Calthwaite E12 Road Race

By Jon Fowles

Adam and I raced the Calthwaite Road Race on Sunday. This race was organised by Rock to Roll cycles, who also organise the Smithfield road race and Hadrians Wall road race, both course that I enjoy very much. Therefore I was looking forward to this race!

Despite being close to the Lake District, the course was fairly flat, with the only distinctive features being a few small rises and corners. This meant it would be hard to split the pack up with a breakaway, and I wasn’t keen on it coming to a bunch finish. With this in mind, from the gun I started attacking. Hoping that the high pace and attacks would let a break get clear.

The first few attempts didn’t work, but I prompted Adam to keep attacking whenever my attempts failed so we always had a man up the road. On the second lap a small group of 8 or so riders managed to break clear. Unfortunately it had neither Adam or I in it!!! As this group had a fairly decent gap, I waited for the pace to slow and someone to attack so I could jump on their wheel and bridge across. It took a pretty horrific effort, but after pedalling hard and dribbling a bit I managed to make it across the gap to the riders up front. We then set about hitting the pace to extend our lead. This was hard work and clearly took its toll on some of the escapees, who dropped off the back.

After three laps riding hard, we thought we’d done enough to get out of reach of the peloton when the commissaire car dropped behind our group. We were wrong. The bunch loomed behind us, and for another lap we tried as hard as we could, with tired legs and in a disorderly fashion to stay clear. We were caught on the penultimate lap, and I was pretty cooked. I sat in the bunch and tried to stick with any counter attacks.

Three riders managed to break clear with an opportunistic move, and neither me nor Adam had the any legs left to go with it. We decided to sit in the remains of the bunch and wait for the sprint for the remaining places. I managed to stay out of trouble at the front of the bunch and finish in 9th place. Unfortunately Adam was held up behind a car and finished with the rest of the bunch.

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LVRC National Championship Road Race

By Ste Feeney

This weekend the LVRC (League of Veteran Racing Cyclists) National Road Race Championship was being held in Yorkshire and Craig, Kris and I went along in search of glory and a national title.

Craig and Kris are not newcomers to veteran racing. Craig won the National Time Trial title earlier this year and Kris was a medalist in last year’s road race. It was my first time though as I took a weekend off battling against the youngsters! As relative youngsters in the veteran racing community, we were racing in the 40-45 year age group.

After my appalling display in last weekend’s road race I decided to try and prepare a little better this week so I had an easy ride during the day, stayed off the Rioja and refrained from any swinging from the chandeliers the night before!

Craig and I travelled to the race together (he loves my driving) and, unusually, arrived in good time. With over an hour to go before the race, at 9am, the temperature was already well into the 20’s and the heatwave forecast looked accurate!

Kris had brought his turbo trainer for a pre race warm up but in these conditions he quickly overheated and joined me for a spin instead.

Jamie Sharp from Feathers RT was the big favourite but, no doubt, Craig and Kris would also be watched men. I also expected an old rival, Andrew Sedgwick from Rutland CC, to be in the mix.

The race was to be contested over 9 laps of a challenging 6 mile course, which included a decent climb, fast descent and a draggy run to the finish line.

As we set off in sweltering conditions we had something of a plan, watch out for Jamie and for any early breaks.

Kris was active from the very start but couldn’t break clear. After the flurry of early attacks a small group had got clear, it included Jamie and we’d missed it!

As the break began to form a decent lead of some 30-40 seconds, I managed to get clear in a chase group of around 8 riders but only a few of us seemed willing to contribute to the chase and the break was going clear.

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After a frustrating lap or so in the chase group, which had somehow pulled away from the bunch but lost significant ground on the break, Craig bridged across to us. This was significant and willing fire power for the chase group but, still, only a handful of riders were committed to the chase and only offered sporadic assistance.

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As the laps went by, the group whittled down until we had a decent working foursome. There was some drama when my chain fell off while slamming it into the big ring but thankfully we had a big enough gap over any chasers so that, even though I had to stop to put it back on, nobody caught up. Craig had waited for me so working together we soon rejoined our fellow chasers and normal service was resumed, at least until we became 3 shortly after! 4 riders were still clear and they were out of sight.

With 3 laps to go the heat and tough course were taking their toll. Craig had a momentary flirtation with cramp but this soon passed and as a three some we persisted with what was to be an unsuccessful chase.

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We rolled over the line in 6th and 7th place, rueing a missed opportunity, Kris finished in the bunch just behind.

As we rolled to a halt back at the HQ the heat suddenly hit us. When we opened the car doors we were hit by a hot blast of air akin to opening an oven door to check on the Sunday roast ( I don’t think anyone who knows me believed, even momentarily, that I have ever done this!)

