Wednesday, 1 June 2016

North Bucks Festival of Cycling inc National Masters

Paul closest to National Podium on a busy weekend

always up for a dig: Richard
We're fortunate to have some ambitious race organisers in our local area. It means that we regularly get to ride the National Masters Championships with only an hour's drive. So, unsurprisingly, the team turnout was good this weekend for this Festival in Newton Longville near Milton Keynes.

Jason (Bs) got things going accompanied by Chris and Richard in the Cs. Fearless as ever, Richard got into one or two moves but the course was not particularly selective and there was minimal wind which made it generally more difficult to stay away. Jason tried to be a bit more conservative and finished just inside the top 20: "It felt a little bit easier this year than last," he said afterwards. "Hopefully it wasn't and I have a bit more form."
another chip off the front by Neil

Michael Skipsey, Guy and Neil were in the 'biggest' age group in the afternoon. The 45-49 Ds were well represented with a smattering of ex pros and plenty of local speed merchants. Neil decided he was going to do whatever he had to to get in a break. Having attacked and succeeded with Martin Smith of Dream Cycling on lap four, the duo were joined by Gray Turnock and one other but the bunch woke up to the threat within half a lap. Neil also woke up to the fact that his legs may not have survived much longer! Michael was our man for the sprint, but seemed to launch about 1km early and despite a massive effort, his lone attack was swallowed up with about 500m to go. Guy was just happy to get round and also survive a nudge into the verge around the last bend.

So on to Sunday then, the Central League Road Race with Chris Burns, our newest recruit and the Es and Paul Caton, our most 'experienced' campaigner. 

Chris rode a pretty canny race in the 234 and although he missed the break, managed a respectable acceleration in the finale to take 13th place and a couple of Central League Points. Handy.


conserving energy
"I can't say I was brimming with confidence before the start as my form has only just returned after a hard winter of cyclo cross plus the circuit was pretty flat with no real climb to make a move or make some legs hurt". He had however, saved his new TMGPRO Road Suit for the occasion.

Paul was pretty active in the first half of the race trying to make a break work whilst also being alert to the many counter attacks by the other riders including Jim Moffatt of CC Luton. It became apparent though that the peloton was not going to let anything go so he decided to sit in a bit and wait for something to happen on the last lap but in doing so missed eventual winner Ralph Carter clip of the front and solo to the win.

sprinting for 5th
Biding his time in the bunch, he positioned himself well for the sprint which meant quite a bit of assertive riding with elbows to keep a good place in the last kilometre. With a flat sprint into a headwind this was not a finish ideally suited to his lean build.

"I sensed a slight hesitation in the peloton so with 200 metres to go I launched my sprint," he recalls. "I actually held a medal place until 20 metres to go when 3 more powerful riders managed to get round me. So I ended up 5th, initially I was really disappointed but in retrospect it was not a bad ride on a course which was for from ideal for me."

Thanks to Andy Whitehouse for the great pictures and Wayne Thomas and the team at North Bucks Road Club for taking on such a massive organisational job.

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