Racing – Second National Title! June 2015

BSCA (British Schools Cycling Association) National Circuit Race Championships – 1st!

A fantastic birthday present I think πŸ™‚ Warm weather and clear skies were welcoming, as I entered Darley Moor Motor Racing Circuit. Signing on, I brought my bike to gear check, and brought my kit down to the track-side. Watching the others race, I began to warm-up in the basking sunshine, nervous but excited by the action to come. I had a plan entering this race: I would attack on the start of lap 2, although this attack would just be a ‘tester’, to see how my competitors would fair with such a move. I would repeat this process on lap 4, and I would attack my competitors ‘full-on’ with just over 2 laps to go (3.2 miles). Again, a quick lap of the circuit finished my warm-up. We set off at an intense pace, occasionally breaking 30 mph along the back-straight. Sticking to my plan, I attacked at 90% intensity entering the second lap of the race – Not to breakaway and attempt to win from here, but to simply test my competitors.

My competitors looked a little surprised by the move, and I started to gain a small gap on them, although I was not planning to time-trial my way to victory from here. I attacked again on the third lap, and again on the fourth lap. I felt that a breakaway with around 2 laps to go would likely work. And so, with two-and-a-half laps to go, I ‘full-on’ attacked, in an attempt to ditch my competitors. I managed to gain a small gap over my nearest rival, and soon I began to pull away. After around a lap,Β Joel Partington, A Cat 2 rider (3 years older than me), managed to bridge the gap across to me. Unfortunately, he was not willing to help me even though we would likely become national champions in our own respective categories. Nevertheless, I pushed on as I knew a win was on the horizon.

With half-a-lap to go, it became apparent that we were both going to win our races. The pace dramatically dropped, and soon the road race turned into a match sprint: Joel vs. myself. Entering the final corner before the finishing straight, I ignited what fuel was left in me, and went for it. Close to 35 mph uphill, I quickly approached the chicane, from which the finish line was a mere 100 metres. Using my slipstream, Joel managed to sprint past me, but in all honesty I was not too bothered by this; I was the BSCA National Circuit Race Champion! I was (and still am) pleased with my title πŸ™‚

VVRC 5.6 mile TT

Still buzzing after my win, I rode down to Viking Velos’ weekly TT. The odd easterly wind was noticeable, and soon began to affect riders, including myself. The first 1.5 miles were ridden with a backwind which was nice, with myself averaging 28 mph. However, this road (unfortunately) was not 5.6 miles long, and so it would not be backwind everywhere 😦 Turning left beside the River Trent, I cruised along, rarely dipping below 25 mph. A left turn, and I am now more than halfway through the TT. Then, as you might have noticed, I’ve not moaned about there being a headwind yet but don’t you worry, I will! With 1.5 miles to go, a sharp left-hander brought myself into the howling, demoralising, strong headwind which Lincolnshire had to offer. For those who race, there is nothing more dejecting than watching your average speed drop. A victim of this, I soon began to watch my average speed drop as I pushed extremely hard into the wind. I averaged 25.0 mph for the race, which I was fairly chuffed about considering the wind was strong. I was also second overall on the night, which brightened up my day πŸ™‚

Scunthorpe Track League Round 4

This evening comprised of fantastic racing! πŸ™‚ In addition to the fantastic racing, this evening of track was my first evening riding in the “Men Bs’. There are two categories: Men Bs, and Men As. Since this was my first time riding out of my youth category, riding in the Men Bs was sensible and appropriate. My first race of the evening was the Senior B 8-Lap Scratch; a simple 8-lap race, with the first rider to cross the line being the winner. The race began fairly steadily, with the bunch moving along at around 25 mph. But this steady pace did not last for long. The pace rose quickly entering the fourth lap, and basically increased from here. Spinning in my Youth A gearing, I finished 4th in a mass sprint for the line. Average speed: 27.5 mph. Finishing speed: 34.5 mph.

My second race of the evening was the Senior B 5k Points Race. An intense race, points are awarded to the first (3 points), second (2 points), and third (1 point) rider who cross the line. As you would expect, I sprinted when appropriate to gain as many points as possible. Entering the seventh lap, I noticed that myself and Ben Turner, had developed a small gap over the stretched-out peloton. And so, we decided to ‘make the break’. We began to break away from the peloton, and took 1st and 2nd across the line entering the eighth lap. Unfortunately, we were caught by the peloton. I finished 4th in the Points Race. Average speed: 27.0 mph.

