A diary of my experiences


September 2016

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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