2014 and beyond…

27 Oct

20 degrees in London today. Sometimes I question whether I should be writing a season summary at all given it still feels like May outside! Anyway, I have knocked the racing on the head for the time being so thought I’d cover the season gone and a few bits and bobs.

Firstly, a few people have asked me about coaching, so I’ll give a little overview on what I’ve seen over the past 12 months whilst working with RST (and Xavier Disley more specifically). The first step is to obviously take the mental step towards taking things a bit more seriously, or so I thought, the truth is, I don’t think you need to think coaching is necessarily taking it more seriously. I was riding 200 or so miles a week, every week prior to getting onboard with RST, that is taking it quite seriously, especially as I was racing most weeks. So really the way I see coaching is just a move towards a bit more clarity, I still end up riding a bike roughly the same amount as I did previously, but now there is a purpose to doing so. And I don’t have to think about it – for me having everything written down with a clear goal is far easier, and I have found I’ve done sessions that I would never have done on my own accord purely because they were planned out and I’d basically paid for them.

The upshot of this not immediately obvious because I was fairly well-trained already, however after around 4 months of following the plans the numbers started to show that I was moving in the right direction, and this was despite getting very unlucky with illness. And by the time I got to the RAS I felt I was in the best shape I have ever been, around 75-76kg, had knocked out 385W for half an hour a week prior in training, I was ready. And indeed the first couple of days of the RAS I felt fantastic, and I put that down to the coaching, I had done the work, backed off a bit to peak, and I was there, I felt amazing. I would not have been able to create that on my own. For sure. Obviously I ended up injured after stage 3 which then put a damper on the road race season after that, but that is the way it goes sometimes. So I would say if you’re already putting a lot of time into what you do, but you think you could be using your time better, at least consider it. It’s not particularly cheap I guess, but its nice to have a highly educated chap to bounce ideas off of, and of course to tell me what and when to do certain workouts. A bargain in that sense.

As said the road season petered off after that really, a few race cancellations, and a few clashes of events meant that I never really got back into that after, I managed 10th from a break in a tough SERRL race which was a nice boost, but really I was doing a lot more crits and TT’s after May. Having Xav on hand when it comes to time trialing is a huge boon, I have no doubt improved a lot in that sense, and I think my results speak for themselves on that. Ever since I got the TT bike I’ve been half decent (I’ve won 9 TT’s of around 18 ridden), but to really kick on and start mixing it at the sharp end was something I don’t think I was capable of until this year, that was namely due to tweaking position, lots of other small tweaks, a bit more power, and all of these things combined have meant I’ve been going considerably faster than last year, anything up to 30 seconds faster in a ten from my calcs. The highlight of all of that was in my mind the 48.14 in the Port Talbot event, which makes me the 22nd fastest rider of all time for the distance, and probably the performance at the National Ten. While I was not particularly amazed by the time (arrogant that may sound) I knew that I got the very best out of myself when it counted, most watts I’ve done in TT position by some margin.

I still managed to keep hold of my 1st cat, which will be useful for getting a ride in the bigger races what with the huge influx of talent in the sport, being a 2nd cat doesn’t always get you a ride. Next season I will likely try to put more eggs in the road racing basket, I really want to kick on in that sense. There is more intrigue for me in rocking up to a road race and not knowing how it might go or who might win. While I find time trials quite pure, it’s not vastly exciting to me knowing roughly what time and what position I will finish in, so next year I’ve set goals that many testers wouldn’t be fussed with. I’m not going to chase the super quick courses, mainly because they’re miles away, and mainly because it’s so dependant on conditions. I’ll target local courses more often and while conditions will be key, at least I won’t have driven 3 hours to get crap weather!

