This was my second 10 of the year. I was aiming for a low 23.
After expecting it to be very wet, the rain stopped for the racing. I went off slightly too hard, then settled into a rhythm as best I could. There was a very strong cross wind, which had a headwind bias on the return, but didn’t feel like much of a push on the way out!
I’ve realised after riding the Severn RC 25 that a 10 mile TT is not actually that far, I know this is fairly obvious! So kept on pushing without trying to save anything for later.
I was really pleased with my 23.09.
The best part of the day was that my grandparents came to watch. Having held club records and 3rd place in a national 50 TT between them, I’ve a lot of catching up to do!
Last night saw the first Dizzee Sprintz take place and what a night it was!
The format was simple, a head to head sprint up a multi story car park, luckily not the whole way.
There was a great turnout with 16 racers and plenty more watching and marshalling the corners. The only rule was keep to the left on the tight corners, with one rider getting disqualified for taking a shortcut!
Tim and me both made it through to the semi finals, where I was caught napping on the second to last corner and got overtaken and beaten by Alfie the youngest rider in the race, but don’t tell anyone that ok.
Tim had a close fought battle, crossing the line half a wheel behind Alfie’s older brother.
Alfie went on to take the overall win, a great result! With Nancy taking first for the girls by beating Neil and getting through to the second round.
After the race had finished it was time for the skid comp. This was the most fun I’ve had on a bike in ages and the first time I’ve done a fixed gear skid longer than a few feet in about 2 years.
We had a nice slope to skid down and some long skids were taking place, with me, Tim, Gabriel and Django trading places for the longest, with Django taking the honours with his high speed efforts, nice work!
A massive thanks goes out to Lucy for organising Dizzee Sprintz and her team of helpers, it was no ordinary Sunday evening!
Last Sunday we headed into deepest Dorset to race the Lloyd Coward Memorial Road Race (3/4 Cat) organised by CC Weymouth.
It’s a good job we build a bit of time slack into our plans. Tom was running late, and we had to strap the bike rack to the top of his car when he got to us. This combined with a lack of petrol meant we had a bit of rally drive to get there. We arrived with about twenty minutes to go which meant we would be using the first lap to warm up. Luckily nobody turned the screw from the off so we were fine doing this. After the shoddy weather of the previous week it was great to have some sun at the start line. For some reason I still raced in arm warmers though, got a bit toasty.
Coming into the race I knew Kieran had good legs. He had been smashing me all over the previous week which was my first lot of riding after a full week of doing absolutely nowt. My legs felt like they were coming back to life through the week though so I was not too worried.
Looking at the course profile I expected it to be similar to the Brentor race earlier in the season. After the first lap it was apparent that there was essentially no climbing. This suggested we would be heading towards a bunch sprint at the end. The places have some crazy names down there, Puddletown anyone?
Throughout the race all five of us communicated really well. Letting people know if someone was in the break and making team decisions to chase moves down or let them go. This was normally helped by the fact we had someone in the break. Kieran was really marshalling things at the front and Tom had a couple of goes at getting away but nothing stuck. It was pretty windy on the downhill section which did not help matters when you were out there alone.
Kieran got himself into what looked to be a big move with about 8 riders, unfortunately he paid for his earlier efforts and after a little time away he dropped off the back of the break. After a quick word with Sam and Mark we moved to the front to pull the break back. Tom eased up slightly to try and get Kieran on to his wheel and keep him near the front of the bunch. Great use of the numbers we had.
As we crossed the line for the final lap Sam bridged to another rider who had made a move. He got there and they opened up a decent gap pretty qucikly, I think it went out to about 40 seconds. As this happened Mark and Tom moved back slightly in the bunch. I rode up the outside and pulled Mark to the front as with Sam out it meant we would have an armchair ride to the finish. We sat around 5th wheel in the group and did not do one stint of work. A few people got a bit pissy and where shouting at us to do work but we were completely entitled not to do so.
Rounding the final corner Sam was still away, only on his own now with the gap coming down quickly as everyone started to move up for the sprint. I really should have tried to register where the finish was on the previous laps but I had a complete memory blank and had allowed people to swamp around me coming into the final straight.
Sam held on by about 50 yards. A sterling effort to stay away for the lap, afterwards he said he had done about 80% of the work when there was two of them. He really employed all his TT skills for that one. Staying out for a lap in a 40 kph average race is ruddy good going.
For the sprint I could not find a path through even though I felt like I had the legs, everyone had spread out to fill both lanes of the road so I passed a few people but got blocked from anything else by the numerous people in front of me. This is my one regret of the race! Tom managed to move up to about 7th. The two lads from Bristol Uni CC had strong sprints and took the remaining two podium places.
Overall it was a really good day out and the entire team had a buzz off Sams win. It was his first outright win in 10 years (on and off) of trying, everyone was chuffed! A few people commented on how we raced it well as a team which is always nice, we headed home satisfied.
At the weekend I have some bonkers bunch start hill climb race up Haytor Vale that sets off at 5pm, not sure how that ones going to work out but I have done plenty of climbing early in the week and also the club TT so hopefully I have set myself up for it as best I can.
Following on from Tims post last night, this one has a similar theme!
I skipped work early and pedaled out the 15 or so miles to the first round of the Bath Cycle Races with Steve. This is a series of 5 races, I thought I would test the water with this one before entering any more. The circuit runs around Baths victoria park, which you can see in the diagram Kieran sent me below.
It also has a draggy climb up to the start finish and a fairly fast descent that ends with a hair pin corner (visible in the bottom right of the shot above).
After lining up for the start in a fairly good position we then all had to move back to the start/finish line (pretty obvious really), this put me right near the back of the bunch. It was a 30 minute race (Commissaires call dependent on available light, mindful the E/1/2/3 had to race after), with a neutral lap behind the car. This was a good shout as having had a ride round earlier there were some parked cars on the rapid downhill section, making everyone aware made it a lot safer.
The pace was completely furious from the off, even the netural lap. Due to the short nature of the circuit there is little / no time for recovery. With a sprint out of the hairpin and then people trying to break it up on the climb. The downhill was over and done with so quickly there was no chance for your HR to recover.
I quickly figured out the course suited me, moving up on the ‘climb’ (which isn’t really a climb, just a sapping drag that the other regional cirucits dont have) fairly comfortably as I needed to, within 2/3 laps I was near the head of the group. The elastic was stretching after the first lap, Mark who was watching said 4/5 riders would go out the back door every couple of laps.
The main area that let me down was my speed through the corners on the descent and taking a cautious line around the hair pin, not wanting to get caught by people diving down the inside.
Coming into the last lap I foolishly decided not to move even further up the bunch on the climb, this meant that as we completed the final descent and the leaders opened it up after the hairpin I was just too far back to pass enough people on the climb to get in the points. I crossed the line in 12th, as the first 4th cat rider. This is actually my best finish yet but left me with more of a sense of dissapointment then happiness!
This was confirmed on the final results, as all our bikes where fitted with timing chips. A nice touch, though it has left a dirty sticky mark on my fork leg! Full results at the following link; Bath Cycles Races 3/4
Now we no longer go to work and return home in the dark (a desperate existence) midweek races have commenced.
It was a contrast to the other event I would have attended tonight, the Boikzmoind chip shop ride, this serves to highlight how my riding has progressed/changed over a very short period of time! Hopefully I will make it to one of Gavs rides soon.
Wednesday saw a circuit race at the Ilton circuit which is around the perimeter of an old Second World War RAF base. This was the first in a series of these events (every 3 weeks) organised by Team Tor 2000.
I, along with Kieran and Mark entered the Cat 4 only race. The wind was really up today (partially a good thing as it blew threatening clouds away quickly), due to the shape of the circuit this can have a big impact on the racing. For example there was a block headwind on the home straight and a couple of other sections. Kieran provided us with a tactical diagram via email at work this morning.
The bunch settled into a rhythm fairly quickly with not much going on, I sat around the back of the bunch for ease of moving sides in the wind.
Half way through the race, just after Mark had taken the intermediate sprint, a guy from RU Training Today CC broke off from the bunch and proceeded to ride away from everybody and not get caught. Very strong move to pull out a gap and hold it for that amount of time, kudos.
I took a couple of flyers off the front to try and bridge to a couple of other attackers but nothing stuck. I attacked into the head wind (as per Kierans attacking diagram) where the bunch was less willing (read, not willing) to work on the front, but everything kept coming back together on the tailwind sections. Pretty negative racing that allowed the lone guy to stay away. We can’t have been going that slow though as we nearly got the 3rd’s who went off in front of us on a couple of occasions.
Knowing I would not have anything in me for the sprint I led the bunch into the last two corners, ramping up the pace a bit hoping that Kieran and Mark would be behind me. Turns out Kieran was content to cruise in from the back, Mark however was right in the mix. It is interesting watching a sprint into a headwind open up, it looks like everyone is pedalling in treacle. Mark swung to the right as he got up to full gas, looking strong for the finish. Unfortunately he was unceremoniously cut up by another rider, forcing him on the brakes and to drop back a few places.
