Monday, 18 April 2016

Podium for Ian at the CC Luton Claydons Classic

Ian Baynes - inching up the standings
Having taken 4th last week, Ian's confidence has had a bit of a boost but he started the Claydons Classic yesterday with modest expectations: " I'd heard from the guys who did it last year that Pitchcott Hill had real sting in it," he says. "So I decided to ride as conservatively as I dared."

Neil meanwhile decided to go for anything that moved whilst simultaneously losing his head completely. Lap one saw him miss an early move, leading to an unplanned early effort to bridge and then go straight on at the Whitchurch left turn, leading to a very near miss with poor Nick Corbett of Equipe Velo who had the fright of his life. 

He is very sorry Nick. He won't forget the chase back on either: "I managed to find a couple of sympathetic convoy vehicles but it was a flat-out effort over about 6 miles to get back on," he winces. That should teach him that late night eating and drinking does not sit well with a Stallard Series Road Race.

These somewhat haphazard excursions meant the sting was somewhat diluted in Neil's legs by the finale. Realising this, he sat up safely as the predictable stampede gathered pace, but Ian had been a bit more savvy and was picking his way through the melee. Although he too had to ease off, he'd already powered through enough positions to land 3rd 'A' rider. "Quite chuffed with that," he concludes. "It all seems to be heading in the right direction."

2nd next week perhaps?

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Richard Wood takes a win at the Inaugural Watford Velo Hardriders

Whiteleaf Hill. The backdrop for many a broken dream / cooked pair of legs.

As the principal climb in the Archer Grand Prix of old, its reputation is pretty big, but modern risk assessments and police costs have meant it can no longer be used So, the Watford Velo mob decided to try a Time Trial up it. Twice.

Hardriders is the traditional term for an early season smash up round a not-so-flat circuit, but this is probably the toughest TT climb for a 50 mile radius. No soft pedalling up this one.

Chris enjoying the hill
Darren - head down and focus

Richard - Road Bike Win
We had Darren Powell, Chris Olley and Richard Wood lined up for this painfest.

2 degrees at the start line wasn't ideal, but they all turned out.

Richard was the fastest by some margin in the Road Bike category and only lost out to Danny Axford on the scratch result so a very impressive run by him and a well-deserved win.

Chris was nicely in the top half of the field, whilst Darren was mid field - he's more of a pure speed merchant than a climber.

1st Danny Axford Arctic Tacx 0:36:57
2nd Richard Wood, TMG Horizon CT 0:37:58
3rd Richard Gildea Didcot Phoenix CC 0:38:26
16th Chris Olley TMG Horizon CT 0:43:16
25th Darren Powell TMG Horizon CT 0:44:38

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Win for Michael Skipsey at Herne Hill Veterans Track League

Yes, he's off the mark! Our Skippy has returned to the fold and wasted little time, swinging
straight into action.

First appearances were at Hillingdon last week, where he got back into the groove but missed a couple of opportunities to get in the break. So there was probably a touch of frustration to take out this afternoon at the Herne Hill outdoor track.

Good news is that he got in the points placings on the Scratch Race and took a win in the B Points Race. He also 'won' the Win Out before being DQ'd. Great news and he clearly has some good form to work with. 

Monday, 11 April 2016

Neil Wins the Lovelo Road Race

Well that's the suspense gone then. Rather a lot of excitement surrounding this new event. A direct result of the new Central Road Race League, the race draws together a lot of local clubs and there was quite a bit of 'hype' leading up to it given organiser Nick Clarke's undisputed enthusiasm and attention to detail; not to mention the fact that this man appears to be the single biggest user of social media on Planet Earth....
early doors, take it easy. Please.
Both hands on the bars Baynesy, both hands on the bars

Chilly start, one or two surreptitious conversations in the HQ and off they went. Two riders for the first half, two for the second. Except of course, road racing never goes to plan. Especially when Neil gets the heebeegeebees about gravel, turns and 3-4 races. Paranoid. So he decided to nip off the front on both downhill bends for the early laps, confusing things generally, but  you can't be too careful. Apparently.

Sitting on your hands is never easy in a bike race; it can cause difficulties with steering amongst other things. The team were however, uncharacteristically measured and patient, allowing other teams a bit of space to stretch their legs in the early stages whilst other teams chased the leg - stretchers down. On the whole, it was pretty typical of a Regional B race where no-one is generally ballsy enough to commit to a full - blooded attack but most are happy to bury themselves as they pull back any attempted escapes.

King of the (admittedly not large) Mountain
The predictable pattern was, however,  punctuated by a punch through the parcours by Jason, who soared up the rise through Soulbury on lap three to claim the KOM prize.

