Firing paintballs at my teachers, race wins & new power records! May 2016

Well, I fired paintballs at my teachers, won some races, and set a new power record! May wasn’t a bad month 😉

Week 1

Loughborough Criterium – 6th

Crit racing marked the beginning of an excellent month. Arriving early at Loughborough University, where the course was located, it was cold (no surprise). Today was one of the four selection events for the East Midlands Road Team. I rode a few laps of the course, to get a good grasp of how sharp some of the corners were, and where I would need to apply the ‘big numbers’. Whilst warming up in the chill beside the circuit, I decided that I would try to take significant control of the race, for a change. 

Setting off, I quickly sped to the very front of the peloton, and led up the first climb (Each lap features a short, steep climb). I didn’t want to miss any breakaways, and I wanted to make everyone suffer. Descending on the other side of the circuit, I made sure I stayed within the top 5, to avoid any break-ups. I continued to lead the group, especially up the climb, as the laps ticked by. There were a few speed bumps that required some landing skills, as I spent a fraction of my ride airborne, at 35mph. I constantly pushed up this short climb, in an attempt to break-up the peloton into small fragments, to see who was able to stay with the demanding pace. My repetitive efforts were beginning to claim riders, as the leading group, myself included, had whittled down to just a handful of riders.

A late but successful breakaway by Sam brought up the pace, as we entered the final lap. Pushing hard, I positioned myself well as the descent begun, but unfortunately clipped a pedal whilst cornering through a chicane. My bike was thrown into the air, and both feet were unclipped, but somehow I managed to keep control and stay upright. Unfortunately, I had lost valuable speed and had a huge gap to bridge across too. I fired the afterburners from here, around 600m to go, in an attempt to contest the sprint for the remaining places. The sprint began immediately as I arrived – I was just unable to accelerate quickly enough to pass my competitors, and I crossed the line 6th. Nevertheless, I had beaten a good number of my rivals, and I was relatively pleased with my result. However, I was very pleased with the way I rode – I was thoughtful, decisive, and assertive – I executed my plan well, and if it weren’t for that unfortunate incident on the last lap, claiming 2nd was a definite possibility.

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Monday – I rode with my Dad on Zwift for the first time on Monday, and showed him how to sprint properly 😉 Prior to this though, I spent 30 minutes, by myself, @ 4.41 w/kg (tempo) to get some kind of hard riding in 😉

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Wednesday – A sunny one with Dad and Mike, on the TT bike. I sneakily took a KOM on a little rise up to Howsham from Cadney, and also threw in a 1 mile effort for safe measure. Slowing down to let my Dad and Mike ride on, to then use them as a ‘target’ whilst doing my effort helped. On the rivet, I nailed it from Redbourne to Hibaldstow, averaging 32.5 mph (52.3 km/h) for the mile 🙂

Scunthorpe Track League – 1st, 1st, 1st and 1st

Well, Friday evening was ace.

Racing in the Youths, as I was not allowed to move up into the Men’s until the commissaire had seen me ride, I had it pretty easy in all honesty. A headwind rolled down the straight as I lined up by the fence ready to roll. With my first event being the Flying 200m, I set off easy, and begun to wind the pace up as I approached the 200m line. I initiated my sprint with around 30m to the line, so I would fly into the final 200m at maximum speed; I won. The Match Sprint and the Scratch Race went just as well as the Flying 200, and I won the Elimination Race by 2/3 of a lap 🙂

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Multi-regional Track Championships – Round 2/3 – 8th overall

A long drive down to Wolverhampton, I had to wake up earlier than I wished to make it for the first race: The Individual Time Trial (TT). As soon as I arrived, my bike was inspected, just like everyone else’s. The official inspectors were extremely critical regarding any slight error in length, yet, they were using adult measures on a youth bike. This led to many riders having to change parts of their bike, otherwise they would be disqualified.

Resultantly, I had to switch to my normal track bars and so I was not able to use my time trial bars. This meant that I was at an aerodynamic disadvantage, and whilst racing, the change was noticeable. I wasn’t pleased with my TT result, but I knew that I had plenty of races for myself to move up in the standings. Furthermore, I don’t exactly have the build of a track sprinter who would blitz anything short of 1k – I much prefer the endurance events. A 10 mile TT would be better 🙂

Trying to get aero during the 900m TT

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And I did.