For next year I’ve planned out these as goals :

1. Defend title at Kingston Sporting 14 and break Wouters course record, top 3 in Redhill 18
2. Do a 49 on H25/8 (51.40 current best)
3. Do sub 19.30 on H10/8 (20.02 current best)
4. Break into 22’s on Richmond Park TT course (23.16 this years best)
5. Top 10 at Nat 10 & Nat 25 (16th in ten this year)
6. Have more success in road races and get a win, no wins this season for first time – hopefully without injury this will happen

I’ve yet to plan the season race wise as I’ve not looked at the calendars etc yet, but hopefully I will find those challenging but do-able if I can move things on a bit from where I am now.

Cheers!

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25 miles in 48 minutes.

10 Sep

Back in January, or possibly given my eager state over last winter – even December, I set a few goals. They losely were split half and half between road racing and time trialing. Being honest the road racing goals were optimistic, and I’ll be honest I have fallen short by some distance in those. The best I’ve done in a Nat b road race has been 10th, although I’ve been top five in a few nat b crits, and I’ll probably just about hold on to my 1st cat license this year vs my targets which were to win a nat b race and to see if I could get to elite.

Anyway, I won’t bother giving too much texture on the shortcomings and reasoning for that here, I’ll save that for a boring October morning where I’ll summarise everything in the last year or so, including perhaps giving a bit of feedback on my coaching from RST and Xavier Disley, as I know spending out money on this sort of thing is always something people are interested to hear about for their own benefit and decision on perhaps making that move.

Back on the goals then, half of them were time trial related, so far this year I’ve accomplished all of the goals I set myself in the TT side of things, the only exception was the 10 mile club record, and for various reasons that will now be very hard to obtain. However this weekend gone was my second attempt at the blue ribband (or so they say) event of the TT world, the 25 mile distance! As you may remember from a couple of months back I was on course to accomplish my goal time of sub 50 minutes, and was likely also on to break the club record of 49.20, but I went the wrong way on the course and messed it all up!! So it did take me a while to calm down and consider another attempt.

For 25 mile time trials, if you’re after a quick time then there are a few options, two of which involved riding on fairly busy roads, including the last attempt I had at Etwall. However the 3rd option is the R25/3L course in Wales. Now its quick because it has a downhill in it, and as such this is where most of the very quick times from the very quick riders have been set. Its a nice setting for a time trial, in a Welsh Valley near Neath. Not exactly on the doorstep of Surbiton to be honest, a 3 hour drive away, but I was willing to have one last tilt and spend 6 hours of my life driving just so I could ride a bike for hopefully 48 or 49 minutes.

The week leading up to was fairly unremarkable, it followed my usual format infact, bit of training, too much booze on Thursday night, and the obligatory cleanse on Friday and Saturday! I made the drive up there and got up there in good time, my start time was pretty early doors considering I came in on a fairly average time of 51.11 as a PB, so I was off number 51 of 150. Usually in TT’s I’m near the end of the field, but this particular event had attracted a very good standard of rider. Matt Bottrill was riding and going to attempt to better the competition record of 45.46 previously set by Irishman Michael Hutchinson (who was also riding). Other riders who I would be up against at the sharp end were Blake Pond who beat me by a margin in the Nat 10 to come 8th, Adam Gascoigne who was just 2 seconds back on my at the Nat 10. And also former Olympic Rower Nick English who did the exact same time as me at the Nat 10.

The plan was to go off and keep it steady down the slope up to the turn, and then nail it on the last 9 miles home which was uphill and into a headwind (very gentle uphill and very low wind, but it would hurt the speed for sure). I warmed up, necked a Monster Rehab or whatever the hell its called, the one that isn’t fizzy, and off I went. As predicted the first half was indeed very fast. I got to the turn at mile 15 with an average speed of 33.5 mph..! Got round the overly complex turn thanks to the marshalls and set about killing myself on the way back. Managed over 20w more power for the second half to the first, which certainly did help. I knew when I was watching people for 4 or 5 minutes that I was going well, I could see the final turn off in sight, there was a brief time where I thought my time might begin with 47, but the last slog put paid to that and I crossed the line in 48.14. Which bettered the last club record by 1 minute 6 seconds. This also makes me the (I think) 20th or 21st fastest rider over 25 miles of all time according to the all time fastest list on the Timetrial forum.

