07/03/16 Race Reports

SERRL 234 Road Race Benenden Sandhurst

By Chris H.

I rolled up to the lead car in my first road race, a 100km 2/3/4 in Benenden.

It had been 8 months since my shoulder had separated in a crash in a C3/4 CRIT race on the south coast involving an ambulance and copious amounts of drugs (isn’t morphine great?). The end result was my very own parrots perch where a smooth shoulder line used to be. A permanent reminder out of the corner of my left eye of what happens when racing goes wrong.

I spent hours in the gym cycling no handed, got back on the bike, built up my upper body strength, did TTs on a road bike as I couldn’t get into an aero position, managed to nick my Cat3 in the second to last masters race of the season, joined the full gas winter track league at the velodrome and decided to get structured.

I bought some P1 power pedals (yes I know Andy.. you told me so..) , Joe Friel’s book and some cook books.

Train hard, rest hard, eat proportionally.

Waiting behind the lead car I wasn’t nervous. Some of the team had ridden with me the week before to rec the course. We had discussed riding the “convection currents” to the front, don’t drop back, sit in, stay out of the wind, stick with them as it will ease after a rush, remember the pot holes, get through the first two laps, avoid the cars, don’t cross the white lines, it will end, keep an eye out for your team, drink and fuel yourself…….

Off we went, fast and furious (stick with them it will ease), every corner a rush (don’t drop back), riders coming past (ride the convection current), there’s the barn (where’s that pothole?), down-hill left hander, reverse camber drain cover in middle of road.. a constant monologue in my head.

Lap two, fighting to get back on again (don’t drop back) I think I am in trouble but then I see the whole peloton ahead of me. (DON’T DROP BACK..) I am not doing that again and work back to the front. (stay out of the wind, don’t cross the line).

(This will end) One way or another it will end.

“Nice one Chris” as a team mate goes past, I feel elated, I am actually doing this and haven’t been dropped yet (don’t cross the white line). Paul pings of the front, “stay there” he says as we try and help him escape (what lap are we on?)

Second to last lap, “got a spare gel Andy?” ,miss the hand off, gel drops to the floor, “you ****”, never heard him say that before, must be the race, corner coming up (stick with them it will ease)

A blink of an eye it’s the last lap, the break has gone and isn’t coming back, still some points to fight for, is that twinging cramp going to stay or go?, I am still in the bunch, well I wasn’t expecting that, home straight, might as well blow my biscuits….

21st  ! Hurrah.. first race over, I finished in the bunch, executed my game plan, with my team mates, I can still move my legs.. Nice one..

 

 

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SERRL 234 Road Race Benenden Sandhurst
04/01/16 Race Reports

London X-League rd 12

Cyclopark East ‘The Badlands’.

First race after Christmas and a horrendous weather forecast; January ‘cross is upon us.

The course this week was largely flat and grassy but was slightly inclined and exposed to really strong winds and lashing, freezing rain.
The promoters Bigfoot had created a track which on first inspection looked pretty straightforward but once the races were underway turned into a treacherous skating rink of oozy mud, sloppy mud, slidey mud, but thankfully not sticky mud – our wheels were going to keep turning.

After a slightly protracted start where we all became mildly hypothermic the race got underway and I immediately sprinted into 3rd position which then quickly became 2nd position as Andy Taylor (a very gifted rider) lost control on a muddy descent and slammed hard into an extremely unyielding wooden fence.
I was riding on a hastily prepared singlespeed born out of all the broken and mended components from the season so far and it was proving a cracking tool for the job, proving very responsive when required.

Pic 1: Second lap and catching up with the leader on my singlespeed.

Mid race I got a rear tyre puncture but it didn’t really hinder me much, in fact it gave pretty good grip in the slop. However on the harder sections it was extremely hazardous so I rode into the pits and was handed up my other bike by a mate (thanks Huw) and barely lost a second. I was back on track with a sparkling clean bike still in 2nd place, and feeling I might add, rather pro.

Pic 2: “This picture was taken with 2 laps to go. Andy Tenant is right behind me now and I know he is going to come storming past. If I can get on his wheel and stay on it through this section I can hitch an aero slipstream across the next, open moorland section. It’s the key move to the race, If I miss it then I’ll be vulnerable from a group close behind. I am in a whole world of pain, it’s what defines all the training I do and the will to succeed within me, it really, really hurts! “

I managed it, suffered for a few mins more and was rewarded by drawing out my gap to an insurmountable lead for 3rd place at the finish.

Phew, what a race!

Ed

P.S. Do you like the new handlebar tape on the second bike?

Ed Pic 2 Cyclopark East

Ed World of pain Cyclopark Badlands

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London X-League rd 12
06/12/15 Race Reports

SE Regional Cross Champs

By Ed.

Top Ten in Regional Champs!

This weekend, across the land, each region had its cyclocross championships. Ours was combined with the Eastern region to make it twice as hard – cheers guys!

The course was very traditional with lots of wide, muddy track and a big hill to go up twice per lap.

I held back a little in the first couple of laps as I’ve not got much experience of riding in these conditions and didn’t want to put myself out of the race with too many silly crashes (got away with just one minor fall but plenty of close calls as the bike slid around on the muddy surfaces).

