We supported the Junior Tour of Mendip again this year and overall winner Zac Walker was kind enough to write up his experience of the race for us, read his race report below!
Similarly to 2021, stage 1 was a Time Trial around the Odd-Down race circuit in Bath. Fortunately for me, a good mate of mine; Tyler Hannay, had won the previous year. From this I was able to get useful tips from him which were primarily based around keeping the effort steady and not surging out of corners. I utilised this throughout my time trial as well as keeping a large focus on staying composed and being as aero as possible! I was pleased with my time and came away with 2nd place behind Noah Hobbs.
For stage 2 I had the mentality of not necessarily trying to win the race but more of a focus on not losing it. Yet again from the previous year I knew that the course contained a large exposed area where the group could split up. Due to this, I made sure to be attentive throughout the race doing this from a “back seat” role. What I mean by this is that I tried to hide myself as much as possible in order to not be forced into chasing moves down; hence leaving it up to Hobb’s. This paid off. By the end he was severely cramping. I took advantage of this by attacking on the last lap, up the rise on the course and established a gap with 5 or 6 others. We worked well together until the line, helped partly by there being a solo rider up the road. Victory was out of the question, we were simply trying to take time on others. I ended the day 5th and remained 2nd on GC after the solo escapee moved into the leader's jersey.
As one of the most challenging profiles on the British Calendar; stage 3 featured five relatively short but extremely steep climbs. Although I was 2nd on GC, I was arguably the favourite going into this stage due to my climbing pedigree.
Immediately after the neutral ended, 3rd place (Josh Goliker) attacked. This put me on the back foot. I didn’t want to waste energy early on so I allowed the gap to grow considerably. After this another large group went up the road, I had missed this which was a huge mistake. It was touch and go whether I had thrown the whole race away for a couple of KM's. I needed to take action, so on the first climb past the Yeo Valley headquarters I went as hard as I could. Up here I got my best ever 5 minute power and crested the climb with just 3 others on my wheel. We went to work straight away, managing to bridge the gap up to the leaders containing Goliker. From here on, I was confident I could get the GC win as the race leader was back in the peloton making me the virtual leader. After 20minutes or so in this group it was clear to me both Josh Goliker and I were stronger than the rest. We broke away from the group and created a sizable gap on the rest of the field. Despite this he was only 2 seconds behind me on GC and with the race finishing up a climb anything could happen. Luckily, our objectives differed meaning we were able to make an agreement that he could take the stage and I would win GC. I was more than happy with this and am delighted to have won the Fenwicks Junior Tour of The Mendips!