Lauren Dickson at the Road Champs

28 June 2024

Photo: © British Cycling

On Sunday I lined up for my first British Road Championships (my fifth ever road race) after moving from triathlon to cycling earlier this year. For context, I ran nationally and internationally as a junior, before moving across to triathlon at university where I trained with Leeds’ Performance Centre. I later joined a Spanish triathlon team and have since represented GB in elite duathlon. Over the past couple of years I’ve found my favourite discipline in training - allows me to explore the country with friends - and racing is cycling. That said, my main inspiration is my definitely boyfriend’s love for bikes, cycling and racing.

With five laps of a 26km course, the pace was surprisingly manageable for the first couple of laps and having avoided an early crash that several riders were involved in, I was able to relax into the race. The feedzone went well and the practice with my Dad (up and down our local park) paid off.

An early break went but was eventually pulled back and we were still riding as a bunch, albeit somewhat dwindled, until the penultimate lap when some of the World Tour riders attacked on the climb. My more timid descent meant I was at the back of the group and missed their breakaway, but managed to stay with the second smaller group that formed afterwards (riders from around 14th-20th). The further on we went, the more comfortable I felt in the group. Sadly with 3km to go (127km gone) my rear wheel punctured and with rim brakes not being able to be serviced, the only option was to hitch a ride back in the broom wagon.

Although I’m disappointed not to have ridden up Saltburn Bank for the final time and fought for a final position, I really enjoyed the race and riding with such a strong group of women. It was interesting to see how different people’s tactics played out (my own were basic: not to get dropped) and where the key moments in the race were (both on climbs). The support around the course and the mixture of sharp climbs and sweeping roads, coupled with the impeccable race organisation, made it a great, intense day out.

I would love to be back next year, hopefully a bit wiser and definitely with tubeless tyres.

For anyone interested in seeing the course, the race footage is available on BC’s YouTube: