Friday, 30 November 2012

A bit of Hillingdon video

You needn't look away - no crashes here. Looks like the cramp kept Neil in the saddle for the final sprint.

Monday, 26 November 2012

2nd for Neil at The Inverse Autumn Series

Following a crash - marred start to his autumn racing last week, Neil had another go at Hillingdon on Saturday. One of the wettest days of the year, it didn't seem ideal, but he gritted his teeth [in fact there was a lot of grit between them by the end] and gave it a go.

Breaking away after 10 mins, he formed a strong 2up with Jozef Metelka of Zappi's Cycling Team which lapped the field at least twice.

After 50 minutes away, Neil had little left for the sprint. He'll try not to be so nice next time.

 Dark & wet. Very wet in fact. Neil Wass leads Jozef Metelka of Zappi's. Thanks to for the pic

Monday, 17 September 2012

Hat Trick of wins as Caton Hits Top Gear

He may not be the loudest of the Anders TMG Horizon team, but his legs do plenty of talking and, having hit a rich seam of form in recent weeks, Paul Caton is the quiet man everyone has to watch.

On August 19th, in hot conditions, Caton watched as a number of early attacks went up the road and bided his time. With just over a  lap to go, he teamed up with John Alderman of Ciclisti Vecchi and established a break. After just over half a lap though, he noticed his fellow escapee suffering and attacked: "I thought it was now or never really," he recalls. "There was definitely a danger of getting caught after all that effort."

The attack paid off and Caton crossed the line with the opposition clearly out of sight.

He's had a bit of practice doing this
Back in action on Sept 2nd, he took another win in round 10 of the MStina Jersey Series at the Dulwich Paragon Race in Kent

And at the final round of the Percy Stallard Series in Cambridgeshire 2 weeks later, he sprinted to his 3rd win in 4 weeks.

"I'm trying not to get too carried away with all this," he says. "I'm still building for the track World Championships in the 1st week of October so it's important to stay focussed."

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Hot Competition in 2nd edition of TMG Horizon Road Race

Competition was fierce in the second running of the TMG Horizon Road Race at Cublington in Buckinghamshire today.

After only 17km, it was clear that a hard fought contest was in prospect: "I was surprised to see a solid looking group of 6 or so riders with a good 30 seconds on the first passage through the finish line," recalls organiser Neil Wass.

fast and furious racing from the word go

There were too many strong riders in the peloton though - throughout the entire 121km, no single break managed a gap of more than 30 seconds.

"That's not to say there wasn't much going on though," adds Colin McDonnell of the promoting team. "It was a great battle to watch." Nick Walker continues: "Everyone seemed to have a go. There were so many gutsy efforts."

A crash on the 3rd lap seemed to unnerve one or two riders and the main group split into 2. But there were a number of strong riders in the back group; there was no hesitation and it all came back together on the finish hill with 2 laps to go.

On the final lap, a strong group escaped through Cublington with 19km to go. Opening a gap on the headwind section towards Stewkley, things looked promising for the escapees, but as they hit the uphill drag to Dunston, the benefits of being in the main group became obvious. By the time they reached the A413 junction, the fresher legs in the peloton had made the junction, the catch was made and it was all back together.

There were now 10km to go, 8.5km of which were downhill or flat. On paper, the only logical thing to do would have been to sit in and wait for the finish hill.

Edward Laverack of Tredz bikes had other ideas though. Sensing hesitation, he attacked from the breakaway group as the catch was made up the rise on the A413. Powering down through Whitchurch, he reopened a gap on the bunch who still didn't believe it would be possible to hold a gap on the high speed section down to the foot of the finish hill.

Hold it he did though, and crossing the line for the win, he had a 22 second gap on Chris Dredge of Corley Cycles who managed to open a couple of bikes lengths on the bunch.

Splendid Isolation: The winner had the finish line to himself with a 'comfortable' gap to the bunch
"The riders gave us a great morning's racing today," concludes Wass. "It was an audacious move by Edward but it's heartening to see someone at 17 years old with that amount of confidence. He must surely have a solid future ahead of him."

L to R Chris Dredge, Corley Cycles (2nd),
Edward Laverack, Tredz Bikes, (winner),Marc Flay, Kenilworth Wheelers, (3rd)
pic: Dave Hayward
Full gallery available here, thanks to Dave Hayward

Road race result Provisional

1. Edward Laverack Tredz Bikes
2. Chris Dredge Corley Cycles
3. Marc Flay Kenilworth Wheelers.
4. Edward Clemens VC10
5. Dave Starkey Fred Williams Cycles
6. Philip Starr Python Racing Team
7. Edward Watkiss icycle
8. Richard Whitehorn Glade CC
9. Christopher Palfreeman 45 Road Club
10. Justin Belcher Banbury Star
11. Lewis Gray Eveshan and District Wheelers
12. Henry Latimer Dream Cycling
13. Roger Prior Zappi's CC
14. Jack Beezer Leighton Buzzard Road CC
15. Lubomir Belak Welwyn Wheelers

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Sunday, 8 July 2012

A bit steadier today

Team TMG and friends on a social recovery ride, only 41 miles and 1500m of climbing today.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Marmotte update

10 riders left Chalet Namika, Alpe d'Huez this morning to take part in this years edition of the Marmotte. All riders got back safely (ish). After a long hot sunny day in the saddle.

The scores on the doors
Doug 7:03
Jerv 7:43
Mike 7:53
John 7:53
Billy 7:57
Martin 7:59
Jody 8:03
Andrew 8:26
Darren 8:40
Eugene 11:00

Story of the day goes to Andrew (Billy's mate) who crashed off the road going down the Glandon (triathlete!!) and thought he'd broken his neck as he was getting painful spasms. He decided to stand up and the spasm moved to his leg, he finally realised he'd crashed into an electric fence!

Here they go

Eugene, Mike, John and Darren about to start the Marmotte.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Final pre-fuelling

Picture of the last supper before tomorrws Marmotte.

One day to go before the Marmotte

Tweet from Eugene yesterday: Breakfast 8am. On bike 9:30. Trip to lez deux alpes. Coffee stop. Then back to d'soins. Lunch. Then steady ride up Alpe d'huez. Awesome

St Jean: A steady day today, ready for the main event tomorrow. Great view from the chalet on the Alpe

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Gran Fondo Milano San Remo 2012

Neil plays the long game to Sanremo

Neil Wass, perhaps the team's most ardent Italian afficionado, took on the route of La Classicissima on Sunday June 10. With a distance of 295km, it follows the exact route of the professional race which takes place in March every year.
yes - 295km
As the longest of all the spring classics, the pro race has a special feel to it. Up until the final few climbs, it's a game of endurance, planning, contingency, staying out of trouble. As the kilometres tumble, it morphs into something very different; the tension ratchets up and by the final 20km, only a handful of protagonisti remain to contend the finish. 

"I first did this event 7 years ago, he explains. "It's run by the cycling club of San Remo, so it's pretty low key compared to the more mountainous challenges on the continent."

So why choose a low key event? Says Neil: "Most events nowadays are very risk -averse so they release riders in stages - this one is one of the fastest Gran Fondos out there, and because there are only 800 riders, they're all released in one fell swoop. This makes the front of the field  much more like a classic Road Race. It's more realistic in that you can see that actual head of the race and feel the buzz."

"I had a score to settle this time too," he continues. "In 2005, I got into a strong group and didn't want to lose contact by stopping for feeds. I got as far as I could and then hit the wall around 200km. I've been desperate to see what I can do with proper feeding and drinking ever since."

Neil was lucky to have three family members handing up food and drink at four pre-arranged and recce'd point on the route. "It's a huge advantage when you're looking at something of this scale," he says. "The classic line is eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty and my support crew ensured I got what I needed."

After a hand up rehearsal late afternoon on the Saturday, the team went off for another carbo loading meal: "Four portions of Pasta or Risotto that day," he recalls. "But where better than Milan? Another bonus of this event!"

The night before the race brought thunderstorms and pouring rain: "We were all a bit nervous. Wet roads do add major risks of crashes." Breakfast at 6am on the day- more rain. " All I could think was how long I'd been training for this and what effort the others had made to support me so we just carried on."

By the start, the rain had stopped and there were just wet roads to deal with: "The first hour was a bit tricky, dealing with the spray in a large peloton, but the weather did improve fairly quickly and by the first feed at Ovada, I had seen about 5 crashes but things were getting a bit more settled."

Following a brief stop just after feed one to adjust his headset, Neil found himself at the back of the main group with the climb over the Turchino Pass in front of him: "That was the good bit though," he smiles. "After averaging nearly 25mph gruppo compatto, I was sure the group would spread out and I was ready to fight through it."

spot him if you can - he's at about 20 seconds

Making steady progress through the main bunch, he broke through to the front group by the steepest part of the climb; "I was feeling great at this point but I knew that straight after the tunnel at the top, I had push on the descent to Voltri without hesitation."

"The first bend on the descent brought a crash: "I saw this guy touch wheels with another rider, panic, brake, skid, then hit the deck and a car, all within about 3 seconds. Apparently he broke his pelvis and kneecap - not the best sight when you're trying to concentrate and get your lines right through the corners!"

Barring one close call with the Armco barrier, Wass reached the bottom having lost only a handful of places: "I'm not a great descender," he explains. "It doesn't come naturally. It doesn't help that nothing at home compares with these kind of roads, so I don't get much practice either."

One extreme to another - from working hard with arms & upper body on the descent, it was back to fighting for wheels and full gas on the via Aurelia - the coast road which runs all the way to the French border.

"Things were starting to warm up now," he continues. "We here hitting 25 degrees plus and I was down to one bottle of fluid after I slipped up at the first feed so I was trying to visualise where our lot would be at the next feed. The front group was getting a bit swamped through Arenzano because a lot of people had feeds at this point." Unfortunately, although many people were slowing and feeding, a number of riders right at the front were accelerating. "It's hard to see exactly what's going on and I was conscious that my feed wouldn't be far off - which of course you can't take at top speed." It would be another 10km or so before the bottles were replenished. "That was a pretty frustrating moment," says Neil. "I was still in a good group but when we came to Varazze, we could see the front group leaving the town as we were swooping down into it. it felt like we were so close, but it was actually around a kilometre, so nearly 2 minutes ahead."

A small group formed and chased hard through Savona, and Neil had another close encounter as a car crossed their path near the centre: "I had to brake hard but managed to control the skid. No time for arguments though - back on the accelerator!"

By Finale Ligure, it was clear that the front group was unreachable and although Neil had been pulling hard on the front of his group, he decided to ease up a little: "We still had over 2 hours left and the temperature was still rising - you have to try and not get carried away - which is always a challenge for me!"

A group of about 20 formed around Albenga and stuck together for the remainder of the race. The final feed on Capo Berta was well timed with 35km to go: "It was peaking at about 30 degrees by this point," says Neil. "The 2 bottles went in about 40 minutes!"
phew - the final successful hand up from Andrew Borge keeps Neil going on Capo Berta - note jealous racers to right
A fast descent into Imperia followed: "By now I was getting into the descents. Great fun, but you could also sense that people were bracing themselves for the Cipressa and Poggio." These two climbs are not particularly big, at 400metres of climbing in total, but after 270km of riding, for many, they are the last straw. "I'd done plenty of long rides to prepare though," says Neil. "And I was pretty confident that as long as I fed and drank well, I'd be OK."
pushing through the fatigue on the final climb - the legendary Poggio
And he was OK, finishing 16 minutes behind the winner. "It's all a bit of a blur to be honest," he says. "The fatigue kind of affects your memory and you can tell that your body can't wait for it to be over."

He came in just outside the top 100 but 24th in his age category and 25 minutes faster than his first attempt 7 years ago
M3 24 105 WASS NEIL M 08:22:25. 0035,23

post race rehydration - the support crew can finally relax
"It was an amazing day out - unforgettable. To be able to cover that kind of distance and average nearly 22mph is a fantastic day out on a bike. Thanks to Carina, Nicola & Andrew, I now know what I'm really capable of," he concludes. "No excuses this time!"

Marmotte 2012

Watch this space - as we write, we have a team heading to the Marmotte sportif in France. Eugene, John, Richard, Dudley & Darren will be riding one of the most challenging events on the calendar this Saturday. They will be posting updates as they go.
Strewth! The route they'll face

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Mstina series round 5 - Podium for Caton

Paul Caton rode round 5 of the MSTINA Jersey Series on 20th May on the challenging Newdigate circuit in Sussex. The race over 50 miles took in 8 circuits of some challenging roads in including a short 20% climb. Caton started the event leading the series overall so was clearly favourite to do well in the race having won the last round in Swindon, unfortunately that did mean he was enthusiastically marked by the other riders keen to make sure they were in the same moves.
Caton attempted to form and join breaks in the early laps, however it was clear the peloton was in no mood to let him gain an advantage. A two rider break did gain a 90 second lead for three laps which enabled Caton to step back and let the peloton chase this down whilst he decided his race strategy.
With some tight corners and a road junction just 200 metres before the uphill finish Caton decided being in a small group was the best way to increase his chances of a win and so with a lap and a half to go and spotting some of his MSTINA Jersey points contenders gain an advantage on the 20% climb, Caton jumped across to the two riders and immediately inserted some pace allowing the three to just stay clear of the chasing peloton. 
"We worked well together," Caton said. "And although the peloton had kept us in sight we managed to stay clear." Coming into the last few miles Caton’s two breakaway companions became less willing to do their share of the pace making and with the peloton getting perilously close Caton had no option but to lead the sprint out from the bottom of the finish climb. With a head wind this handed an advantage to the 2 other riders, in a hard fought sprint Caton came in second, a bike length down on the winner.
Caton still leads the championship with the next round being a 2 day stage race at Fowlmead near Dover.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Staffordshire Success

Paul Caton travelled north to Swynnerton in Staffordshire on Sunday for round one of the Percy Stallard LVRC series. Sponsored by Omnipex - BioRacer, this series is a long running national competition and is always hard fought.

"I was a little bit disappointed with my Tim Trialling last weekend but I was determined to make up for it and I'd done some hard intervals in the week to prepare," begins Caton. "I had to make it worth the mileage!"

Learning from a race earlier in the season, he stayed close to the front of the bunch from the off. This paid off very quickly. As with many previous races, the attacks came early. In the words of Jim Golden, reporting for VeloUK, the race was "in bits" by the end of lap one.

Paul Caton makes the early selection. more pics at
Caton was part of the early move which escaped the bunch after only three miles. Containing a number of strong riders, it stayed away and proved to be the key move of the race. Although it swelled at its peak to twelve riders, only 8 remained by the finish. Says Caton: "I tried to stay as comfortable as possible and ride within my limits but I could see others were suffering which always feels good!"
In the mix: Caton (far left) goes for the finish line. more pics at
Caton came home 4th, and 2nd within his age group: "I was pleased with that," he concluded afterwards. "It was a tough race in cold and windy conditions on a tough course with some strong competition. You can't always take so much satisfaction from high placings, but today's race was one where I really earnt my points."

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Canny Caton plays it cool for the win

Husbands Bosworth in Leicestershire this morning played host to the Fleche Waltonne round of the LVRC series. Designed as a 'hardman's race', the course included a 3 mile section of unclassified road which was not only demanding from a handling point of view, it left the competitors and their machines liberally splattered with dirt.

those of a mechanically sensitive disposition should look away

To add to the challenge, the weather threw in its lot. Temperatures barely above freezing combined with driving rain and sleet to give the field an unforgettable morning out.

Paul Caton recalls "At one point, my jaw was actually fatigued just from shivering! I made one attack out of the bunch if only to keep warm, but my body seemed to rebel so I was caught quite quickly." Resolved to tough it out, the Anders TMG Horizon rider counted down the laps as a lone attack from Steve Johnson was reeled in.

With 1km to go, it was clear the race was going to finish in a bunch sprint, but there was a small climb to the line. Says Caton: "I just manned it out. I tried not to think about the weather, the risks and the other riders."

Paul Caton - early win in 2012

Timing his move to perfection, the team's number one rider distanced the field and took the win by over three bike lengths. "I really did think of packing in the early laps," he concludes. "It just shows that everyone else was feeling it too. It's always worth sticking with it and giving it a shot."

Monday, 12 March 2012

2012 Season Starts with a Bang

Mixed fortunes befell the Anders TMG Horizon riders on the 2nd weekend in March as they hit the roads of the South East to start their 2012 racing. "Hit" is perhaps too literal a term.

On Saturday the 10th, Neil Wass hit the deck after only 3km of the Spring Chicken Road Race in Buckinghamshire. "We were a little apprehensive this year," he recounts. "We've all done this race before. The roads aren't exactly in top condition and the riders are all that bit more nervous and excited in the early races, but even I didn't expect to go down that quickly!"

In the opening kilometres, Wass had positioned himself with safety in mind : "I'd got myself into the front 10 - not on the front but I thought that was safest so as to avoid any bunch incidents, at least for the first lap." Unfortunately, one of the handful of riders in front lost control on the first bend. "Hi front wheel just seemed to go from under him." says Wass. John Lacey continues: "It was pretty greasy, but we managed OK on subsequent laps, so I suspect he may have been a touch nervous.

"All I could do was scrub off some speed and try to hit the ground as slowly as possible," concludes Wass. "I avoided anything more than a bit of road rash, and it is the first time in 8 years of racing that I've collided with another rider, so I guess my good luck was well overdue to run out!"

Eugene Rack dropped back to check on his team mate: "I saw him go down and I wanted to make sure he was OK. It could have been a lot more serious and I didn't want to continue racing not knowing." Having checked things over, the duo retired. Says Rack: "There's the rest of the season  to come - better to be safe than sorry."

John Lacey - last man standing back in the bunch at the Spring Chicken
John Lacey maintained his signature cool composure and completed the race, finishing in the bunch: "I could feel twinges of cramp - annoying because I forgot to take some salt sticks before the race, but I was here to get back into the groove and I didn't want to risk any spasms from overdoing it."

Sunday brought even warmer weather. Paul Caton tackled the LVRC road race in Towcester. "It took me a few minutes to get my race head on, " he says. "Unfortunately, by the time I did, a break had gone up the road!" He wasn't the only one to be ruing lost opportunities though, and a group of 4 formed to chase on to the break. "In terms of positioning, in a small group like that, I thought I was in a good position," he continues. "But it clearly wasn't my day." One of the four riders took a bend far too fast and crashed right in front of Caton, leaving him no option: "I hit the guy who came down and went over the bars."

Jumping straight back on, the four now down to three, Caton was slowing "I'd lost a bit of time and the impact had winded me a bit, so we were swallowed up again by the bunch but I sat in for a bit and tried to recover." Recover he did, and sprinted for 10th overall. "Not a great morning out, but at least I got something out of it." he concludes.

Nick Walker: "It was one of those weekends you'd rather forget. The guys seemed to be doing the right things though. Let's hope we got the bad luck out of the way. There's plenty of time for results later."