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Chain gang: Yorkshire edition

Fabulous race report from Sarah Mee, part of the smashing “Yellow Team” taking part in the Harrogate Nova Road Race.

On Sunday, Ellie, Harriet and I travelled up to Yorkshire for the Harrogate Nova Road Race, seeking out one of a relatively few women’s cat 3/4 road races on the calendar.
 
The course profile was as you’d expect for God’s Own County but still resulted in some trepidation as we looked around us from the HQ to nothing but rolling hills. The draggy climbs and twisting descents quickly whittled the field of 39 down to a front group of around 8 within the first lap of the 8-mile circuit. A QOM prize then fractured the race further, eventually leaving the three of us riding together on our own in a hillier recreation of the Thursday chain gang! I couldn’t help but smile (a change from the usual grimace) on hearing a comment from the roadside about “that yellow team working well together”.
 
By the second full lap we were well distanced from a strong leading pair but comfortably ahead of the chasing bunch, perhaps getting a little too comfortable as on lap three a motorbike marshal and our directeur sportif for the day (Chris) warned us that there was a solo rider gaining on us at 22 seconds. Thanks to some big turns from Ellie, by now doing the lion’s share of the pacing, we reached the final straight together still a good distance ahead of the chasing rider, with Ellie crossing the line in a very well-deserved 3rd ahead of Harriet and I taking 4th and 5th respectively. 
 
All three of us are new to road racing this year, with the whole thing seeming a lot less daunting with clubmates for company and the huge amount of support and encouragement back home. The experience has left us all excited for the rest of the season and scouting the calendar to plan the next team outing!

Many thanks to Harrogate Nova for putting on an excellent event.

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