Going to enjoy riding these midweek races to try out a few different things during the race and help boost experience! Once again I felt like improvement was made.
Next week in the quest for experience and points its the Bath Crits!
Tomorrow is the last of the Aust races in the Bristol South CC Classic League. The series then hops up to the U7B for the inter club 10 and then heads down to chew valley lake.
I originally set a target of going under 12 minutes. My best time so far is 12.10 using an 88 gear inch. Tonight I’ve fitted a new chainring, up from a 50 tooth to a 55. This gives a 96 gear inch. I’m not sure how well, or if this will improve my time at all. I may just be left churning away all on my own, whilst everyone else has finished and are long gone. I suppose it’s only 8 inches bigger and so should not be too hard to turn. I’m pretty new to Time Trialling and cycling in general, so it’s just a case of see what happens.
I’ll be testing out the new ratio on the commute to work tomorrow morning. I’m sure every slight incline will feel like a mountain, great fun. Perhaps I should leave slightly earlier than normal.
The course was a decent sized loop to be completed 3 times, with a turn off up a final finishing climb to be taken at the end of the last lap. Giving a total race distance of 52 miles.
There were some really ominous clouds around as we travelled across to the race HQ. These seemed to be moving quite rapidly, confirmed by the average mpg en route. There was going to be some nasty winds out there for sure.
I started a little further back in bunch than I wanted but managed to move up fairly easily going round the outside of the group sheltered from the wind. Positioning is still something I have a lot to learn about.
There were also some sizeable pot holes on the course and a couple of cattle grids to negotiate. The rough surface / wet weather was to be the undoing of Dan Pearson (Willier/Live 2 Ride) who ended up slamming into a parked car in the E 1/2/3 race. Sounded nasty from the reports so we wish him a speedy recovery.
Coming into the final lap I felt strong and when the pace was pretty low I had a dig over a crest before the run in down past the HQ. A gap opened fairly quickly, 2 riders joined me one from NFTO and another from Cmwcarn Paragon. We swiftly got into a rhythm, a glance back showed that the peloton was starting to close the gap and it was being pulled back by my own team member! Furious, apparently not as much so as the NFTO rider who had a few words with Tom. He instantly apologised to me for his error, he was trying to bridge to the group and inadvertently dragged everyone back across, I am sure he wont do that next time!
The result of us being reeled back in meant I was left much higher up the bunch, but with my legs feeling energised I did a bit more work with the tail wind as the group really started to get up to speed. A few attacks fired off but they were reigned in. Eventually a group of 3 did get away and they were to be the first 3 across the finishing line. On the headwind section I started to get swamped back as people moved up to the outside, beginning to jostle for position for the final short climb.
I was at least ten people further back than I needed to be and this was proven on the kick to the end as I crossed the line in 19th after passing a few people on the way up. I was officialy given 23rd but either way I scored nil pois again. I was expecting the final climb to be a little longer but there was not too much more left in the tank when I did hit the finish line.
The video below is a mixture of footage from the 3/4 and E 1/2/3 races.
Congrats to Tom who bagged points in 8th. Sam and Steve were just outside of the points. It was a strong showing from The South with a Cadence rider commenting that we were the most aggressive team. Up The South!
I was a little dissapointed to come away with nothing as I felt so strong, but it was a further improvement on previous races. Riding much higher up the bunch and being a lot more active felt good. It was also good to have a few team members around as it made manoeuvring round the group much easier and also afforded me the time to learn off more experienced racers. The next few weeks will see midweek circuit races coming to the fore, I am particularly looking forward to racing in the Bath series in Victoria Park
Thanks to the organisers / volunteers and NEG guys for a well run safe race.
Last night was the second round of the Bristol South CC classic league, a series of time trials.
It was to be an evening of two races. Race one was getting to the TT in time. Last week for me and Tim this didn’t happen, Christian managed to arrive moments before the last rider was off and within seconds of getting there was off racing.
To cut a long, boring and slightly stressful story short, me and Christian both made the TT in good time, Tim was off playing polo.
This weeks race was over a 5.2 mile course, the UC115. I was riding my Dolan Track Champion with a 88 gear inch and Christian his Giant TCR with a choice of gear inches.
We were both pretty pleased with our results, 6th and 7th of 23 riders. Christian took nearly a minute out of his time from last week. My slightly optimistic time of 12 minutes wasn’t reached, but at 12.21 with a terrible start I was happy.