Sunday, 22 May 2011

Mixed Fortunes at the Divisional Championships

Tough day at the Div's

Paul Caton, Doug Coleman & Neil Wass all took the start line for the Central Region Championships this morning. The battle to be top rider of the region always attracts the best amateur riders plus the odd semi professional or two and they knew they had their work cut out: "Doug & I recce'd the course earlier in the week," says Neil Wass. "We wanted to give ourselves the best possible opportunity."

The promoters, Spirit Racing had chosen a course measuring 88 miles with a total of 24 climbs. "These kind of courses find you out," Wass adds. He, unfortuantely, fell victim to the arduous nature of the course and the stiff competition. Having retired on lap 6 of 9, he shakes his head: "I just didn't have it today."

Doug Coleman rode a textbook race. Always keeping within the front 10 riders of the main bunch, he was comfortable and confident. By lap 8, after a sudden downpour, a break of 5 riders had formed at the front and he formed a chase with a rider from Virgin Active. Then, disaster struck. The Virgin rider lost control on a tight corner with Coleman on his wheel: "There was nowhere to go, no time to do anything," he recalls.

It was Coleman's first racing crash: "I was in shock so it took me a while to put myself back together, but all I need is a new wrap of bar tape actually and  for a bit of road rash to heal. I guess my luck had to run out sometime but it is a pity it was today because I was feeling pretty strong."

Paul Caton - experience pays off again
Paul Caton, was now the team's last remaining rider in a field which had whittled down from 80 to around 30: "I saw Neil had packed and Doug had fallen, so I thought I'd better try to get something for the team!" he jokes. "But it was one of the toughest races I've done in a while. I dangled off the back of the bunch a couple of times and had to really dig deep to get back."

Caton crossed the line in 17th place. A former winner of the Regional Champs, he takes all the excitement in his stride: "I've never worked so hard for three points & a tenner!"

Monday, 16 May 2011

Caton performs in Wet & Windy Warwickshire

top five in LVRC national series

Paul Caton - National LVRC Points

Paul Caton continued his run of form yesterday in the Percy Stallard National series in Warwickshire.

"It was windy, so, as hard as  tried - and I tried damn hard - I just couldn't make a break work." he said afterwards. For all his frustration, he eventually decided to recover a little and challenge the sprint.

"I've been working on the sprint recently," he continued. "It's mentally tough because you have to be a bit clinical in your training - it's more than just riding for fun but I thought I would see how I was progressing."

The training seeems to be paying off. Caton crossed the line in 5th place, with only a metre or so covering 2nd to 5th place: "That's a good progression from where I was last year." he concluded. "It's frustrating that I was so close to a few more points, but there is a positive there too."

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Podium again for Coleman

3rd again for team's number one - and he wants more

The Reading Road Race on the great Milton Circuit in Oxfordshire today looked a challenging prospect: "We tend to favour the courses with more climbing," explains Neil Wass. "This circuit is pretty flat and is very exposed. It's all about the wind and positioning."

The brisk winds as the day began only added to the difficulty of dealing with this course: "We thought it was unlikely that a break would stay away," adds Doug Coleman. "But never say never."

The pace was high at the beginning and a move went just before the race crossed the line for the first time. This break was missed by the Anders Horizon riders, but Coleman was watching as it maintained a gap: "I knew I had to get across." He wasn't the only one and he spotted an opportunity when Mike Jackson of Luton CC attacked off the front of the bunch: "I've known Mike a while and I thought we would work well together."

Happy but not yet satisfied - Doug Coleman

The two riders crossed the gap quickly enough to avoid a defensive bunch move and went straight to wok in the break. Says Coleman: "I was shouting 'now is the time to race!' because I knew that was the most vulnerable time."

The group shed a couple of weaker riders as teh hammer went down and slimmed to a cohesive six. Coleman continues: "We were fairly evenly matched and I think that helped because we all seemed to be working pretty hard. We all kept the effort up right up to the last kilometre."

The gap grew to nearly two minutes and, having bided his time, Coleman followed an attack by Jackson to sprint to third place: "You can always do better," he concludes. "The only time I will sit back and be content is when I get the win."

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

New Supporter for 2011

reproduced from

The Kings Arms in Berkhamsted has sponsored the town’s cycle team by way of demonstrating its commitment to the local people and its support of clubs and societies in the area.
Fortifying its presence in Berkhamsted High Street, the  Kings Arms is proud to sponsor a successful local team, the members of which spend most weekends competing in races around the country. The team will be showcasing their new Kings Arms emblazoned cycle shirts, produced specially in Italy and funded by the Kings Arms, wherever they race or train around the nation.
The team gathered outside the front of the building for an official photoshoot in full force, kitted out in their new shirts and a few celebratory bottles of champagne to reinforce a great team spirit. With the Kings Arms logo splashed on the arms of their shirts, the spectacle even stopped traffic and passers-by as they dominated the centre of Berkhamsted.
With the Kings Arms as an ideal social meeting spot, the team are likely to be making use of the new courtyard area outside this Summer as they hope to revel in post-race winner’s glory.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Gutsy team peformance at Millbrook

Tantalisingly close on Bank Holiday Monday

A team of four Started the mens Millbrook Classic this morning. For one day a year, this special venue is made available to cycle racing and, combining the security of closed roads with a major alpine - style climb, it makes for a special race.
Doug Coleman, Andy Connington, Neil Wass, Bran Curran
Doug Coleman had previous history with the course, so he was prepared: "The climb is a real challenge - it weeds out any weak riders, irrespective of skills - it's unforgiving; there's nowhere to hide."

A brisk pace from the off saw riders slip off the back of the bunch on the first time up the climb. Says Neil Wass: "It was seriously challenging because once you'd climbed the ascent, you were looking at headwinds for 2-3km -you had to really tuck in."

The team had a couple of local favourites to watch, one of whom had won on Saturday, so Coleman & Wass rode as a team with the aim of covering the known threats. "We were very much racing with our heads," continues Wass. "I was keeping in touch with Doug throughout and I think we achieved something there - I certainly covered a coupe of potentially dangerous moves."

Wass followed a move on lap 2 of 7 while Coleman bided his time. A break went on lap 4 but as it didn't contain any known threats, the group was left to build a small but significant gap: "There was no reason to chase," explains Wass. "There were bigger teams than us, and there was time."

Wass continued to chase down moves whilst Coleman made selective testing efforts, but on the whole, he was conservative until the final climb:"It was a case of now or never," he recounts. "So I gave it everything." Continues Wass: "I was pretty chuffed to see how quickly Doug move once he'd chosen his moment. One minute he was in the front of the bunch; the next he'd made it to the back of the lead group. It was as if he'd teleported himself!"

With 4km to go, Coleman sat on the lead group, but felt that time was running out: "I can't sprint. Or at least, that's the way I feel relative to others, so I prepared for a long - range launch." With 1500m to go, he attacked again into a strong headwind: "It was always going to be hard, but it was an especially big ask after my bridging effort."

Having been consumed by the front group of 6 once again, he  remained with them, but the 2nd group, containing Wass, caught the break just before the finish line: "I was quite a way back as I didn't want to contribute to the effort which was chasing Doug down," says Wass. "It was pretty frisky -we were clocking over 60kph on the flat." Coleman finished 9th, with Wass in 13th place.

Andy Connington and Brian Curran came in with later groups. It was Brian Curran's first Road Race: "That was one tough intro," says team DS Nick Walker. Curran continues:"I expected it to be tough, but it kind of reassures me that there are easier races out there, so I know I'll survive and it was refreshing to stretch my legs." New to 3rd Cat is Andy Connington: "It's definitely a different level," he says. "I've got to focus on more high intensity work because this is the new norm."

Concludes Coleman: "It's another peformance to build from, but we've made major progress in terms of racing as a team and I really think we're close to some more major results."

Full result