Monday, 28 March 2011

Success in Sussex as Wass adds to his tally

Neil Wass returned from the Bayeux Landscapes Road Race yesterday with a positive outcome and a bit of work in progress.

"I went a bit further than usual to get a race," he says. "There's a bit of a shortage of races in our local region and the Surrey League have some interesting courses."

The Barcombe Circuit is a tough, uncompromising circuit. Unlike the typical road race circuit, there is a good deal of climbing. In fact, over the 100km raced yesterday, the riders climbed more than Alpe D'Huez - over 1,100m of altitude gain.

"It's great because it does find you out if you're not in form and that means that the strongest guy is more likely to win, which isn't the case with every course," Wass adds.

After a few early moves, Wass was determined to preserve his power for the closing stages. Unfortunately, the narrow lanes and traffic caused complications in the final kms and he found himself further back than planned, "But I was determined to have a dig," he recalls. "I went for it in the last couple of hundred metres."

There was a bit more to it than just that though: "You have to be a bit assertive," he smiles. "I took a trip in the gutter to get past the odd guy."

Having finished 14th, he came away with points, but is convinced he can do better: "There's more to come on this circuit. I'll come back and have another go because now I know the course, I think I can do more."

Monday, 21 March 2011

Patience Pays as Coleman gets back up to speed

Having endured a lengthy lay off this winter, Doug Coleman has had his fair share of bad luck.

Yesterday's Peter Young Memorial Road Race in Surrey was his first opportunity to test his form. His training only resumed in early February after a knee injury over Christmas cost him over six weeks of base training

"I hadn't really done any big efforts," he recalls. "I was anxious not to over - stress the knee in training, so I had modest expectations, especially given the category of race."

The race was a 90 mile National B category featuring many national level riders and semi- pro teams. Neil Wass and Paul Caton also lined up for the event: "None of us were too optimistic," says Caton. "But we knew if we could get round with the Elite guys that it would be good training at that distance."

And get round they did. Coleman, however, proved he has lost very little during his lay - off, and stepped on the gas at the right moment: "About the 4th lap, I heard Neil shout to me that one of the key guys was attacking. I didn't need to think about it - it just jumped on the pedals and went for it."

This break turned into a solid second group on the road and stayed away for the rest of the race. All in, around 25 riders stayed ahead. Coleman: "I had to battle hard to stay with them - I was chewing the handlebars an awful lot, but it was great to have made the selection and it's fair to say I exceeded my expectations."

team effort: Paul Caton, Neil Wass & Douglas Coleman
Caton and Wass, meanwhile, were sitting tight in the main group: "We knew there were no points left to race for, so we just kept having the odd dig and it's a good place to push yourself at that level," says Wass.

Coleman finished in the front 30 riders: "Considering it was my first race of the year, I'm happy with that," he says. "I've got plenty of room for improvement, so I'm nicely ahead of where I was last year." Caton and Wass finished in a depleted main group with scores of retirements: "A good all round piece of top end training," says Caton. "We'll all be stronger for this after a bit of recovery!"

Monday, 14 March 2011

Caton Back in the Groove

After Saturday's disappointment in the Spring Chicken Road Race (when he was brought down in a massive crash within the last Kilometre) Paul Caton rode the A5 Rangers LVRC 50 mile Road Race at Towcester on Sunday 13th March and came in a credible 6th overall against stiff opposition.
Paul Caton - holding form

Won by Jim Moffatt, the winning move came inside the first half lap of the 6 mile circuit which included a long climb up to the finish. "A break formed with all the key riders so I knew I had to be in it," said Caton afterwards. "So I jumped across with relative ease although unfortunately so did a number of other riders. At 16 riders (from a bunch of 50) it was a bit large to work effectively but we managed to stay away." Caton continued  "Jim Moffatt attacked alone after 3 laps and stayed away until the finish with the remainder of the group staying together until the end." Caton took 6th overall in the sprint and 3rd in age Category.

"I was pleased with that," he continued. "Especially as I rode yesterday and with the results, Jim Moffatt, Campbell Noon, Phil Rayner and Michael Stephenson occupying the first four places,  these are amongst some of the best LVRC riders in the country. It gives a good indication of my form; all those miles with Neil and the team are paying off."

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Teamwork pays off as Wass opens his 2011 account

Paul Caton - solid start

Paul Caton & Neil Wass headed for Surrey this weekend to test their early form at the Surrey League Kingston Wheelers Road Race. Starting earlier in the year than usual, they were modest in their expectations: "I tend to go for the odd Time Trial at this stage normally," explains Caton. "It helps me to put some markers down and see where I need to focus my training.

The first race for both of them, they had little idea of what to expect. Says Wass "This is nearly a month earlier than the normal start for me. I'm a creature of habit and I like to see the clocks go forward before I get the race bike out."

They were fortuntae with the weather. Dry roads and bright sunshine helped the chilly temperature of 7 degrees feel  spring - like.

Neil Wass - feeling positive

"It was great to get out there and race," says Wass. "We just went to see wat we could do. We've both put a fair bit of work in since Christmas." "Er yeah," adds Caton, "We've totalled over 4,000 miles since January the 1st."

The pace was high from the off, and both riders stayed near the front to watch for any dangerous moves. "We sat in for the first couple of laps," recounts Caton. "It's rare to see anything conclusive happen this soon and there were 10 laps in total."

From thereon, the boys got busy and taking turns, made sure they were in any move which looked threatening. On Lap 4, Caton solo'd away for half a lap and was away with a Dulwich Paragon rider. "That was great," says Wass. I remember thinking 'great, I can have a rest for a bit!"

Things started to get more serious as Caton's move was brought back and Wass found himself following the counter move: "It was a bit sooner than I expected," says Wass. "But you're never sure which will be the winning move; especially in the 1st race of the season." This break opened a gap of over 30 seconds but was brought back after a lap and a half, but the shock for Wass was that a counter move went very quickly and contained riders he thought would be dangerous: "

"I could have done with a bit of recovery, but I got the feeling that I was about to miss the winning move," he recalls. "So I had to dig deeper than I would normally at that stage and bridge across." A big push got him over to the break and 9 riders worked well together, building a gap of nearly 2 minutes at its peak. Caton, meanwhile, was watching and covering moves in the main group, which contributed significantly.

Wass crossed the line in 9th, a little frustrated with the  result: "I gave everything to the break and cramped on the finish hill, so it was a bit frustrating, but a lot of that came from my bridging effort and if I hadn't have done that, I'd most likely have been out of the points. It's probably my strongest ever start to the season and I did feel pretty comfortable for most of the race. The fine tuning will come."

Paul Caton: "It was a bit more demanding than many races I've done so it was great training, both physically and mentally. I'm really pleased I rode it and it's mde me keen to do more of these races this year."