A diary of my experiences


May 2016

South Cerney Road Race

As a South Cerney resident, I wanted to do well in my home race, only problem was is that its a pan flat course with barely a rise. so it was very  unlikely to be my day. The team gathered together at the HQ to head out for a warm up lap and talk over some ideas. I suggested that I try to get into an early move and pick up the primes laps within a break away and Matt was going to follow any attacks from people who were dangerous to the series overall.

The start of the race was neutralised from the start/ finish line for about 2 miles. From lap one we were throwing riders of the front. First Jack Thompson had ago, partially thanks to the camera bike his go on the front was short-lived. Gareth Turner went next, once caught Jim Jones attacked. The peloton wasnt letting anything get away easy, Jim was dragged back after a mile or two, It was then my turn to go, I was followed by Sam Adey and a Bristol City rider. We never got more than 5 seconds on the bunch. Just 13324263_10209508240327658_2048585898_obefore the peloton was able to swallow us up I attacked again. I was able to get clear. Now what? I was on my own off the front. The dream would be to solo it for the win, I had 40 seconds on the rest of the race and I would be lying if I didn’t think about going for it. I was still on my own when it was time for the first sprint lap. The plan of taking the King of the Sprints was going well so far. On the forth lap I checked over my shoulder and for the first time I saw people. Not the peloton happily, but a three rider counter attack. I was invited to work with them and push the break aways advantage. I was able to out sprint the rest of the break away and took the maximum point for the second sprint lap. When it came to the final sprint lap I was already on the front taking my turn so g13313561_1113897588633128_2066829880_oot nipped to the line and only managed second. But I was confident that was enough to take the King of the Sprints prize.

Back in the peloton both Bath and Ride 24/7 were chasing hard to bring us back, I had a suspicion that this would be the case as there wasnt a rider represented in the break from either team. So after the sprint laps much to my companions annoyance I stopped rolling through and doing turns.

We were caught with two and a half laps to go. As soon as we were attacks from all teams were going. Out of all the attacks only one was finally allowed some room. Tom Grigson riding for Radon Bike Science who’s solo attack would actually end up being the winning move.

The final bell lap was the slowest lap of the race, probably also the most dangerous. Riders were all trying to move up but not be on the front, so we ended up being spread across the whole road.

13316941_1117411228279180_4189686530557231258_oThe pace suddenly shot up when the finish line was within a mile and riders went for early attacks. The final sprint was won comfortably by Gareth, shame it was only for second place.




Gloucester City Road Race

Bad news on arrival. Finding out they have changed the route last-minute so as not to have the hill finish; the whole reason I entered this race in the first place. The route was exactly the same as the first round as the Cotswolds league, just one lap shorter. It was sunny with 20% chance of rain forecast. so I was debating the arm warmers. Gladly I wimped out and wore them as the weather was horrendous!

I found that the way this 3rd and 4th cat race was road was very different to the Regional A races of the Cotswolds league. If anything it was harder. Due to the race now being a sprint finish I knew the only way I stood any chance was to be in a break away. This is the way the race differed, no mater how anyone attacked the bunch instantly 13262095_1567263866909696_47519168_opanicked and chased it down. It was as if everyone on almost every team wanted to be in the brake. After about 10 hopeless attempts to get a gap between Will Croft, Sam Adey and I, It was looking highly likely for a bunch sprint. There was also a bit more dodgy riding within the peloton, the rain didn’t help either. At one point going up a rise the pace slowed to the point that a dozen riders including myself crashed into each other, bending one of my spokes and knocking my wheel out of true.

Throughout the race Jim Jones had been making solo moves of his own, this was to work out the sorts of speeds the bunch was able to move and what sort of gap a break would need to succeed. On the second to last lap Jim put in another one of his attacks stringing the bunch up a small uphill drag, he was caught just over the top, before the pace could slow I went over the top of him. I had a gap, but I knew I couldn’t do the last 13-15 miles on my own! So I held back just enough to allow someone to bridge
across. He caught me just after the short climb. We worked together through the bell. We had maybe 30 seconds. I wasn’t convinced we could hold it, but I knew I had to give it my all.

Back in the bunch Jim was policing the pace. Trying to keep it below 25-26mph to help keep me away.

We had about 2 m13221134_1006774692705064_8687203494389359477_oiles to go, the bunch was really moving at this point and we were back in sight. I knew the finish was going to be close! I took to the front to put one last effort to stay away, I managed to unintentionally pull a gap on my break away companion. This showed he was at his limit. I eased off to allow him to catch up and take the front, 200 meters to go, I looked back and saw the bunch closing down fast, 100 meters to go, I opened my sprint and managed to take the win by about a bike length.

Seconds later the bunch sprint came to the line being led by Jim to take a well deserved third.

Cotswold Veldrijden Road Race

I preferred the late afternoon start. 1:00pm. Gives you enough time to eat and chuck everything in the car, and hopefully not forget anything. The first round I forgot my drink, and then the next race I forgot my Garmin. This time though, unbelievably I had everything! It was a warm day with very little wind. The course could almost be classed as rolling with a leg sapping drag to the finish line.

The race was neutralised out of the race HQ to safely get us on the circuit and another mile or so until we crossed the start/ finish line for the first time. The pace shot up as a few hopefuls attacked from the gun. It was all in vain though as quickly as the race had started it was stopped again by a herd of cows that decided that now was the best time to cross the road.

The bunch stayed as a whole for the next few miles after, with riders chatting and laughing about the whole ordeal. It wasn’t until we reached Malmesbury, where the road drags up a bit after exiting the round about, this is where Jack Thompson attacked over the top with a Bath CC and a Radon rider. 13262303_1107433029279584_857899361_oThe peloton let the gap go, without much in terms of a counter. As a three-man break is very unlikely to succeed from this early in the race, Tony Kiss, Rory Gilling and I decided to bridge across to the brake to make it a group of 6.

Shortly after joining together the radon rider punctured leaving us with a group of 5. 3 of which were Performance cycles, which put us in a very good situation. The miles ticked by with the nerves and uncertainty that come with the feeling of being c
hased by the raging peloton.

We were about halfway round the final lap, one of the motorcyclist gave us a time gap of around 2 mins, which was perfect, but by no means safe.Tony, Jack and I had decided on a plan of attack that we were ready to perform in the final 3 miles. When suddenly out of nowhere we were joined by James Stewart, Matt Woods, Hayden Burton and Sean Townsend. This came as a big surprise to the brake away and confused the situation. The motorcycle gave us no information about a chasing group.

When we reached the 3 mile point, I put in my attack as planned, and managed to get a bit of a gap, but not enough to shake the fresh legs of Hayden. I continued to pull for about half a mile or so before I decided to sit up a bit as he was refusing to pull through. This allowed Rory to catch us up. Almost immediately He put in an attack to try to pull a gap, but both Haden and I were able to respond. I glanced behind and saw Sean closing down on us. Fearing of losing the podium altogether, I took to the front, sacrificing any sprint my legs might had left to make sure we weren’t caught. Hayden managed to put in a strong sprint over the top of me to take the win. With the emotions smashed from loosing, I didn’t have anything left to sprint and Rory took second and I followed for a close third.

Overall it was a good result for Performance Cycles, With 5 riders all in the top 10, myself on the podium and putting Matt Woods in the overall leaders jersey.  It just wasn’t as good as it could have been.

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