I had a great Elimination Race. I managed to beat Caleb Hill, a fantastic track rider, to 5th! I was ‘boxed-in’ (surrounded by riders) in what would be my final elimination lap. I tried to throw my bike in between two other riders on the line, but it wasn’t enough. Nevertheless, I was very pleased with the result 🙂

The Scratch Race went fairly well, although I should have been closer to the front during the final lap. Finishing 13th, I was circulating around 9th and 10th position overall. Hopefully a good Keirin would help. For those of you who don’t know what a keirin is, it is the event where the riders sit behind the derny (the motorbike), which then pulls off and the riders race for the line. I finished 3rd in the 2nd heat, and doing so, improved my position to 8th overall.

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The Points Race was the final race of the day, and was unfortunately shortened due to a thunderstorm that quickly rolled in. I secured 8th, which I was pretty pleased about considering I had raced at Scunthorpe the day before 🙂

Here I’m at the front, with the blue shorts

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I’m in white and blue, 4th rider here 🙂

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Having a look around 😉

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Mileage: 200.9 miles

Elevation gain: 2,841 ft

Time ridden: 9 hrs 34 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st January): 3,438.1 miles (London to Tehran, Iran)

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st January): 132,155 ft (10% of the orbital altitude of the ISS (International Space Station) )

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st January): 163 hrs 12 mins

Week 2

How to begin a week – Set a new power record!

I managed to hit a top speed of 45 mph (72.5 km/h), and that was going uphill 😉

Sunday’s ride was one of the best I’ve done so far: sun, clear skies, warm, pretty smooth roads and little wind, you couldn’t ask for more. Just shy of 3 hours in total, we headed out fairly early in the morning over the Humber to Welton, Elloughton and Brantingham; these villages have some great climbs. I managed to set a new 5 second power record of 1,119 watts (19.3w/kg)! I managed to hold 985 watts for 10 seconds – I must break that 1,000 watt barrier for 10 seconds 😀

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I got nicked for speeding! 😉

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Wednesday – This was my last day of secondary education!

I was to go on study leave in preparation for my GCSE exams, and so our last day was a day of fun! We began by coming into school in fancy dress – I came dressed as a shark, because I thought why not?! We then watched a slideshow of images of us from Year 7, before getting changed into some casual clothes ready for paintballing. Our school (Caistor Grammar) has done this kind of ‘paintball tradition’ for quite a while – I guess it is some fun for the students who don’t like teachers, and fun for the teachers who don’t like students 😀 Once we arrived at Elsham Acitivity Centre, we were briefly instructed on how to use a paintball gun and quickly got changed.

Goggles on, paintball gun loaded, we were ready.

We played in a range of different ‘arenas’ if you like, and it was great fun – Getting shot at wasn’t too bad to be honest, but getting being shot at, at point-blank range, does hurt! I got shot numerous times, in the arms, legs, ribs, shoulders and the head. I’ve come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be an amazing soldier. But I did shoot quite a few people though 🙂

I decided to do a late-night Zwift session, which went pretty well – 1 hour at 4.22 w/kg 🙂

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KOM Thursday!!!

ACE ride on Thursday – An unusual 18 mph NE wind gave the chance to take some KOMs, and I took it. I stole 6 KOMs – I’m ‘sorry’ to those who I stole from 😉

The first KOM I took wasn’t even part of my plan – I didn’t go flat out, yet, I averaged just shy of 30 mph for the mile. The second KOM, Benards Mile, I was planning for. Ramping up the pace just before the segment, I flew into the segment at high speed. 1 mile long and every so slightly downhill (< -1%), I averaged 36 mph (58 km/h), maxing out at 38.5 mph (62 km/h)!  

The third, fourth and fifth KOM were all located on the same stretch of road, so being the fastest along here was a real bonus. I covered the first 2 miles of the KOM at 33 mph, before having to slow down at some crossroads. I quickly crossed the junction and brought myself back up to speed. Back down on my TT bars, my speed rose up to 30+ mph and I took all three KOMs. I averaged 29.7 mph for the 3.5 mile stretch of road, including a stop for the crossroad 🙂

The sixth KOM I took was slightly uphill. 1.5 miles long, I averaged 28.9 mph, taking the KOM by over 30 seconds! 🙂

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The trees are blossoming 🙂

Friday – I tested my wheels + TT position at Quibell Park, where the Scunthorpe Track League is held. My TT position is looking good! I did a quick spin around Watopia as soon as I got back home from the testing session, and did 20 minutes @4.43 w/kg 🙂

Saturday – I did part of the AWR (Aussie Watopia Roll) on Zwift in the morning, as my legs were pretty sore. I had a race the day after, so I decided it was sensible to just take it easy.

