02/07/15 Race Reports

Cyclopark Thurs Night E12 Crits

By Andy

Just came 4th in the e12 at the Cyclopark. Managed to stay away for 2 full laps mid race. Was also in a good break with the guy that went on to win it. He went again with 3 to go and soloed it for the win. Saw him go, regret not following him, but happy with the result.

 

 

 

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Cyclopark Thurs Night E12 Crits
01/07/15 Race Reports

Dunsfold Masters’

By Steve,
Having started in my previous races to try and get away or get in a breakaway (unsuccessfully as yet) and having such a great racing experience in the process, (i will be successful one day), Paul suggested a race plan in which he would take me off the front or ride across if i had got in a break and we would try and work together, failing that we would attempt a last lap lead out with me holding his wheel and him getting me to position A in the sprint. Mmmm i was thinking i really don’t want to let him down (as you do) then remembered the phrase painted on my top tube and said yeh, why not..!!!
well we both got in breaks and had a really good race, but the reason for this email is to tell you about the lead
out attempt,
it was such a buzz…!!!
we got together just before the bell in the home straight, had a quick chat and we were on it, can’t tell you how well the big man rode that lap, smooth and solid, behind it was like being cav, had riders nudging their way towards me trying to move me off the wheel, at one point there were so many of us in such a tight space i thought it was sure to go tits up but on we went, few shouts here and there, mainly me warning them off trying to dislodge me, few went early and Paul waited, they would come back and they did,
winding it up i found i had no more gears which meant we were shifting and hadn’t even got to the sprint,
my sprint was pants, but we knew that before we started,
but the lead out and the execution of getting into position A were perfect,
had i had a decent sprint I would of made top 3 at least,
a new experience for me in racing and one iv enjoyed as much as anything so far..!!
Ps, i have now shaved my legs..???? haha
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Dunsfold Masters’
18/06/15 Race Reports

Eastbourne 2-Day Stage Race

Too exhausted to provide race reports, luckily Stu and Alex ride better than they write.

Here are some images of their fabulous efforts in the Eastbourne 2-Day:

A Road Race several times up Beachy Head

A TT

A tight town centre crit.

I’m so glad I was washing my hair that day 😉

 

 

Stu tt EASTBOURNE 2 DAY

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Eastbourne 2-Day Stage Race
14/06/15 Race Reports

National Masters’ Criterium Champs

By Paul

 

35 of us lined up in the 40-44 age group at Hillingdon on Sunday and, having picked up a 3rd place on Wednesday night on the same course I was confident and in cracking shape.  By Friday morning I was leaner than I’d ever been and had one more easy ride planned to give the bike and legs one last outing before the big day.

 

Last year I came 15th in this event having made a dreadful tactical error but I drew the positives from that i.e. I was capable of at least a top 10 on fitness alone. This year I had already placed 26th out of 57 finishers in the 76.8 mile Road Race two weeks earlier (I didn’t even finish last year!) and I had had a great run up to this weekend. I wouldn’t say I was looking to ‘podium’ but I certainly wasn’t afraid of anyone and, at national level, that was a first.

 

That was until Friday’s loosener when I crashed in training!

 

On Saturday, the day before the Championships, I woke up with more red than white on my bed clothes and was nursing cuts and bruises to my hands, elbow, hip and knee and seeking Physio on my hip. If ever there was a time to just man the f up it was now so I popped a couple of ibuprofen (ssshhh don’t tell anti-doping), iced my hip and got a good night’s sleep.

I woke up, ready. No more feeling sorry for myself, let’s do this.

What happened next has left me embarrassed, annoyed, slightly depressed and downright pissed off.

