Sunday, 26 May 2013

Road Stage Win for Paul

Paul Caton travelled to mid Wales on the 19th May to take part in a unique event called the Ramin Minovi Memorial, a 2 stage single day event. The first stage was a short 2.5 mile time trial followed in the afternoon by a 50mile road race over an extremely tough circuit which included a 10 minute climb, to be completed 6 times. The winner would be decided on the combined time of the two stages.
Unusually the weather was warm and sunny with temperatures reaching 21C in the quiet town of Presteigne where the event was based.
Paul finished mid field in the TT but lost 30 seconds to Charles Zenettacci and 5 seconds to John Stephenson which was to prove crucial later in the overall standings. "The TT was a bit short," said Paul afterwards. "I felt like I only started motoring in the last half mile but then I guess it's the same for everyone."
At 1pm the riders lined up for the afternoon's 50 mile road race with around 40 riders in Paul's group. The race started at the base of the 800ft climb and on the first ascent he found himself in a group of just 9 riders. On each of the following laps the group reduced dramatically - multiple attacks on the climb resulted in a rapid succession of riders being shown the rear door.
It looked a bit like this - actual pic to follow.
"I was feeling reasonably comfortable on the climb," said Caton afterwards.  "I am a bit of a mountain goat so I enjoyed pushing the pace to reduce the group I even put in a few attacks myself."
With a lap to go the group was down to three with the other two riders being Zenettacci and Sephenson.
"I knew the other two had better TT times than me," continued Paul. "I had to gain some time, so I launched a few attacks on the first part of the climb and opened a gap." The others, however,  were wise to his explosive strengths and he was gradually brought back as the road levelled slightly. "No matter what I did, I couldn't quite shake the other two off so decided I would go for the stage win which I managed launching my sprint with 200 metres to go," he concluded. "It's nice to be able to play to your strengths and go for glory.

This pulled him up to 3rd in the General Classification. "It's a shame I couldn't quite hit the overall," he concluded. "But nothing really beats that hands in the air business over the line!"

Saturday, 11 May 2013

A Serious Business

There are bad days, and then there are days which make you realise the bad days weren't bad at all... 

We've had some difficult stuff to deal with this last few days, stuff which puts everyday stuff into perspective  On the evening of May 1st, whilst out training, Steve and Ross Clarke hit a car which crossed their path whilst doing around 30mph on the Redbourn Road at the Luton Lane Junction. Both were rushed to hospital requiring immediate attention with no recollection of the actual collision.

Ross has sustained flesh wounds with no broken bones.He appears to have hit the front of the car and had a relatively 'softer' landing. Softer, that is, relative to Steve, who came to a more sudden stop into the side of the car.

Steve has now been in intensive care now for 10 days since the accident. News of the incident has been passed around by word of mouth but we were, frankly, not sure what to say or report because Steve was fighting for his life for several days.

He is now described as stable. Stable means he is beginning a long journey to recovery from potentially life changing injuries, and with, amongst other things, 10 broken ribs, a broken hip, broken leg and broken bones in his back, he has a lot to get through.

Although still on a ventilator, he has had moments of consciousness where he has recognised family members and the doctors have said that his spine appears to be intact which suggests that a full recovery should be possible.

At the moment, he's still not in a state to see visitors.Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family, and Steve, one day we look forward to the thought of you reading this and laughing! 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Terrific Trio Boss the Bowl

John Lacey joined Neil and Paul at the MK Bowl last night for the first round of the evening LVRC series. With a large field, they stayed active near the front from the off.

Neil - group A win
Having PB'ed twice in the last three weeks on local TT courses, John was happy to stretch his sizeable legs and he spent several laps away, testing the nerve of his rivals. When it all came back together, Neil and Paul were ready to respond and the team kept things under control.

After a frenetic series of moves, Neil's breakaway partner from Saturday, Tim Davies, launched a serious attack which had many of the front group in difficulty. Sensing an opportunity, Neil followed: "I gave it everything and that's what it needed to stay with Tim," he said. "He made me work a little bit more than Saturday too." By the end, the duo had a solid 20 second gap, but Neil had nothing left for the sprint. Paul and John, on the other hand, had played a canny game and wereready for the sprint, which Paul took by a decent margin.

Final result: Neil - group A win; John - 2nd in group B; Paul, group C win

"We were really buzzing off that," said Neil. "That's definitely the best start we've had!"

Monday, 6 May 2013

LVRC Regional Championships

Cranfield's notorious 'Tricky Triangle' was the venue for the LVRC Regional Championships on Saturday. Neil and Paul were in attendance for the team and ruing their luck at the start. Within 3 minutes of the start time, the heavens opened and set the tone for a filthy first hour.

With wet conditions, a nervous bunch meant they stayed close to the front and out of trouble; somewhat fortuitously as it turned out.

Neil - get some sleep! Bronze for him and Gold for Paul
Pre race favourite Ian Knight joined an early move by David Palmer which escaped Neil's attention: "His acceleration was just too strong," recalls Neil. "I was boxed in at the moment I needed to move and by the time I got out, he had a good gap and I knew he wasn't slowing." Frustrated, Neil made one effort to chase but decided not to pursue any further: "It seemed unlikely I would catch them," he continues. "And even if I did, I'd definitely have been wasted by that point!"

Sitting in for a while, Neil eventually formed a strong break with Tim Davies of Icknield Road Club, a situation for which he was particularly grateful when a crash occurred on the fastest part of the course. The two man escape gained steadily on the bunch in the closing half hour and having dealt with repeated attacks from Tim, Neil won the sprint for 3rd place.

Paul followed in the bunch, taking the sprint and the title of Regional Group C champion. Neil took the bronze for Group A. Delighted with his win, Paul said: "It was a tough race but it's great having a team mate up the road. With Neil in a break, it gave me the chance to relax a little more than usual and focus on the finale."