Monday, 21 January 2013

Starting 2013 with a Bang!

This weekend saw me drive up to Hog Hill for a bit of 'not training.'  I thought I'd give the Hoggenberg a blast, save pushing myself through the gears once again on a turbo-trainer in this foul weather.  Incidentally, I've started hoping that it will rain if only to aid the thawing-out of every side-street within the M25.

In temperatures of 0, complemented by a cool breeze which must have seen the wind-chill factor reach about -2, I rocked up to the line in my skin-suit in the hope that the racing would be furious to keep me warm.  Everyone else was in tights and hard-shells.  Inevitably, I could barely feel my digits by the time we were away from the line, so I attacked without much hesitation.

After about half a lap, I had 10 seconds and a single straggler on my wheel.  (By now, I could move my fingers enough to shift down to get over the hill).  And that was that.  I increased my lead to 1min50secs and my first points of 2013 were scored.  Without concerted response from the bunch, a solo-effort cutting every corner and pressing-on into the headwind will always stay away.  Or put another way, a shivering bunch thinking 'what the hell has he been doing all winter' will never chase.

I don't think the shock effect will work again this season.

Now for the conversation with Andy the Team Manager about 'what the hell I'm doing racing in January..'

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Bit of a tester

A bit of a lull in the road racing has let me get my teeth stuck into the CTT handbook.

27/7 E1/10a (dry) 5th in 22:19, winner Adam French

25/8 E1/10a (wet) 1st in 22:38, 

27/8 E9/25 5th in 56:38, winner Steve Dennis

More to come.  
It's the last big road race of the season this weekend; the Jeff Schils National A in Marks Tey. A bit of Belgian atmosphere in Essex - I'm looking forward to it.

Thanks to sportinpictures for the wicked photo.

Friday, 17 August 2012


Post ride, am I the only one faced with; 

>1, connecting device to computer,

>2, opening 3 separate internet browser tabs,

>3, spending 20 minutes uploading information onto different sites,





>9, procrastinating on Facebook,





>20, having turned off the computer, realising that I didn't make any analysis of the information.. and am none-the-wiser.

just an open observation...

Monday, 13 August 2012

Dig in. Tour of the Mining Valleys.

Just why it's called the Tour of the Mining Valleys, I'm not sure.  Most of the mining in Wales, as far as I know takes place in the south east - about 100 miles east of Aberystwyth, the location of this week's road race.

Whilst the rest of the Team were racing the Python Road Race, I thought I'd see if I could race in the hills closer to home.

The terrain was lumpy, and the field was small but strong and before long, the race was strung out.

Each effort became crucial and as I learned, the tougher the course, the less room for dicking around with wasted efforts - like chasing back on after taking a leak - something I will rightly forever beat myself up about.

Regardless, I was well placed in the first group behind the break next to my 'men to mark', Brennan Townshend, Gruff Lewis and Colin Parry until halfway in.  However when the attack came from Parry I couldn't hold the wheel and I crawled round the last lap, finishing, I suspect just inside the top 20.

Carnage enough for the commissarie to call it a day on everyone with a lap left to go.

A tough day, but lessons learned.

Thanks Mammy for the bottle x.
Thanks Smwt for licking my legs clean.  Saved some wet-wipes.

Thanks Mam for the Welshcakes x.

Thanks Rhianon for the Instagram skills x.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Belgium again

Apologies for the absolute lack on content recently.  New job, new flatmate - excuses.

Here we go again.

Belgium again this weekend.

 For whatever reason, the racing season appears to be waning in the UK come August.  Just when the weather has sorted itself out and we're anticipating an Indian Summer to accompany the last week of the Olympics, all of the E/1 cat riders find themselves borrowing a mate's copy of the CTT handbook (thanks Phil), or ferrying across to Belgium for a street party with some cyclists flying down the high street 23 times at 8 minute gaps.

Last year I regret that I found myself in Pembrey racing circuit, having finished a Reg C+ crit.  I was pestering the commissaire about my position to ensure that I took home my duly eared points tally, which would secure my 1st cat license, only for Hefin Price, now of Team Wiggle to say: 'why the hell would you want a 1st cat license?'  The logic being that by remaining a 2nd cat you'd be able to race Regional A road races from August onwards, since they are of far greater abundance (existence actually) on the BC calendar later in the year - in comparison to National A or B races.

