t going too fast. I tried to bridge the gap up the climb; I really put in a hard dig, going off the front of the group and passing people who had been dropped from the second group on the road. I just put my head down and tried to hold good watts. I had a small gap to the main group but wasn’t catching the group ahead, so on the flatter section I decided to sit on the front for the rest of climb and for half the descent as I felt good.  This was the last real effort of the day.

A bit later I got into the main group. It took us a while to start to work together, but even though we could see the yellow jersey group ahead, we could not catch them. We did around four full rotations then the group split into two with people working and people who simply couldn’t. I sat in the front group for the last 10k to save myself for the slight uphill finish. I came into the final 90 degree corner in a good position and finished quite well after staying seated to prevent cramping.

I finished 25th on the second stage and 31st overall on GC after a poor first stage. I was really happy with my performance on the second day and I learnt some important things from the weekend, which I can use in future races.

I would like to thank the sponsors for their ongoing support and to my dad for driving me all the way up to Scotland!