We arrived at Great Longstone in the middle of the afternoon. When we got there we had to find the start place. Then we drove the course so I could understand where to go. We also found the road leading to the start line from the finish/sign-on area.
We drove the course a few times to get used to it. We stopped at a couple of places, I did a practice start and I also rode up the steepest section of the hill to get a feeling for it, and to know if my gears were right.
After waiting at the car park near the top of the hill for a few hours, we decided that I wouldn’t ride the full distance down to the start because it was a very long way to ride on open roads on my own. We stopped around a mile from the start, where I got out and rode to the start. I warmed up near the start on the closed road.
I was number 5, so I needed to be at the start-line quite early. I started at 18:35, but at the start I couldn’t get clipped in, although I had practiced lots. Around half way through the race I ran out of breath and I think it slowed me down a bit. I have sports induced Asthma. I did use my inhaler, but I still had breathing problems.
As I got further up the hill, some people who I did not know were shouting my name out, which made me go a little faster. I had never ridden the hill before, so it was not easy to know how much effort to put in or when to push harder. At the end I was so warn out, I couldn’t even sprint.
If I did it again, I think I would try to clip in a bit faster and try to sprint at the end no matter how much pain I was in. I would also understand it better and I would know where to push.
I really enjoyed this hill climb and it was a great experience.
I came 3rd in the under 16s/Juvenile female category. I am not really built for hill climbs, as I am really more muscular in my legs and more of a sprinter. Whereas most of the other competitors looked very light.
Saturday Ride – 1st of August 2020. Still no racing due to Corona Virus.
I went for a tail wind ride out for once, with a head wind home. I rode past my sponsors “Stonham Barns” which always brings a smile to my face and reminds me of when I first met Alan, his team and the residents of the holiday holes when I rode 121 miles to raise money for Great Ormond Street.
Whether Abbey ever repeats this years feat of being undefeated at home or in Europe is hard to know, but to do that again would be equally amazing. There are some very talented girls racing against Abbey who were so close to beating her on road and beat her in other disciplines, such as Orla and Melanie. In years to come the girls will battle away and all win, I am sure. New girls will come into the mix and make the races as exciting as they have been this year. A massive well-done to all of the girls.
Rather than go into detail of every one of Abbeys wins, here’s a montage of Photographs from this year.
Abbey and some of her Suffolk Youth Race Team mates went down to Farnham in Surrey today in one of the last big races of the season. The races had strong fields and reasonably good numbers too.
Abbey had a reasonable start, at about 10th into the first corner. This is better than her normal position into the 1st corner, which is last. As the leaders finished the first lap, Abbey had forced herself into 2nd overall. She stormed the race and finished 1st by a very long way.
On a beautiful day in Hertfordshire Abbey travelled an hour and a half to the amazing Redbourn event. In many ways a traditional village green crit but catering for everyone with riders from Ipswich and surround areas in attendance. Below are some photos of Abbey. It has to be said we have seen larger fields at Fete Du Velo, but still the racing was amazing.
Abbey had a great race with a boy. He led from the start, Abbey reeled him on, worked out his strengths and weaknesses and did her thing for the last 2 laps to win be the length of the finishing straight.
Minehead is a fare way from Suffolk, but an undefeated in 2019 Abbey went to take on the best U10s in the country. The Minehead Grand Prix saw Sophia Bednarek and Lauren Oldfield enter from the midlands and North England. The course was a triangle around the ton centre with a power sapping dead turn at the top of the town centre,.
Abbey had a fairly good start using a reverse splits. The significantly more powerful boys got around 15 seconds on the 1st lap. Abbey reeled them in lap after lap until she was in 2nd overall for a few seconds. Then the boys broke away again, compounded by a slow rider accidently pushing Abbey into the barriers where she bounced into the air, but held it together,
The commentator added a bit of excitement and confusion by stating Abbey was 1st with 2nd place still in the main peloton with her, but the girl that had been on Abbeys wheel had been long dropped. Calls to Abbey to be aware that one of the riders in the group was a girl meant Abbey had to push to the max to neutralise the threat, and reduce the threat of being out sprinted at the end. This brought forward lap times in excess of 21.6mph and top speeds heading towards 30mph. In he end it turned out that the commentator had seen Abbey lap the 3rd place girl. Abbey was proud to represent her club and again show everyone that suffolk youth have what it takes to win. Abbey had a bit of drama tangling with a mountain bike and getting taken out before the sprint with the boys.
