Round up for the 2018 season and going into the 2019 season

So ....... just an update as to where I’ve got to so far. So the season ended with the final 3 races being the Junior Tour of Wales. Trophio Buffoni and the World Championships in Austria. At the beginning of the season the Junior Tour of Wales was one which I wanted to win, obviously with a busy calendar sometimes you can’t go well for every race. I trained hard going into the race but picked up some illness going into the race and didn’t feel at my best which meant after having some days off before the race I didn’t have the legs that I wanted to. So I finished 4th on GC and 3rd on the Tumble Queen Stage. I left the weekend feeling disappointed but it was made better by reading a tweet saying that I had won the Series overall. Straight after the race I trained hard as I was motivated to finish the season well whilst still waiting to see if I’d got into the Worlds line up.  After 2 weeks of hard training we went over to Italy for the final team race of the season.  But this was not to be the last as I found out that I had made the World champs GB team. Me, Ben and Lewis all met at the airport as we would all fly out together and meet Callum once we arrived in Italy (Jamieson and Tom would not be at this race due to it only being a four rider team). Once we got on the plane we realised that Ben has drawn the short straw and that he would be sitting on his own for the flight. Once we arrived in Italy we met Callum (after he’d been waiting for a while) and Paul and Patrick drove us over to where we would be staying.  We built the bikes up … eventually after losing many bolts on the grass, (not sure which muppets decided to build their bikes up in the grass) and after a scare from Callum Macloed that he forgotten to pack his seat post we set off on a recce.  Luckily our hotel was on the course which meant we didn’t have to drive anywhere. We did a few laps of the finishing circuit before going back to the hotel for tea and then we were getting ready for the race.  Flávio had already told us the race was going to be a fast one with lots of strong Italian and other European riders wanting good results being seen as a prep race for the Worlds but also a big race in itself. The race started fast on the flat loops with it being quite sketchy due to a big number of riders and the pace. Ben managed to get into a break away and just before the hilly finishing laps someone crashed into the back of me on a corner which meant my top three gears wouldn’t work. I got back on my bike and after a short bit of pacing back on by Flávio I reached a decent place in the convoy and was able to move back up into the bunch. I got on the back of the bunch just as we hit the climb and was able to move up. Bens breakaway was caught. There were lots of riders going out the back and a breakaway formed before I managed to make my way up to the front.  I then stayed in the bunch until 1 1/2laps to go where I saw a rider sprint out of the bunch and bridge across to the break away which was 30 or so seconds up the road. I did the same and managed to get across to the now break of 8/9 after some had been dropped I the previous climb. We worked together for a few km before hitting the final climb where some attacks went up the road I was able to stay with these. This whittled the break away down another few riders. Meaning there were now 7 of us going into the final few km. The chase back on along with the hard race and not having all the gears had taken its toll and I was 6th. I was happy with this result considering the circumstances and the quality of the field.  It was a great way to end the year with the team! Then there was just one race left to finish off the season! …..
The World Champs was an awesome race to be part of and a mint way to end the year. It was a fast and hard race from the gun with everyone racing to get into the first climb in a good position this meant it was also very sketchy, so after around 40/50km there was big crash which I came down in, thankfully not bad due to me landing on a bike haha which meant I was able to get back on quickly and start chasing. After a fair chase I was able to get back across to the now whittled down front group where I started to move up.  Shortly after we took a right turn onto a fast decent under a motorway tunnel, there was a touch of wheels which meant another crash which I was caught up in. Getting through the carnage again it was time to start chasing hard as there was only a few KMs until the first climb of the day which was sure to split the bunch. Alfie had come down in the crash so we were able to work well together into the bottom of the climb this meant I hit the climb not too far back, around a minute, thanks to Alfie’s tows. The climb was about 10 minutes long so I knew I would have to pace the effort well but at the same time not hold much back as the race could be going away in front of me. As soon as we hit the climb there were riders everywhere which meant I was able to work my way through the riders, until I eventually made my way to the second group on the road and we were able to make our way up to the front group to make a group of around 15 riders. On the long steady downhill into the finishing circuits in Innsbruck the third group on the road was able to make contact after the Belgian team had chased hard. This made a group of 30-40 riders left in contention. On the first long climb I felt fatigued as the race and chasing back on had taken its toll on me until just over half way up when the field was ripped apart due to an attack. I just missed contact with the second group on the road which meant I was now in a group with Ben and a few others. We worked well for the remaining lap and a half until the sprint where we finished 17th and 20th I was disappointed with the result but couldn’t be too disappointed with the circumstances and racing the World’s best.
It was a mega way to end the season representing GB in Austria!

Thanks to Pedal Potential for their continued support.

Mason Hollyman