I wont give anything away just yet but for me May 2012 has been a great month!
I'll start things off with my first race of the month which was the Surrey League handicap on the south nutfeild course. Last year I was dropped with 1 Kilometre to go on this course and about the same time last year too! well of course I started in the scratch group and we were about 7 mins down from the first starting group. Yikes! that's a big handicap, but at the end of the day these Thursday Surrey league handicap races are just training really and if I can get any BCF points its just a bonus. in our large group of about 12 riders we worked well and were all focused on not messing about and bringing that gap down asap. It was going very fast and yes I was feeling it but I just knew that we'd catch them sooner and its training but then half the group were blown! it took about a 1/4 of the race to get everyone working again (race about 30 miles). just as we starting gelling together again we caught the 2nd and 3rd group up the road (ours were the 4th). going very fast but still no sign of catching the leading group as they still had about a minute - 45 seconds. So I stopped working with 3 K to go and tried to win the sprint for extra surrey league points as a lot of other riders where clearly doing the same. I won the sprint and came 13th good ride and got a lot of good hard steady efforts too in there!
On the Saturday the 5th I had a 10 mile TT. Early start nearly to the south coast! my start was at 7:41. Very horrible conditions with rain and gail force winds. Before you readers at home start thinking I am just making excuses of my time before I say it are wrong. The ride was to just get more practise at TT's which I want to do well in and as well see if I can beat my 20 min power profile test during it. Anyways, like I said the conditions were a Mere! very cold, wet and windy. Conall Yates, A rider who I have been racing against a few times last year and a lot this year was my minute man! I knew he was a great TT rider. I was going to race with him the next day too! I was off downhill to start and going very fast which wasn't the problem but just being blown about made me not push as hard as I could in the first 1K. got to the halfway roundabout point and saw Conall and counted that I was about 15-20 seconds slower than at halfway. Really gave everything when going on the straights, with more experience I'd save loads of time on those wet roundabouts! time of 21:30. Conall getting the Win and also a time of 20:59. I was happy I came 4th on the day but that doesn't matter The reason why I was so happy is that I smashed my last 20 min power profile and I am getting really strong in such a short amount of time!
The Next race the following day was called the Bec cc road race and was an E/1/2. I was pretty nervous coming into it but being two clear teams in the race, Pedal Heaven and Felt. I knew that at least one of them would have to get in the move of the day. I picked my man as I thought he was the strongest Pedal heaven rider and had an idea from the felt riders. Moves were going and coming back and never sticking. A move did go with Conall and a few others but I know he is super strong and would try and make the break stay away with his TT abilities. But being boxed in I was feeling sorry for myself :-( missing what I thought was the move of 9 riders go clear. But then after a lap (5K) Chris Mcnamara had a massive dig and I thought no matter how hard it is I ain't letting him go without me! And success! we were away and dragged a few others too :-) worked well and in the space of 4K we caught the leading break! most of that break either hung on or got dropped as we attacked them as we passed them. They must of been dying. we became about a very strong break of about 13 riders and I was struggling... 2 riders from both Pedal Heaven and Felt attacked together after the steep climb and then most of the break sat up and said 'we have a rider up, you gotta do the work'. Ahhhh! But thank goodness there were a few other riders willing to do work. but with a lap to go and everybody looking at each other the attacks came... I was starting to see stars following EVERY attack of the two teams to get away. Very pleased I held on and did so every time to get away. It was almost like I was the only rider expected to do all the work! 1K to go and I had a mini gap with a Felt rider but he just attacked me and stayed away... coming down to the sprint for 6th (a following 3 other riders got away with 1-2K to go. I just gave everything and wanted that sprint so much as I knew that would be heeps of bcf points if so. Yes I won the sprint! :-) (see below, I am the rider on the far right)
Next race, Goodwood series #2. Made sure that this time we got there with plenty of time to spare, well, the usual hour was good enough :) but at least I was able to warm up which made a big difference as to last Goodwood. Started off in the very large scratch group at the back as the lower category riders had an opportunity to ride before we caught them. I did my turns but when it became so obvious we'd catch, why work? so I sat right at the back and hovered a half bike length from the rider in front and nobody noticed! :) as the pace picked up I made sure I was higher up to be safe. Caught the other groups then the attacks went for about 3K but then a rider went. No response. Another went. No response. Then Conall yates went for a massive dig and I followed and bang! we have our break! :) but clearly not many people were happy to let us get away so It became a very hard break with Conall doing massive turns as he wanted it to stay and him being a strong TT rider he did a good job! we held a gap of about 10-ish seconds for ages, but we all worked really well in our 8 man group as the bunch must give up soon! 2 riders were dropped from the break. the gap going to at least a minute possibly more with a lap to go. 1K to go and everyone is watching each other and with half hearted attacks was looking to be a bunch sprint. 3rd wheel but seemed like I left my sprinting legs at home and came 5th out of the 6 of us. Conall Yates winning. Was happy for him and he very much deserved it being the strongest rider on the day!
