Category Archives: Racing

3rd place – ZipVit Lichfield Curborough 2/3/4

I like the Curborough circuit, it’s reasonably technical but not too slow. The circuit is a car test track, so there is quite a lot of rubber down on the tarmac. Add a bit of rain to that rubber and you get a crash fest (as I have experienced a couple of years ago). But not today! It was another sunny day! But windy… making it cold on the line. However, arm warmers were definitely a bad decision as I spent the whole race sweating it out in a breakaway… glancing down at them every now and then wondering when would be a good time to start undressing… there wasn’t one.

Curborough

The 1.2 km circuit. One sweeping left hander – followed by a chicane – headwind drag – followed by a tight hairpin – then a slight rise to the finish line.

I didn’t turn my Garmin on until I was already in the break away but the stats after the first 15 mins are:

  • Average speed: 42 kmph
  • Max speed: 56 kmph
  • Average HR: 176 bpm
  • Preliminary results (here)

I am not posting up my HR or speed data since it doesn’t really show much of the story. However, the race played out as follows…

Forming the break

One rider attacked very early on in the race (Jack Sadler from Vanilla Bikes), this was swiftly followed by another attacker who joined the first (Gareth Jones from Wolverhampton Wheelers). They quickly established a large gap. This concerned me, because, although it was very windy there was a chance they could stay away if the bunch didn’t get organised. One lap later I launched my attack on the small rise assisted by a strong tailwind, taking one other rider with me (Lichfield CCC rider Elliot Pike). We worked well to bridge the gap to the two leaders over the next couple of laps.

The breakaway

Our gap as a four remained stable for a while, but not substantial.  I think there were some dedicated chasers in the bunch driving the pace. However, later the bunch began to break up and I assume the chasers switched to attacking the bunch rather than dragging it along. Our gap grew as a result, and stayed pinned at around 30 seconds for a while. Then within the space of a few laps we switched to chasing rather than being chased…. and we soon lapped the main field. We passed the main bunch to the disappointment of a couple of frustrated riders. By the end of the race we had taken almost another half a lap…

Final lap

Coming in the final lap Gareth attacked with the tailwind, causing the four of us to break up. I managed to chase back onto his wheel with the other two riders close behind. I attempted a counter attack but didn’t have enough to create a gap into the ferocious head wind.  I stayed on the front to ensure I was first into the final corner, riding slow. Riding to the line I lost first place and then closely battled it out for second with Gareth… losing by a few cms. I really really need to build my sprint! Really now.

All in all another good race with a good result. I have been unable to perform hard training sessions over the last couple of weeks because I feel over trained. I am resting this week as I feel like I’m drifting further into fatigue and this is hampering both my training and racing. I hope to get refreshed by next weekend and start pushing my strength and fitness again.

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National B Top 5 – Hillingdon E123

Inverse / Cycle Components RT Spring Circuit Race – E123 National B Hillingdon

I had a good training week last week but was still suffering from a 2 hour cross country mountain bike ride I rode as the final leg sapper. I was shocked by my massive fatigue from the ride. I had soreness in my lower back and small odd muscles in my legs for a few days… just a completely different workout to road riding and seemed to push me over the edge. I had to put myself to bed early and throw in a couple of extra rest days into my week, like a big baby – but seemed to be recovering well. I generally find it hard to identify whether I’m being effected by fatigue, over-reaching, over-training, remnants of a hangover or the onset of illness but I’m getting better at this all the time.

I headed out to Hillingdon feeling a lot better as I warmed up. Also the sun was shining!

  • Location: Hillingdon
  • Strava here
  • Average speed: 43 kmph
  • Preliminary results here
  • Check out a set of seriously good race pictures (here) by Antony Edmonds (AE photos – about)

I have split the race into a few sections, as shown below.

Hillingdon 25/05/13

1) Driving the break

I got off to a steady start just sitting in the bunch and drifting towards the back whilst keeping an eye on the Felt-Colborne-Hargroves and Madison Genesis riders in the peleton. Two guys attacked and went up the road but were quickly brought back which was swiftly followed up by a counter attack. I thought this was early to go, especially considering how windy it was, but went anyway. It turned out to be a good move and we quickly established a solid gap. There were 7 of us in the break, with most of the major teams being represented. On one hand this was good as we were likely to stay away…. on the other hand I knew this be trouble towards the race conclusion (assuming I got that far). The fastest lap was done whilst establishing the break, covering the 1.5 km circuit in 1 min 50 seconds averaging 48.6 kmph for the lap.

2) Through and Off

We weren’t super organised but were rolling turns well. Our gap on the peleton was pinned for a while, but then blew open and we eventually ended up lapping the main field. At some point we lost one rider who went back to the peleton leaving 6 of us including: Justin Hoy, Lee Smith and Matt Higgins from Felt Colbornes- Hargroves Cycles RT, Ben Sumner from Beeline RT and Chris Snook from Madison Genesis.

Me in the break - Numbers are looking good.

Me in the break – Numbers are looking good :/ (AEphotos.co.uk)

3) Attack

After 45mins the first attack went from beeline cycles rider – Ben Sumner. This was chased in dribs and drabs with me making it over last, dragging the last Felt rider over. After this attack we settled down to a slower pace as you can see above. Up until this point of the race we had averaged 44kmph but after the first attack we dropped to a lower average of 40 kmph for the rest of the race.

4) More attacks

From now on Felt-Colborne were in control. Being 3 out of 6 of us in the break they were able to attack and counter each other comfortably whilst the rest of us gave chase. I think one of the 3 was the designated sprinter so I don’t think they were overly concerned about going long, and were just covering moves and softening us up for the sprint. Anyway, I just followed wheels and closed things down in order not to get left behind.