A couple of cold drinks and a filthy MacDonald banana milkshake later we were feeling better again.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first veterans race and may try my hand at a few more. I’d like to thank the Out of the Saddle ‘ race team for putting on a great event and congratulate Jamie Sharp on a well earned victory.

With thanks to the organisers the LRVC

Many thanks for the pictures, John Robert Potter

And of course our sponsors, Leisure Lakes Bikes, Specialized Bicycles and Chronomaster Wristwatches 

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Calthwaite 3/4 Road Race 18/06/2017

By Neil Wood

It wasn’t the best start to a day ever. I only got to bed at 1 am after one of my daughter’s pet rodents escaped and we spent hours looking for the little critter. Annoyingly,  I woke up at 4 am which was over an hour earlier than my alarm was due to go off, so with just three hours sleep I devoured some serious breakfast and strong coffee which seemed to do the job.

I met team mate George Whittaker and made the two hour journey North with plenty of spare time to sign on, pin numbers and make last minute bike checks. There we met team mates, John Myburgh in our race, as well as Adam Baines and Jon Fowles who were in the E/1/2/3 race.

We got off to a rolling start on a beautiful sunny day around 26 degrees, with little wind, in truly stunning countryside on good condition roads which were virtually free of traffic. The course was a rolling one, with a few inclines, the most notable being a 500 metre uphill drag coming out of a sharp left bend up towards the finish line. I knew that whilst it was going to be a decent pace, the uphill drag was going to take every bit of strength at the finish as a full field of 60 riders were going to be sprinting for the finish line up a hill on a wide section of road giving ample room to avoid getting boxed in. So a full on, and all out sprint finish, after a fast 50 mile race which averaged over 25 mph, was to be expected.

After around 5 miles George managed to get himself in a four man break with a rider from Blumilk Racing and John Stephenson from Barrow Central Wheelers who we regularly see at the local crit races along with one other. They got away from the bunch as the team mates of the breakaway slowed it down a bit at the front to give them some distance. This worked for a while but the break got whittled down to two and after a few more miles, there was just one, George making a heroic solo effort. He had some distance at this stage and was virtually out of sight. Nobody was prepared to chase, least of all his team mates.

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After a couple more miles, Rock 2 Roll cycles, who had a full team of 8 riders decided that they had had enough and assembled the entire team at the front of the peloton, picked up the pace by a couple of miles an hour and began riding a well drilled through and off in order chase George down. This impetus from Rock 2 Roll attracted about four or five more riders to share the work load and joined the through and off chase. Myself and John were not participating but realised this cooperation at the front now meant George’s number was up, and he was soon brought back in. There were a few more attempted breaks, but nothing stuck.

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On the bell lap the pace increased and riders were trying to get good positions to the front of the bunch including myself, John and George. Around 4 miles from the finish, John got to the front and I stuck on his wheel. He stepped up a big gear and pushed it for a couple of miles as I tucked into his wheel. At this stage in a race, when somebody is leading out at a fast pace like this, very few are prepared to get to the front due to the effort it would take so we maintained our positions. John started to tire a little bit and eased off the pace.

Then cue in John Charles from Bella in Sella, known affectionately as JC, took control at the front. Rewind to last Thursday night at a crit race at Preston Arena, myself John and George were racing there as well as JC.  John was leading us out on for two laps and on the final lap, JC somehow managed to get in front of me as I took a corner wide, so he stuck to John’s wheel like glue. In the final bend, JC came off his wheel and sprinted to the finish line with a powerful burst of acceleration to take a comfortable win. Today JC returned us the favour and took over lead out duty from John, and absolutely smashed it for well over a mile and led us out to the left had bend taking us into the uphill drag to the finish line, and again, the pace being so robust that nobody was prepared to try to get past him, so he led us to a great position, peeled off and left us to the final sprint.

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I was in a good position and was second wheel as somebody came around us on the corner. I didn’t know this rider in front of me, but I could see he was strong and speeding up so stayed on his wheel. Half way up I had a decision to make. I knew I had something left in the tank. So did I come off his wheel to pass him and try to take a win or did I sit tight? I looked up and the finish line was 100 metres away. The bit I had left would have only been good enough for a 20 metre burst so I sat tight until he started to slow. I rode around him, but so did three other riders who came off my wheel and there was a mad 20 metre all out sprint for the line and I managed to hold position to secure myself  4th place.