Anyway, rant over, the Prijs Maurice Blomme - Oostnieuwkerke (Wijk De Most) 1-12B Elite-U23 Open Omloop was a ballsy affair.  I would reckon that 1 in 10 riders was British; representatives of twenty-3c Orbea, InGear, V02 development and Viciuos Velo were in attendance, as well as the Kasteels and Omega-Pharma-Quicksteps of the local regions just to spice things up.

Pre race inhibitions cast aside on the first lap and of course I was attacking.  When in Rome...  I'm glad to say that I had the legs this week to actually attack a race of this fierce calibre indeed to manoeuvre up and down the bunch with relative ease and with a lap to go, I chinned off the front of the 2nd group on the road hoping to roll in just behind the late break of 7 who were up the road.  As if...  I was swallowed up 50 yds from the line and finished 26th.  One positive is that despite the strength of the KWAK on offer at this particular 'cafe', Belgian commissaires never fail to place every rider.

Late season lack of motivation was swept aside with cobwebs by this very positive day's racing.  More of the same.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Tour Series debut

Last night saw my first experience of a Tour Series in Colchester.

I spent the whole day leading up to it dreading the prospect.  I'd been told to just hang in and try to finish.

A pile-up on the first non-neutralised lap meant that the race was stopped and saw us line up for a re-start.  Only a few laps in, another smaller crash saw the field split in two, and I was chasing to get back on to the rear of the split.

Much to my surprise, I found my legs after half-distance and started to make headway in my group, the second on the road and at one point I bridged to the back of the front group.  The back at the front group was a much harder position to hold than the front of the 2nd group so before long I was back where I started but still in with a shot at finishing strongly.

I spend the remainder of the race taking turns with team-mate Dean Shannon and Magnus Backstedt before a sprint for the lower positions at the end.

An emphatic finish to a great event with a massive crowd by the end of the race.  The bad weather of the afternoon had been replaced by a bit of evening sunshine for the mens' race which mean that the centre of Colchester was overflowing by the finish.

Thanks to all for the positive feedback and encouragement.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Lincoln GP

In my inaugural participation in the famed Lincoln GP, I secured my first finish in a Premier Calendar.  I went in with the aim of finishing and I managed it despite puncturing with 5 laps to go and chasing back on.

The race had been extended to 13 laps of the circuit in and out of Lincoln and this proved to be a sticking point for me - I have failed to finish the Prem's in which I've ridden the last couple of weeks due to punctures etc, and my endurance was therefore lacking with 2 to go.  This saw me slip 20 places or so.  I had been solidly placed in the second group on the road near to team mate Wojiech and which for a while included Rob Sharman and Wouter Sybrandy for the most part of the race, however when we hit 85 miles Gruff Lewis of TeamUK Youth put in a couple of attacks which fractured our group and saw me shelled and I lost a couple of minutes.

Michaelgate was all it was cracked up to be.  The cobbled 1in5 climb was stunning to ride with the crowds cheering.  On the first lap, the edges of the road were crowded - by the last; overflowing.  There's nothing better than raucous spectators to make you dig in.

In all, a very positive day.  Thanks go to Stuart from Sigma for his calm when changing my rear wheel and for chasing me back on - and to Steve Skuse for his quick thinking in the feed zone.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

CiCLE Classic

The sign-on in Oakham attracted spectators despite the rain.

Thanks to Larry Hickmott and British Cycling for their photos.

What a day...

I made it to the last 50 riders but after 65miles we were beyond the 10minute cut off.

Thanks to the organisers, the conditions weren't ideal by any stretch of the imagination - but they kept us rolling regardless.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Team Photos

After a waterlogged Bill Temme Memorial crit at Hog Hill, we assembled for our Team shots.  

Special thanks to Daniel Nadel for his enthusiasm given the grim conditions!

SERRL Summer 7, Cyclopark

This Saturday saw Dean and I head down to the new purpose build Cyclopark in Gravesend, Dartford.

The race started when Felix English of Rapha Condor Sharp put in an attack which drew Chris Wood from WindyMilla.  The pair stayed away for the remainder of the race.

I made chase with Richard DaSilva, and we spend the most part of the race in-between the break and the bunch.  I almost pulled them back by the lap board and finished 3rd.