Back to the HQ for a bit of waiting around, there was a fair time where my name was on the board as fastest rider, beating Nick and Adam by around a minute or so, which pleased me given how close they were to me in the Nat 10. Eventually the last times came through, Blake Pond had beaten me by around 20 seconds, Hutch had done a long 46 so around 1 min 20 better than me, and eventually the flying postman came in with a competition record breaking time of 45.43, so I was in 4th spot, which pleased me given the field. Great ride my Bottrill, pleased he’s had the season he probably deserves, that means he is nat champ over 10,25,50 miles, and has set comp records in all but the 10 (thanks to that pesky Alex Dowsett.

That rounds off my year of time trials most likely, all that is left are a couple of road races, and a crit this weekend to hopefully get some points to retain 1st category. The following week is the Handicap Championships which I managed 3rd in last year so hopefully I can do well there again.

http://www.strava.com/activities/191236908

National 10 Champs

2 Sep

After Hillingdon and the 19 on the club course the other week, I was feeling pretty confident about one of my big goals for the season, which was the CTT National 10 mile Champs.

I’ve ridden a fair few TT’s this year, and a slight tweak in position has meant I’ve gone pretty well, winning a fair few and breaking course bests most of the time I’ve been riding. The nationals this year was perhaps different to many others, mainly because it was being held on a slight variant of the V718 course, which is widely known as the fastest 10 course in the country. Many many people have gone there and found they went a lot quicker than their previous best. I’d not ridden it before, mainly as it was so far away (4-5 hour drive). But given this was the nationals, and it could be a chance to pb I thought it was worth a trip up there.

To make the trip a bit more of an occasion that just 8 hours in a car we went up to York on the Friday, staying till Monday, a nice town to visit, plenty to see and do. That said, I wouldn’t recommend walking up the tower in the Minster before a race! The day of the TT rolled round and I was keen to get there early to get a lay of the land, I got there some 3 hours before my start having driven the course to make sure I knew it.

My goal was to be top 15, with a stretch goal of top 10, I knew this would be a big ask, given it was on this course it attracted the highest quality field that any event has seen I think. The event closed on a mid 20, which means that the slowest riders PB that was riding was a mid 20, i.e. over 28mph avg ten mile time trial. And there were 150 riders, so that gives you an idea of the general standard. To further give perspective, in my own club which has a considerable amount of riders (500 or so ) only the top 10 or so ten mile times of ALL TIME dating right back to 1995 for one of the oldest times (i.e. decades of time trials), one of being me, would have got a ride in this event. So it was sort of a ‘who’s who’ of the UK TT scene. And the only notable exception was probably Dowsett or Wiggins.

At the sharp end it would likely be between 10 times champion, Michael Hutchinson, young pro, national road and TT champ of Ireland Ryan Mullen – An Post team, and of course the flying postman that is Matt Bottrill!

Other contenders for the podium would be former KOM winner in the Tour of Britain Russ Hampton (who battered me a month or two back), former National HC champion Matt Clinton who is somewhat the all-rounder smashing course records left right and center while still being pretty handy on a climb, Andy Jackson who riding a futuristic looking Falco bike has been flying this year doing numerous 18 minute times and generally going very quickly at any distance he attempts. Beyond that there was the usual raft of talent, many of which had done the sub 19 and sub 50 for a 25 thing many times over. So to get top 15 or ten was going to be a tough one, but I always thought it was possible.

I was off nearish the end of the field and by the time I was heading out the standout time was Cambridge Uni and Kingston local Ed Bradbury with 18.15. Lopping a minute or more off his PB, remarkable stuff, he should go on to be a VERY handy road rider with his light frame and big engine, watch this space. I got to the start and wait to be set off. There could be no denying that I had ‘tapered’ for this event, and I felt pretty fresh (despite the ache in my right calf from the stairs to the tower, but it felt fine on the bike), the idea was to pace the ride well, up the tempo near certain parts of the course and then totally destroy myself on the last mile after the final turn.

