Racing and Travelling! May 2015

May saw the start of Scunthorpe Track League, myself becoming the No. 1 East Midlands rider in the BC Ranking, and I acquired my dispensation!

Scunthorpe Poly Track League

A chilling 8°C, it was noticeably colder than usual for May. In all honesty, it felt as if Summer had not arrived. Nevertheless, I quickly got on my bike and began riding around the tarmacked laps of Quibell Park. 19:00 denotes the start of the first race; my first track race of the season. With the 4 Lap Youth Scratch Race in action, we set off a high pace, averaging 28 mph for the first 3 laps. As usual, the pace died down rapidly, but of course someone would sooner or later initiate the sprint for the line. Sprinting for the line, I took 2nd. My second race of the evening was the Youth Handicap, where riders individually set off from the start line, in a handicapped format. I was placed second-to-last, with Ben Turner, ranked No.1 Category A rider in the BC Ranking behind me. Pushing hard, I quickly caught the riders in front, and so had Ben too; a dash for the finish line resulted in 2nd. The Youth Handicap Devil marked my third race of the evening. Also known as the Elimination Race, during the course of the race certain participants are eliminated through various criteria – In this case, one rider will be eliminated per lap. With this in everyone’s minds, the pace of the race rose, and soon those who were not so strong endurance-wise could not cope with the pace, and so were left behind – 2nd again! My fourth and final track race of the evening was the Match Sprint – A one-on-one race with another individual of a similar capability. A lap of Quibell Park is approximately twice as long as an indoor velodrome, and so the race is only 1 lap long. Racing against Ben Turner and Adam Jarps, I was a little nervous entering the race, but at the same time relaxed, chilled, pleased with how the evening had gone. As in the usual manner for these races, we began slowly, cagily, preparing ourselves for the explosive sprint that awaited us. Suddenly, Adam launched for the line with around 200m to go. I quickly responded, and within 50 metres I was clear of both the riders. 1st this time 🙂

I’m in blue/black/white 🙂

PedalPushers Fulbeck Circuit Races

Following a great evening of track racing, I was set for another day of racing. I have already ridden at RAF Fulbeck in the past, so the course was not too new to me. After warming up on the rollers, a few laps of the twisty circuit marked the end of ‘easy riding’. The race began and instantaneously, the pace was high; riders began to drop from the peloton. A breakaway comprising of three riders soon formed, and unfortunately I was not part of this break. Nevertheless, I was still willing to hunt down the leading trio. Adam Bottley and I soon began to work together in an attempt to catch. However, I felt that Adam was slowly my progress of hauling in these three riders, and so I attacked. And attacked. After a few attacks, I was clear of Adam and I was slowly reeling in the trio. Unfortunately, the damp tarmac did not assist flying around hairpin corners, and I, well, crashed – Luckily the bike was okay 🙂  

Awesome ride!

The ride on Monday 4th May was exceptional – Sunny, hot and little wind proved that Summer was finally here. Riding around the Lincolnshire Wolds, the ride was steady but most enjoyable with my Dad. Towards the end, I diverted off the route to home, and finished the epic ride off with a few reps of Worlaby Hill, and Bonby Hill. 50 miles, almost 4,000ft of climbing and a new max speed as well! (51.7mph!) A great evening 🙂

Scunthorpe Poly Circuit Races Blyton #1

I enjoy riding over this circuit – It’s smooth, flat, and the road is wide, reducing the chances of crashes. Noticeably windy, I began warming up on the rollers, followed by the usual lap or two of the circuit. The race began at a relatively intense pace, and consisted to do so throughout the entire race. Approaching the end of the race, a few attacks by Kieran Hotson increased the pace. Approaching the finishing straight on the final lap, everyone were using their afterburners. I managed 3rd – Pleased with the result 🙂

Worlaby Hill (x20)

Tea provided enough energy for a great session at Worlaby Hill: 32.6 miles, 4,344 ft of elevation and a Strava KOM down Worlaby Hill to top it off! Oh, I also a deer too! Crossed the road within metres of me 🙂 Below is the elevation graph for my ride 😀

