© 2023 State Bicycle Co..
Words: Josh Tyrrell; State Bicycle Co. Sponsored Rider
Photography: Caro Paulette
My time in Barcelona for the Red Hook Crit (RHC) had come to close and it was time to make moves to France. I took part in a relatively new race called National Moutard Crit, in a town called Dijon. The plan was to drive out from Barcelona with the F.A.S.T Amsterdam crew in their Sprinter Van. Total driving time of 10 hours. We left on Wednesday Morning cramming ourselves into the van for this long drive.
As we made our way north through France we noticed a fairly large mountain off in the distance. Turns out it was Mont Ventoux. Yes. THE Mont Ventoux. Seeing as we had no real schedule to follow, we decided to go for it. It was a solid 2 hour detour, but a noteworthy one. 20km ascent at an 8% avg, winding through the forest for most of the climb, until you find yourself on bare limestone, totally exposed to the wind (of which there is no shortage). This will forever be a highlight of the trip for me.
Two days out from the beginning of the race we found ourselves at Chateaux Gressoux. A 200 year old Orphanage converted into a bed and breakfast. It is here that I was able to prepare for the race, with amazing terrain to get some solid openers in.
Race: Day 1
The first stage of this Omnium event was a 1km TT on the velodrome. With threats of rain, we piled into the van made our way to the course and set up the rollers. I was feeling pretty good going into this, keeping in mind it was to be my 4th time ever on a velodrome.
I put in a time of 1:14:76, landing me the 4th spot over all. The podium consisted of Mario Paz Duque, Francois Fevrier, and Thilbault Lhenry. I was pleased with my results and looking forward to the following stages.
Race Day 2
The 2nd stage of this event was the Hill Sprint. 1.6km at 8% avg gradient, with two bursts of 15%. I felt confident going into this as climbing is where I excel. Right off the gun I attacked the field trying to drag out all the contenders and leave the slower climbers behind. It worked. Unfortunately, it also took its toll on me and I felt the end of the tank coming faster than I would have liked. With that, Mario launched a massive attack that I was not able to follow.
Knowing I was not going to take the W I wanted to secure at least 2nd place, however the pack was gaining quickly on me. With 50m to go I was over taken by two French riders. It ended in a sprint for 4th between myself, Thibault and a young French rider Nicolas Oury. I got nicked on the line and ended up 5th.
The crit was later that day, and I was still in 4th place on the GC. The race had a similar feeling to RHC, Qualifier groups followed by a series of races.
As big of a battle as it is on the bike, we are all friends at the end of the day.
The track was VERY technical and not made with speed in mind. On a 1.25km circuit there was 5 hairpins, and a triple chicane. All connected with a wide open straight that rose slightly.
During the qualifiying session, I paired up with some fellow RHC riders, and we sent it. On this technical course, I ended up 19th in Qualies. Not the greatest but not the worse. In the end it would only serve as a mark for which race I’d be taking part.
As our luck would have it, the skies opened up and it started dumping rain. Regardless, we took to the course and waited for the start. As I mentioned before, the qualifiers didn’t dictate where you would start the race. It was very much so a free for all for position before the start. I was close to the front but way off to the right, which was not ideal as there was a tight right hander 40m from the start. Regardless, we got counted down and off we went. Having to navigate through the first right hander the peleton was strung out immediately. I was sitting 25 back from the front by the first hairpin. Not ideal, as there was a 7 man group that was already peeling away. This would turn out to be the final top 7. By the end of the first lap it was very clear that moving up through the field was only really possible in the long rising straight.
The rest of the course was very tight and technical and left very little room to move around. Lap by lap I was moving up a rider at a time, it just simply was not enough. With 12 laps to go I stepped on the gas and was moving passed groups of riders in the straight each lap. Before long I found myself solo in no-mans land between the field and the break. I was gaining on them gradually, however there was no chance in making contact as the race was near its end.
I crossed the line in 8th place 43s back from the winner Tim Cersa from 8Bar. I ended up in 4th place on the GC only 6 points off the podium. I am incredibly pleased with the race and the whole week leading up to it. A huge thanks goes out to State Bicycle Co. for everything that they do, as well to all my friends from the fixed gear family, this whole trip would not have been the same without you! I’m looking forward to next year already!
For more photos, hop on over to Josh's Instagram
Don't forget to follow his cycling adventures on Strava