Friday, 15 April 2011

Who knew Wales could give you tan lines?

Last weekend saw me racing on the South Wales coast. With the weather being great (around 20 - 22'C) taking the caravan enabled us to stay overnight on the circuit, allowing us to take advantage of a pre-race reconnaissance of the 4 lap course. It was going to be both fast and tough with nowhere to hide! Our race plan was to stay near the front to keep an eye on any breaks. In the early stages a break of 6 found itself away over the top of the longer climb, with Wayne plus 2 others joining us later. Unfortunately with only one member of both Wilier and UK Youth, the make-up of the group meant it was obvious we wouldn't stay away - it was soon reeled in.

The 2nd breakaway
2 laps to go and another break of 7 created a gap, 2 members of each of the major teams (Wilier/, UK Youth and Cyclepremier/Metaltek), plus me. This group built up a lead of 2 minutes, but the pace through the drinks station was high, I missed the opportunity to take on more water, a fatal mistake which caused me to suffer in the last 30km.

Steep uphill finish, being chased by 2 Wilier riders.
In the final 7km the attacks kept coming with 1 of the UK Youth riders staying away. Being against such strong teams I was blown out the back, however fought back tenaciously to rejoin them 2km from the finish. With the final kilometre being a steep ascent it was free for all, despite my dehydrated state I clawed back for 5th place. 
Post race, pretty smashed
A tough day, good result bearing in mind the strength in number of the opposition. Wayne Coombs also came in the main bunch and achieved 1st Vet.

This weekend is the Rutland-Melton Classic. New territory, racing in a UCI 1.2 event. As the only international single day race in the UK, it will be the highest level competition I have ever raced. Time to rub shoulders with the big names!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Change always leads to optimism.

With my last post being a bit of a downer, I've been soul-searching to find out where I've been going wrong. First things first was to re-connect with the team, and through a few thorough talks I feel we are going in the right direction once again. Discovering what type of training it was I really needed to be doing was a biggie, when you really think about it it's all well and good doing lots of hours on the bike but it's a waste of time if you aren't getting the quality! I've re-evaluated my schedule and now I know what's to be done, much more confident now!

As well as the training side I've been trying to balance things out by socialising with more than just cyclists! Managed to head out with Rich and the TFS lads for a random day out round Plymouth and of course the obligatory trip to Spoons! Class banter guys. Plus some football out in the sun with Matt & Megan was an ideal way to chill out, no need for me to get so worked up over such trivial things.

Motivated head is back on my shoulders, it needed to! This weekend I'm heading up to South Wales for the Betty Pharoah Memorial race, some strong riders including Team UK Youth, including Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt, plus Wiler/GoSelfDrive and Cyclepremier/Metaltek. Nice lumpy course so should be a fun race, ideal for getting my love of racing back! Will keep you updated.

Rough times and learning how to avoid an argument.

The past few weeks have been rough times, with a mechanical at the Severn Bridge RR and just generally not feeling very well at the Evesham Vale RR morale hasn't been the best. A 5th place at Ilton was satisfactory, if unspectactular. When you make a break of 5 and come 5th it's not exactly the best result!

Managed to redeem myself somewhat 2 weeks ago at Portreath, where I gained a 3rd place. A few team issues in the race meant the possible 1st or 2nd a failure. However it's undertandable, in the early season there can be miscommunication between the team riders so I'm not too worried. The issue was post race there were words said, mostly in the heat of the moment. With the adrenaline rushing it's never the best time to start voicing your opinion...arguments ensued and I became quite mentally strained, lacking motivation with all that was going on. The details of personal issues are best kept to ourselves, but I will say these weren't the best of times.
Portreath, eventually came 3rd behind 2 Pendragon riders.
Dengie Marshes was to be the next race in order, but with more arguments meant I didn't make it up there. Massively disappointed with this as it would have been a high level competition and a very tough race, but I usually prefer a race where the pace is kept high. Currently in talks with how best to sort our issues, my mediocre performances haven't helped my position. We shall see how the next few days go.