This was the first time Suffolk Youth Race Team had been to the Winchester Grand Prix. The town centre had been closed off and safety barriers erected around the course. There was a carnival atmosphere in the air with a lot of eager riders checking every thing and everyone out. The course went up the high Street, and around the back of the town close to the Abbey. The commentator from the Ovo Tour was there telling the substantial crowd what was going on, which made all the difference. Those looking on actually understood what was happening around them.
In the race with Abbey was Orla Willis a great rider from the South East. Abbey took to the start-line after the boys had started. Abbey had one of her worst starts, as can be seen below with Orla having a great start on the far right and Abbey so far back shes not visible in the photo.
SYRT took one rider to the Youth Paris Roubaix this year Abbey Thompson. Abbey has had a good year to date in Under 10s. She has won every race she has finished including the U10 girls National Championships, the National Youth Series Road Race in the Isle of Man along with many more. The pinnacle of Abbeys season was a weekend trip to France and back (referred to as a bounce) last weekend.
We had to get to the hotel early Saturday afternoon, change, then find the start of the course, recce the Paris Roubaix course (including exactly where to start, lines though the neutralised zone, how to make a decisive break, how to deal with the top international riders fighting for the win, how to stay relaxed and not stress and above all… “self-belief”. Then it was back to the hotel by 9pm, eat, sleep and be up by 07:30 to eat breakfast, pack the car, check out of the hotel and drive into Roubaix some 20 miles away to sign on. Unfortunately, even the locals didn’t understand the race, so no helpful answers. The toilet signs at Roubaix existed, which started off being promising, but they were circular which infuriated even the French riders. The bottom-line being there were no toilets.
Once signed on, we took the option to not mess and drive straight to the start. We used our own prepared food and drink, rather than take a chance with upset tummies. We arrived into the village of Chereng, where the start appeared to be. Once at Chereng we soon made friends with the famous Maindy Flyers, who we had met in other racers during the season, the French team with national and regional, as well as department champions (I need to google that), as well as lovely Dutch riders and families etc. Our one common theme was that no-one knew what the heck was happening and we had to literally prize the information from the officials, who to be fair were lovely people
Two hours to go, we found a building site with an unofficial Portaloo hidden on site, behind Team Frances awnings. A few beers exchanged, as currency, and the loo’s were now marshalled by Team France with access to the British riders given. This turned out to be quite a big deal and gave the Brits some Kudos.
There was a lot of posturing, team riders swarming of the local village centres etc going on.
1 hr to go and nearly all of the riders were making mistakes in the 32-35 degrees of heat. Abbey played it cool, and did her standard prep. The start was neutralised, so it was important to work out where to be in the role out. The girls started at the same time as the boys, but were allowed to start at the front of the 80 plus field. The race was very professional looking with motor cycle out riders, commissaires car, and general convoy. At the last minute the organisers realised that they needed to get a police car from the back of the stationary peloton to the front…. on a narrow road. The shuffle took about 10 mins with a lot of smiling parents. The riders rolled out at quite a pace.
Parents were not allowed to follow the course which caused a bit of mayhem getting back to Roubaix before the riders. Back to the race, Abbey took her first planned attack, which turned out to be decisive. She reached the first of three sections of Pave (very, very tough cobbles) in first place.
We know boys are faster than girls, so it was only a matter of time before the faster boys passed Abbey, which happened during the first cobbled section. Abbey then pushed hard utilising the lines the boys used ahead, as she was not that familiar with the course. Over the short 10Km course Abbey maintained first place with a 30 second gap all the way to the last 2Kms. We think the marshals expected the riders to know whereto go, but at 2k to go there was a fork in the road that she hadn’t seen on our recce ride the previous day. After some waved arms and a foot down, the marshals saw the issue and pointed the way to go. The gap to 2nd place had reduced, but Abbey has been taught to not panic and got back into her rhythm and pushed hard into the famous Roubaix Velodrome. I managed to park 2Kms from the stadium and missed Abbey winning, but found her and she told her story.
The presentations came straight after the U23s finished with British World champion, Tom Pidcock, winning his race. Abbey received a lovely presentation and a jovial mention alongside Tom Pidcock that made her smile.
We then literally rushed home with Abbey laden with flowers, a piece of Pave and a Trophy.
Next year we should have a strong team out there and hopefully more success.
The team is always looking for more riders, so contact us if you are interested in joining in the fun.
The team is always looking for more riders, so contact us if you are interested in joining in the fun.