Sunday, 12 December 2010

Italians Rewrite the Rules and Rob Ron Collins

Apri 2010, and three of our Ragazzi headed south to ride the Gran Fondo Felice Gimondi. Our prize fighter and designated leader was Ron Collins with Nick Walker and Colin McDonnell supporting. With his supple riding style and Campagnolo equipped De Rosa Titanio, he was suitably equipped, too.

Ron had the win in his age group in his sights; he had placed 3rd last year and had been training long and hard with this tagged as a peak in his schedule.

All went well; the time of 5:57:07 looked good but as the boys checked the results, they realised the age bands had been changed and Ron's time was now included in a lower age category. The old master 5, 6 & 7 had been combined into one.

Conspiracy theories abound on this. Were the Azzuri desperate to ensure a home win? We think Ron would have clinched it without this last minute reshuffle.

Interestingly, the change was significant enough to warrant a special article in one of the biggest Gran Fondo magazines in Italy. Note in the picture, Ron is shown riding 3rd wheel. Were they already on watch?

Anyway, another great ride by our master, who exemplifies the principle that you don't need to slow down too much as you get older and shows many of us that there is stil plenty of time for our physical peak.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

End of Season Round Up

Douglas Coleman 156 points from 40 events.

From a standing start last season, Doug has moved on this year and entered a whole new level. At the tender age of 25, he exhibits a maturity way beyond his years. 13 top 10 finishes stand testament to his determination. Perhaps the high point of the season was his 8th place in the Ken Lush Memorial Road Race at Whitwell, where he mixed it with the National Level Teams and secured 8th place as the highest placed 2nd category rider. All riders ahead of him bar one were Elite category.

This season's results have spurred Doug on to greater efforts: "I'm fairly pleased with my improvement this year." he says. "But next year starts now and I'm applying more methodology and structure to my training which I'm hoping will get me my1st cat licence." Having got more than 3 quarters of the way there this season, he's not exactly an outside bet... 

David Mills 47 points from 16 events.

Once again, Dai saved his form for the track and despite his challenges with training whilst working abroad, he managed a national medal in the team pursuit. Having contested the world masters track championships in Portugal, he has enjoyed the experience and is looking forward to another attempt next year. Out of 47points (which took Dai back to thend category), 44 were  achieved after August the 7th!

Neil Wass 45 points from 15 events
Neil's objective was always to regain his 2nd category licence and he has achieved this, but not without a scramble at the end of the season: "I enjoyed some time abroad and doing some fun events," he says. "My second place in Tuscany was great, but I started to run out of time to get the points. Now I'm 2nd cat again, I will aim to retain this next season and support Doug in the higher category races."

Paul Caton 27 points from 6 events (BC).
The tally of our 'winningest' rider is not representative of his achievements. He fought hard and long to retain his Mstina champion's jersey and in the end, despite the strongest possible performance in the final race of the season, he lost out by a handful of points to a less successful but more consistent opponent.

Paul's three wins set him up as a man to watch next season.
Sept 9th LVRC Newbury; Oct 3rd LVRC Reading; Oct 17th Festival RC LVRC Finale

Next season, he is considering broadening his reach: "I enjoyed the few BC races I did this year," he says. "And I think it would be fun to see what we can achieve riding as a  team. We may choose some of the longer, higher category races which are safer, more testing and tend to rely less on good fortune than the lower category races. The 3/4s can be a bit of a lottery sometimes, especially with the higher risk of crashes when less experienced riders are in the race."

John Lacey 3 points from 7 events
John is looking forward to returning to 3rd category. After a very successful 2009 where he quickly gained his 2nd cat licence, John decided he would just enjoy riding his bike this season, and animated a number of midweek races at Hillingdon, often doing good work for team mates and contributing to their success. He came within hlf a lap of a midweek Elite win at Hillingdon on one occasion which sums up his undoubted talent and general 'have a go' attitude. Next season? He fancies a win...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

David Mills at the World Masters Track Championships

 Our number one Welsh rider was in Portugal this week having scored a National Gold in the Team Pursuit. Here's his report


Got back last night after 28 hours driving!!

I qualified for the scratch and points finals (only our age group had heats) and also the sprint which I only entered as I was bored :-) .

hot out of the gate: David Mills gets fired up

The qualification for scratch and points was very competitive, Adrian Adgar won Bronze recently in LVRC champs and he did not get through!!

I was competitive in scratch final, cpl of brits made attacks and we sort of rode as team, no chasing each other, so with 8 to go I attacked and got a decent gap and 3 riders joined me and one rider worked, but 2 kept swinging up so I did 3 turns then had to give up as we would never stay away with 2 riders and 2 passengers with 4 laps to go so that was my lot as the bunch caught us at 35mph!!

In the points we decided to ride as team for any riders who broke. Ian Greenstreet atacked and got a gap, then Courtney Rowe from Wales attacked so we could not chase. When Courtney joined Ian and 4 others I went to front of bunch and did 4 laps on the front so they could lap us ( we did not have GB colours on so no one noticed!) and when riders came past me I sprinted to get between them so after 2 turns I was back on front!!