30 minutes into the (estimated) 75 minute race a gap opened in the peloton. Until that point I had been happy following wheels and closing a few gaps with consummate ease. There were enough strong riders in this race to close gaps for me at times so I was relaxed and my hip was beginning to ease up. This gap was different though as one by one riders were jumping across and I was biding my time, ready to pounce on the right wheel, catch a lift across and recover when the panic was over. Too many riders were doing the same thing and I saw my team mate Barny jump over the gap from the back of the remaining 20 or so riders in my group.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I should’ve jumped on Barny’s wheel but in the mayhem that is bike racing I made a decision that up a slope into the wind a 62 kilo rapidly accelerating team mate wasn’t the wheel for me. It was a big mistake as Barny was the last rider to make the selection as 15 riders sailed up the road without me and my companions. I had to ride across the gap now, RIGHT NOW. I jumped from my group taking an experienced rider with me. Good, he has been around the block, he has seen the danger, he’s strong , we’ll work together and it’ll be ok. I flicked my elbow, signalling for him to come through. There was a delay. “Come on” I shouted. Normally I’m assertive but this was life or death in my eyes and he knew it in my voice. He came through but his turn was weak and we were going backwards not forwards. Our group caught us but that meant there were 20 of us now all hoping someone else would do the work to ‘save’ their race.

 

It was over.

 

Yes we raced our own race for 16th and yes I did some huuuuuge turns and tried to jump away on several occasions but the National Championships, the race I had come for, was being contested about 1 minute up the road.

 

Gutted.

I will wear that Champion’s jersey one day very soon you mark my words. I have already started training for June 2016.

PB

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National Masters’ Criterium Champs
14/06/15 Race Reports

Stop Monkeying Around!

Gorrick ‘Summer Monkey’ 4hr mtb race.
By Ed.
Category: Singlespeed
All in the name of good fun and with lots of laughs on the start line I embarked on this 4hr odessey of pain and pleasure.
As usual my race head took over and I rode at near threshold heart rate for the first hour and a half, taking not only the lead in the singlespeed class but getting involved at the sharp end of the vets and 18+ cats as well.
Then disaster – puncture! Had to stop, take off my back wheel and fit a new inner tube whilst watching 20 or so guys that I’d worked so hard to pass, retake my lead. It being a mtb race, every single one of them offered sympathy, tools, pumps etc, it’s one of the great things about off road racing.
After fixing the puncture I considered retiring but still having the lead in the singlespeed cat I decided to press on despite knowing the chance of overall was gone.
Settled into a steady tempo through the amazing singletrack course. Kept the pressure on up the short climbs and absorbed the roots and holes as best as possible through my rigid fork (really wishing I had a suspension fork on) and took the SS win, 2nd vet and 6th overall based on time, despite the delay earlier.
Got to stand on a podium (the guy in third had buggered off home I think), a METAL trophy, and a crash helmet, socks, bottle and rain cape courtesy of Merida bikes.
Who needs points when you’ve got prizes!
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Stop Monkeying Around!
08/06/15 Race Reports

SERRL 234 Road Race Benenden

 The Whole Team:

On Sunday we rode in the 95km SERRL 2/3/4th category Road Race.

 

When I say we, I mean my team and I.

11 of us, out of a field of 60 riders. 11 of us!!!

 

Yes, after years of turning up to races on my own or with just Barny, the hard work that we have put in over the last 18 months paid off in every respect. Instead of Dulwich or Bigfoot or Adalta or VC Meuden bossing us around, for a change we had a chance to boss a race.

 

It was never going to be quite that easy however. You need legs. You need good legs.

 

We’d trained hard all winter and we’d been racing even harder. What we had though, over most other teams, was a friendship and commitment to each other that, before Sunday, I’d only seen on the telly!

 

We rode our bloody (light blue/black/white/pink) socks off 😉

 

Our plan was to make sure that we had one rider in every 4 riders in a breakaway. We had no idea that literally hundreds of attacks would go during such a long race. What happened to the days when you rolled out of the village hall, an early break went up the road, you forgot about it and then sprinted for 4th place at the end? No, this was like a criterium from the moment the flag went down. Actually before that; we were even fighting to get behind the lead car in the car park. I was proud of my lads as 6 of us were on the front row – they had started to listen to me and now realised that the car park one of the easiest places to move up the peloton!!

 

From the word go the attacks began but we were there, every time: One man in the break, half the lads on or near the front ‘policing’ the chasers and counter-attackers.