Now to the busy weekend of the Saturday the 12 and Sunday the 13th races. Both being Surrey League 2/3 cat races. Was a great chance to see how I recover after a race. opted out of doing the Thursday handicap just to keep fresh. Saturday race. On the Barcombe roads where I came 4th on the first race of this year. knew the men to mark and spoke with good friend Harry Evens (man to mark) about the race and how we could work together. The other two riders to mark: Conall yates and Josh Lawless. Race on and a group of about 4? riders went but no worries really. Conall not know how to take it easy dragging the bunch along but then attacking himself! luckily I was up there in the top 5-8 waiting just in case. with us came harry and Matthews Miles. worked well and again Conall doing most of the work to make our break stay clear. He didn't make it easy to get around him! the Break in panic were attacking and working well together which doesn't sound right but some how there gap stayed around 10 seconds. Gap grew to around 25 seconds. Catching the 5 up the road. 2 couldn't hang onto the pace set so dropped back, working well together Matthew has a puncture. Not an issue and in a way a good thing as he is quite an aggressive rider and might just attack us. Also he is team mate with Conall and could be very tricky also once Matthew's words of encouraging Conall to not do too much work were gone he was back to his ways. Before anyone thinks Im having a go at Conall, he is a great rider and very very strong and I have lots of respect for him too! back to the race. Break down to 4 riders. Me, Harry, Conall and a rider from Twickenham. with the gap at 2 and a half minutes we were set but still worked together just in case. Me and harry had a quick mention to look out for conall as he is a sprinter/TT rider he might attack any minute. time past and down to 1 K to go and at the bottom to the climb. almost like track sprinting with everyone waiting and watching for someone to attack. Harry got the jump on everyone and conall went to in pursuit, Me on his wheel. The twickenham rider was blown. Conall blew and Then I went to try and catch Harry was gaining on him but he had a good gap and won it... Me in 2nd. Disappointed. Really wanted to get this one and probably should have done... but hey! there was always the next day!
Sunday Surrey League at Cutmill. got there really early and did 2 laps of the course in the car to get a feel for the course. wow! it seems pretty tough! long climb that doesn't seem to let up fast decent and a tricky climb out of a corner. Neutralised section, very very slow and I think everyone or most riders didn't notice that the race started with the lead car putting down the flag! don't particularly remember the break going but a 6 man break went with 2 Vo2 development riders in there. oops! so after they went the other Vo2 boys tried to sit on the front and make the gap grow out. gap went all the way to nearly 3 minutes! yikes! So out of my frustration and anger for letting this break go my attacks went. I was desperate to get away and was not having it! I was in a different sub break every time I came back. I was not having any chance of anyone going clear without me being one of them. I became tired and decided as I was the strongest there in that bunch and everyone knowing that It was up to me. No, but I tried half hearted attacks just to keep the speed of the field going at least. Then after the climb we went down a decent through a village and I went HARD! and stayed away! :) I looked over and must of had an instant 15-20 second gap! up on the sharp corner up a steep climb and was able to build my gap and another rider Josh Lawless tried to come across to me. I didn't want to slow my efforts down but I really wanted him to catch on another rider who must of been dropped from the break worked with us and we were going really hard and working well but the train of Vo2 came charging and in a lap of hard work, we were caught. (sigh) I was thinking 'what am I going to have to do!?' A rider jumped across as soon as I was brought back and was able to bridge the gap to the break. The break at this point with a lap to go having about 25 seconds on the rest of the bunch. I could see them going down the long decent before the finishing long 3-ish K climb no one wanted to be the one to bridge the gap. up the climb I accepted that the break was gone and waited for the sprint for 6th place. stayed in the top3-5 riders up the climb being strung out by redhill for some reason? Harry, the Vo2 rider who beat me yesterday got the jump on me again. But I was really determined to get him! very hard as forced to sprint up hill for 300 metres meaning the start of jelly legs. came to about half a wheel length... but he won. I came 7th on the day. Felt very strong and could keep going and going! stronger than the Saturday!