With the KOM done, the pattern continued. Even a concerted effort between Neil and Richard Edwards of CC Luton with 2 to go up the rise out of Soulbury was given short shrift by the bunch. "I was surprised," recalls Neil. "We gave it everything over the crest of the hill, but there was barely 10 seconds. There were plenty of willing chasers - no allies in the bunch despite us both having team mates who would sandbag the surges."

Another go on the final lap and it seemed pretty clear a bunch finish was in prospect. Says Ian "It was time to buckle up and look at conservation." 

Neil parked himself near the front and surfed the front of the bunch, timing his final effort as best he could and edged out Ben Stowe of Hemel Hempstead CC in the last 20 metres or so: "Ben had done a lot of work in the last couple of K's,"he says. "But he was still strong and I knew I couldn't afford to underestimate him." Ahem, don't mention the age gap either.

how low can you go? Winning Sprint. And Grimace,

Tight behind the winning move, Ian followed to take 4th place behind Joel Stewart of Kenton. All in all, a very successful morning. 

Some great selective efforts by all our lot and perhaps worth mentioning that over a third of the field had been dropped by the end, which perhaps shows that the circuit is at least a little bit selective, even when the bunch cling together like limpets.

Commiserations to Chris Olley who was rear ended by another rider to take out his rear mech so he had to hitch a lift to the finish.

sensible expression, good presentation
2015 Jason expression. Well with a medallion like that...
questionable presentation. caption anyone?
Big thanks from our lot to the Lovelo Crew for putting on a new race within riding distance and doing such a slick job. Let's hope it's around for a few years to come. 

Given the profile of the inaugural event, we anticipate nothing less an after party headlined by, Annie Mac next year.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

1-2 for Ross and Luke at the Beds Road 25

Brrr a bit. Stop. Whoooaaa. We did that several TTs ago and besides, this was Baltic with a capital B. Approx 2 degrees in the Freeze department.

now that looks fast. Win for Ross

So we had Ross, Luke, Darren and Steve on the F1b/25 this morning.

No DNS which at that temperature is pretty impressive, but more to the point, the times weren't too shabby either.

Speaking afterwards, Ross was baffled by his time. Apparently, he was only a few seconds off his midsummer PB. He could only attribute this to his new tmgpro Tripstar Skinsuit. Honestly. Well that and his position being a bit lower maybe.

The others did us proud too, with Luke close behind Ross for 2nd place, Darren coming in under the hour for 17th and Steve with a great vets time.

Result – Bedfordshire RC Open 25
1 Ross Clarke TMG Horizon Cycling Team 00:52:49
2 Luke Clarke TMG Horizon Cycling Team 00:53:18
3 Steve Torley Team Milton Keynes 00:55:56
4 Dermot Kealey Finchley Racing Team 00:56:35
5 David Langlands Fenland Clarion CC 00:56:37
6 Kieron Lewis Bedfordshire Road RT 00:56:43
7 Anthony Collier Hoddesdon Tri Club 00:56:52
8 Richard Golding Equipe Velo 00:57:02
9 Robert Saunders North Bucks RC 00:57:32
10 Jon Friend Bedfordshire Road RT 00:57:35
11 Ian Pike Fenland Road Club 00:57:52
12 Nick Hitchens Peterborough CC 00:57:57
13 Matthew Reader Verulam CC 00:57:58
14 Richard Sheldrake Lincoln Whs CC 00:58:25
15 Mark Ellis Team Milton Keynes 00:58:29
16 Julian Pegg Hitchin Nomads CC 00:59:12
17 Darren Powell TBC 00:59:21
18 Andy Wickham North Bucks RC 00:59:30
19 Matt Donovan Bedfordshire Road RT 00:59:52
20 Nick Hickman Hitchin Nomads CC 00:59:57
21 David Price North Bucks RC 01:00:13
22 David Cook Bedfordshire Road RT 01:01:01
23 Paul French Bedfordshire Road RT 01:01:03
24 Steve Clarke TMG Horizon Cycling Team 01:01:21
25 Jason Lee Team Milton Keynes 01:01:31

Coalville Wheelers Men's Road Race

It's grim up North. 

Of course, North is relative. Specifically, to where you happen to be standing at the time you say this, but such statements must be considered. Neil from North Yorkshire considers Derbyshire folk to be Midlanders. Sheffield just about passes as North for him. Chris from Edgware considers Hemel Hempstead as North.

no pics from this race so here's an archive shot
If you were looking to to name somewhere Northern-sounding and onomatopoeic, it would surely be Coalville.

It is however only 1hr 11 minutes away from Milton Keynes by road. Which probably explains why Richard Wood nipped up there for a race this morning. For him, Watford Gap is the definitive divider, so Coalville is North, although not especially grim.

You may be guessing from this preamble that there is not a huge amount to report from this fixture. Well, Richard had modest expectations. After all, he's done a few hilly TTs this year but sailing straight into an E12 race generally requires a bit of reassessment of what 'hard' means.