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Mileage: 166.1 miles

Elevation gain: 5,482 ft

Time ridden: 7 hrs 57 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st January): 3,604.2 miles (London to Moscow, Russia, and back)

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st January): 137,637 ft (310.7 x height of Empire State Building, NY)

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st January): 171 hrs 09 mins

Week 3

The third week of May began very well! The fourth and final round of the Multi-regional Track Champs, this round was held at Derby Velodrome, which is a little more convenient for myself. I finished 8th overall, and finished very well in the 1k TT – I finished 8th, with a time of 1:13.580 – A considerable improvement from the last few rounds! I finished 11th in the Elimination race, which wasn’t exactly great, but wasn’t too bad either. There were some riders who were chopping up in front of me, and the commissaries were discussing whether to let me stay in and relegate the guy who moved, but they decided there wasn’t time.

I decided to have a bit of fun in the Scratch Race – Considering this was the final round, I thought that I would try something different. So I attacked, and managed to gain half a lap on the peloton! Unfortunately they quickly began working together, and reeled me in later on. I managed to finish 10th. I was in 9th overall prior to the Keirin – I finished well, and managed to move myself up to 8th overall. I secured 8th, after riding a strong Points race. I was pleased with the way I raced today 🙂

Tuesday – A super sunny spin around the Wolds! A deer and 2 herons also came out to cheer me on as I blasted up and over the rolling landscape, taking 2 KOMs. I made sure I enjoyed my ride, as I did a LOT of revision once I got home 🙂

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Friday – Scunthorpe Track League – 1st, 5th, 3rd and 3rd

A fantastic evening of racing at Quibell Park! 1st in the 8 Lap Scratch (Men B’s), 5th in the Block Handicap Scratch (Men A’s), 3rd in the Elimination Race (Men A’s) and 3rd in the 10k Scratch Race (Men A’s) 🙂

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Saturday – I’VE FINALLY UNLOCKED THE TRON BIKE

I’ve done it – 50,000m of vertical elevation! The reward? A nice-looking futuristic virtual bike, and some stronger legs 🙂

I took the Epic KOM Jersey by over 2 minutes, averaging 4.3 w/kg (tempo) for 20 minutes. I watched Stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia live whilst riding 🙂

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Mileage: 204.6 miles

Elevation gain: 5,964 ft

Time ridden: 8 hrs 3 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st January): 3,808.8 miles (London to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st January): 143,601 ft (9.1 x height of Mont Blanc)

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st January): 179 hrs 12 mins

Week 4

The USS marked the beginning of the last week of May, and was a good ride – Unfortunately, I had a lot of revision to do and so that was my highlight of Sunday 😀

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Well, I definitely didn’t do a lot of riding this week – My next ride was on Friday, where I did another round of the Scunthorpe Track League. Racing in the Men As, I finished 4th in the Points Race, 2nd in the Block Handicap and 5th in the 10k Scratch Race 🙂

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Saturday – A great spin with the PRL crew after a week of GCSE exams! I managed to take the Green Jersey 🙂

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There was a river festival taking place in Brigg today, so we decided to go down and take a look. Michael and I decided to go kayaking up the river Ancholme, which was more than fun – We raced each other. The definite highlight though was Michael falling into the river, after crashing his kayak into a tree – Yes, he crashed his kayak into a tree, and fell into the water 😀

I’m on the left, Michael’s on the right…

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I did another spin in the evening on Saturday, and took all 3 Jerseys – The Lap, KOM and Sprint Jersey! 🙂

Sunday – I taught Michael parts of the Barton Wheelers 10 mile TT course, and did a couple of efforts in the process. I also rode with the USS crew on Zwift in the afternoon 🙂

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ZTR-EB (A) Race – 2nd! RIP myself

My last ride of May, I made sure I gave it my all during the ZTR-EB (A) Race on Tuesday evening. Averaging 4.38 w/kg for an hour, I managed to get my heart rate to 209 bpm! It was such a hard, brutal race. The pain was so intense. Well done to everyone, especially Nossen, Hicks and Law 🙂Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 14.49.25.png

Mileage: 223.6 miles

Elevation gain: 6,507 ft

Time ridden: 9 hrs 17 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st January): 4,032.4 miles (Anchorage, AK, USA, to Houston, TX, USA)

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st January): 150,108 ft (55 x height of Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest structure in the world)

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st January): 188 hrs 29 mins

Thanks for reading! 🙂

 

 

 

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