 

In previous races I’d come back from a break and Barny would go over the top with the counter. He’d come back and I’d still be royally knackered as the bigger teams sent a fresher man up road. We couldn’t compete with that and rarely found ourselves in that winning move. Today was different; Andy, Barny, Lee, Alex, Stu, Rich, Me, one after another we went up the road, not missing a single move. All of us, along with Ed, did a fab job marshalling the front of the race and I remember Ed saying something and me replying that I couldn’t hear him on my left side (who let a deaf bloke run a cycling team?!).  In a single second Ed was on my right, discussing tactics, a fantastic example of how we were moving around the peloton was consummate ease that day. It is, after all, just a mindset.

 

It was a very inspiring opening lap with Andy getting in a group that gained 16 seconds on the peloton at one stage. Little did we know that that would be the biggest gap any breakaway would achieve all day. That just shows how hard the racing was that; nobody was letting anyone escape. Normally if a break succeeds there might be a lull in the action as people concede but today there were no successes in that department so the action never ever relented. It was bonkers and we loved it.

 

Not all of us loved it though as Rich B came down and Chris got held up in the same crash. Luckily Rich B is from South Africa so this was nowhere near as frightening as being attacked by lions (you thought I was going to say being held up at gunpoint didn’t you?!) so he got up and they formed a chase group.  Even at 41 km/h they had no chance of getting back on; we were flying and their galliant effort was to no avail.

 

Up the front we were still putting a man in every move when 2 riders slipped away and for the first time we weren’t present. In seconds Lee, Alex, Stu and Me had hit the front and we’d brought them to a safe distance for the rival teams to make the juncture for us. Awesome.

 

For a moment I couldn’t see all my team mates, something that I would have considered normal up until today but now we were riding so well we were noticeable by our absence.  I drifted back through the peloton; such a rarity nowadays that a rider from another team even asked if I’d punctured! I was looking for the others. Steve informed me of the crash involving Rich B and Chris. “Ok, cheers mate” I replied. Then I did a double take. “What the f@ck was Steve still doing there?!”   This was (nigh on) a 60 mile road race, littered with 2nd Cats and Steve was not only still in it but able to speak?!!! Hats off to the guy. I can only assume he must have one helluva Coach 😉

 

Alex flew up the road on his own. Then Barny. Then me. Then Andy crept into another little break then Stu AND Lee in the same break. This was all my Christmases coming at once.

 

We went through the bell and the race was still ‘gruppo compacto’. 13 or so miles to go. I had a couple more digs, more to make others chase so my guys could come over the top of me.  I learnt to be more aggressive than ever today (no not in the bar afterwards!).  I don’t normally attack in a road race because, although this course is described as ‘the flattest one’, they’re never flat (come to Belgium!) and when Andy says he was on the limit at 360 watts I can only dream of having to put out so little in a breakway on a course like this lol. Andy proved to be the man of the match however, bagging 9th place at the end to lead the team home.  I had ridden harder than I’d ever ridden (I always say that?!) and there was this really cool vibe amongst us that the end result didn’t matter today.  We were all smiling (just check out that pic) as we’d nailed that race and we’d nailed it AS A TEAM.  We went with  99% of the (many many) attacks, 8 riders finished and we had a bloody ball.

 

Ed summed up the day better than I could (I’ll have a bloody good go next though!):

 

“It was great to do a race where results felt of secondary importance to teamwork.

If one of our many breaks had been allowed away then we would have bagged a top result but the pack was in a fast mood and we all got a great race because of it.”

 

We rode near the front, we communicated superbly and today we became a friggin’ racing team.

 

I am very proud.

 

PB

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SERRL 234 Road Race Benenden
01/06/15 Race Reports

National Masters’ Road Race Championship 2015 (Andy’s Story)

By Andy.
Had a good chat with Paul in the car on the way up, thanks for driving mate. There was a bit of nervous excitement about what we were about to do, Paul summed it up by saying riders don’t come here for the points it’s about the prestige, medals and jerseys.

The rain was coming down quite hard but it was forecast to brighten up during the race. The rain had stopped when we got there allowing for a dry warm up on the rollers.

Walking back to the car numbers in hand I got the feeling people were looking thinking who is this guy, being among the company of some  talented riders.

Post briefing we shuffled out to discover it was raining again. Lined up shivering behind the lead car waiting to start. Maybe I should have put on over shoes and arm warmers. Too late.

