UNSEASONAL weather greeted the start of the Women’s Junior National Road Race Championship in Ryedale as Hartshead rider Abby-Mae Parkinson finished second overall but won the junior race.
The heavy rain had an effect on the roads and as well as the normal challenges of the circuit came new ones such as standing water at the bottom of descents.
But as the weather eased, the riders rolled out on their first lap around the Howardian Hills.
Narrow hedge-lined roads, short steep climbs and fast descents made racing dangerous but the cyclists fought against the conditions and with a field of nearly 80 riders in the race, 20 those being under 19 years old, sped round the rural course at speeds most cars drivers would not attempt on these roads.
After 17 of the 38.8 miles, 17-year-old Hartshead rider Abby-Mae Parkinson, and her Giordana Triton teammate Nicola Juniper jumped away and opened what would become the race-winning gap, moving at times around two minutes ahead of the chasing peloton.
Maintaining a lead from the main peloton is a tough ask for any rider, but maintain it they did and the duo entered the grounds of the historic abbey for their final approach.
By the time they had returned to Ampleforth to start the small circuit with only 10 miles left to race, the two leaders had a gap of around two minutes before they sprinted it out for the race.
Juniper, however, was too strong for the Hartshead teeanager on the climb and took the race, but Abby was all smiles as she came across the line to win the Junior Championship by a comfortable margin.
Mirfield’s Rebecca Womersley was leading the chasing bunch into the final 500 metres, but a rear wheel puncture on the final bend took away any hope of a podium place.