5 Aug

25 months.

No, I’m not trying to outdo a trapped rock-climber, rather that is how long its been since I won a race of any sort on my roadbike. For a rider who won his first two ever races and then went and won a few other races/stages of races etc that seems like a bloody long time to me. I get my fix for winning I suppose from time trials, but even still, the feeling of winning on the road, or a crit circuit as it was is still every bit as sweet as doing a personal best or winning an event by 3 minutes on the time trial bike.

People have always asked what I might concentrate more on next year in terms of road/TT, and I usually say the same thing, I’ll mix it up and see how I get on, I don’t feel like one has to suffer at the hands of the other, the only thing that perhaps changes is driving miles and miles for a road race when there is a TT nearby starts to look like a waste of a weekend, but there are times when it comes together and you know why you still do both, even if like me you’ve had quite bad luck on the road due to various things…

People far more eloquent and edgy than I have written blogs on Crystal Palace and its racing, what with references to the sun breaking through the dense tree cover to illuminate the last bastion of true crit racing the SE has to offer, so I’ll skip all that – basically its really fucking hard; and reasons for this are two fold, one: it has a selection of corners that require nerve and skill (or a lot of sprinting if you have neither), and two, even the most sedate people seem to turn into raging bulls when in SE19, attacking left right and center like their lives depend on it. All that coupled with a fairly decent and competitive field most weeks make it a hard but enjoyable Tuesday evening pursuit.

I’ve been going along most weeks this year, mainly as I felt like getting in a 4 hour day and 1 hour at race pace was good training, and also because the guys that race there are a decent bunch and riding there doesn’t push me to go all Michael Douglas in Falling Down, which I’m afraid traversing West London out to Hillingdon does seem to. This year most races have either been won by Ethan Hayter (who is on the UK national squad), Tom Hargreaves (who has won lots of races) or Rob Moore (who usually bulldozes his way to victory if he can), and a smattering of others. I feel like racing at palace is not really easy points, and that is what makes it a bit more special than Hillingdon and such. This week I really couldn’t be arsed to be fair, got to about 5pm and I raided the work coffee supplies for some enthusiasm and pulled myself together, I’d still got fairly achey legs from pushing on a bit on the Sunday, so was unsure of how I’d be to be honest.

We got started and it felt ok, I continued to feel ok, my back didn’t even ache that much (maybe that £200 saddle did the trick?), a lot of moves came and went, mainly with Ian Paine of Dynamo, Kendall Noctor of Feather, Tom or James Lowden of Neon Velo being the perps. I got away with James towards the end and forgot how strong he was, really wasn’t that pleasant getting over to him and coming through. We were brought back however, it was getting to the point where I thought it would likely be a sprint situation, thankfully it was up the hill which I don’t mind, and Ethan was frying bigger fish somewhere, so this was my best chance of winning. Tom had Ray from Dynamo lining it out up the hill and I saw a gap and just smacked it, I knew that if I got a gap then nobody would catch me, I looked back after a good 10 second or so effort and there was daylight, wonderful. I stuck one hand in the air (didn’t want to do an Armitstead after all) and crossed the line. Happy days. (maybe a pic out there somewhere of the finish – I’ve yet to find it).

Meanwhile there was this pre race pensive glance – credit to Alex Hewson – more from him here

National 25 and other stuff

3 Aug

Been super busy recently so not so many updates, but in the last few weeks I’ve done quite a mixture of events, culminating in the first really big one just this Sunday in the National 25 (the blue ribband event, cliche it may be, but its probably true for the CTT)!

In terms of the other stuff, I’ve done a few crits, and a road race and another TT or two, I won the second Richmond Park TT which was nice, makes it 5 in a row, this despite getting in from my holiday just 3 hours before my start time! I then had a spate of punctures, some far more irritating than others, the first was at Palace where I punctured my own wheel then punctured the spare I got given on the last lap. I then drove a fairly long way into Kent to do a road race that suits me well, it didn’t have a really strong field, and I thought I had a chance of a very good result, same old story though, 30 miles in I hit a huge hole and blew out my rear tub, really annoying!