Tyre pressures today were silly low, I’d guess around 15psi. Could feel the tyres folding under on the tarmac corners but needed all the grip I could get for the churned up mud and grass that made up over half of the course.

Mid race I realised I was seeing the same people ebbing and flowing around me as we raced and so it developed into a more concerted effort into try to beat them. Jon Lyons, my usual nemesis proved very useful in gauging how I was doing as our fitness is similar at the moment but his skills are way superior to mine. Basically he got away from me on the descents and I passed him on the climbs.

Going into the last lap I knew if I could stay on his wheel then I’d be able to beat him on the final sprint up the hill and so it proved, however halfway up the hill I came alongside two other riders giving it their all. I’ve never raced so hard in my life and I took them both to catapult from 12th place to 9th in the last 20 seconds of the race.

Job done!

Ed Regional Champs Hog Hill clay

 

 

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SE Regional Cross Champs
01/12/15 Race Reports

London X-League Rd 10; Cyclopark, Gravesend.

By Ed.
This was a big race for me, perhaps the biggest of the season. It was on home turf (this is where I train for both road and ‘cross racing), with a course that would not look out of place on a world cup event.

We are now fully into the ‘cross season proper, with leaden skies and mud on the ground. Tyre pressure becomes paramount and I spent an hour first thing in the morning sessioning every section of the course, altering the amount of air in both tyres until I found the right balance between traction and impact resistance. Asked what pressures I was running I replied “squishy front, bouncy back” so prob about 20psi front/26psi back.

The race started up the tarmac road circuit and knowing the track well I held fire until the right moment then gunned it up the side from around 20th to 3rd position as we entered the ‘Spiral of Doom’!

From then on it was a full on test of strength, skill, exhaustion and excitement. Many things happened and I won’t bore you with them all, but by goodness it was a bloomin marvellous race and I was ecstatic to cross the finish line in 3rd place.

Main photo is the big hill, one of 4 forced dismounts we had to do each lap. There were 6 laps in total and this baby really took it’s toll on all the competitors.

Great day, and thanks to Paul for coming along to shout encouragement. It really helps so thanks mate, and a big thanks to Huw Williams and his team for dreaming up then building this outstanding course.

Ed 'The Wall' @ Cyclopark
Next race is the regional champs at Hog Hill this coming Sunday. Races arriving like bullets at the moment; you just get up from one and the next one is already in your face.

Ed The spiral of Doom 3 days after the race by Huw Williams

The spiral of Doom 3 days after the race by Huw Williams

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London X-League Rd 10; Cyclopark, Gravesend.
15/11/15 Race Reports

East Kent League – Rd 3

By Ed.

New league, new venue, slightly smaller field but still containing half a dozen people who’d already beaten me this season.

The course was excellent. It’s theme was off-cambers which means riding along sloping banks rather than straight up or down them. When it is muddy (which it was) these features test nerve, skill and tyre grip to the max. About a third of the course was off-camber and required a delicate balance of power, weight distribution and decision whether it was quicker to ride or run the section. A classic ‘cross course.

I only put about 20psi in my tyres for maximum traction but this meant I had to nurse the bike round the tarmac corners, and over kurbs. A miss-timed bunny hop up and it’d have been game over. Bear in mind all of this finess had to be acheived whilst my heart rate was AVERAGING 184bpm for the whole 45 minute race. Got to love this sport!

Got the hole-shot (first person into where the course narrows after the start straight) which was neccesary as the start straight was incredibly short before an extreme chicane onto the mud. Apparently there was a pile up about mid pack.

Ed East kent X 2

Hole-shot albeit headless!

Stuart McGhee (bit of a legend, overal winner last year of the London League) passed me shortly after and pulled a 30 second gap which he maintained to the end. Jon Lyons also passed me but I wasn’t going to let him go as he only narrowly beat me last time we met.

He held me off for a couple of laps but I was snapping at his heels despite falling on my arse on one of the off-cambers. When the time came for the pass I used a running section to distance him and then worked a 30 second gap of my own which I maintained to the end.

So another 2nd place but more than happy with my hastily re-built bike and performance on the day.

 

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East Kent League – Rd 3
09/11/15 Race Reports

Stu Gets His 2nd Cat

By Stu.

In Friday’s very wet and windy race I came 3rd… Yep, 3rd again! However, I am chuffed to bits as today I gained my category 2 race licence 🙂 a massive achievement for me! I want to thank Barny for all his help and advice, much appreciated mate! Also for our mental training rides with the awesome Alex. To Paul Butler for heading up this fantastic team and the rest of my team mates past and present. Last but by all means not least to my son for his support 🙂
Now for a massive curry and beer! 🙂

 

 

By Paul.

I came 4th obviously letting our man of the moment have his glory!!!!

Fantastic ride too from Chris H gaining 6th place and proving himself to be one to watch very soon.  Steve delivered as he finished his first Masters’ race on his least favourite circuit in the pouring rain – a gutsy ride.

 

 

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Stu Gets His 2nd Cat
02/11/15 Race Reports

London X-League Rd 7: Ardingly.

