A diary of my experiences


June 2016

Cheltenham and County Road Race

The run of uncharacteristically good weather throughout the first three rounds of the Cotswold league finally ended; we were all shivering waiting to start in the poring rain. I had been looking forward to this race from the start of the season due to the challenging terrain which suits a lighter rider such as myself and I wasn’t going to be letting bad weather change anything.

The race was neutralised for a short distance from the HQ to the base of the finishing climb. The climb was just over a mile long at about 4%, so by no means difficult. The first time up the climb the pace was steady, just enough to quickly wa13415659_1019976001414248_5999321394939800829_orm up. I got myself to the front for the short sharp decent that followed as I didn’t fancy a bunch decent in the wet right at the start of the race!

I had spoken to Matt Woods during the first lap, and we decided to try to break the bunch up the climb. The turn into the climb was extremely slippery, this was apparent when a couple of riders seamed to slip off in slow motion a few meters in front of me. I took to the front of the peloton up the climb and raised the pace to 18-20mph, I had Tony Kiss on my wheel as he was aiming for the KOM points. He sprinted to the crest of the hill to battle the points with a rider from Dream Team Cycling. I repeated these hard efforts up the climb for the next three laps, eventually the elastic in the bunch snapped, leaving little over 20 riders in the main group. On the fourth lap, I went to do the same again, only this time I ended up gaping the bunch on my own. I made to decision to push on solo as it should force a counter move from another team that Matt or Tony could jump onto.

While I was away, I spotted another rider who was up the road from earlier on in the race, I wasn’t actually aware that someone slipped off the front. He still had around 30 seconds on me and I wasn’t really closing down on him. After crossing the line for the bell lap, still on my own, I looked behind me and saw Colin Parry and Rory Gilling bridging across with Matt on tow. I didn’t have much legs left at this point and was glad to see them! The moment I was joined, Matt attacked, Colin and Rory were unable to respond. I jumped on the back of the pair and let them tow me round. We caught the lone rider around 30 seconds after Matt, he was able to jump on the back of us.
13403324_1019978598080655_8679755407971923833_oComing into the bottom of the climb for the last time, I knew if I rode it hard as before I would be able to take 2nd place. I went for it from the bottom, looking at my power and hoping I could hold it! First Rory cracked and lost my wheel, colin shortly followed. Problem is, just a few peddle strokes later it was my turn to crack, my legs had nothing. The pair was able to slowly claw me back and get back on my wheel. The peloton was just seconds behind. Rory and Colin jumped past me, I stood to attempt to follow and could hardly stand let alone follow! I managed to roll the line and take 4th place. Rory managed to out sprint Colin to take 2nd. Matt finished with an impressive lead!

It was a brilliant race! with a well deserved win for Matt and the team! Will Crofts worked hard battling within the remains of the peloton and managed to win the bunch sprint to take 6th.


Time Trial… The Addiction

There is  just something about time trialing, racing at its simplest, or so you would think. Although a TT race is just you against the clock and the strongest rider will usually win, there is more too it than that. It only takes a few minutes and over hearing a few conversations at your first TT to realise it’s rather complicated. Everything from the; amount of times you have to re-morgage your house for the equipment you own, flexibility, body position and even how much air you put in your tyres.

I did my first 10 mile TT last year on my road bike and posted a time of 25:25, I showed up the following week and took 40 seconds off. That one improvement is all it took, I was hooked, first came a set of clip on bars followed by a skin suit. By the end of the year, with this set up I managed a personal best of 22:50.

For the 2016 season I’ve decided to take time trailing a bit more seriously. I did a substantial amount of training to improve my FTP over the winter, with hope I will see the rewards throughout the season.

I wasn’t planning on buying a dedicated TT bike but the temptation was always there, it became a sort of habit after returning home from a race that I would trawl through the eBay ads lusting over the second saving rigs that

Photo by Ted Parrott

I couldn’t afford! That was until I was lent a bike…
The weather was good with a light cross tail wind on the outward leg of the u48 course. Perfect really. I actually felt a bit sick while waiting to start, probably to do with the expectations to perform well. The bike was uncomfortable and too big for me, but I could get my self into a good aero position, I was just a bit worried whether I was going to be able to sustain it. By the end of the first strait I knew I could be on for a good time, my legs felt good and my average speed was over 30mph. I crossed the finish line, press stop on the Garmin, The time was 21:08 almost 40 seconds quicker than my previous best.

Within 24 hours of that ride, I was driving to London to pick up my own TT bike. And within 26 hours I was home and in the dog house with the other half. I guess moving out is going to have to be put off that bit longer.  My aim this year is to smash through the 21min mark, preferably by some margin.

The new bike, 2011 Giant Trinity




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