I’ve also been on holiday, so was nice to visit Montenegro and see some fantastic landscapes, and go somewhere not ruined by tourists (well, cruise ships were plentiful, but they didn’t stay long). It also had some fantastic roads, especially the climb from Kotor to Lovcen, 22 miles of climbing at 5% avg, here is a view from half way up said climb :


Beyond that its been about trying to balance everything out, its warm outside and there are lots of social events going on, so I’ve had to try and balance that, I’ve also soon got a spate of weddings and stag parties to attend, so August was to be a fairly important month, it had both of the national TT events I had entered, and some of the last road races I’ll do, its currently looking like I’ll slip back to 2nd cat, which I have mixed feelings about but we’ll see how I get on in the next few weeks.. Onto the Nat 25 then…

I’d had a bit of time on the TT bike recently, I had a crack at doing a sub 50 on Bentley a week prior, goals were simple, go sub 50, and ideally not get beaten, James Boyman was riding and I knew he was better than when we met at the ten where I managed to beat him by 25 secs, and possibly I was worse, it was in hindsight the beginning of getting sick, I felt ok during the race but was still down on best power, and on a windy day James clocked a superb winning time of 49.33 and I could only manage 50.04, annoyingly close to my target, I’ll have to go back..

What that really meant, however, was that there was now a fairly real threat of me not being able to do what I wanted at the Nationals, which I’ve always said for this year was to be in the top 10 in both 25 and 10 mile events, but already a few people I knew full well I wouldn’t beat, adding folk like James into that list started to make for depressing reading! Amusingly I’ve just read his blog and his section on tapering could have come from my own mouth, the only thing that made mine easier to follow was that I was snotty and coughing most of the week, up to around Thursday, so doing short rides suited me fine! But when the day came round it was quickly obvious what shape I’d be in!

As usual I got about 3 hours sleep on Saturday night, I’d gone to a mates birthday that day and not touched a drink despite everyone else tucking in so was annoyed not to be able to sleep. Over time I’ve got less of a ribbing about shunning social events in favour of cycling as I think people (friends) have managed to make the distinction between a cyclist in someone who does a few Wiggle events, and one who wants to do half decent in a national level event, they still think I’m odd for shaving my legs mind you! Anyway, Lucy and I drove up to Marlow pretty early, I wanted to make sure I knew what the turns looked like and wanted to scout the roads for marshalls to make sure I wasn’t going to waste it all by going the wrong way, something I’ve managed before after a long drive. I warmed up after having had a solid prep talk from Xav who’d just got in from his effort on fixed gear, he gave me the lowdown, and we talked over how I was going to ride the course and what should and should not be done in order to get the best result possible!

I felt pretty average while warming up, dull legs, but not too bad, I got up to the startpoint and had a natter with Matt Clinton and Andy Jackson who surely would both be contenders, took my mind off the world of hurt I’d be about to put myself in. I was one of the last few to start, and at 9.02 AM I was pushed off. I settled down into position and began to think about the task at hand. As usual the first minute I could probably ride at 700w and feel no pain, but you must hold back in these situations, in fact I spent the first 20 minutes riding fairly within myself, or comfortably hard (snigger), I knew this race was to be won or lost on the 25 minute single carriageway section. One bit of info I’d retained among a wash of forgotten knwoledge was Bob Tobin (Bottrills coach) saying he thought it would be won with a 48 and you’d need a 49 to be in the top 10 (bang on as we later found out), so when I got to the turn with a middling 29mph average I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I’d done just over 350w and wanted to ensure that I did the second half a fair bit higher. This is something I’ve managed to do quite naturally in races but its resulted in me never overcooking myself and always likely getting nearly the best result possible. My split time was actually noticeably slow for my finish time, so maybe I went just a bit too easy!

At the turn here, credit to Ian Sherriffs


Into the second half I began to push on, I was debating hitting the lap button so I knew not to let myself slack off, but I decided to just crack on and push as hard as possible. The first half had seen me make it through 6 or so roundabouts without issue, but on the way back twice people under-estimated my closing speed (only human I suppose) and pulled out on me and then proceeded to forget where the accelerator was located and twice I was out of the bars motioning at them to put their foot down, not optimal. Just before the turn back onto the main road and the last five miles I threw up in my mouth, and then over my stem, so that was at least a fairly reliable acid test of my effort, stomach acid mixed with SIS gel in this case.

With 5 miles left to go I started to really wind it up, it was hurting, and with the last possible hold up point done without having to slow down too much I was into the last 3 minutes or so of the race, avg speed was now over 30mph which pleased me somewhat, I pushed as hard as I could, only remembering how irritated I was by such a small margin keeping me out of the top 10 in the National 10 last year (it was actually a fair bit, but 5 secs would have bought a few places). I pushed all the way to the line and stopped my garmin on 49.32, which usually means you’ve done about 49.30 given I start it about 1.5 secs early and stop it about 1 sec after the line.