As I headed down the sliproad I felt good, I had in the back of my mind not to go too hard, but 380-390w felt so easy so early, so I pushed on with caution, it was a quick day, I was at 32-34mph at all times on the way out. I came to the turn with an average speed of just shy of 33mph, up the slip road, round the double roundabout without losing too much speed, I felt good. There was now a shortish stretch of slight drag before the final dogleg onto the last mile, I was really pushing on now, and was holding around 390-400w up the slight drag, I got to within sight of the dogleg and the average was still looking good, I was fairly sure I was at least going to do an 18 minute time which was a goal too.

I got to eh dogleg and noticed to my horror a caravan and a car behind it were coming round at snails pace, I slowed down, and was just behind the car, who thankfully moved over to let me up the inside, the caravan however crawled for a bit before deciding it was turning right. I was pretty pissed off, but nothing you can do, it probably didn’t cost me much time. And actually it spurred me on to really drill the last section. And I did. I was in fact joint fastest over the last 1 mile with Ed Bradbury (of who is on Strava, which includes most of the riders). I stopped the clock in 18.46, which I was pleased with but knew would be a fairly middling time given Ed had done 18.15!

I got back to the HQ and the long wait continued, the times started to come in, as the tail-end of the field came in I was nudged out of the top 10, and slowly but surely started slipping towards the top 15, then Steve Irwin came in and had beaten me by one second haha! He took 15th in the end, and I was 16th. To be honest I was initially a bit annoyed, I’d been beating Steve by some margin all year, but I think likely on less flat and fast courses than this, so perhaps his superior aerodynamics really showed themselves today in what was a great ride on the back of his 18.19 last week!

I’d only have needed to find around 16 seconds to move from 16th to 8th, due to the closeness of the field, 16 seconds on a course like that is probably not all that much pending the traffic you get come by you, without the momentary caravan hold up, and a few more vehicles I think I’d have been in spitting distance, which really is all I can ask for at this point. Beyond 8th the class begand to shine and the times were a fair bit quicker, 17.40 took the win for Bottrill, with Mullen just 2 seconds back for Silver, and Vet Hutchinson came in with 17.53 to take the Bronze. Russ Hampton beat me by almost the exact same margin as he did at Bentley to take 4th with a stonking 17.58. Most people class doing a 19 as the golden stamp of ten mile time trialing, but in this event doing a 19 would have got you 86th place. No doubt this course was quick, but it wasn’t as quick as the regular version, I think the times speak for themselves, the scene has come on and the talent is exceptional.

Goals for next year I am unsure of, but I think I can improve on this, the road stuff will still be a focus next year, I think with a few tweaks, a bit more power, I can cement myself into that top 10 level. Maybe I should be happy with my ride, but part of what keeps me motivated is always seeking improvement.

http://www.strava.com/activities/187943725

Hillingdon

2 Sep

I won’t go on for too long about this, it was just a 1 hour crit afterall. However it was slightly noteable as I felt like I rode better than usual, and maybe a sign of racing a bit smarter than I previously have.

I actually didn’t expect there to be much of a field as there was another few larger races the following day. But on arrival I noticed a couple of lads from Pedalheaven, Rob Moore and rapid finisher Lewis Atkins who has got the better of me in two other occasions in the last year in a sprint. Also Wouter Sybrandy who is fast on the road to recovery after his crash in the TOB some time back, Lawrence Carpenter of Catford, Chris Morrison from Cadence, a couple of the CSE racing lot, and a load of other clubs with ones and twos. I think the total field was around 35 riders, perhaps a bit more. But clearly not short of strong riders, so I was skeptical of my chances a bit.

