A diary of my experiences

South Cerney Road Race

For the fourth year running the South Cerney road race managed to hold on to the good weather, which in turn brought out the village to spectate and support. Another bonus being that the start/finish line is located between two pubs, with overflowing beer gardens due to it being bank holiday weekend. Bringing  an atmosphere no other Cotswold league race really competes with.

The course doesn’t traditionally suite me. Being pan flat and open. It can end up being quite a nervous route. A few large conveniently placed pot holes, a fast and narrow section with no white lines and blind corners to play chicken with as you try to move up the bunch.

I felt good after a solid weeks training. Family and friends had traveled to watch, I thought I should at least try to put on a bit of a show. Even if it ends in me just burning myself out resulting in disaster of a position.

There was a number of small attacks early on in the race. It was on the second lap when a small group had managed to break clear. It contained Grant Baton and Ben Luckwell both 24/7 along with Jim Jones (Velo Vitesse) and a couple other dangerous contenders. Before it got too far up the road I put in a little effort to ride across. It wasn’t to difficult as many of them weren’t really riding. There was negativity in the group, so I decided to ride away from them and see who followed. Ben Luckwell came with me. We road a lap together. I felt he was glass peddling and wasn’t willing to commit to just a two-man brake,so I stopped pulling. We were caught just after starting the third lap. Turning on to the spine road I was within the top three in the peloton. I kicked as we straightened up, initially nobody came with me, so I continued riding at tempo as a brake of 6 riders began coming across.

It was a dangerous break, with almost all teams covered for. Including strong Time trial riders; David James (Veloton) recently taking the Castle Combe 10 mile record with a time of 19:36. Ross Phelps (Bristol Road Club) who proved very strong throughout the race.  Also in the break Jimmy Jones (Velo Vitesse),Ben Luckwell (24/7), Cameron Smalley (Cotswold- Cycle Trek).

Ben Luckwell was making riders in the break uncomfortable due to sitting on and not pulling through. I was targeting the prime laps, so was happy to pull through regardless of who was working. Karma came back for Ben when he punctured after about 5 or 6 laps. Once he was out of the picture the brake settled and everyone was pulling through and working well together. The pace of the brake was ruthless and proved to much for Cameron. Once down to just 4 riders the pace was also a bit hot for Jimmy, as he began to sit on the back. This made David, Ross and I quite nervous and frustrated as were all hurting from riding at an average of over 28mph for the last hour and a half.

The Gap came down to just 20 seconds with about 4 laps to go. Ride 24/7 and Radeon were chasing us down in the bunch behind. There must have been a dramatic stall in the chase as when we entered our final lap the support car pulled up to confirm we still had a 50 second advantage. By this point I was truly hanging on. The news caused the other riders in the break to sit up and take it steady, which was an absolute godsend. Jimmy Moved to the front with about a mile to go, repaying the favor for our efforts dragging him round. Ross Phelps dived up the outside just as we were entering the final corner. This worked out perfect for me. If it wasn’t him it was going to be me who went first probably towing someone else to victory. I was able to slowly drag ba18739651_10213081598979391_1017002357553818080_nck his advantage, coming round him with about 15 meters to go taking my first win of the season!

As a bonus I was able to hold onto the King of the Sprints prize for the second year running. This was a much needed confidence boost. This time last year I already nearly had 100 BC points compared to my 1 point this year.


Cotswold Veldrijden Road Race

After last rounds disaster of a race, resulting in a black flag, prematurely ending the race, everyone was looking forward to getting a full race underway. The pace was fast from the outset with consistent attacks from a mixture of riders from Bristol Road Club, Radeon and Ride 24/7, all keen to get someone in the brake. The light wind conditions made it very difficult to hold any sort of gap, with moves getting shut down very quickly.

The race consisted of three laps of a twenty-mile circuit. I knew of a few sections of the route where I could test the legs. I was hoping it was at these points others would attack and I could go over the top. We were on the second lap, there was a small rise coming out of Brinkworth. A rider put in a big jump from the bottom, as with the early moves it was quickly closed down, just before cresting the rise I put in an effort, I gained a few seconds on the bunch no body followed. There was a lot of movement from the front of the peloton as riders were bridging across. Frustratingly once a few riders made it over to me they all sat up. Moments later the bunch was on us, I immediately gave it one more go, Gaining little to no advantage. It was clear none of the large teams were willing to let me in a break easily.

With one lap to go I resigned myself deeper into the peloton, allowing other teams to control the front of the race while I recovered for a sprint finish. The closing KM was on a slight upwards drag, by no means a hill, but if there was ever a sprint I could be up there, this would be it.

On the last lap a small group of four riders managed to break clear, with Bath, Ride 24/7, radeon and Cotswold Veldrijden all accounted for. It was really down to Veloton to bring the riders back. Neither seamed to have the resources left after controlling much of the race.