Aside from his books, which I enjoyed, I’ve not really paid too much attention to Hutch of late, mainly as he isn’t racing anymore, but he did say something I really liked the other day in a podcast with Mark Florence – “I would decide upon finishing a TT whether I was happy with my time/performance before getting to the HQ to find out what everyone else had done” – so often I’ve been happy until I’ve seen what others have done, I decided today I wasn’t going to carry on with that theme. I decided that I was happy with the ride, I’d managed 357W which is about 6w down on what I managed in a recent 25 if you take out the ski slope start, and you’d hope probably more like 10w down on what a proper taper should have yielded. I put this down to me not being well that week, so I was pleased to be within 1% of my best despite all of that – but Xav said if I had done 11w more, or just 6w more than I have done before I could have been within spitting distance of a 48…

Another from Ian here


I got up to the hall to find myself with an official 49.33 which I found a touch odd, but wasn’t too worried about, though I was tied with Adam Topham for 6th place (last time we raced he beat me by 13 or so secs in a ten), so perhaps in hindsight I’d have liked to have been given my 1 or 2 seconds! So all in all I was happy, 6th was better than I’d have hoped for leading up to it, a couple of non finishers may have changed that slightly, but that’s racing sadly, you gotta finish first to have a chance of finishing first and all that.

Hoping to get back into my best shape for the 10 in 4 weeks time which is on a course that should do me a favour with it being so quiet and traffic free, hopefully I can get up into the top 10 again, should be a similar field I suspect, though I have heard a rumour about Wiggins riding, so that may scupper things somewhat!

Top ten here :

1 Ryan Perry Langdale Lightweights R T 00:48:04
2 Matthew Bottrill 00:48:24
3 Kieron Davies 00:48:36
4 Joshua Williams Revolutions Racing 00:48:45
5 Matt Clinton Mike Vaughan Cycles 00:49:03
6 Rob Sharland Paceline RT 00:49:33
6 Adam Topham High Wycombe CC 00:49:33
8 James Boyman Farnham RC 00:49:39
9 Matthew Smith Team 00:50:01
10 Brett Harwood Terry Wright Cycles RC 00:50:15

From Redhill to Gipsy Hill

25 Jun

Been an eventful couple of weekends race wise, I was really happy with how I was coming along, and had a couple of events I was keen to test myself on.

In time order then, the first thing after my 4th place at palace the other week was the annual Redhill CC road race, 82 miles of mostly quick road with a small rise each lap. The previous year was eventful for the wrong reasons sadly, firstly I got a puncture at the 30 mile point and couldn’t get back on as the weather was so bad the neutral car couldn’t pace me back quick enough through the corners! And secondly because some pratt scattered drawing pins all over the finish area which ended a lot riders day and could have been really dangerous.

Anyway, this year promised to hopefully be a good edition, a stronger field to be fair, full showing from Pedal Heaven, Trek Richardsons, and a smattering from other teams like Catford, (us, we had 3 riders! and a few other individuals who were ones to watch, Tom Bayliss from One Pro being a good example of that. We had myself, Dom (former Redhill club member) and Cameron who had been racing down under and was looking in good shape. The idea was generally to make sure that if something was well represented by the big teams, it would be worth following.

As is common in these races, 10 riders went up the road from the gun, but it wasn’t that well represented by PH, and it was an 85 mile race, so I was happy to let the race go on for a bit before making any choices. It didn’t take long before the usual suspects got a bit restless and around 20 miles in I followed Rob Moore and a Trek rider up the climb ( I really hammered it up there, the fastest anyone has done it apparently!) to go over the top as a 3 up, sadly this didn’t come to much for one reason or another. I was a bit worried about burning too many matches early doors so sat in and only followed things that looked worth doing so for the next lap or two. At around the 35 mile point again another move went which looked good, before coming back, this time I thought it would be worth a dig as though maybe I’m not quite as unknown as before owing to my TT times, I still don’t get chased down like a PH or One Pro rider would be, so I nailed it off the front, and started regretting it straight away as it hurt haha! However, I kept at it and soon enough I was joined by a familiar face in Rob from PH, to be honest, there are not many better people to join a move than Rob, he’s stupidly strong, and offers decent draft, I waved him through after a bit and he drilled it. I think I gave him a couple of turns over the next 5-6 minutes as he was going so hard.

