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In 2016 the municipality of Sencur was set to host a criterium, but a freak snow storm had it cancelled at the final hour. That was during my first trip to Slovenia.

In 2017, I flew myself to Slovenia so I could spend some months training and racing in Europe. I stayed in Sencur, but no race. In 2018, I spent my first full season in Slovenian, but Sencur did not host a race.

In 2019 - the criterium was back on!!! But - a massive storm in the morning threatened to have it cancelled with weather reports saying it would rain all day. We are talking a torrential downpour. The rain cleared and I we were set to race.

To add more excitement, our race was split into two heats. With just 14 laps of a 1.3 km technical circuit. There were two neutral laps behind a bright red BMW convertible from the early 80's and then the race was on. Every lap for 12 laps the first rider across the line qualified for the final and removed themselves from the course.

It took me some time to settle into it. A standard width road ran past the finish line, then, a sweeping left hander reduced to the width of maybe one and a half cars, after another 200m there was a 90° left hander, the road reducing again, this time down to the width of a drive way. This road weaved it's way for 500m before another tight left hander, with a bent metal grate recessed with a lip right in the Apex. Another sweeping left hander appeared immediately afterwards and had you back on the finishing straight.

I'm not great in the early stages of a crit, I find it hard to throw myself into the corners at full speed till I build a little confidence. 12 laps in and 9 riders had qualified for the final. I came out of the last corner with a good bit of speed, there were 2 riders in front and another 1 further up the road solo. I looked back and noticed I had a gap to the rider behind. So took a run with speed at the two riders in front and went for it. I didn't catch the 1 other rider up the road before the line but was able stay away for another lap and qualify for the final.

To be honest I didn't really know if I wanted to be in the final. It was to be an elimination race and rain was again threatening. 24 riders on the tight circuit, 2 neutral laps and then each lap the last rider across the line eliminated from the race. I did not enjoy the pressure of this kind of race. And, I did not trust that off the gun I would not immediately find myself at the back as riders fought to stay in the race.

Even the neutral laps were chaotic, with riders fighting to be as close to the car as possible. Ready for the race to get going. In the finishing straight on lap two the car built up speed and then accelerated off, the race was on.. It was full gas into the first sweeping corner, then a sharp acceleration as everyone fought to make the turn onto the driveway-width road as after that it strung out single file, if you were at the back you were in for a fight. I found myself in the middle of the group. As the final stretch widened it meant riders could rush from the back at the last minute so you had to keep fighting for every position. I made it through the first few laps and found my enjoying the fight for wheels. I was never going to be in the run for a high finish but got caught in the hype of the race and pushed for good position into the corners and tried to keep in the race. Each lap checking to see how many were behind me. In the end I finished around 12 and was happy to be in the mix and join right in the atmosphere of a creative race.

Afterwards we had a short amount of time before the storm did hit and again the rain came pouring down. Perfect timing. I'd finally raced in Sencur!!!


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