Saturday, 28 May 2011

Adaptation, it's never easy.

Bike racing. It's a team sport.

Yeah, I realise this is the essence of our great sport. A lone rider against a sea of well drilled cyclists is always fighting a losing battle. I know I've upset one or two people in my team switching recently but I felt it was the best move for me, especially when you seem to be falling out with a friend over your hobby. Strange turn of events but that's how it goes I guess.

So with a couple weeks in limbo I've moved to Pendragon - Le Col - Colnago. Definitely very happy about this, and I seem to have repaired most of the bridges once more. Still need to chill out sometimes though! I know sometimes my temper in a race gets in the way and I end of dishing out a few comments that are short-sighted at best. Would just like to let anyone I've offended know that I generally don't mean it!

Anyway, forget the negative because there's no need to look back, just forward. The South West Road Race Championships was fun, some nice hills (gotta' love a gradient!) combined with a wind meant it was never going to be easy. An early break of 12 stayed away all day, myself and Chris Opie representing Pendragon. Was hoping to form a small breakaway myself but it wasn't to be, and after lots of attacks in the closing stages gave Chris and I 4th and 5th respectively.

Thursday night was the 2nd round of the Halfords Tour Series, held in Aberystwyth. A disappointing 1st round in Durham was remedied by a stellar performance from the team. Chris Opie pulled off a 2nd place, and the team coming 3rd overall - very strong result against the all the country's top teams.

Last night was great, staying local and becoming a spectator instead of an athlete was welcome change for once. The Shred Classic up on the Plymouth Hoe tested the best of the South West's 2/3/4 Cats in a heat/final format, in much finer weather than last year's event! Great race, unfortunately marred by a few crashes. My best wishes to those that are recovering with road rash today. Jake Durant won the final heat after a lone breakaway, great race from him. The post-race party...well, the least said the better! A very good night, but too much drink meant headaches in the morning from a few of those involved!

Monday I'll be racing at Totnes, for our local version of the technical town centre racing found in the Tour Series. I can't wait to try out a different style of racing!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Bad Luck Strikes!

The past few weeks have seen me raising the level of racing. First off racing in my 1st UCI race (Rutland-Melton), followed by my 1st Premier Calendar (Tour DoonHame) meant I would be working much harder to be competitive.
At the start of Rutland-Melton UCI 1.2
Rutland-Melton was just one of those days where being in the wrong place at the wrong time can end your race. The 1st hour consisted of every team trying to get their riders to the front before entering the narrow roads reminiscent of the Belgian cobbled classics. Seemed to be doing pretty well but found myself behind at the crucial moment, followed by getting caught behind a crash meant the front 80 riders pulled away whilst I made my way through the fallen riders. Tried to chase back on but just burnt myself out, race over. Probably should have finished but after suffering 2 weeks with a cold I just wasn't feeling my best.

Rain soaked peloton just behind in Scotland
Tour DoonHame was interesting, great weather preceeding but Stage 1 was greeted with heavy rain and temperature in single digits. Here I found myself much more in tune with what the peloton was doing, 85km in and I was comfortable in the front 30 riders. Suddenly I hit a rut and my front tyre was running flat, all I could do was stop and wait for the neutral service car. However it wasn't until the very last car in the convoy that I was given a replacement. Disappointing, but somewhat expected when you are riding for one of the minor teams in the race. Being 2 minutes down on the bunch already I had a depressing 50km ride back to the finish, soaked through to the point I was shivering so badly I could barely keep my bike straight! Stage 2 didn't get off to a great start, again my body was feeling the effects of the previous day. Combined with another puncture I lost heart in continuing to race. I finished the stage but decided not to sign on for Stage 3.

Totnes-Vire stage 2, prior to mechanical issue
Back home for Totnes-Vire the following weekend...well we won't talk about that one too much. A good start in the opening 8km hilly TT where I came 8th in a time of 9.36. Stage 2 and 3 were marred by mechanicals, probably not the best reflection on myself and somewhat embarrassing. Still I will take away from interesting experiences from the same! This weekend it's off to Lincoln GP (Premier Calendar) to take on the infamous cobbled climbs.