It didn’t take long before we were well out of sight and there were specs up the road,which were the remnants of the early doors break, at first we caught a chap from Danny Shane (Phillip Peters I think) and Rob McCarthy of PH, we then were joined not too much later afterwards by a few more from PH, Mitch Webber, Chris Mac and Lewis Atkins, how they all got away I don’t know, but it was a welcome sight as I knew it would bode well for the chances of this break having them all involved. We shortly after got a Trek rider and another from Nuun (perhaps?) and were around 8 strong, but not everyone was coming through, some people were totally frazzled and I was conscious that though I felt good, there was still 35-40 miles remaining of this race. I did a bit of work but it was so disjointed that we never really got a through and off going for more than a few minutes.

Fast forward to around 20 miles to go and we could see the last riders up the road, we now had 2 Trek, the One Pro dude and most of PH and a couple of others, around 11 riders. However just as things started to look up, the bunch was on us, it was quite a quick turnaround given apparently we had two mins at one point. Certainly our reluctance to work properly as a unit contributed to the gap falling but we later learned a few riders from Catford had been drilling it on the front to bring the move back to stop another PH domination…

With one lap to go things got really dicey, and George Wood looked like he wanted to make something happen, he actually got away with Dom from Paceline for a bit and Dom later said he thought George was struggling as he would come through then drop off and generally wasn’t that smooth, George then went on his own, we didn’t see him again, crazy strong ride from the dude, he is showing his talent for sure, his Prem Cal results obviously making these races a walk in the park for him. Into the last lap I was quite keen on my position and the finish suited me, as ever with 1km to go the pace went mental and people were everywhere, I really don’t like it when its like that but I was still keen to get a result given the hard day out, I was in a fairly decent position when two riders crashed in front of me sending on of the Trek boys into the ditch (to smash his bike to bits, he was ok though), then I was well back, I sprinted through and still thought I could salvage something, and crossed the line for 12th. Not the result I feel like I could have got, but not bad considering.

My legs felt really good and they still had a bit of zipp towards the end of the race which was great, the NP for the race at 345W was higher than any I’ve done, which is more evidence to me that I am stronger this year than I’ve ever been.


Next up perhaps foolishly was less than 15 hours after this race, and it was the first of 2 Richmond Park TT’s this year, I’d won the last 4 in a row, so was keen to try and continue with that trend. I knew the field was of similar quality to last year and though I thought I would still likely be the one to beat, its never a given, and with a really tough RR in my legs it would change everything as I’d always previously done this event on fresher legs.

I was last man off which for this event means 7am, I knew it takes about 16 mins from my front door to the startline as I ride it most days on the way to work, so I set the alarm for 5.25am and was on the turbo by 5.45 warming up, I was off the turbo by 6.15, got some last bits together and set off for the park, got there too early still but I hate not allowing room for error… As I came in I saw 3 Paceline roadies in a row all going well, it was set to be a good event!

As any of you that frequent the park will know, the wind is basically the determinator of fast/slow times, today was a medium strength SW wind, not good (despite the twaddle Cycling Weekly posted this week). But it was warm and the pressure (we are all pressure experts since Sir Brad’s hour attempt!!) was low, it would be OK. I knew that generally I was around 10-15W up on my TT bike over last year, and amusingly I had done this event 3 times previous and averaged 364W every time. With the legs the way they were I was going to set off at around 25 mile power, which is just below that and see how it went…

I got down to the start and in my haste realised I’d not reset my Garmin so instead of having all the info I usually do, speed, NP, AP etc etc, I only had the lap field which had nothing on speed, just watts and time…! Panick set in, but soon I didn’t care, I actually caught my minute man after about 3 minutes, which gave me a mental boost (sorry Craig if you read this), the hill was slow as predicted as headwind, but I got up there and back down into position, I then passed a few more riders, and clocked Stu Spies who I thought would be my main competition, I passed him and noted the gap between when he went by that tree and when I did, he was my 2 minute man, and from that fag packet calculation at the half way point there was nothing in it…Stu was going well!

I got up to the long downhill where the wind would push me along, and I flew down there, over 40mph at nearly all times, it felt odd to be going down there so fast, I got to the penultimate turn and I thought a quick time would be on the cards so proceeded to push my achey legs as hard as they would go, and then drilled it up the final climb. I pressed lap at 22.49 but possibly started it 1 or 2 secs late, I knew it wasn’t enough to take the course record from Hutch (22.38) but I though I would be close, I’d managed to do 368W despite the legs, so I was pleased, looked like I would be between 25-30 secs faster than before that again proved to me I’d make big aero improvements to add to a small increase in power.

