Archive | May, 2012

London Phoenix 2/3 RR Surrey League

27 May

Well, this week has been great for obvious reasons! Sun!

Sadly though with sun come beer, and I drank every day last week in one shape or form, which isn’t ideal, but meh, I’ve thought long and hard, and I’ve decided I’m just not up to going pro despite the many contracts landing on my doormat 😉 So a beer here and there won’t hurt.

Had a couple of weeks off racing, mainly as there hasn’t been much about, I didn’t fancy paying £50 to enter the divs, and there were not any crits on so the last two weekends I’ve been training with the fast guys from the club. 2 100 mile rides both very quick pace and some good hills too. So I don’t feel like I’ve been neglecting my training. This week I also made sure I got in some decent riding and did a few hill repeats for the first time (although only little ones) and a few hard efforts in the park on the way back from work, given its so nice out there, seems a shame not to try and beat a few of the Richmond Park pro’s up one of the hills!

It was obvious today was going to be tough, the heat being the main factor, and also that the only time I’d ridden at 2nd cat level before (despite being one now) was at Bletchingly, which despite all the other guys claims of it being the hardest course around, didn’t ease my mind, as I got dropped like a stone in that race, as I posted back then, so the pace worried me slightly.

A good KW turn out as per, with around 6 of us today, including a recent convert to road racing (Pete M) who has shown massive promise, in weighing next to nothing yet having the power of a good 75kg+ rider. Lucky bugger 😀

I got there nice and early, and signed on, and we trundled over to the start line, which was down over the a24, down the finishing hill (which you only do once on the last lap, not a massive fan of that) and then onto the Henfold Hill course. I’d been told that the course was fairly rolling and only had one notable rise. Which was a fair call, but there were two rises and both were as small and almost a non entity. The thing that made them an entity (more the first one as it did ramp up a bit for a few meters) was that my chain was skipping in the small ring, so maybe the mech isn’t aligned or the tension isn’t being taken out of the chain… Anyway, long and short of it was that I had to use the big ring for the whole ride.

A lap in and I feel quite comfortable, and I’m keeping up and not feeling to bad, only slight niggle is the big ring thing and also whether I’ll have enough drink to last me as it was properly warm. I think on the second lap a group of a couple got away. Not sure who, but there were some very strong riders there today, so I think it was a small group of these maybe 5 or so that made the first dig, and got away. Then possibly a lap or so later, another split happened. Now at first they were so close that I was confident I would bridge over solo if needs be, but someone told me Andy Edwards was in the bunch, so we let them build up a lead. Fast forward a few mins, Andy is back in the main bunch and says he hasn’t the legs today to stick with them, which is fair enough as there were some super strong riders out there. So this got me thinking about bridging over, I made one attempt which was quickly chased down by the bunch, and then a lap or so later Pete had just started to go and they let him, I stormed up the outside and told him to grab my wheel, I thought with 20 or so up the road they would let us get away, but no, they didn’t, we got a gap and then I could see them sprinting to chase us down. Which is a shame as I think at that point we would have got over.

The concencus was that we could catch them and a few of us started doing turns to help bring it back, but the heat and the wind which was there, although not anywhere near as strong as yesterday made it bloodty hard work. The time gaps were increasing each time we went by the lap board, so what was once 30 secs was I think a minute by the end of things.

So last laps rolls by, I still feel pretty decent, so do a bit on the front, make sure I’m in a decent position just so I can maybe have another solo dig later on, we roll round to near the finish, and obviously the finish being off the circuit I got a bit caught out. I went hard up the outside and went by the bunch, to the front, only to see another 400 m of hill till the line. At this point I just carried it on to the line, probably in the top 15 of that bunch, not that it matters as the winners etc had already come through well before with I think a super fast Node 4 TT man winning, and second claim KW Francis Cade of vo2 taking second to get well on his way to 1st cat!! Someone also managed to crash at the finish line and it looked pretty horrible, face to the floor etc..

So in all I’m happy with it as I managed to stick the pace, which despite my initial thoughts of it being similar to a 3rds race, it wasn’t it was quite a bit quicker with over 26mph avg speed for the whole race. I felt I had the legs to do more, but it didn’t work out today. So it all looks good for the next few 2/3’s pace wise.

I’m racing again next weekend, but given the finish is the top of Leith Hill, and I’m 13 stone, its fair to say I will be bloody lucky or have to be in a break to get anywhere near the top. But its all good training eh?