Darley Moor Circuit Race

This time it didn’t rain or hail 🙂 Sunny, clear skies welcomed all competitors for a great day of racing at Darley Moor Motor Racing Circuit. After watching the younger race, I jumped onto my rollers and began to warm-up as usual; the Sun’s rays heated me up as well. A steady lap of the circuit before the race began completed my warm-up. Starting very quickly, we were cruising along a straight section of the circuit at 34 mph – Legs spinning very quickly! Crosswinds soon began to break up the field, and I had to respond to those around me who were beginning to increase the intensity. Soon, a group of 10-12 riders, including myself, were gaining time on the rest of the field. The pace varied throughout the entire race, from 17 mph to 34 mph. A few riders attempted a solo breakaway, but their attempts did not succeed. The pace, as usual, began to drop off significantly as we entered the final lap. Slowly picking up along the back-straight of the circuit, the tension grew and grew among the riders. Making my way towards the very front, we were approaching a shallow corner, before the finishing-straight. BOOM! I suddenly ignited all the fuel I had left just before the corner. Sprinting as if I were being chased by a bear, I quickly passed the first rider in front of me (Liam Hindmarsh), and then the leading rider. Catching them by surprise, I quickly dived to the other side of the track in an attempt to give my competitors no draft at all. Churning away in 1st, I entered the chicane, with the finish line 100 metres away. Passed by another rider in my slipstream, I concentrated on reaching that finish line, regardless of whoever passed me next. A rider pipped me to the line by less than half-a-wheel, but nevertheless I had finished 3rd! I was very pleased with the result, and I also received a cheque for a wonderful £2 😀 Following 3rd at Darley Moor, we drove to Derby Velodrome to ride in the Sunday ‘Best’ Session, where I won the keirin 🙂

Scunthorpe Poly Track League

A little warmer than last time, my first race was the 4 – lap scratch race. With it being a short race where it was the first to the line, the pace was relatively fast – 27.5 mph average. Dying at the start of the last lap (the pace, that is), riders began to position themselves ready for the awaiting sprint. Initiating the sprint, I stayed in 1st with 200m to go, to the finish line. The 4 – lap handicap followed, and I again finished 1st. We finally finished the youth racing with the 1 lap handicap. My Dad held me upright, as I waited for the gun. A bit of fun, I set off churning the large gear, brining myself up to speed as quickly as possible – After all, it is only a one lap race! I comfortably passed everyone within 200m, and I cruised across the finish line to end a fantastic night of racing: 1st, 1st, 1st and 1st 🙂

Photo credits to Nigel Pennington.

Scunthorpe Poly Circuit Races Blyton #2

A windy evening, dark clouds loomed over the course threatening to unleash their weapon. Fortunately, they didn’t which was a relief, but the competitors still had theirs – their legs. A quick warm-up on the rollers followed by a small lap of the circuit found myself ready at the start line. A few more Youth A riders turned up to add to what would be a hard night. Setting off at a reasonable pace, the pace gradually grew throughout the race. I sheltered myself as much as possible from the strong south-westerly crosswind, which brought our moving speed down greatly on one part of the circuit. ATTACK! A rider known for attacking attacked, and I quickly responded to his actions. I managed to get onto his back wheel, and within a few hundred metres, 5 of us had developed a gap that would be ultimately ‘unretrievable’ for the remainder of the peloton. Because we had this gap, we increased the pace to secure a top 5 finish which seemed logically sensible. We dropped a rider who could not cope with the pace just before entering the last lap.  With less than a lap to go, the pace dropped a little, but no be a significant amount. Anyway, the pace soon rose rapidly as riders began to attack. Multiple attacks meant a lot of pain, and as we approached the final bend, it soon became apparent that I had ran out of fuel to burn 😦 I managed 4th in the end, but was still pleased with the training benefit the race provided. Furthermore, I was the first lower A out of anyone there 🙂

German Exchange

One word to describe this Exchange: Awesome. Excited to meet my partner again, we drove down to Stansted Airport where I would catch my flight. After a while (and I mean a while), we boarded the plane. Excited to meet the rest of the Exchange students too, this was also my first time where I had travelled somewhere far, without my parents 😀 Touching down at Cologne Bonn Airport, we split up and found our partners. Meeting my partner, I soon travelled back to my partner’s house, where I was greeted by his mother and sister. We visited Haus der Geschichte (House of History) in Bonn, which was pretty good, except everyone’s legs had been destroyed after standing upright for nearly 2 hours. We visited Haribo shops, and we tried out provincial German food. I particularly enjoyed an evening where we went to a funfair in Oberpleis, where we went on a few rides and had a lot of fun 😀 A day out to Phantasialand (a theme park), a bike ride with Alex up to the summit of Löwenburg, and a boat trip along the River Rhine to a castle made this trip awesome. It felt like I was there for a month, and I wish I was there for a month because I loved every minute of it! Here are a few pics 😉

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