I got given an official 22.58 which I think is probably a few secs out, but it was enough to win from London Phoenix rider Gunther Zechmanng who was around 15 seconds back, really strong ride, and then Stu Spies in 3rd around a further 20 secs back.


Lastly just a couple of days back I did another Crystal Palace crit, Xav had said not to expect too much from my legs after a hard weekend, but I was still keen to have a go, not least because I knew Rob Moore wasn’t riding and thought I might be able to get a look in. Xav was proved right as I found it quite a bit harder than previous weeks and the numbers were down, but I felt OK. A few moves came and went and I put in a big effort at one point to get over to a move that was then brought back. Lots of attacks and as usual Dulwich and Dynamo had numbers, and Kendal Noctor was looking lively as were the usual culprits from VCL in Ethan Hayter and Fred Wright.

My plan for this race was to attack around 20 mins from the end and try and go alone, got to that point in the race and my legs said no haha. So with one lap to go I noted two riders in Paul Sewell and later Ben Knapp go for a last ditch attack, they got the gap and it looked promising. Knowing I was pretty pants at sprinting from slow speeds (hair pin corner just before the line) I thought my best bet would be to attack around 45 secs from the finish, so out out of the bottom corner I gave it a big effort “up up up” is all you hear when you do that as everyone tried to jump on. I got it a bit wrong as no sooner had I got up to 30mph or so I had to go wide to get round Ben who was still out front, but instead of going round I sat on his wheel for a short rest before the final corner, looking at the photo’s I think that kick had created enough of a split in the bunch and I think it was just me, the two VCL boys and Tom Hargreaves of Dynamo, we we dived into the last corner I thought my only chance to beat Ethan was to go first, so I drilled it out of the corner, all was well, I then needed another gear, as I changed down Ethan came by me at comical speed, some kick that boy has, and on the other side Fred just pipped me to 2nd! So I had to settle for 3rd, my best result but still a bit annoying, it was the closest I had come but was beaten on the day.


Another sub 49!

15 Jun

I’ve done a few events since my last update, I’m wary to talk about them all every time as it would make for pretty dull reading, and would mean I was writing a hell of a lot given the midweek racing over the summer!

So starting from the top, the weekend following my PB on the Bentley course I had a real early start for the Bec CC 10. Bit of a rush of blood to the head on my part entering this one as it was first man off at 6am, and 40 min drive away, but there was a massive lack of anything else on that weekend so I entered, thinking that at least I might be able to do another 19 if I rode well!

The course has loads of rbts, I think 12 in the 10 miles, I’d not ridden it before so was pretty nervous about missing a turn given my previous form for such mistakes. For a fairly small field of 70 riders or so it had some quick guys, most of the Yates family were there, Jesse and Connall both quick riders, then Pete Tadros, and also John Dewey, I feel like I write these names down every week, but in my area there is a core set of guys that race most events, so its good to see how you’re going vs them.

I got there nice and early, weather was really nice, I set off as last man which seems to be the way recently in most events I’ve entered, its quite nice to come back to clubhouse without having to wait for times to come in! I got started and knew that the course was pretty fast and the second half was really quick, so I took it pretty easy on the outleg, managed to get all the rbts nailed, then set about burying myself on the way back, I crossed the line in 19:50 which is not bad for the course, slightly down on Chris McNamara’s time of 19.42 a few weeks prior mind you. It was enough to win by about 30 seconds from John, who was 1 sec in front of Connall. Interestingly the org said that at the turn we were all within a few seconds of each other, but obviously ramping it up on the way back helped me a lot! Big neg split of 375w out and about 400w back! I got home and decided doing a 5 hour ride was a good idea, so went ahead and rode to my mums and back at 20 mph, felt like a solid day of training :)

Next up was another 10 miler on the old club ten course, not that interesting to be honest, it was a really small field of around 60 people and many of them women as part of the womans series. I did a good ride but couldn’t quite get under 20 and clocked a win in 20.15, some way down on my pb of 19.49 but best power I’ve done in a 10 ever at around 385W.

Then it was a welcome return to the most mental midweek racing in London, outside of the Tour Series of course, Crystal Palace crits! I’ve missed the first few and was favouring Hillingdon, but I hated the ride to Hillingdon so much that I have signed up for the next few CP events instead, plus they’re harder which means its not as controlled as Hillingdon has been at times.