Goodwood Series #3. Seemed to be a great day and If by the slightest of chances that the is a rider of this particular goodwood race you will back me up on saying 'WTF!?' from what seemed like a great day and shorts and SS jersey. went to getting as many layers as you can on! The clouds came from nowhere! and the hail and rain! my productive warm up turned it to abound ship and head for the car! it was crazy! It died down a bit and see with 15 mins left to the start. i went and road up and down by the finishing straight. cold and wet, just wanting them to start and go to get warm we were off to the usual reunite of chasing together to bring the riders up ahead back. but I just sat in further back and saved energy. It always always comes back. 2 laps later and we're all together and just before the 'attack' goes Im thinking 'Is my rear wheel flat?' I was skidding and all sorts! zoomed to the pit stop and grabbed the spare rear off mum and I was off on what was to define the race as a desperate TT effort to get back on to the bunch! I could see that as I was pulling into mum the break was going. damm! said to mum 'should I take a lap out?' she replied calmly 'You'll be fine, just catch back on!'. no time to really think it out and I was off. 1 lap of effort later. caught some riders who have been dropped and for about 20 seconds I sat on them and recovered and didn't attack them put just pushed on hard. they tried to sit on me but couldn't follow. lap 2 of chasing. still no sign of the bunch. lap 3 of chasing. maybe?... 30-40-ish seconds? they were up and gave me a new burst of motivation! lap 4 of chasing. getting closer and crossing the point of where my mind is trying to play tricks on me to take it easy for a minute. lap 5 of chasing I am literally 5 seconds off and I am hovering there! attacking myself to get across onto the wheels. success! waited about 15 seconds. moved up the bunch to the front and in about half a lap later someone attack and I just followed! At this point there is a leading break of 7 and a chasing break of 5. But I had no clue at the time obviously. I was flying! I was a man on a mission mum was jumping and buzzing with delight as I passed and could see me moving up! I was doing the biggest turns in out group of 3. I didn't want to burn them off my wheels as It was nice to have a moment to breath. although one Vc meaudon rider with us was struggling to do turns so I told him to just sit in and do his best to hang on. I could really see him on the breaking of being dropped so he was no concern. lap to go. I could see the chasing break of 5! I attacked, hoping to gain some time to catch on. no luck but a lot closer! 500 metres later im on them! and the other 2 got on too in a bit. coming down to the sprint and stayed 3rd wheel and went but got 2nd In our sprint so I came 9th on the day! :-) just shows to never give up and you never know what could happen :-) really pleased with the effort! with lots of good rider getting punctures and just stopping.
Right 4 more races to go! anyone still reading, wow. Thank you so much for your time and interest in my season :-) I really appreciate it :-)
Surrey League handicap series #4. warped up warm to sweat as these Thursday races are training was a good little experiment to try. good work in our scratch group at the back and only a crash to deal with for Conall yates no real issue. poor Conall who had the National 10 tt on the weekend! caught the groups really fast. Great! but this just meant that the race became very aggressive with riders trying to escape the bunch. it was never going to happen such a fast course with too many bunch engines happy to pull the race along. The sprint and was completely strung out by a good mate of mine Adam Cotteral trying to just ride away. I was 5th wheel and Marcus Brueton in front of me and he was dying I had to go around him! and push some MEGA watts to get across to make it in contention for the sprint which was in the next 300 metres and coming down fast as we approached at well over 30 MPH. I came 3rd. Meh, well good day out and had fun too! :-)
Ok, A good race that I wanted to do well In called the South East regional Road Race Championships. On a very tough roads! Did the usual lap of the course in the car and could see that I was going to have a hard day, but! the difficulty of the course I felt would only come to a benefit. I'd like to think of myself as a rider who is a good climber and has a really strong engine on the flat (thanks to Adrian!). two major hills either side of the course and a flat fast finish. we're off! steady neutralised, I kept up to the top 10 to be prepared as we were about to kick off. little attacks here and there but nothing really of any concern. then a Pedal Heaven and a Dulwich Paragon went on the climb and just accepted that was that. They went away but as the everyone was always trying to move up position in the peloton it became very fast and aggressive to keep in the top 10-20. I was a little nervous to make an attack by myself as with the strength in depth of the field i didn't just want to make a stupid big energy attack with no outcome. But, I was following moves of riders that I felt would/should be up there. Nobody was letting anyone get away with the two major teams Felt and Pedal heaven and every attack or break wouldn't have both riders so it would end up getting pulled back. Then, on the demanding hill after the finish A split was occurring due to the extremely high pace set on the front up the steep leg sapping climb. I was up there and as we go down about 50 metres then turning left onto the main road onto the flat I look back and success!! breakaway with about 11 riders.