18379070_1564231213596353_808038998_oThe finishing few miles were sketchy! Riders jostled towards the front, lots of elbows and shouting for space. I feel very small in these sort of situations, getting pushed and shoved all over the place. I normally avoid sprint finishes, but today the excitement of it had me keen. With just over 500 meter to go the inevitable happened, there was a touch of wheels to the left of me, leaving a number of riders hitting the deck. I used the moment of panic to launch a ridiculously early attack towards the finish line. I gained a small gap and I was within 15 meters of the finish line and still know-one had come round me. The Small break away had just crossed the line. 10 meters to go, my legs were fading to nothing as I got swamped. I just held on to 15th place. First BC point of the year! On the other hand it was an enjoyable, exciting race, with a lot more team work from multiple teams creating a very different dynamic to what I’ve seen in previous Cotswold league races.

How to Convert Campagnolo Ultra Torque PF30 Cups To Fit a Cannondale PF30a Frame

The only difference between a standard PF30 frame and Cannondale’s PF

Campagnolo Cup After Machining Steps 1&2.

30a frame is 5mm of extra frame width to the non drive side. So quite simply all you need to do to counter the problem is offset the extra 5mm from the non drive side cup.

A machine shop would easily be able to do this if you don’t have access to a lathe.

Step 1: Machine 5mm from the face of the non drive side cup to make 19.0mm length.

Step 2: Bore the 37mm internal diameter to 11.95mm deep. ( This will completely remove the original bearing seat and match up with the far edge of the internal grove.)

Step 3: Because you’ve had to bore the hole out an extra 2.7mm you’ll have to machine a small spacer as drawn.

Finished Campagnolo PF30 cup with washer fitted.
Drawing of washer.









To keep accuracy, when the washer is inserted the distance from the face of the cup and the washer should be 9.25mm. I used a surface table and some emery paper to take up any machining tolerances.

Easter Weekend

I’ve seen Easter weekend as the true start of the season for the past couple years now. There was more to do than normal, with the Latton club 10 prolog on Thursday, Castle Coombe Easter classic on the Friday and the new Cotswold League 4up TTT on Sunday.

I was a bit out of practice going into the Latton TT and my pacing felt a bit off. I went up the first strait a bit hard considering there’s little tail wind I was averaging just over 30mph. The turn felt good as the pace didn’t drop considerably like it can on the U48 corse. I did realise crossing the line for the first of the two laps I had gone a bit hard. I was a good 2mph down on the second run up the strait. It was enough to set the fastest time of the night, and a time I was happy with considering its so early in the season, coming across the line in 21:01, Only about 10s of a PB, I’m hoping I can just get faster from here.

Next up it was the Easter Classic at Castle Coombe. I normally hate this race, as it can be quite boring. I’ve always thought that it didn’t really matter if it was one lap or twenty, the same people would always win. The track is flat and fast and its near impossible to get away. This year was different. The wind was strong and that led to some exciting racing; being pushed off the track trying to battle for wheels in the cross winds and touching 70kph when the wind was on our backs, The race was also an hour and a half making it that bit more demanding. I was nervous in the bunch for the first couple laps as we settled into the race. It would have been the first race of the year for a lot of riders and with the wind element it was twitchy and quite aggressive as riders forced each other into the wind. After constant attacks a group of around 10 riders managed to ride clear. I was nowhere near the front when this happened so completely missed it. With about fifteen minutes left to race I joined a small group of riders trying to bridge the gap. It was hopeless. We weren’t willing to work together and bring the whole bunch across so sat up and rolled in to finish with the bunch.

17952910_136309576906764_6107225688386892544_nOn Sunday it was the first time running of the Cotswold League 4up Team Time Trail. It defiantly had the making of a good event and a lot of people were excited by it and I think it will get better year on year. The corse was a good rolling corse with a mixture of long uphill drags and super fast downhill sections. Our ride was less than perfect though with mechanicals and some rider errors costing us considerable time but equally on the points we worked together well and the fluidity was there it was awesome. I’m excited about the prospect of riding the event again next year with better planning and  practice on the team element of the TTT.

And so it begins

Lets not kid ourselves here… Its only January, its fricking cold and racing in these conditions suck. With a scattering of winter closed circuit races popping up; I thought I would man up and brace myself for the numb toes and see where I’m at this early in the year.

In short, the legs felt quite good. Once the couple pounds of winter padding has dispersed and I’m back at ‘Race Weight’ I should be in a good place come Spring.
Odd downs a funny circuit. It would be easy for me to say it doesn’t suite me, to punchy, a track for the sprinters. On the other hand it is also the place where I had my first win. I’ve found that on a particularly fast day the course can suit me well. Although my bike handling is hardly what you would call amazing, I’m able to hold my own and not loose to much space between riders.