We got off to a quick start and it was obvious that this was not going to stay together, a few attacks came and went, I followed all the ones I thought looked good. Then about 20 mins in a few of us went away, it was initially3 or so riders, but soon Lewis and Rob came over, and we were 7 I think. We worked fairly well (with a few people dropping turns/pace here and there) and kept it going for the next 40 or so minutes, eventually we had a minute gap on the bunch so it was going to be between us. A few attacks started to happen at this point, literally everyone had a go at some point I think, I chased over to Wouter on one occasion and thought we might get away with Lewis in tow, but no. I then attacked with 4 to go, Lewis again came with but to no avail, Lawrence then had a dig but was brought back with 3 to go. Eventually it came to the last lap, Rob Moore led it out, I was 4th wheel behind Wouter with Lewis in Rob’s wheel, onto the final straight I waited for Lewis to launch and when he did I was hot in pursuit, I passed Wouter, but was never gaining or losing ground on Lewis and he took the win and me 2nd. I think next time I am in that situation I will jump first, that is likely my only shot at beating him in a sprint. I think I only need 4 points more to retain first category, which is something I would like to do, got a few races left so shouldn’t be an issue really, that said I have kept an eye on the October races just incase it doesn’t pan out, I’ve had to miss a few races to concentrate on TT’s in Aug/Sept so we’ll see!

http://app.strava.com/activities/184341720

SERRL – Chillham

20 Aug

With a couple of road races under my belt I was starting to think that I might be able to get competitive again in the longer stuff after a spate of crits and time trials over the last few months. This circuit is one that I have mixed feelings about to be honest. While the main circuit is fairly rolling and suits my sort of rider, the finish is far from ideal, a 2.5km climb with a few sharp ramps over 10%! Previously I’d done a couple of variations, one of which involved going up the finish climb 3 times in 45 mins! That hurt, a lot. Today thankfully was just the once.

August is a funny time of year really, its late enough in the season that many have lost interest, its peak holiday time, and generally it usually means fields are smaller. All of those factors meant that we had 50 riders in this race vs the usual 70-80. I wasn’t complaining, there were still plenty of decent guys so it was not going to be easy by any stretch. I thought the winner would likely come from Richardsons Trek as they had 4 or 5 guys riding, and I know from the Lee Valley races that they’re pretty strong guys.

Anyway, we got off to a start, and the first 20-30 mins was almost comical, it was so easy, I think people were wary and reluctant to show their hand. The course was a tail of two halves (sorry), half of it was super fast downhill/flat where you were always over 30mph, the other half was not only uphill, but it was into a disgusting headwind. Getting away today was going to require some hard riding, for sure.

After a lap or so I recall a coming together, which sadly put Rhys Howells out of action, he is one of the strongest blokes about so I guess he will have been a bit annoyed about that. While normally in these races a fairly large move goes clear, in this race it was actually a couple of ones and twos that attacked and got away, a Trek guy, Harold Evans from Cadence, and a couple of others in ones and twos. It was clear that the bunch had little interest in chasing this back, and a couple of attacks were the only thing that spurred the group into going a bit quicker. At about the half way point I thought I would chance my arm, the lead bunch probably had a minute or so at this point, and they were barely in sight at any point on the course despite a few long straights. Anyway, I thought it was worth a go, worst case was that I got brought back, but I was hoping to get away and have a few come over to me to help try and join the front group. I attacked on one of the faster sections as it happens. I got a decent gap then set about drilling it to extend the lead. Some 15 mins later I was well clear and was just about out of sight of the bunch at most points…then I hit the headwind section. Wow. It was horrid, properly slow, even pushing out 400w barely saw me break 20 mph and I wasn’t really even climbing! After another 5 mins of grinding away the bunch had picked up their pace and were coming back to me, I knew it wasn’t to be this time. I eased off so I didn’t go straight out of the back!