By Ed.
With a big turnout this week with a lot of fast guys on a dead flat, muddy, draggy course it was always going to be a tough race and being gridded onto the second row was going to make the job even harder.However after a good start and some hard riding I was in the leading group of around 6 by the middle of the first lap. Soon after things began to split up as after the first few mins the fittest guys rode away into the distance, but I was hanging in there with a small group in around 5-6th place.

Ed pic 2 Ardingly X

Then mid 3rd lap – Bang! My rear mech had become clogged with mud and grass and ripped off the frame. This is quite a common occurence in ‘cross but the first time for me. It of course renders the bike completly imovable so I was faced with a long run to the pits to jump on my spare.

Determined not to get another DNF this season I set of at a jog with the bike on my shoulder until a photographer pointed out I was missing the rear wheel! So back I ran, picked up the wheel, ran back past the photographer (see pic – why the hell was I smiling? Do I actualy enjoy this sh*t?), then slogged through mud all the way back to the pits.

Ed pic 3 Ardingly X
Jumped on my trusty singlespeed mountain bike conversion and tried to make up the damage but it was never going to happen so I settled instead into working on my lines through corners and picking off a lot of riders one-by-one as I worked back up the field, which was quite good fun actually.
Ed pic 4 Ardingly X
*Note the different bike in this picture.

So once again a poor result – 23rd place, but a sense of satisfaction that I crossed the finish line.

Cyclocross? Demolition Derby more like. Still love it though. If it wasn’t so hard mentally, physically and mechanically, it’d be a lesser thing if you get what I mean?

Back next week at PORC in Penshurst, probably on my mtb as the cross bike is catistrophically wounded.

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London X-League Rd 7: Ardingly.
26/10/15 Race Reports

Weekend Round-Up

 

 

Andy wins 7Oaks Tri Hill Climb (course PB 5:49:26 on ide Hill!) without once swimming or running!

Andy and 7Oaks Team mates annual hill-climb-2015-small

 

Stu rides a 25 mile TT in 57:48 (PB) then spends rest of day extracting his saddle from his backside!

Stu 25 mile TT oct 25th 2015 new PB

 

Paul and Stu fight for the line and Stu gets it (although there will be an appeal on the grounds of non-regulation socks):

Paul and Stu Sprint Finish Cyclopark masters oct 2015

 

Chris H is back and stays upright!

Chris H is back Cyclopark Oct 2015

 

What a weekend!

PB

 

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Weekend Round-Up
21/10/15 Race Reports

London X-League Rd 6: Fowlmead.

By Ed.

Following a run of bad luck it was great to not only get to the end of the race with the bike intact but to enjoy the closest fought tactical battle between 3 of us fighting for 4th,5th and 6th places. Thanks to Jon Lyons and Stu Nisbett for providing quality competition. I had to settle for 5th as Jon’s experience shone through on the key off-camber section towards the end of the final lap.
The course was nicely technical, with plenty of mud to slip and slide around on. The climbs were all rideable (just!), and there were sections of dry, grippy singletrack to rip on as well.
Cracking day out.

 

Ed X Fowlmead Oct 2015 2

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London X-League Rd 6: Fowlmead.
12/10/15 Race Reports

World Masters’ Track Championships

By Paul.

 

“This is where you leave it all out there” Steve said to Rich B moments before his 10km scratch race which played out at 31.5 mph!!!

Rich B World Track 2015 Rollers

Steve, Rich B and I have just cone back from watching Rich compete in the points and scratch race in the 40-44 age group at the World Track Champs.

It looked mental!!

Here we are starting the journey Thursday:

Rich B World Track 2015 Leaving home

Rich B World Track 2015 Leaving home 2

Rich B World Track 2015 Leaving home 3

Upon arrival at the Manchester velodrome this message greets you and, I have to say, it is a very special feeling:

Rich B World Track 2015 This moment is yours

They tell me that being track centre was a lot less tiring than being on the track.  It certainly looks that way!!:

Rich B World Track 2015 Seating

Living in England and a holder of a German passport here is Rich mingling with his countrymen.  Yep, we’re confused too!!:

Rich B World Track 2015 mate SA kit

The racing

Rich B was riding the scratch on Friday and the points on Saturday and you could have been forgiven for wondering if you were at the ‘real’ Worlds as the speed was blistering and the attendance from so many nationalities made it a very special weekend for all of us.  These old folk are fit and fast and it almost made me want to dust off my track bike (then I saw the kit they were riding and realised I didn’t have £15k for an upgrade!!).

I am so pleased that we were privileged enough to see this as it certainly inspired me to continue my quest for a champion’s jersey on the road.

Steve and I even snuck in a couple of cheeky hours’ riding in the Peak District and don’t tell him I said this but he might have had to unclip on one of the climbs as it was so steep and long (think Catford Hill Climb x 4)!

It’s Saturday night, the games are over, we are shattered (!) and it’s time for a beer (or three!):

Rich B World Track 2015 Flipchart

How did he do?  You’ll have to ask Rich that!! I’ve written his report I’m not his bloody Soigneur too you know!!

 

PB

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World Masters’ Track Championships
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