As usual it was a field of around 40 guys, E12 only, a smattering of 1/E riders this week inc Rob Moore who had won the week previously with a trademark smashing of the field riding off the front solo, others like Rhys Howells of Trek who remarked on twitter prior that it was a bit of a bogey course for him due to being a bigger guy, I can understand that, sprinting out of corners every 20 secs hurts when you’re a bigger rider. And the other person to watch likely was Tom Hargreaves of Dynamo who has been winning most things he’s entered of late, including the support race at the Nocturne, so he was clearly going well, and I think is now also 1st cat, then others from Dulwich and Dynamo, VCL etc that are always up there and can make moves stick etc.

We got off to a quick start and straight away I could tell it felt easier than it did last year where I was really struggling at all times, not sure why really as I’m not a lot fitter this year, but I think the new bike is helping as the other one was a bit flexy and it was the main reason I changed it. A few moves looked good and I made sure to follow Rob and Rhys if they went, then in a moment of foolishness I saw a move go from a few wheels back, too far back really, it had Rob, Ethan and Tom in it. Arguably 3 of the strongest in the race, I was kicking myself. I let it establish a bit for a lap and then on the finish straight the next lap I went hard to try and get over, I chased for about 4 minutes and got within probably a handful of seconds, but it was too much, I couldn’t do it, I drifted back and almost straight out the back of the front group! Not quite though, got it back together and with about 30 mins racing remaining and it clear that the front 3 were not coming back (probably!) I made sure to recover, with maybe 15 mins left to race Rhys attacked hard, I went with but the group wasn’t about to let anyone away just yet. Then shortly after Stu Spies from Dynamo went, I followed and the bunch didn’t chase, we pretty quickly got a decent gap and were well ahead, we had 5 laps left which was about 10 mins or so racing, we were sharing the work well and going pretty hard, it was dog slow along the finish straight as a two up though!

I could see ahead with a lap to go that Rob and Ethan were now not far ahead and Tom had slipped away, Rob clocked us in the rear view and jumped into action, we were already on the limit and couldn’t close the gap down much more, with half a lap to go it was clear that we were not being brought back, I led into the last corner knowing I probably had a better sprint than Stu, I gave it a big dig and got clear to take 4th. My best result at palace, but still annoyed not to make that front move as I know I’ve got the legs for it. Turned out Rob didn’t want to drag Ethan to the finish so when Tom attacked he did nothing and they both basically rode a lap at walking pace meaning Tom got a huge gap and they nearly got caught by us.

Next up was another TT, my first 25 of the year in fact, it was on a course I’d done this time last year down on the A3 by Liss, its an early start as its obviously a fairly busy road!! However, that makes it a fairly quick course. Not known as one of the super fast ones, but with a course record of 49.05 from Kevin Tye it wasn’t ‘slow’. I’d won the same event the year prior with 51.10 and a fairly early start. A clubmate at the time who was last man off had said that the extra hour was worth a fair bit with more traffic on the course, and again, this time round I was last man off!

There was a fairly strong field but my main concern wasn’t actually about winning, it was about trying to get that course record, the temp was good, the wind was low, and my legs felt great. I’d also just got back from the newport velodrome on the Friday with Xav for one of his Aerocoach sessions and we thought we had found some free speed, I was hoping that the 10W extra I had been doing in tens would translate for a 25. I had a plan, about 355-360 on the way out and then 365-370 on the 2nd half. That would give me around a 360 average which is around 10w higher than what I did last year and would be in line with my 10 performance and hopefully mean I would go fast but not blow up!

I got warmed up and to my dismay it began to rain, I HATE riding in the rain, I actually generally don’t ride in the rain. But it was only light drizzle and I knew if I could safely get down the first bit of the course which is a downhill, then the main road would be fine as its warmer and there aren’t many technical corners to worry about. Anyway, it was time to go, I felt good, I got down to the first turn at around 6 miles with an average over 30 mph, I basically needed 30.6 mph or more to break the course record…I felt good, my avg speed never dropped below 30 mph the entire time, and at the last turn with 8 faster miles to do I was around 30.3 but pulling it up. I had paced it pretty well and into the last rbt which was now downhill and with about 2.5 miles remaining I nailed myself as hard as I could, I saw 30.6 and then 30.7 and the finish was in sight, still travelling nearly 40 mph I knew I had done it, the next question was by how much! I could see the clock ticking and as I reached the line and stopped the garmin I had 48.44 which translated into 48.43 back in the HQ.