We all worked well together and time past really quickly. but as we got to 2 laps to go I was starting to struggle and so were others. 2 riders were dropped on the bell lap and I stopped doing turns. 2 went on the same climb were we all came together a few laps a go, but I was a little bit boxed in. Perhaps if I was closer to the front of the break I'd instinctively follow. I was pretty tired at the point. the chase of the one felt rider dragging the rest of us while we all chipped in once or twice after the attack. but I felt like that was that, and so I just wanted to conserve as much energy as I had left to be up there in a sprint. last climb, Alex Higham of Felt and Allan Ridler of Pedal Heaven attack and I hesitated and had a dig to go with him but he already took a good few bike lengths. So a few more riders being dropped and Me, Taylor and Adam worked together to get as close to the leaders or at least stay away from the bunch! I was 2nd wheel in the sprint and thought I saw what was the start of the line of spectators and assumed it must be the finish. oh I was wrong. I went with a bid sprint, Taylor left behind and Adam managed to stay on my wheel and with 50 metres to go he went around me. that was probably a 350-450 metre sprint. 7th, happy and best Under 23 in the region too!
Adam over taking me and the pain on my face! :-(
No goodwood so onto Surrey league handicap! came early and had a good warm up. off and I was in the back group as per usual and we were flying! going around 30-32 MPH on our first lap in our group of 12-ish? caught the group ahead very quickly. Andy Betts (Elite rider for Felt) began attacking and setting high pace on the front. no problem or issue and felt strong. very tight fast decent coming into the finish. I was always up towards the front in case of a split or an attack. Not to be the case and the bunch sprint awaits. I was on the right hand side of the road going around riders who took up the sprint way too early but a Redhill rider swung out and nearly took me out but just forced me on the grass for a second. I kept my composer and stayed on my bike but I already picked my gear for the sprint and was forcing a big gear after being forced to slow for a second. Came 3rd. not too bad and VERY close to my 1st Cat licence! :-)
Last race of the month which is another Surrey league race ad classed as a 2nd cat race and hopefully if I make it into the top 5 I'll get my 1st licence and this should be my last proper 2nd cat race ever! Except, for the 2nd cat race that corridori are organising in late July (see surrey league). Another big field and on a good sunny morning where the temperatures where set to rise to the mid 20 degrees. A short neutralised section and we were off. No real attacks or anything to be concerned with but I was very keen to get away so I played my part in the early part in the race. I was in several little breaks where I had to push on and do must of the work so it was no real use to me and with nobody I felt was strong enough to support. The bunch charging me down, not letting me get anywhere. The laps of Henfold hill where not demanding as such but just the one really steep climb only lasting 50-100 metres. Then Conall was moving up the pack and looking keen, so I moved onto his wheel and he was first up the climb and bang!! He went for not an attack but for a sprint! Stayed on his wheel and flew down the decent. He was happy to drag me along for a little bit to break the peloton and several riders joined us. 16 to be exact! Working really well, it was surely a done deal everyone who you could pick out as a threat in the field was in this move, so I felt really safe. I was doing my turns in the break and time past and with 2 laps to go of the 15K course and Richard Prebble of Nord 4 pro cycling attacked. Everyone hesitated and he was fully committed, our break now started attacking each other but with. 4 V02 riders in the break they started attacking and attacking one after the other. Francis managed to get away with half a lap to go and then with 1200 metres to go up the finishing climb Conall attacked. I hesitated and then I followed. Richard won, Francis in 2nd, Conall in 3rd and with me in 4th. Upset I couldn't have done better with the day. But!! I am now a First Cat!! :-) another goal of the season is ticked off! :-)
That's it for May, it has been such a great month and in such a short space I have learnt so much and become such a better rider.
I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me though this season an the past.
Firstly thanking my mother for taking me to all the races I have gone to this year. Also without her support I dont know how I'd be able to do what I am doing now... I could drive to races myself but there is much more to it.
Next, my coach. Adrian Timmis. He has helped me move on so much as a bike rider. If there is anything I need to know he is just a phone call away.
My girlfriend too! She has been so supportive and always there when I'm down or too tired. I love her so much and am so grateful for her patience and understanding when it comes to me going to racing not going out that much and she always understands! She is usually the one to tell me to train more or make the most of the opportunity I have. She has been coming to a few of my races now she loves it! :-)
Rounding it up my sponsors from Corridori, whenever I come in with a problem they can always help. Whether it is a problem with my bike or just getting some advice or bike food!
I am really good friends with everyone at corridori and I know I always will!
They are a Fantastic bike Shop and anyone reading this have a look at them or go in and buy a bike off them! (worth a try!!)
Next up is the Tour of Kent! A 3 day stage race at the start of June will be my next blog.
Sorry for the delay!
Thank you for reading an taking an interest in my cycling career.
If you want to follow me on twitter please do!
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