My third and final race of the evening was the Senior 10 mile Scratch: The first rider who crosses the line wins, and so on. A simple, but hard race. Nervous to see how I would perform following my races previous to this, this 10 mile Scratch comprised of both Men Bs and Men As. A fast race, I wanted to stay in the leading 5 or 6, in case any other strong riders fancied a breakaway. However, other than this, I was entirely focused. Multiple attacks came from multiple riders, and soon I found myself at the front of a breakaway! David Bolland, a Cat 1 rider, Julian Pearson, and Elite rider, and myself, a Youth A rider, had ridden away from the field. We stayed away from the peloton for a few laps, before being caught again. Throughout the race I found myself in multiple breakaways, usually consisting of 2-5 riders. However, the race ended with a bunch sprint and a little tired from all the action, I finished 9th – Very pleased with the result! Average speed: 28.6 mph. Time: 20:59 πŸ™‚

Scunthorpe Track League Round 5

Pleased with last week’s performance at Quibell Park, I hoped to repeat my performance and results. My first race was the Senior B 5k Points Race. Ben and I broke away from the peloton early on in the race, and we stayed away throughout the race. I finished 2nd overall – Pleased πŸ™‚ I also finished 7th and 5th in other races on the night.

GHS Regional (Lincolnshire) Time Trial Championships – 1st

With HQ situated in Great Limber, the drive was short. Dark, bulky clouds dominated the sky, and it appeared that the weather may not be sunny and warm. In fact, anything but! The heavens opened as soon as I began to warm-up, and itΒ soon became apparent that warming-up on the rollers was not ideal. I began to slide about on the plastic rollers, and warming-up on the rollers was like riding my bike across smooth ice – It wouldn’t end well. I moved to the quiet roads instead, and continued my warm-up there. The Monsoon-llike rain was relentless. Setting off in the downpour, I had a tailwind for the first 1.2 miles, where I averaged over 30 mph. I wondered whether I had set off too fast, but I felt comfortable at this pace, and so I continued to drive at high speeds.

From Keelby to Laceby-roundabout (the turn-around-point), I averaged 25 mph, giving an average speed of 26.0 mph. In all honesty, I was pretty stunned with my average; my highest average over 10 mile previous to this race was 25.3 mph, on the Barton Wheelers course. After carefully navigating my bike around, I got up out of my saddle, and up to speed, settled down into the aerodynamic position. I quickly exceeded 30 mph on a slight downhill, and I drove my average up even further to 26.2 mph. I was flying in the rain! I felt great, and the hope of finishing with an average in the 26’s was growing. Spurred on, I gave it everything – I really began to empty the tank with just a few miles left. I was giving it everything, and it eventually paid off. I crossed the line, with an average of 26.0 mph. My time? 23:06! A PB by 15 seconds in heavy rain. I was thrilled (and very wet). I came first in my age group, beating 2nd place by 3 minutes and 29 seconds, and third place by 5 minutes and 41 seconds πŸ™‚

Hill session

As usual, I headed out to Worlaby Hill to complete a hill session. The sun shone throughout the evening, and the fantastic weather lasted throughout the session. My dad joined me toward the end of the session too, which was nice. After 40 miles, and 4,700 ft of vertical elevation (21 hill reps), I was done for the day πŸ™‚

The Castle Criteriums

Held around Lincoln Castle, the event looked and was awesome. My first criterium on open-roads, I was looking forward to the race. A few laps of the circuit gave an indication to how sharp the corners were, and how bumpy the cobblestones were (they are very bumpy). After signing on, we made our way through the crowd and back to Yarborough Leisure Centre where we had parked the car. I began to warm-up, and disturbingly felt a little ill; could the effects of riding hard in the rain, and going out the following days after cause this? I believe so. I returned to the start line, where I watched other younger riders fly by – a taster of what was to come. A one-lap cruise around the circuit marked the last ‘easy’ riding of tonight’s race. We set off at a very high pace. The pain in my lungs as well as my legs was high, and didn’t subside. I seemed to produce more mucus than usual – a likely sign that I was not on form.

Luckily, I managed to avoid being involved in any kind of crash on the night; the tight corners and cobbles causing numerous crashes. I worked with another rider as we attempted to get back to the leading group of 6, but our efforts were in vain. I crossed the line in 7th – Not pleased with the result, but not disappointed. I realised that I was not not on form, and that this performance was not representative of myself πŸ™‚ I also tested out my new Pro-Lite Padova Disc Wheel, which is awesome! The testing was good, until I collided with a car at a three-way-roundabout; the car at fault (trust me, the car was). Fortunately, I did not come off my bike and neither the bike or I were injured.

Below: Myself at Lincoln Castle, before the race.

TVRC 9 mile TT

Hot air, sunny skies, and little wind? How could you resist a bike ride in that weather?! Riding to Laughton, I felt good. Once there, I found out that we were riding from the usual start line, through Laughton Forest to Susworth. Riding smoothly, I finished sixth overall, with a time of 20:58 (averaged 25.4 mph). Pleased with my performance, the cool-down (ride home) was just as good as the ride, if not, better! We spotted some Adder skin coming out of Laughton Forest (the Adder was not alive 😦 ), and a fawn at the bottom of Greetwell hill. But to finish the spotting off, a family of weasels (five!) crossed the road in front of us πŸ™‚

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