5) Sprint

As we lined out I was stuck at the back. I came round on the back straight into the headwind, only just to drop back again. I had the wrong wheel and wasted energy here. I was out of matches/biscuits/legs for the sprint and just gave it stick to the line coming in 5th.

A good result and I’m pleased to get in the break represented by good riders. Also, lapping the main field was cool – how often does that happen?!

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April races – E123 national B win!

I have taken part in two races in the last couple of weeks. The first was the annual Birmingham circuit race which laps round the Birmingham business park, and the next was a “no frills” race by over in Solihull.

Birmingham Circuit Race – National B E123

Average speed 43 kmph

Strava – failed

Birmingham business park circuit

The Birmingham business park circuit. Two roundabouts, smooth circuit, only one corner that couldn’t be pedaled through.

Attacks and break

Firstly, the Birmingham race was a great success! My goal for the day what just to make sure I didn’t miss any splits as had happened in the previous two E123 races. Early on in the race this was tough as there were many attacks, and people running the old one-two team counter attacks. So, unlike in my previous races I tried to carefully cover as many attacks as possible whilst selecting my efforts. I also did a lot of wheel sucking, getting dragged around and bridging to attackers. I just raced conservatively as I always tell myself to – for fear of getting dropped. After about 30 mins I managed to get in a good breakaway with 7 other guys. All the major teams were represented so I thought it would be a good one…and it stuck. We rolled turns well and the peleton was quickly out of sight on the straights. I felt reasonably comfortable the whole time ( I think this was just because my Garmin was being crap so I had no idea of my heart rate).

Last few laps and finish

About 6 laps to go 3-4 more guys bridged across to the break. So going into the final laps there was a bigger bunch. A few attacks went from the breakaway group but got chased down immediately and we all got back together. With 3 laps to go some serious foxing went down… we were all over the road with everyone swerving around working eachother out…. then we chilled out. On the final lap in the cross wind I thought I’d slide off the front so when the inevitable attack comes I can just hook on and get dragged to the finish because I cant match those guys for accelerations. However, instead I realised I had a decent gap without much effort so with about 600 meters to go I gave it everything and buried myself into the headwind. 2 guys behind were chasing closely followed by the bunch. I hung on for the finish line taking the win! I was quite shocked the soft attack worked and I managed to stay away. Overall a great day out and a great result getting me 30 points towards 2nd cat.

Unfortunately I can’t find any pictures from the event…

Solihull no frills racing – tudor grange park 2/3/4

Average speed: 40.7 kmph

Average HR: 177

Strava

The Tudor Grange circuit.

The Tudor Grange circuit. Quite technical. But a good surface.

I decided to head out to Solihull on the Wednesday after the Sunday business park race. I had been riding everyday in between and still felt the racing in my legs. When I was out in Australia I was racing two days back to back pretty much every weekend…. I have most definitely lost recovery speed since then. Maybe I can fix this with more back to back hard sessions in training as I have been doing focused sessions with more than adequate recovery in between up until now.

The race was quick and very stop-start. I much prefer to cruise round at higher speeds without the accelerations all the time and drop all the featherweights in the cross winds – but you can’t have everything. We had quite a few starters which whittled down in time to around 10-12 guys. A break went later with 3 guys, who opened a sizable gap while we all watched each other with no one willing to initiate the chase. I tried attacking from the chase group but I didn’t have enough to break the elastic and was chased down. One guy from Twickenham CC put in a big dig from the back of the group and got clear. On the sprint lap, I chose a bad wheel, lost position and then got boxed in so I just rolled over in the top 10. Not great… But I was still elated from my win on Sunday so all’s good.

The chasers and I

The chasers and I – Picture by Elmo Reynolds(?)

Next few weeks….

This last week I have been resting and recovering after a tough 3 week block of training…. and I start another block next week. I’ll do a few races through these weeks, a few crits and a road race. I am pleased with fitness and strength progress as I continue to beat old times on climbs etc. But I can always get stronger and address weaknesses, especially my race head and tactics….

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Shirley RC 10 mile TT

This was my first proper ride for a while (see here why that is) so it was great to get out, catch some rays and get some miles in the legs.

Conditions: seriously windy, cool (read: as cold as it gets, if you are in Oz), sunny

Average speed for 10TT (16.1km): 40.3 kmph

Average HR: 177 bpm

Start at the orange baloon, head west then flip it back heading straight past the start, two lefts and done.

Start at the orange balloon, head west then flip it back heading straight past the start, two lefts and done.

I am a happy man out on the bike and I felt good. A few of us rode out to the TT, I got a good 1 hour warm-up in. For the first few minutes of the TT I was suffering quite a lot, legs felt heavy and heart rate was low. The first section was into a very strong blustery head wind, so I soon warmed up. I then turned to come back on myself and cruised along with a tail wind, pushing harder efforts for hills and gnarly gusts of wind (which ripped kms off my speed). However, I think I went too hard in this section as I was paying for it in the next crosswind section. After the final corner it was basically a 1.5 -2 km sprint to the finish (back into the headwind)… this hurt, but I felt strong.

Overall I’m happy with the outcome. The time was around 24 mins (closer to 25 by marshals rather than GPS). It was a good lung opener and certainly facilitated in clearing out the back end of the cold *cough*splutter*Eww. I’ll get the TT bars on for the next event. I need to get organised too, because all the races and crits I want to do are filling up fast!

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