Race stats then, 54 mi, 26.1 mph, top speed 45 mph

Cutmill 3rds

13 May

Initially I was really looking forward to this as it seemed the course would be OK for me (still not a flat finish (are any of the SL races?) but not too bad and plenty of fast downhills. However it quickly became something I was dreading due to an odd series of events. A work five a side tournament had been put in on the Friday, and for various reasons, it wasn’t something I could duck out of. Added to that given we got to the semi’s and lost to a dominant Sony Music team we went out to celebrate…I didn’t sleep that night and was at Dalston Junction at 5.45 am waiting for a train home. Needless to say I was buggered yesterday. To top it off my partner was having a girls dinner party so I had to leave the house and wasn’t allowed back till they’d gone…Bed at 2am then.

So woke up this morning, and I must say, I’ve felt better, legs battered from 6 games of football, and tired as hell. Still it was a lovely day, what did I have to lose?

We lined up, and there was a good contingent from KW there today, 6 of us I think. And each of those 6 had the legs to win it I would say. We got going and I felt it straight away, we got onto the long drag which the finish line is in the middle of and my HR was through the roof, so much so that I got gapped the first time up it and spent a lot of the first lap right near the back. Second time round it was slightly better, and I could tell my body was just waking up, this time Damien went off the front on the climb with a couple of other guys to form the first and only break of the race.

A few laps passed and I was starting to feel a bit better, my back was aching a touch by 30-40 miles, must get that sorted. In the second to last lap, we went round the worst corner on the course, a pothole ridden gravel covered corner, I stupidly didn’t knock it into the small ring quick enough, and the result of my faffing with the shifters was that I dropped my chain right at the beginning of a climb that went into the fast downhill section. Brilliant. I thought I’d snapped it to be honest, anyway, I got the chain on, took me a bit more time than I’d have liked though, 35 secs according to my race file!!! I chased hard, a motorbike waited for me, I was hoping he was going to let me draft, but he didn’t, he stayed about 20 ft in front of me the whole time. Luckily it was the fast down section that was coming, and I’d sen the whole race that I go downhill quicker than nearly anyone, without really trying (combo of the bike, my weight, and what not) so I managed to catch back on to the group quite fast. I went straight up the outside of the bunch and got back into the top 15 riders.

Bell lap came and the break which was still only a couple of riders as I don’t think anyone bridged were within sight at times, but they did a great job of eeeking out every last bit of effort and we didn’t catch them till the very end as it happens! We came down the first fast sections, through the horrid corner. The pace was higher, but I was comfortable, if not a little bit achey. We came onto another corner which was a bit dicey, I was on the left about 10 back. All of a sudden I see the group move over, and then the clatter of bikes as a few blokes go down (more on this later)…

I was in a great position coming down the last of the hills into the wet little flooded lane (wish I had bought my glasses!!) however the corner there was also a bit tough to take, and someone cut me up and I lost my top 10 position, and got shoved back into the upper teens probably. We drove hard through the little lane, and approached the final climb, I actually now felt ok, and was ready. I hit the slope in probably 10th wheel or so, followed a Dynamo who’d been going well, so I was happy with my position. As I drove on and the pace went up, lots of people went backwards, at this point I think the eventual top 3 made their move, I wanted to go with it, but sadly said Dynamo wasn’t quite as quick up the slope as I wanted to be, so after I’d gone round him and coming to the crest I was5th or 6th and I kept digging, onto the short flat before the line and I shifted down the block and got back on the pace, I was nowhere near the front lot now, but had a few bikes over the people behind from the looks of it. So I came in either 5th or 6th depending who you ask, I’ll know later. Robin came 3rd, and Stephen won it! Funny as he had said “stick in there Rob, this finish will suit you well” he was right, but I couldn’t get there today.

That crash sadly bought down a clubmate (Ed) and his bike was fucked, its hard to think of a better way to describe it. The top tube was mangled and snapped totally in two places (s works SL3 frame), he later came by and his arm and shoulder were not in great shape. But for a law type, he’s pretty tough (cake is for pussies apparently) so he shrugged the cuts off, but was probably a little upset about his bike 😦

So in summary, I was in hindsight happy with the result despite conditions of my body, and a rather hilly course (for a fat knacker like me), avg speed was 22.5 mph, and top speed of 47 mph or so. I’m also now officially a Category 2 racer! Which was pleasing. So onwards, now to get my head kicked in my people with a lot more talent than me 🙂