I wandered into the hall and indeed it was the only sub 50 on the board, the next best time was that of Simon McNamara who actually had the same start time I had last year and did the exact time I did last year too! 51.10. I think that is the biggest winning margin I have had in a 25, I was really pleased.

Next up is a few more crits in the week, Redhill Road Race next weekend followed by a 7am start at the first of the Richmond Park TT’s….onwards and upwards hopefully. Then on holiday for a week, but I’ll be taking the bike for a bit of fun up the mountains in Montenegro ;-)

Elite 10

Another target ticked!

29 May

As ever, I have done a couple of events since the last update. Its been quite a good period of training and no illness of late, I’ve managed to get some solid weeks in and am feeling pretty good.

The Divisional champs were on a decent course for me this year in that the finish wasn’t up a hill, and there weren’t any hills, the weather was bang on and the field was actually pretty reasonable, i.e. not littered with big teams. However after just 1.5 laps of feeling really good, for some unknown reason my Di2 stopped working. Nothing I tried would bring it back to life. I did another 15 miles stuck in the 53-13, which was really quite unpleasant before I called it a day. It ended up being a PedalHeaven team time trial in the end with them taking most of the top 10, and Rob Moore taking a fine solo win, well deserved.

I’ve also got back into some midweek racing, rocked up at Hillingdon a couple of weeks back, again a couple from PH and a few other notable riders made it quite aggressive, I managed to get into the winning move with Rob and Jamie Pine, managed to get 2nd there after feeling really good. I then had something that was a target of mine this year, so it was going to be a bit more of a priority for me…

If you look back then you’ll see a lot of my goals were around certain times on certain courses, naturally I want to do as well in the road racing as I can but its hard to set targets there as its so changeable, I think the best is still to come as I’m feeling like its all coming together fitness wise, just I’ve not done many races this year due to cancellations and weddings and such.

The goal in question was for the 10 mile time trial course at Bentley, H10/8 to those in the know. Its a pretty quick course as they go, I’d have to go pretty badly not to go under 21 mins on here, and indeed the idea for this year was for me to break 19.30 on there, my previous best last summer was 20.02, but with me managing 20.13 in the cold of December I was pretty confident I was going to get that 19 this year to join a fairly small group of riders who’ve also done it.

Sub 19.30 on the other hand was something that very few people have done, 3 I think and they’re all pros, and one of those is Alex Dowsett. (Hutch and Russ Hampton being the others). So its fair to say it was a fairly punchy target, and to beat my best on there by 30 secs minimum is not a cake walk. Anyway, the day in question was Saturday gone, I came into the weekend after that crit 2nd place, and riding fairly steady the rest of the week, I knew my legs were going to be good, not sure how, just knew.

I was warming up on the turbo and some days you just know, I had a day like that at the Kingston event, when you’re turning over on the turbo at 280-300w and it’s barely even registering, its a good sign, I did my usual warmup and made my way over to the start. Today was a good wind, gentle tailwind out and slight head on the way back but it being downhill towards the end it wouldn’t be too bad. There were of course other riders too, John Dewey who has run me close in every event I’ve done with him this year, Liam Maybank who also has been consistently there also then others such as Nick English who did almost same time as me at the nationals, and then a fairly unknown quantity in James Boyman, I say unknown as he was returning to the sport after time out, but I’d seen he was winning most events he was entering, including the Tour of the Milburys 2 stage race, which I also won a couple of years ago.

Anyway, I got up to the line and set off steadily, the plan was to stick to a sensible number on the way out, 370 ish, and then begin to open it up on the way back where I’d not have a helpful tailwind. I got to the turn at just over 370w and an average of around 31.6 mph, it was looking good. I got round the turn ok and overtook another rider, I think I overtook around 4 riders! I began to empty myself and I noticed annoyingly that I wasn’t able to use the 11t, there were times I wanted it. I approached the finish and did the usual calculation, I had exactly 1 mile left to go, was riding around 30 mph and was only just over 17 mins or so, I thought for a minute an 18 was on the cards…

However, I crossed the line in 19.13 having dragged the average watts up to around 385 which is as good as I’ve managed in a ten, which bodes well given I’ve not ridden the TT bike in two months! Hopefully I can really do a ride at the big events this year. I knew that time would be pretty difficult to beat, and indeed only 2 others have done faster on there, Alex Dowsett and Hutch, and I wasn’t far from Hutch’s time really, I was really happy to be honest. I got back to the HQ and there was many of those awkward conversations where you talk about everything BUT the only bit of info you care about, the time, however the organiser eventually put the last two times in, mine and Boyman, I thought he had delayed it as we had done the same time for a minute, but no, he had managed a very impressive 19.38 for second place, Dewey, and Herbert also managed to scrape under 20 mins.

