Tuesday, 28 May 2013

LVRC/MKCA Circuit Races Round 4

Mleh another race I won't be riding due to this poxy cough, that's over a week off the bike now. So while my contemporaries are getting stronger I have to try and get better and fit again.
So I'm sat here, still coughing, putting off the inevitable turbo session. And I won't even be able to give it the beans on those.......what's the point.
All I can do now is wait until Friday when I'm racing in the MK round of the FNSS xc mtb series. XC racing is killer enough as it is, doing it 'a bit ill' will be plain horrid.
But...hopefully I can pick it all up again come the start of June, I hope so. The Nationals are in early July and I had been finding some confidence, but I feel less certain about even doing okay now.
No one ever said it would be easy though.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

LVRC/MKCA Circuit Races Round 3

Sadly I wasn't racing this round as I was helping the LBRCC fulfill their marshaling duties. Marshaling two races in the same month? hopefully some good Karma will come my way.

Though I must confess that it was interesting to watch the race go by at close hand, God they motor. I couldn't believe that I could actually stay with these boys. And the camaraderie is just as good, walking down to my marshaling post and being greeted with nods, waves and smiles was really uplifting, who needs more.

Got to give a big shout to Tim and Simon. Tim you work too fucking hard, make some of the other slackers work. I think they think they're on a 200km plus stage of the tour. No place for wheel suckers in an hour long race.
And Simon, I thought you had it sussed, and then....well you know. Repeat this mantra 'I must not sit on the dragons tail'
And what about the Corley guys, teamwork at it's best.  

Saturday, 18 May 2013

LVRC/MKCA Circuit Races Round 2

Ha! so if we had nigh on perfect conditions for racing last week, this weeks then were about as bad as it gets...again. It was pouring down when I arrived, and only a few hardy fools had turned up and were currently cowering under the shelter of the HQ's porch. No one was keen to warm up? and we still needed confirmation that the race was going ahead. Pretty soon enough bods turned up and the marshals got themselves busy.
On went the thermals, full finger gloves, knee warmers and hot oil, and a full waterproof for a few warm up laps. Then for the last few minutes of the warm up the jacket came off so I could acclimatize, right away you get that horrible feeling of cold water soaking your arse.
We gathered for the off, the weather made the start a pretty laid back affair. We got the usual look after yourselves and were sent on our way.
Unusually for me I was timid on the wet corners to start with, and the smooth tarmac joins and floods were making me nervous. While I was trying to dial in a faster more confident group went away. I looked over my shoulder and counted myself in a bunch of eight riders. I realized this was my lot, so sat in to get the mark of the guys I was with. Pretty soon I found the ideal line round the bends, and that I was strong on the only climb? Like last week I was doing more than my fair share of work on the front, but for some reason I was feeling proper frisky so I started to sprint on the climb and speed up through the tricky corners.
A few times I found myself right off the front. I wasn't interested in winning, just having a good race. So I kept this up until the eight became four and only then did I settle down.
We worked well together for the remainder of the race. I saw that some had packed and were putting kit into their cars, and we also lapped a few.
On the bell lap I was on the front, again. I was convinced that I was going to come fourth, but I was happy knowing that I'd put in the better ride. I saw the chequered flag up ahead and waited for my fellow riders to pass, but that didn't happen and I took the flag for my age group.
The win was a bit shallow because of the small numbers, but I guess I turned up, I followed rule #5, I was 'in it to win it'.
Pretty happy though, and a win is recorded for time immemorial.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

LVRC/MKCA Circuit Races Round 1

For the first time this year we had nigh on perfect racing conditions actually coincide with a race! They say the sun shines on the great and the good? Sun, warmth, no wind and a bone dry course, what more could you ask for? Only forward momentum to worry about.
Joining me  in the over 50's was Andy Barrett. It had been nearly twenty years since Andy and myself lined up to race together, though for different and opposing clubs. And in the over 40's Tim Edwins and racing virgin Simon Woolhead.
They set the over 40's off first, then unleashed the 'oldgits'. It was a very steady start so I moved up near the front, just in case. After a just a few laps a solo break went....was he that good or just mad? Two of us decided to reel it in anyway. That left me gasping on the front with no one willing to come through, I was very worried that I was about to be passed and blown out the back. That didn't happen, even after weaving from side to side trying to force another rider to come through nothing happened. Eventually I rode head on for the barriers and that forced a change. Luck was with me, the pace didn't go up too much and my legs recovered.
We then got a countdown to the moment they extend the circuit out through the gates. And it was here that we had problems. Somehow we had caught the earlier 40's race and the commissaire told us to back off. The rider in front replied with a justified 'BOLLOCKS' however rules are rules, so back off we did. This gave  all the stragglers a chance to get back on, it felt like twenty minutes of racing wasted! Then a few riders made a jump in the chaos. If I had managed to go with them it would have been a good move, but I was caught out so it became a bit of a snide move in my eyes!
The race was now in the very very tight twists and turns, right away I felt more at home. Years of racing cyclo cross and mountain bikes really tweaks your skills here.
Any way I was now in the chasing bunch racing for honours. At first we were small in numbers, with some inexperienced racers. But we got some communications going and our group became well drilled and slowly we swallowed up more riders which in turn upped the momentum.
It was clear that I was the quickest through the series of tight turns, so I made sure I was never off the first three in the bunch. At the bell lap I went through on the head of the bunch, not ideal. I was then passed by a rider going flat out, but managed to get his wheel. He should have sat up, but he carried on to the turns like some paid up lead out man. Five tight turns in quick succession and I was on the front with the finish line in front of me. It called for an out of the saddle sprint to be certain of taking honours. Fifty metres to go and I see a wheel out of the corner of my eye, a quick flick of the SRAM and an almighty push and I grab the bunch sprint.
Okay not a win, but 7th overall and a lesson to never ease off no matter what...ever.