At this point the bunch had thinned a fair bit and there were probably 30 guys left. A few attacks went and I followed the wheels, nothing stuck initially. Then back on the fast section a chap from Trek and James from Dynamo went, it looked good I was still getting my legs back at this point, another couple then went from Meudon, Rich from Southdowns (who I went to Ireland with) and Brixton and I thought I may as well try my luck again, then carried on through a straggler and carried on alone again, it was not long before a chap from 34 Nomads came over to me, we got a decent gap and started working well togther to start to reel in the VCM and Brixton and Southdowns guys. After probably 10 mins we got him back and were now 5, we now looked good, gap was decent and everyone was pulling through. Probably another 15 mins passed and Colin Parry of Solidor joined us and was also straight into the through and off routine, at this point we saw that James Local had punctured, so up the road were 5 in the front group and the lone Trek rider James was with. Probably 25 mins had passed since we got away and then I notice a shot of yellow, Will Pratt from Cadence had ridden over solo on the headwind section and was quite vocal in getting things moving. I didn’t disagree with him, we needed to ensure the gap was good enough to stick. We had 1.5 laps left and I didn’t want to be back in the bunch. It must be said that Will was very strong. So much so that with a little effort on one of the drags we lost I think 3 guys which whittled out group down to 5 as we had caught the lone trek rider.

It was now a case for me of getting to the finish as part of this group, Will tried a few more digs and I ensured I stayed with it. When we were within 5 miles of the end my legs were pretty wrecked, I’d done the last 2hrs 15 over 300w with a hard 20 min effort on my own, it was hurting. We got to the foot of the climb, and even trying to keep Wills pace was cramping me, so I tapped up at my own pace to take 10th? Or 11th maybe? Unsurprisingly Will had ridden away from our group to take 5th or 6th. And I understand one of the trek boys won from the front group.

It was a good race in that I think I probably spent the least time in a bunch during a road race that I ever have, and I felt pretty good. And of course we stayed away which is always good. Bad in that I had utterly nothing to give when I got to the end. But I think there are finishes that I will be competitive on, and there are others where its not all that likely. This is bordering on the latter. Had this ended on the Gimber finish I’d have likely had the legs to be well into the top ten from our group, but that’s life.

A few more road races remain, its looking like I’ll probably at least retain my 1st cat this year despite racing very few RR and being off for that period (and having one race cancelled, flatting in another, etc etc, not been my year in that sense) with the injury. I am confident that I can go on and get a proper result in a Nat b, but it will be likely next year now, rather than this.

http://www.strava.com/activities/181466993

In pursuit of 19

20 Aug

As anyone who has any interest in time trialing will know, the holy grail (or one of) of the ten mile time trial is that first time you break the 20 minute barrier. Its mainly a milestone because in order to go under 20 minutes you will have to average over 30 mph. And of course 19 sounds better than 20!

Anyone who has followed this blog will know that I actually broke the 20 minute barrier in my first or second ten mile time trial last year with a time of 19.13 on the Tring course F11/10. But certainly since I bought my time trial bike two years ago I have always had another 19 in the back of my mind – the club ten course, G10/42. Anyone who has ridden this course will know its certainly not a gift course, it doesn’t have a huge hill that you only go down and not back up, its not packed with lorries from the nearest port to suck you along. And its not on some pan flat airfield style drag strip. In fact, its actually quite a rolling out and back with not a vast amount of flat ground at all. Probably two years ago now was my first time on the course using my road bike with just a skin suit and some zipp wheels to help cut through the air. I managed a 22.17 that night, which wasn’t bad going, but was some way from being a fast time vs my club mates past and present best times. At that point I think the best time from a Kingston rider had been Steve Irwin with a long 20, this seemed a long long way from the level I was at!