My aim was to 16142974_719154671594036_7706115545045032167_ndevelop a brake away by force, driving the pace and splitting it up. Doing this alone is very difficult. I was hoping people would have a similar idea and help share the workload. But no one was willing to pull through. There’s to many youtube cycling tutorials, saying you must stay off the front if you want to win; only good advice if your a strong sprinter who can successfully navigate your way through a crowded finish strait…

…Yeah, thats not me.

After a few failed attempts to get a solid brake to form, the race clock was quickly running down. With three laps I got ready for the Inevitable. I decided that I wasn’t even going to contest the sprint. Watching riders bounce off each other round each corner put me off. I haven’t ridden in a bunch for some time and wasn’t full 16174644_1197381430369271_3356687053292032560_nof confidence.

The final sprint was madness. There was a big crash evolving two riders at the front of affaires, one rider decided the safest place was on the complete wrong side of the track and another taking the cyclocross approach and taking to the grass.

Was an enjoyable first race. Hopefully next time it can be a bit faster and we can really have fun railing the corners as we’ve done in previous races.



The Off Season

Since the final round of the Cotswold league I’ve been quiet on here. So thought I would let you know what I’ve been up to… Other than being able to relax a bit and allow myself a few extra beers in. With the nights drawing in and the weather getting colder, getting outside during the week gets harder. Nights in on the turbo trainer are becoming more common. I’ve recently purchased a new turbo trainer and Zwift. I’ve used Zwift before back when it was in Beta and its changed a lot since then. It’s a much more polished product with online virtual races that happen everyday, and wow, they are tough! Probably one of the hardest things about indoor training is finding the drive to really push yourself, adding a competitive element definitely helps! Other than the time I almost passed out during a FTP test it’s probably the deepest I’ve gone on the torture machine.

During the winter I will also be enjoying a few cross races, mostly the western league but possibly a few Wessex league events as well, what ever is convenient really. I wont be taking cross seriou14520322_10210694002809578_7326977365771146700_nsly this year, more doing it to keep fitness up and have a laugh in the mud. What I’ve taken from cross so far is my legs work just fine, my fitness is more than enough to do well. My bike handling on the other hand has about the same level of finesse as a dog on laminate flooring. I was too late to sign up to the Western league to count towards the overall. This also means I wont move up the grid all year; a shame as I’ve managed to move from the back to regular top 10s and it would be nice to be gridded respectively.

Other than that I’m just out enjoying my riding. Getting to the Performance Cycles club rides on Saturdays and trying to enjoy turning myself inside out round their winter sportive series, the first of which was today, heading out towards Nailsworth then proceeded up one hill after another until we arrived back to the rewarding smell of bacon!

A Bridge To Far Road Race

14424794_10154606218129645_3142192998644968898_oThe weeks prep coming into a race is important to how you perform. Seems obvious right!? I forgot this running into the weekends race.

Over the back-end of the season I had let my diet slip further than normal, even allowing a few beers to creep in. Carrying an extra 2-3kg over my normal race weight I was paranoid, as I thought it would be hilly. I know 2kg doesnt sound like a lot, probably more mental than anything. This made me think it would be a good idea to get myself back down to race weight. I thought 2kg in a week, easy! What I didn’t think about, is how cutting back on the week running up to a race would leave me feeling, fatigued and weak. So the 2kg lost probably also meant a significant drop in power too.

The race was in the Mendips close to cheddar gauge, hardly the Cotswolds but still a nice place to ride. There was a strong wind blowing across the course that would be  factor. I started the race feeling good, as soon as the race started Matt Woods, Sam Adey and I were on the front stretching the bunch out through the cross wind section. We continued to work together over the finish line and up the climb for the first time. Annoyingly it was all kind of pointless, when we reached the top of the climb we were stopped by the commissaries due to more white line violations! Now the bunch was back together we had to do it all again! We kept any early attacks at bay until the third time we crested the climb, Matt was able to sling shot himself off the front as I pulled off, no one followed.

At this point I thought Matt had made a mistake. I Policed the pace at the front of the bunch, attempting to disrupt any chase for around 20 minutes. After that the organisation of the bunch was all over the place and I didn’t have to do anything. Matt only had a slender 30-40 second advantage. Yet nobody wanted to take it upon themselves to bring him back.

It was at around 50 miles in, with 2 laps to go I was confident that Matt should be able to hold onto his lead. Thankfully, as this is when my weeks prep really crashed down on me. No amount of energy gels could bring me back into life. I just sat on the bunch and let it tow me home! ccrl-leaders-jersey-606x650-286x246

Matt knew he had to do something in this round and he did just that, coming across the line on his own after 40+ miles solo, picking up all the sprint points along the way! With this win, he took the Cotswold’s league leaders jersey just when it mattered most. Matt and Performance Cycles had won the season long overall win, by a solitary point!


