Three of our 3C riders made it through qualifying at the UCI Tour du Cambridge and won their spot to compete in the Grand Fondo world championships in Albi. This is an amazing achievement, giving them the place to compete for their country with some of the worlds best riders. Rich Bradley has written about what it feels like to be part of such a prestigious race.
"My UCI World Championship Experience.......
Well, don't really know where to start..... arriving in Toulouse airport Friday rush hour, I really wasn't expecting it too be so hot! Blimey it was baking. I was anxious as I thought I would be, but I hadn't factored in the heat 36 plus degrees!
Sunday arrived quicker than expected after a nice gentle ride out Saturday morning with Steve Lane (3C) and about 100 of the Great British team, we covered the first 20km and the last 20km of Sunday's race course and it was HOT. This heightened my anxiety, as I was concerned about 100miles in this heat!
Well no time for too many nerves now, I made it to the start line with plenty of time, thanking the stars that it was grey and overcast, but still warm! Unfortunately the UCI had made a complete shocker with the start gates..... anyway I didn't want that to spoil my day, my number colour was shown I made my way forward thru the crowds to have my bike checked for a motor!
To the start line and away we went, incredibly fast as aways with a road race, the first 2.5km were neutral, but as ever everyone went off at warp speed. Finally it calmed down after a few crashes, until the first climb which broke our age group into two, I was in the latter with about 100 other riders, we stayed like this until the first 8km climb. By this time however, the sun decided to make an unscheduled appearance, which made the temperature soar to 37.5 degrees!
Our group fractured into smaller drawn out groups as we all settled in for the climb, over the top we went and a lovely long decent back down, then along the valley floor onto the next climb which was slightly longer than the last, again the peloton I was in fractured once again as it came slightly more difficult for me to hold on to my group. Ouch, that climb hurt....... A lot!!
Again a nice very fast decent, to about 100km and the 2nd drink station which I was very much looking forward to as my fluid situation was bleak! Only to find to my dismay there wasn't any! This was not good, UCI again had let us down, thankfully some very kind locals had rallied around and were handing out warm water, but it was like nectar after 20km without any!!
Anyway, the kms ticked away with a lot of up but not much down! One last push to 130km to water station 3.... guess what no water, again UCI have a lot to answer for! Again a young girl handed me a reused bidon with the only water I would have for the rest of the ride! With out her bottle I would not of made the end! I really do mean that!
Now it was the last push for the finish, which seemed for ever the 20km board came then the 10km, I'm sure they were 100km apart as I was running on empty at this point!
Turning off the main road into the Albi race circuit I knew I was nearly there, navigating a few bends then there in all it's glory the finish line! Get in. Lots and lots of lovely water, two bottles drunk and one all over my head!
In conclusion, I've never had to dig so deep on my bike in an event. It was all about finishing and finish I did along with my good friend Steve Lane.
The event overall was an experience I'll never forget, the journey there and pulling on my countries colours I felt truly honoured. Thank you to all my great friends in the 3C club for all the encouragement and kind words, you know who you are!
I Thank you.
Very very well done to Rich, Steve and Stew who all donned GB jerseys and competed. We are all very proud!