He got stuck straight in with the early break which stayed away for all but 2 laps. Still readjusting, he joined the express train counter move and hung on to the finish to take 13th place. A  pretty impressive 1st race back for our top ranked rider. Close behind a certain John Tanner...

Result – Coalville Wheelers Men’s RR
1 Joseph Clark Envelopemaster Giant Sheffield
2 Jake Tanner Envelopemaster Giant Sheffield
3 Alex Richardson pedal heaven excel academy
4 Ross Lamb Godfrey Bikewear Race Team
5 Roy Chamberlin Team Corley Cycles
6 David Shacketon Wilsons Wheels Race Team
7 Richard Hepworth Raleigh
8 Steve Young Giant Store Rutland / Wattbike
9 John Tanner uattached/Private member
10 Lea Baldwin Champion System VCUK Racing Team
11 Russell Holder Mammoth Lifestyle Racing Team
12 Josh Housley Team PB Performance
13 Richard Wood TMG Horizon Cycling Team
14 Jonathan Fowles Champion System VCUK Racing Team
15 Greig Burt Beeston Cycling Club
16 Douglas Coleman CC Luton
17 Archie Cross University of Sheffield CC
18 Michael Burke Welland Valley CC
19 Ollie Taylor Wellingborough Cycles Race Team
20 Andrew Magnier Giordana-Mitsubishi Electric RT

Monday, 4 April 2016

Neil on the Podium at Cranfield

The Tricky Triangle at Cranfield has its own distinct identity. As with a lot of things in cycling, it's a love/hate thing. It's great that it's safe, predictable in terms of road surface, low traffic, and reasonably challenging. It's a bit of a hybrid; long criterium laps without the cornering risks. Intriguingly - plenty of visibility and yet a break usually succeeds.

If you're not going well it's never a good day but the Triangle seems to make a bad day
"peeanooooFoxy!" Neil tries to keep in the early break
worse. There's little in the way of shelter and every 5 minutes, you have the draggy headwind rise to contend with.

Not the sort of circuit you'd pre-empt with three bottles of wine the night before then.

Plenty of expectation of Equipe vs CC Luton yesterday as was evident at the Baines Racing LVRC race in March. Neil was on his own, but threw caution to the wind and got in an early-ish break with James Fox of CC Luton. After 3 laps though, he was struggling and had to drop off the 2up train. 

With 7 laps to go, another soft break clipped off containing once again Fox plus Richard Edwards of CC Luton, but also Jez Honor from Equipe Velo and Phil Rayner of  Welland Valley CC and a newcomer called Arlen Vartazarian who had a unique approach to through and off. Despite one or two rivals flagging him at the start, Neil made it into this move with yet another effort.

In spite of some differences of opinion, the group maintained its gap and made it over the line with a comfortable margin. "It wasn't very comfortable," he recalls. "I gave a lot of effort to the early break so by the time the sprint came, I couldn't really figure." Still, 3rd. There have been worse starts to the season. And next time, maybe a drop less wine might help.

Corley Cycles/Team MK LVRC Race April 3rd 2016
A Results

Race number First Name Surname Team
1 10 Arlen Vartazarian Regents Park Rouleurs
2 2 James Fox CC Luton
3 11 Neil Wass TMG Horizon
4 5 Sheridan Bridal Abellio SFA Racing
5 3 Michael Jackson CC Luton
6 1 Glenn McMenamin Equipe Velo
7 4 Paul Dring Echelon Velo RT
8 13 Tim Edwins Equipe Velo

B Results
1 20 Jeremy Honor Equipe Velo
2 9 Mark Daly Colourtech-RT
3 7 Simon Cannings Equipe Velo
4 19 Paul Bird CC Luton
5 17 Ian Reeds HOPE Velo
6 13 Andrew Lowe Team MK
7 18 John Watson
8 4 Michael D'Arcy Bonito Squadra Corse
9 2 John Peters CC Luton

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Icknield Hilly - a team win and podium for Luke

"How's the form?"
Luke - fastest in the team and on the podium again

A pretty standard question, especially this time of year. And one which can be answered fairly simply with a good old-fashioned contre la montre. So, as per the official unconfirmed result sheet, here are the scores on the doors:

Doug Coleman CC Luton 0:30:23
David McGaw Cambridge CC 0:31:06
Luke Clarke 0:31:39
Ross Clarke 0:31:47
Richard Wood 0:33:17
Tony May 0:35:02
Darren Powell 0:35:13
Chris Olley 0:35:40
Steve Clarke 0:36:29

So, as another season gets going, another Clarke brothers' ding dongs beckons. They're as close as ever.

Some great times from the rest of the team too, there are evidently a few miles in the training bank.