It was good to get started and warm up. The rain wasn’t too bad, but the roads were wet and felt a bit greasy. I’d cleaned my rims and the breaks weren’t working too well. Thankfully riders were cautious and the pace wasn’t mental. The standard of riding was good, respectful, shouts for cars and potholes on the first lap. It stopped raining, and the roads were dry in places.

The pace stayed pretty calm, with the distance in mind. A lot of riders sat on. There was the odd moment of excitement but no real “if I don’t give 110% I’m gonna get dropped” moments. A break got away because there was no cooperation in the chase as is often the case.

In my race there were two age category’s roughly 50/50 split. No obvious strength difference was apparent. In fact more of the older masters b’s were in the break.

Early on I hit a pothole and lost a full bottle. I’d bought it the day before and it wasn’t my favourite brand. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t go the distance without it. Susan had been cheering me on from the start/finish line I threw her my empty to the right (we’d been told in the briefing to only throw them to the left). It was safer at the time, but it I imagined being DQ’ed for it. Earlier Susan had asked if i wanted any bottles and I’d said no, but now feeling dry I was hoping she would have it by the time I came around again. She did, I’m back in the race. What a lifesaver.

Looking around at some of the favourites they seemed so relaxed, hardly touched their water bottles, I tried to relax as well. The average speed was over 25mph. My hands were feeling a bit numb from the rough road surface.

2 and a half hours in, starting to feel some fatigue i tried to work out just how much longer it would be. About another hour. I caught a glimpse of the lap board only 2 to go. Even less, good. Shadowing wheels now of guys I knew may be able to get away. A few breaks went and I went with them. Nothing stuck.

Final lap coming into the village riders are getting frisky, not too far to the finish. I usually get cramp when I’m dehydrated but this time the legs were fine, although i had a bit of a head ache. Near the front of the bunch I went early, up the first of two rises to the finish, then someone else, so I got on their wheel, others came past, I went again, feeling fine no crippling cramp. The spirit is relatively calm compared to a crit where everyone is fresh, there was room to move out and attack again. Head down, no ones coming, a rider to my left is going backwards.

I finished 21st, 13th in my age group, points down to 15 for a band 3.

Andy
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National Masters’ Road Race Championship 2015 (Andy’s Story)
01/06/15 Race Reports

National Masters’ Road Race Championship 2015

By Paul.

Yesterday Barny and I rode the National Masters’ Road Race Championship.  Although, I’m sure many would agree, we don’t look a day over 29, we were in fact in the 40-44 age group.  Andy wore our jersey with pride in the 30-39 age group so please enjoy his and Barny’ s race reports later too.

The race was 7 and a bit laps of a 10.7 mile circuit with a couple of hills to keep things as unfair as ever for us 86.5 kg riders when competing against the sub 65kg ones (excuses in early)!!

55 of us set off in the rain for what would be a 76.8 mile race at an average speed of 25 mph!

My main concern (other than the weather, the slippery roads, my knee, my back, my (still bloody lingering) cold, my gears and the fact that some of the opposition rode in last year’s ITV4 Tour Series!) was that I hadn’t prepared to ride that hard for that long.  I had a long road race planned in April (which was cancelled) followed by three 50 mile races in May but my crash in the first meant I missed the other two.  Still, I had had a good winter where I laid down some good base endurance work, I was the leanest I’d been since I was 7 years old and I was getting very familiar with ‘hurting myself’ over the past few months, albeit over shorter distances.  Who cares that I hadn’t even ridden 76.8 miles in the last year let alone raced it?!

This race was particularly important to me, firstly because it was 2 weeks before my year’s target; the National Criterium Championships – a shorter flatter race that suited me – so I wanted to get a hard ‘national level’ race in my legs.  Secondly  I didn’t finish this event last year, I was dropped with an hour still to go and had to ride home alone, soaking wet , exhausted and freezing cold.  That was NOT going to happen again.