It worked becuase from holding a 1/2 lap gap, they lapped us within another 5 laps. Then, with 7 to go Courtney asked me to go at front to try to keep pace to stop attacks so I did that and blew completely with 3.5 to go when a scottish rider led him for last 2 laps so he got bronze in a very hard and quality field.

I went much better than I expected and was competitive so happy with that and look forward to next year as I move to 50 age group.

The gold and silver riders were way too strong so none of us would have got gold but due to teamwork got bronze.

The scratch was won easily by a french guy Phillipe Vernier who used to ride for Credit Agricole, I think, very very fast sprinter with endurance!! He celebrated with about 50m to go, the second french guy got silver and he was just as good!!

Glad they got beaten in sprint when they tried to be cocky and lost!!

Starting training for next year in two weeks :-)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Caton Signs off in style

Racing at Ockley in Surrey for the last Points of the Season yesterday, Paul Caton needed 17 points to take overall victory in the season - long Mstina series.

He also needed his strongest adversary to finish way down the leader board. Unfortunately, the winning break of 8 contained that rider. Determined to the end though, Paul fought hard: " the break went on lap two of seven and I had to chase like crazy to get onto the back" he recounts.

Once in the front group, he rode conservatively to preserve his energy, waiting for the right moment to make a decisive attack: "I launched at 150m to go just at the bottom of a small rise......I figured that I would get up to speed quicker than the heavier guys and be able to maintain my lead as the road flattened out." Indeed he did, and took a hard - fought win by less than a second.

"It was good to get a win with such a great selection of opponents," he says. "It's a shame about the overall, but in many ways, a win means more on the day."

last year's jersey - Paul was denied this season by a handful of points

Friday, 15 October 2010

Caton at Catford

Paul took on the UK's best last weekend at possibly the richest time trial in the country when he tackled the Catford Hill Climb.

Held since 1887, this cult event has in recent years attracted a new band of followers from less traditional cycling backgrounds. Believed to be the oldest cycling event in the world, the recent resurgence of cycling seems to have rejuvenated the raucous atmosphere.

Thanks to optimalcadencefilms for their video; Paul makes his appearance around the 24th second.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

New Race for 2011

by Neil Wass
We've taken our first steps to organising a Road Race for the 2011 season. Details are subject to confirmation, but should not change significantly

Title: TMG Horizon Road Race
Date: July 10, 2011
Course: Cublington Circuit google map here
Distance: 116km
Category: Regional A 2/3/4

We've got a nice trophy being prepared (pic here) but there's lots of work to do and arrangements to confirm. If you can help on the day, email me at - It's going to need a multitude of volunteers.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Win for Caton in Newbury

Paul Caton rode the Newbury CC road race on the 29th August. Held over 6 laps of a demanding 10 mile circuit, which included a 1 mile climb all based around Boxford, the race was part of the LVRC national calendar.
Even though the entry was not full it was an elite set of riders that set off from the start to try and take the victory. It was not long before the pace increased with a number of attacks by riders hoping to get a gap and build a lead before the first ascent of the climb.
On the first climb of the famed Welford climb the pace was hard but steady. “It was just a question of staying with the group as it was far too early to try and get away especially with the strong wind,” Caton said afterwards. “Being near the front I hadn’t noticed that the group had already started to splinter so I was a bit surprised when I looked round once we had reached the summit to see that we had dropped a significant number of riders.”
Over the next couple of laps a number of attacks were made as riders tried to get a break going, however each one was brought back by a keen peloton.
Caton’s tactics changed to ‘minding’ as he realised a break would not be successful. “It became clear a break would not get away so I started to think about conserving some energy to counter the inevitable attacks by some of the other riders during the last 15 miles as they tried to steal away for the win.”
The last two laps witnessed some major efforts on the climb to split the remnants of the peloton which was now down to 10 riders with Caton doing his best to counter each one. ‘I was keen to keep the group together as I was feeling confident with my finishing speed at the time and felt a bunch sprint would be my best chance, I didn’t want to waste too much energy in fruitless break away opportunities.” he continued.
The final kilometre saw Caton placing himself for the sprint behind two riders that had been fairly active in trying to get away, “I knew they were strong and would be good wheels to give me a fast lead out.” With 500metres to go, the rider at the front picked up the pace, “It was perfect” Caton said. “I felt just like Mark Cavendish as I was towed along at a good speed and just as the rider in front started to falter I launched with 150 metres to go with such a kick that no one could follow. I gained such a lead I stopped pedalling 25 metres before the line and still won easily.”
Having struggled in the middle of the race season with a back injury, he is delighted with the result: “It’s great to start getting some results and to hopefully finish the season on a high,” he concludes.
Nick Walker, team DS echoes “Paul is one of our strongest riders and has delivered some great performances this year, but nothing beats a win, so we’re over the moon with this particular one!”