Archive | March, 2015

Pete Young Memorial

17 Mar

First road race of the season came in the shape of the Peter Young Memorial. Good two main reasons (for me) – its pretty flat, and its pretty local – ideal! What was not ideal however is the weather forecast, for the last week it had not rained and had been mild, that particular Sunday however was meant to be cold and raining for the duration of the race.

I woke up and it sure enough had rained, and it was chilly, I was half thinking of staying in bed, a nice brand new shiny bike that I’d just made, I wasn’t overly keen to get it covered in crap! But I pulled myself together and made my way. It did get a bit brighter, and it wasn’t too bad when I got down there and started warming up. It was a pretty decent field with good representation from a number of teams inc Pedalheaven, Catford, Richardsons Trek, Corely Cycles and a few smaller ones too. Owing to the Paceline training camp I was the only rider from our lot riding, and there wasn’t anyone from Kingston either, so today would be about riding smart and getting into things that were well represented by those teams.

The race got off to a fast start as always and the first big lap we averaged around 27mph, given the course is pretty easy it didn’t really feel difficult and my legs felt pretty good. A few people tried things and a half decent looking move got away for a while, but I thought with none of the big teams represented it would likely not work out, it was also pretty early doors so I thought best not to commit to that. The laps ticked on and nothing much looked like sticking with a few little digs here and there, sadly the first crash of the year was soon upon us as a few people got tangled and hit the deck on one of the main roads. I think this was down to pothole dodging, but not a nice thing to see, I don’t think anyone was too badly beaten up, and the bunch slowed to let everyone re-join.

At around mile 50 things were getting a little twitchy and more people looked to fancy pinging off the front, I was not ideally positioned when I saw a move I liked the look of, Wouter Sybrandy, Ash Cox, two from Corley and two from Trek along with one PH and another rider I can’t quite remember all got away and it looked good. Knowing Ash and Wouter (both winners in their time of the well fought North Road Hardriders) were strong testers I thought this was a good prospect, with representation from three of the big teams it had most of the ingredients people look for in a winning break! I sprinted up the outside and made my way over to them, it took around a minute of drilling it at 500w which isn’t difficult, but when you’re going downhill its not easy to keep that power/cadence going, but I got over and the bunch were miles behind and nobody had come with me, ideal.

That break formed at around mile 57 or 87, so it was always going to be a hard rider to make it stick, but I thought we had a good shot. We got into a half decent through and off and the gap quite quickly was out to over 30 seconds. However it wasn’t long before people started skipping turns and not coming through, strange really, I did notice that the PH rider was being told to keep it calm by his team manager, and he was just soft tapping through, I had a feeling that didn’t bode too well! We were away probably for around 25-30 mins and the bunch were almost back on us, a shame because I think if we made it to the finishing circuit with a half decent lead it would have been much more possible to make it stick. As we were caught I wondered whether I’d got the legs to do much up the final finish hill. Sadly the choice was made for me as I noticed my front tyre was going down, the pace was quite quick and I thought if I dropped back to get service that would be the last I saw of the bunch so with 2 or 3 laps of the finish circuit to go I pulled over with a very soft front tyre. I watched as a Twickenham and PH rider got away together and almost made it stick only to be swallowed by the bunch near the end. The final gallop was mopped up by in form Rory Townsend and the PH from the break in second, obviously still had plenty in his legs 😉

All in all it was a bit annoying but confirmed at least that I had the legs, even though the course was pretty easy I don’t think I was really properly hurting at any point so maybe this winter has been a good one. Touch wood I’ve not been ill since November and have not really had much time off the bike. That coupled with some decent early season TT’s has got me into half decent shape!

One slightly irritating discovery was that Zipp 303 Firecrests do not compute with SL4 Tarmac frames as they’re too wide on the rear and rub on the stays. The good news is that I’ve just about done a deal on some Enve 6.7 to replace with, every cloud 😉


https://www.strava.com/activities/268657842

East Surrey Hardriders

10 Mar

Sunday was the last of the sporting TT’s I intend to take part in this year, the East Surrey Hardriders is a fairly popular event, also staged just down around Dorking over a 27.2 mile course.

I did this two years back, however I’d done the Kingston Wheelers 2/3 road race the day before (and annoyingly came 2nd!) so my legs were not in great shape, I came tenth, not my finest result! I think its the where my cover photo is from actually, so big chunk gloves and arm warmers, nice and slow! It was very cold though.

On the flipside, this years installment of global warming has give us some nice weather, and Sunday was pretty warm, warming up in the sun is a rarity in these early season events, a welcomed one! As with the last few events, the field was quite similar, Chris Mac again was riding who had put me into 2nd spot at Redhill, in my mind he was the one to beat, though other riders were sure to be right up there, last years winner Liam Maybank, Wouter again, John Dewey who was pretty close to me at Redhill, there was a lot of good riders on the sheet.

I started warming up and didn’t feel all that good, I’d spent the previous day battling with my new roadbike and getting it ready for riding, legs felt a bit dead on the turbo. But I got down to the startline and was still optimistic. This course has a fair bit of fast road, which should help me out being quite aero, but there were two fairly significant (for Southern England) ramps to tackle which would certainly suit Chris. I got off to a start and almost straight away I was delayed by an older chap who pulled out on me then proceeded to pull over to the side of the road again, not ideal. A few miles later my next bit of bad luck happened when I had to come to trackstand at a roundabout some 3 miles in!

After that I got into a rhythm, power was OK, but not as good as I’d have hoped, at the half way point I I was thinking today wouldn’t be quite as fast as the weather would have had you think, mainly because there was a headwind for a lot of the outward leg which on this course is about 65-70% of the entire course. I got to the final climb and run in with a half decent average speed, knowing I’d probably need to be over 27mph to be in with a chance I dug deep but found it tough in the last few miles and wasn’t able to really ramp it up like I did in the last two events. I had to slow again for a horse, but managed to cross the line in 1hr49 secs and avg speed of just under 27mph. I knew I’d gone faster than last years winners time, but didn’t think it would be enough.

Sure enough, it wasn’t, Chris had done 1hr16 seconds some 33 seconds ahead of me, another storming ride. I did however hang on for second. I think without my bad luck the gap would have been smaller but I didn’t have the legs to beat Chris today. Amusingly we did the exact same power for the event, not sure how much the wind picked up between 8.20 and 9.20 when I went off but certainly I’d have preferred it to be a little cooler and a more helpful wind next time! I looked back to 2 years ago and notice I’ve added almost 2 mph to my avg speed in that time, which is a fairly decent improvement, I doubt I can do that again over the next two years, but even half of that would see me going very well indeed!

Anyway, that rounds off 3 events, one 1st and two 2nd places, not to be sniffed at. I hope I can build on it and next year I’ll hopefully be able to win the lot, I’ve got a few changes to make to my position which should gain a few watts…!

https://www.strava.com/activities/264833770

Next up is a road race on the new bike (S works Tarmac, Ultegra di2 etc, looks lovely) at the Pete Young Memorial, a pretty decent looking field present, so hoping I can hold my own and perhaps make it into one of the moves 🙂