Veloton’s Malmesbury Road Race

With the end of the Cotswold league looming and including this one, just three rounds to go, I really wanted to get some big numbers on the table. It’s been a while since I’ve done a Cotswold league race as I was on holiday for one, then the last one cancelled; so I was excited to really go for it!

Once again we were really blessed with good weather; sunny, with no wind, not too hot, not too cold. Perfect! We were neutralised from Brinkworth House for about 1km into the bottom of the rise from Brinkworth. As soon as the flag was pulled inside the car there were a flurry of attacks, I managed to push my way quite far forward during the neutralised zone and was able to be in a controlling position at the front of the bunch allowing Jack Tompson and Sam Adley to extend the gap they created when they launched on the climb.

We were about 9 miles in and the small break, had a very slender 5-10 second advantage when the race commissar14316023_1187511351269167_1899211570_oies took the decision to stop the race due to regular white line violations. This bought the race back together. Shortly after we crossed the line for the first time, I took to the front and accelerated, I had help from Alex Anderson (VC Equipe), Rory Gilling (VC Montpellier) and Simon Ker (Bath CC.) It didn’t take long for the elastic to snap and we made our move away from the peloton. There were seven of us in total. As I was the only Performance Cycles rider in the break I felt that seven maybe too many. But when you roll the dice you have to take what your given.

We continued to ride as a cooperative unit and pulled a gap close to five minutes from the peloton. This was a huge gap for a Cotswold race of just 70 miles and a gap that you would normally see in a race of 100+ miles. You would think this was a good thing! When a gap is this big, people can start riding negatively and stop pulling turns and just sitting in the drafts of everyone else. Not only is this bad for morale, it can also cause enough disruption to get caught. With around 12 miles to go, Jamie was starting to ride in this negative way, the rest of the break including myself were growing increasingly frustrated with him not working! I attempted to break clear from the bunch on a few occasions, but the reaction from Alex was instantaneous and I was going nowhere.

We were told that there was a chasing group of three rider around 30 seconds behind us. Not knowing who was in this trio, Rory, Simon and I pulled a few hard turns as we were just 5 miles or so from the finish.

We turned left onto the finishing straight with less than a mile to go and we kept the trio at bay. We had all slowed and began to mark each other. Rory was forced to the front with Jamie on his wheel, I was behind him. I had a feeling Jamie was going to go to early as the finish was quite a nasty uphill drag. Sure enough he did, I was easily able to go with him and hold his wheel. He faded with 100 meters to go, still a bit early for me to go, I saw the line and went for it, I kept my head down and I could see Alex was still glued to my wheel. My only chance was to ‘out drag’ him to the line. With less than 25 meters to go, he was able to sprint pass me. I sat back down took the defeat and rolled the line in 2nd place.

The small Chase trio had Matt Woods in and he managed to beat his companions to take 8th.


Via Roma’s Cirencester Twilight Critirium

This event was in my bookmarks on British cycling for quite some time; not because I was unsure whether to enter; I couldn’t decide which race to enter. To choose between racing in the less exciting, less ambitious Cat 2,3,4 race and be in contention to fight out for the win. ( Arms down till crossing the line, of course.) or… As I’m sure you can tell from the way I described that race I ended up entering the main E,1,2 event. Where some real big hitters were in the field, including: Jon Mould ( JLT Condor and one of the best criterium racers in the uk,) James Lowsley-Williams (NFTO, last year’s winner) and a number of other UK domestic professionals.

The main race was in the dark of night with just street lighting to help us see the way round the technical course. The short 1km route was fast, with awesome flowing corners, strategically placed potholes and cobbles on the apexes which all added to the real adrenalin rush of a town centre crit.

I was out of the race before it had even properly started! Gridded near the back of the bunch behind a rider who couldn’t work out how to use his pedals. So I was chasing on before the first corner right at the back of the train. This was basically the story of my race. As riders failed to hold the wheel I would go round them and close the gap. Probably much harder than being on thMJ1_8219-(ZF-0527-98922-1-001)e front of the race.

The crowds were amazing, and really helped motivate me to stick in, especially down in the tight left hand corner where a number of the Cirencester rugby team was located. They were so loud shouting my name I’m sure a number of the pros where wondering who the hell “Jacob!!!!” was. The race was one of my favourite competitive experiences. Don’t get me wrong; it was properly hard, with a normalised power of over 350w I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sick riding a bike. I normally try to find a photo where I look cool and calm as if it were easy, but as you can see the true pain face was on full display!
The race was won by Jon Mould in a photo finish just beating James Lowsley-Williams to the line with George Pym (Team Raleigh) following for a close 3rd. I was down in the order and crossed the line in 15th position. Probably the hardest single British Cycling point earned.

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