I had to make sure I did 2 things very very well:

  1. Eat and drink correctly
  2. Use as little energy as possible.

People always ask me how and why you should do these things.  The eating and drinking thing is obvious in terms of the energy requirements – you have to eat/drink regularly which largely means remembering to eat and also means grabbing all the opportunities where you can eat as it can be quite dicey out there with one hand in your back pocket.  Just ask Barny – a rider crashed in front of him whilst he was holding his water bottle.  He somehow managed to pull off a one-handed skid, kept the bike upright, put the bottle back in the bottle cage and ride around the ‘victims’ on the floor!

The energy saving tactic is a bit more subtle and most people in the peloton get this very wrong.  People pay me good money for this advice so I won’t give everything away but if you think of your car, it uses a lot more energy accelerating then it does driving at a constant speed.  So there’s one tip; how can you accelerate less than everyone else yet still stay with them.  There are so many ways I did this and they included letting riders pass me on tough sections, following bigger riders who offered more shelter and learning not to panic if gaps opened.  For the record a ‘bigger rider’ here was a relative term.  A 5ft 10” 78kg guy is a ‘very big rider’!

The first time I looked down at my computer we had covered 3.21 miles and I thought “this is going to be a long day” but I swear I looked up and straight back down and it said 10 miles! We were flying and it stayed that way all day.  I know Barny found it easier than I did but he is 23.5 kg lighter than me and in the form of his life.  I would have loved to see him finish top 10 today but it wasn’t to be and I certainly wasn’t in a position to help, I just had to focus on getting myself round.

2 laps and 20 miles covered and I’d finished a bottle of water/carbohydrate/electrolytes.  This was good; I was taking my hydration seriously.  I had also eaten a banana although even that wasn’t plain sailing; after one bite someone selfish decide to go very very fast and I needed both hands and all my concentration just to stay in the race so I shoved it back in my pocket.  When I had a chance to get it back out I couldn’t grip it so ended up with a mush in my pocket and banana all over my hands until eventually I succeeded and ‘downed’ the remainder.  Whilst this was going on we were on a slight uphill gradient in a cross wind and I looked down to see that we were riding at 31.8 mph!!

Barny’s better half Susan was at the start/finish area with spare bottles so my strategy was ride with 2 and leave a third for her.  I discarded my first empty bottle at lap 3, feeling all very ‘pro’ when chucking my bottle away!  “I’ll wait a couple of laps until I take my third bottle” I thought,  “as it will only weigh my down”.  Who did I think I was?  Bradley Bloody Wiggins?!

Other than having to avoid the aforementioned crash and use a huge amount of energy catching back up, I had got the first hour out of the way without too much drama.  At the halfway mark however, around 90 minutes, the lads off the telly decided to put the hammer down and now a lot of us were in serious trouble.  55 riders in one long line, flying around the lanes of Milton Keynes (no it isn’t flat in Milton Keynes if you are one of those who said it was!).  Gaps opened everywhere as weaker riders struggled to hold the wheel in front.  This was good and bad; good in that I realised there were weaker riders and bad in that I had to use energy plugging gaps that they had left.  Wherever possible though, I still forced other riders to do this for me, riding with my head as much as my legs.

2 laps and a little over 20 miles to go and I told Barny I was going to take a water bottle from Susan, in case has was planning on doing the same (handing out water bottles is a complicated business you know!) and he said I could have his spare.  Aha, a chance to see how Barny rides so fast, “maybe it’s what he puts in his bottle?!” I chuckled to myself.  It took my mind away from the pain in my legs whilst I tasted it and discovered it was just the same as mine!  I discarded a second empty bottle when I saw Susan and declined a third.  Thank you Suze for all your support and help, you’re a star.

55 miles done, my legs are really heavy now.  60 miles done, I was hurting now but I remembered a text I got from Steve that morning: “You’ve got enough for this mate”.  A wave of emotion ran through me and I knew at that moment that I was finishing this race.

65 miles done.  As we passed the start/finish we got the bell.  My first bell at a National Road Race Championship.  I am a contender.  This is it. 10 miles to go. I had heard via the peloton that about 10 riders had escaped off the front but I didn’t see them (I think I was breathing out of my back side at that point) and neither did I care.  I was still racing against 45 of the best riders in the UK.

The final kilometre, which we had already ridden 6 times, was a short rise over a railway followed a long straight drag of a hill to the line.  Before that it was quite flat but halfway through the race quite a lot of ‘flat’ sections started to become hills and the hills started to become Alpe friggin D’Huez.