Felt pretty happy with the ride, but then that part of me that always wants better came out and I decided I would now need to do an 18 on there! Going to still make it to some midweek crits, got a few TT events, a holiday, and various other bits coming up, so hopefully I’ll get some results worth talking about for the next entry.

If you have a copy of cycling weekly from the last week or two you’ll now see I’m 3rd fastest over 10 miles so far this year, just behind some random called Bradley (though my time was miles from his of course!).

Thames Velo RR

27 Apr

The next race was one I’ve done a few times, and the circuit is used for multiple races. Its a fairly forgiving one in Milton (Oxford) with one hill and a lot of fast but exposed roads. Similar story to yesterday in that there were again a fair few good riders, a few from Madison, NFTO, One pro again, Wheelbase, Sportgrub. I almost knew what was going to happen before it did, but just didn’t think I’d be able to deal with 75 miles going full on.

Anyway, 5 minutes in a couple of guys got off the front, then Tank from NFTO flew up the outside in pursuit, Ryan Visser went too, they were allowed to get out of sight and that was essentially the race winning move, mile 3 of a 75 mile race. Not much more to say on it really, there was a few Madison and One pro dude left in the bunch I tried to get away many times, I bridged over to two moves that looked really promising, both brought back. I then went again with the One guy and Justin from NFTO, looked promising, got a gap etc etc, but then brought back by Madison. Predictably just after that effort another group went over the top and it stuck, presumably because it didn’t have him in it, he was marked to hell, and I think I was perhaps a bit foolish in only thinking moves with him or the madison guys in it would stick, it wasn’t the case.

On the last lap I don’t even think we were fighting for points, but I saw a couple off the front and thought what the hell, I might as well have one more go, I bridged over to them again, they essentially sat up and we got caught, at that point I was pretty sick of the whole day, stuck it in the little ring and rolled over dead last, knowing I tried at least. The weekends racing was good for my legs though I think, I felt better today than at Hillingdon and with 5 hours at 330W NP in my legs I am hoping that I can get some results soon. These races certainly are getting harder, this race was on the same day as numerous other big ones and it still brought out a pretty strong field in the end. Oh well, there will be other chances :)

Archer GP

27 Apr

This weekend was a double header, I’ve been feeling better after the illness which is good, and got a bit of riding in over the week. The first of the two races I’d entered was a rare 1/2/3 event at Hillingdon. 50 miles of it no less!

I rocked up and didn’t expect to see the jerseys I did to be honest, Pedalheaven, One Pro, Sportgrub Kuota, all teams that will be battling it out in the Tour series this year, and indeed the premier uk elite races. Granted this was open to them as 1st cat riders (though certainly they won’t be for long!), however it would make the race interesting perhaps!

We got started the pace was alright, it was not a big field with only about 45-50 riders, but after about ten mins those somehow got going together, I think perhaps my position wasn’t great at this point as it was so soon in the race, I also questioned momentarily how they might look to stay out front for another 2 hours given the wind on the day. They hovered at around 20 seconds for a fairly long time, I tried to bridge over but couldn’t get away without a load following, a theme that would continue that whole race. It was clear at about the half way point that it was done, nobody was interested in getting something together to bring it back, my legs felt a bit pants too oddly, the only thing that helped was a prime that meant the bunch sped up, we got them back in sight, in hindsight after the prime I should have attacked again and tried for the bridge, but I genuinely thought that when back in sight we’d catch them. We didn’t. It was clear then it was going to be them and us, so in the last 10 laps a lot of attacks went and knowing I might be one of the better sprinters I closed the ones down that looked promising, I’m sure they hated me for it, but there we are.

On the last lap the usual melee of Hillingdon sprints came to the fore. I managed to get round the corner without issue, George Gori of Nuun jumped first, I jumped after him but got boxed in by a Handsling rider who moved ever so slightly (not his fault really) so that left George and his lead-out man just out of reach, I was 3rd in the sprint and 7th overall. Annoying. These mega early breaks seem to be common place now.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers