Monday, 29 April 2013

Mixed fortunes on another cold weekend

Steve Clarke at the VTTA (East Anglian) 25, thanks to Dave Jones
Ross Clarke showed the way this weekend as some of our riders struggled to match some of their early season promise.

On Saturday, Tony May led the way on the E2/25 course in Cambridgeshire through hail showers and high winds with a time of 56:28 in the VTTA event with Steve Clarke following on 56:54

Sunday saw Paul Caton at the LVRC Finchley Road Race. As round 2 of the Mstina series, he was keen to get a solid result but, by his own standards, was found wanting when the race hotted up: "I missed the big moves today," he admitted. "And to be honest, my legs didn't feel great either." Placing 4th in his category, he is joint 2nd in the Mstina series standings. "It's still early days," he continued. "Hopefully that's my bad day out of the way for the season!"

Michael Skipsey finished in the main group: "I'm hoping for some form once the temperatures get back to a decent level," he joked afterwards.

Ross Clarke made his return to Road Racing after a 6 year absence on Sunday. Riding the Reading Road Race at Woodcote in Oxfordshire with Neil Wass, he was prepared for a tough race - and got one. With a 2km crosswind hill on each lap, the circuit proved a challenge for the category 234 field.

In the move - Ross Clarke at the Reading Road Race on Sunday - photo - Graham Robins for British Cycling
The race was stopped temporarily on lap 2, and once it got going again, the gloves came off and Ross made sure he was near the front as a gap opened up over the climb. Cementing his place in the break of 12 riders with some strong pulls, he did his fair share of work to ensure that, despite a desperate chase from the 2nd group, the move stuck. Crossing the line in 9th place, he was pleased with his performance: "I knew I wouldn't be strong in the sprint because of my Time Trial Focus - the shortest intervals I do are 10 minutes! But the background form seems to be OK so I can sharpen things up a bit with a bit more work. It was good fun and as starting point, I'm quite pleased with that."

Neil came in with the 2nd group Ruing his missed opportunity, he admitted to being disappointed: "I let myself get too far back on that climb," he reflected. "It was a simple error, but we held the break within sight most of the way, and the main group were much further back from us so I guess that's a positive."

Monday, 15 April 2013

4th again for Neil

Maybe he was reminded of the Imperial Winter Series, but Neil seemed to overcome his distaste for crowded circuits  on Saturday at Hillingdon. With over 85 starters, he needed to.

Apparently, the commissaire at the Westerley Circuit Race started the race while Neil was helping a fellow rider get his dossard pinned on. Well, nothing like a challenge eh?

"I spent the 1st lap in the wind trying to get back into the bunch," he remembers. "And once I got there, it took me half an hour to find a way through to the front."

Knowing his 'style' of racing, that's probably no bad thing.

Anyway, having found his way through the melee, he put in the odd surge and kept himself in the running. With a 30mph headwind at the finish, it was a pretty low speed sprint but he kept pushing, found his way through and came in 4th.

Another Wass grimace as the line approaches. There is actually a pic on our Flickr page where his mouth is shut. Rare, that
He's now top of the 3rd cat rankings in central region.

Michael Skipsey put in another appearance but was caught mid-bunch when things started to hot up: "It's early days," he reflected. "There's no way I'm going to ruin a season by taking risks."

Paul Caton's recent run of bad luck continued at the Sevale LVRC Road Race in Malvern. As round one of the Percy Stallard series, it was important to get a decent result, but a puncture in the first 5 miles put paid to that. After a lengthy wheel change, Paul was left to ride the race alone. His dignity intact, he finished only a couple of minutes down on the field having done more work than anyone else in the race, we're sure.

Tony May braved some foul weather on Saturday at the Lea Valley 25 in Cambridgeshire. The normally quick E2 course was not at its best with the exposed flatlands making the wind and rain particularly challenging. Posting a 57:11, we think he was great value for just riding, with a higher-than-usual number of non-starters.

Ross and Steve Clarke picked a good weekend for a training camp.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Icknield Hilly 28k

So close for Ross

Ross Clarke in full flight on Sunday morning at the Icknield Hilly - thanks to Dave Jones

After Neil's second place by a tyre width last week, it was the turn  of Ross Clarke at the Icknield Hilly this Sunday.

Leading the TMG team, he took 2nd place and lost the top spot by.... a single second.

"At least it shows I'm coming into form," he reflected at the finish, clearly  trying to see the positive side of things.


Winner - Steve Golla, High Wycombe 43:53
Ross Clarke 43:54
Paul Caton 47:42
Steve Clarke 48:29
Tony May 49:19
Steve Hewitt 52:25

Watch the camera! Tony [did], Steve H, Paul, Ross and Steve warming down at the HQ afterwards