So, the final kilometre now read; a short hill followed by a longer hill over a railway followed by an even longer hill to the finish!

As we approached this finishing section I was more or less where I wanted to be.  I was in about 15th, knowing that the front guys would falter in the left-to-right cross wind.  My plan was to keep right and to follow the wheels around the leaders as the sprint opened.

I was hurting.

Not hurting like when your mate drops you on a hill out in training.  This was light headedness, dehydrated, feeling sick and dizzy, legs screaming, lungs burning, scared of crashing or hitting a car but NO F*CKING way I’m backing down hurting.  All the way through the race we had adhered to the Highway Code, not crossing the middle white line, but the Organisers know that this is the Nationals and (hopefully), somewhere way up that hill at the finish they are stopping cars coming down towards us now.   We are all over the road, fighting for position, over hill one, over hill two and the railway bridge like they don’t exist and then, the sprint opens as we hit the last hill and the final 200m.  I follow a fast wheel that goes right and can see my gap, leeward side, exactly where I want to be.  We hadn’t ridden on this part of the road all day so now really was the wrong time to find out that the surface was as bumpy as corrugated iron!  It took all my speed away and now I’m in the wrong gear for this hill.  I grind the gear around and can hear riders shouting as I’ve blocked their path.  That’s the way it is I’m afraid chaps.  I muscled my bike over the line, gaining on Barny, finishing 26th, a couple of bike lengths behind his 23rd place.

I am exhausted, delighted and emotional.

I finished a 76.8 mile National Championship race and I beat more than half the field.  This hasn’t sunk in yet!  9 years ago I got my old mountain bike out in the January and rode 3 miles.  It genuinely nearly killed me.  I seriously needed a cigarette at that point back then!

The morning of the race I was so touched by how many of my friends, team mates and family took the time to send me well wishes, which really really spurred me on.  I could NOT come home and say, once again, that I didn’t finish and I am so glad I didn’t let them down.

One last thing: I NEVER care about calories but I noticed I’d used 5886. Not bad in 3 hours.  Did I replace all of them that night?  You bet I did and there wasn’t any wild rocket in sight 😉

PB

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National Masters’ Road Race Championship 2015
24/05/15 Race Reports

Brighton Mitre 10

Winning, yet again, “coolest looking rider in a time trial” is enough for us Stu. Lucky really as you’re also too cool to write a bloody report on time.

……..Hot off the press……Stu writes report……..Stu writes report……

This was the Brighton mitre 10 on the g10/97 course which wasn’t as fast as it looked on paper. I managed to place at 15th amongst a very strong field with the winner Simon McNamera beating Pete Tadros by 4 seconds. There was also some bloke called Sean Yates… And his son, who was also quick!

I have enjoyed doing a few tt’s this last couple of weeks and feel it has improved my overall fitness but am already getting a little bored of the solitary of the sport and feel the need to do a proper race soon. Looking forward to the Eastbourne cycling festival stage race with Alex.

I’m sure the illustrious PB will find something hilarious to say about all this and I look forward to receiving the lanky gits feedback and comments if he ever stops going on about his cold/man flu!

Well done to all the other lads in this awesome team in races over the weekend!

Stu results Brighton mitre TT

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Brighton Mitre 10
23/05/15 Race Reports

Cyclopark 4ths

By Lee.

Crits at the Park – Cyclopark

So, my first race back since my lie down in January didn’t seem such a good idea when I saw 58 riders crammed on the start line.

My anxiety was prover correct during the first few laps when riders were flying off the track into the grass at every corner.

Lee Cyclopark May 2015

I decided the best tactic was to ride at the front as much as I could and try leave the screaming and mayhem behind me.

There wasn’t any breakaways to speak of, the pace didn’t feel that high and I felt pretty strong so with five to go I tried a push in pace, no one came with me so I sat back.

At that exact moment, a breakaway came and I tried to kick and grab a wheel. Nothing. The legs said no. Oops.

The break went and I rolled in.

Still I had a blast and have learnt a little bit more about this crazy sport.

Over and out

Lee

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Cyclopark 4ths