Anyway, after buying the time trial bike I thought I would set myself the goal of doing a 19 on said course, the only person else I can see that has done that is Hutch, back in 2002! I rode this course probably 10-15 times on my TT bike in total with varying conditions and times. The best was last year with 20.18 and the worst was well over 21 mins in a gale! However last week it seemed like everything came together, good conditions, decent legs, and a bit of luck. I managed to make it to a club ten for the first time this year, arrived with a few mins to spare, had no warm up of note and then went and clocked 19.49. I think I could have gone quicker if I had not come out of position to see if I had a puncture. The point of this post really though is to show that with the right equipment, training, persistence, you can actually go a lot faster than what you may think. I never thought I would take nearly 2.5 mins off my time from 2012, but various changes to positions and what not (and a decent night) all added up finally.

My next post on time trialing hopefully will be titled ‘in pursuit of 18′ because that is what I am hoping I might be able to do this weekend coming, or possibly at the National ten champs in two weeks time…

http://www.strava.com/activities/179798549

Python RR

4 Aug

This Sunday was my annual trip to Drift Road circuit which is near Bray. Nice part of the world, early start at 9.30. Got there nice and early and predictably the entire car park was already full even though I was an hour before the start time!

A decent field today, 88 riders on the sheet, couple of big powerhouses, the ‘tank’ from NFTO and Sybrandy of Sigma, this sort of course probably perfect for that type of rider. Being a similar kind of rider, but much less talented, I always liked racing the circuit. Though this version of the course is a little less pleasant than the John Walker which has its finish line on the course. This version means you take a left onto a straight road with 400m to go. Its pretty hectic.

Anyway, the weather was decent, I managed to get pole position in the car park behind lead car, clearly a minor victory in itself. Soon we were out of the village and onto the course, what awaited was 88 miles of racing. Towards the beginning legs felt great, and I tried to stay near the front and follow the wheels, this worked fine and while nothing of note stuck, I was near the front and not in any trouble. However, at about half way distance, I was stuck to the left of a rider who wasn’t interested in moving when everyone jumped, and I think this put me out of position somewhat. Next thing I knew, I looked up the road and there were about 5 guys away…!

They seemed to hover not too far ahead for sometime, I thought that this was likely a race winning move, I waited a couple of mins and on the long straight Drift Road, where sadly there was a headwind today Jake Martin jumped to go with a move of a few guys, I went with him, then went round, and went to the front of the small group away, I might have been a bit keen as I looked round and suddenly I was on my own about 30m clear of the bunch and probably 50 or so behind the group. If there was ever a place that it was tough to get away on, its this road, dead straight for about a mile, and a crap wind. I grinded away and it looked like I was making a bit of progress, but it didn’t take long to get reeled back in. This was the chance to get over, had I had a few takers it might have worked.

A lap or so later Henry Latimer of Catford jumped, and got a gap, a chap went with him, I didn’t know whether they would make it over or not, but I had probably not go the legs to go with. I think this was the 2nd or third ride over 3 hours I’d done since March, and certainly the first race. So it made sense my legs were feeling it at the 75 mile mark. A few other people tried to get away, Lawrence of Catford gave it a good go, and I did try to get over but the bunch came with (sorry Lawrence). Into the last lap and the hectic run in was playing out. for the last couple of miles we averaged well over 30 mph, and into the left turn I was probably a bit too far back, despite trying, the teams bustling for lead outs etc was quite hard to find a way through. I sprinted out of the corner and then saw how far the finish was haha! I rolled in having burned myself out. 28th apparently!

James ‘Tank’ Lewis from NFTO won, he got away 2 up with Roy Chamberlain of Corley – respect to Roy, he is always up there, and shows no sign of slowing. I heard one of the other lads say to him “you’re the best vet I know” he deflected it by saying he’d get eaten alive on the continent, but still some rider.

Got about 10 races left including some midweek stuff, if I want to retain 1st category then I need to get myself into the points at some point. Not been a great year on the road, bad luck, injury, and just tough races have meant that mostly I’ve got points in crits. I’m confident I’ll manage it though.

Next up there is a couple of mid week crits, then a SERRL race in the depths of Kent, and then the national 10, where I’d like to get into the top 10/15 if possible – but will be tough with the current crop of testers out there going so well!

http://app.strava.com/activities/174849388

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