Tim claimed an impressive 2nd in his age group. And Simon gained knowledge but no placing.
I was back at the Bowl two days later to marshal the MKCA 4th cats race that Rob Nelson and Andrew Martin were racing in. Sadly the sunny conditions had been replaced by gale force winds and rain. The race was kept to the inner circuit for forty minutes on safety grounds.
It was clear from the gun that Rob was in for this, and that for Andrew it was going to be a very tight learning curve. Rob upped the pace almost straight away, but once his turn was over the pace settled, no one was going to let anyone out of each others sight, this race was for important points. The race kept together as one tight bunch until the dying minutes when a strong looking pair went off the front.
The pair looked like they had it, but didn't seem to be working together. And when the bell lap came it was all one again. Only a brave man was going to go for it, so when the flag came it was a last minute sprint. Rob had a good line to do it, but perhaps a metre or two off the leader, but with a clear line managed to sprint over the line into 4th and get what he came here for....points.
A big well done to Andrew for sticking with it and abiding by rules number 5 and 9. (please refer to the Velominati - 'The Rules')
The season is truly underway.
A virgin in green....not for long matey!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Globe Sportif 2013

Off to the club house for a 7.30am meet, not a soul about so off I went to ride the Globe RCC sportif. The weather was looking pretty okay, no wind or rain, but still not warm enough to leave arm and leg warmers at home.
A few minutes later I meet a few fellow LBRCC members at the event HQ and agree to ride a steady ride with the as soon as I've signed in.
Formalities done, we wait for the majority of the riders to depart giving us a clear run. A look over my shoulder tells me we are the last riders, everyone else has gone.
I tell Tom I'm going to ride steady, but at my own pace. Even at our steady pace we've already passed lots of riders before leaving Totternhoe. Miles asks me where we are heading 'your house' I tell him! As I'm riding along it dawns on me how tough this little ride is, and I wonder if all those we pass know what they're in for? Anyway we pass Miles house, and the fun begins. We are about to ride the Brickhills. Miles compliments my steady pace as we start the Three Locks climb, but that's the last time I see him.....or any of the others.
Near the top of the hill I pass the 25 mile cut off, and a young triathlete comes past me to take the 'hill'. I ride behind him for a short while before passing on the descent. I change into the 53 for the first time and ride away out of Aslpley woods, just after giving an oncoming Jase a quick wave. I see no one for miles until I'm about to climb Bow Brickhill when the triathlete joins me again. The climb makes us ride together, and I welcome the company. Though mindful of the fact I'm racing a day later I ease off on the climbs out of the Brickhills.
We leave Stockgrove Park and head up 'Roubaix Hill' one of my favourites. Over the top I'm greeted with a tailwind and decide to use it. I pass many riders including my triathlete friend, I don't see him again. It's very flat for a while now and I press on, but not hard. I pass the final cut off for the 25 milers and and make my way to Bison Hill. I've not seen a soul since Heath & Reach, but all of a sudden my clubs G3 riders come riding towards me, it's great spotting the familiar green.
Bison Hill is a relaxed affair, and I say to myself 'done' once over the top. It's easy riding now, and it's a fair bit warmer. I pass through Studham, Gaddesden Row, Ashridge, and down Toms Hill into Aldbury. Then through Horton, Slapton and Eddlesborough. I'm pretty certain I turn off at this point, but I misread the hand written sign and inadvertently add a few more miles to the ride! Realizing I've gone a bit wrong as I head towards Dunstable I turn off and head downhill to the HQ. I'm met by Vince here and we try and talk as we plummet down hill. I don't think he heard me say I was turning off?
Before I ride home I sit soaking up the sun on the Cricket clubs pavilion while Miles plays mum with the free cake. After a decent amount of time I take my arm warmers off and ride home.
A highly recommended ride, very very friendly, but the terrain can bite back.
Same bike, same kit, same place 2013
Déja vu 2012