John was agonisingly close to a top 10 position taking 12th place. George, usually so strong was tired from his breakaway effort finished in the bunch. Thanks John, George and John Charles. Also a big thanks to our sponsors Leisure Lakes Bikes and Specialized Bicycles, and without this bike, it’s unlikely I would have got 4th on a 500 metre uphill sprint

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I got home very tired with a total of four hours of driving, two hours of racing and three hours of sleep, but I perked up straight away when I got some lovely surprise father’s day gifts from my 3 beautiful daughters.

Thanks to Robin Clark from Rock 2 Roll Cycles for organising another great race.

Thanks to Ellen Isherwood for the great photos

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Nick Clark and Ginger Smallwood Road Race 11/06/2017

By Tommy Bustard

We don’t usually write a race report for criterium races as they are raced so frequently and compared to road racing can be regarded as a bit tedious from the reader’s point of view. But I have to mention that on Saturday I raced in the Prologue Performance Circuit Series 2 which was the day before the Nick Clarke. The Prologue Performance is an E/1/2/3 National B race at the Bodington Cycle Circuit in Leeds, so attracted some top riders from around the North. It was an hour long race with constant high intensity attacks. This was a race that I won in the final sprint by gaining a 20 meter gap from a 4 man breakaway group to take the win.

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This race saw me get tired legs and I woke up on Sunday morning to race in the Nick Clark with legs that I know had been in a race the day before. This was going to be a tough race. It is an E/1/2 National B race in the middle of the country so attracted riders from North and the South. No matter though, there is nothing ever easy about racing and there are many stage races where races are one day after the other, you just have to deal with that.  The other thing that you have to deal with is a long journey to Buckinghamshire for the next race. Fortunately the start time was at 2pm so I did not have to get up at stupid o clock to get there.

Despite being a little bit tired from Saturday, that didn’t stop Tommy van big blade. The only way to deal with any tiredness is to attack and ride the pain out.  The attacks were instant from the off.  A man got away in the first few Kilometer and I did not want to miss any opportunities, so I bridged in the cross wind solo like an absolute boss.  I say that because nobody else wanted to deal with the head wind so I went at it alone.  For the what seemed a very long time we went flat out and stuck to a well drilled through and off rhythm with my fellow warrior. However since there was only two of us, an intrepid group of about 9 riders caught us.

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They had fresher legs and we stuck with them and worked really well all race. We managed the pace and eventually got a gap of 1 minute and 30 seconds. With two laps to go it started kicking off and the breakaway riders started to attack one another, turns were missed to save legs and the cooperation between us was all but over.  Since nobody was working well together any more, I decided to launch a solo attack, went off and got a 10 second gap. So close to the end, they were not going to let me get away that easily, so got caught within the closing final few hundred meters and just hung on for 7th. I would have preferred a win, but a big improvement and not bad considering my effort the day before and my solo attacks taking the energy out of me, and 7th place in a National B meant 27 points in the bag. In all not a bad weekend for me.

With thanks to the organiser Desmond Gayler

Thank you to sponsors Specialized Bicycles, Leisure Lakes Bikes, OTE Nutrition and Chronomaster Wristwatches

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North Wales KOM Series Round 3 – Day 2

By Kris Zentek.

After yesterday’s torrential driving rain, I’m sure everyone was happy to see a break in the clouds for the second stage of round 3 of the North Wales KOM series. Although the rain had rescinded, the wind had not – a strong easterly was with us on the island of Anglesey, with gusts upwards of 50mph.19023257_1340142469434661_3139712153202302245_o19025239_1340142196101355_4171809762700540112_o

The course for today ‘appeared’ to contrast yesterdays, with 1500m of elevation over the 43 miles (three laps). But on closer inspection it was anything but flat. The circuit was a continuous profile of ascents and descents with not a flat bit of road in sight.

Yesterday’s stage was won by George Evans from Team Bottrill, with an impressive solo attack a full lap out. Adam was high on the leader-board, coming in a really strong 13th yesterday after losing touch with what was left of the bunch on the drag up to the finish. Ste and I were comfortably mid table after marshalling the back of the race.

We rolled out of the HQ at on 11am, through the town of Llangefni and onto the climb that took us up to the circuit. As the lead car set us off, we were straight onto a rolling descent and within seconds were at warp speed with attack after attack, the stronger riders trying to take advantage of the blustery wind. From the Strava fly-by you can see the effect that hand on the bunch – riders at the back were being dropped with every kick, corner and rise.

19092890_1340141202768121_4737151927698412517_oSte and Adam were at the head of the race, and were very active in covering the moves to try and get in a break that stuck, but with the pace of the bunch and the winds, only a really strong group would manage to stay away. Although there were a few promising attempts, inevitably every attack was brought back.

19024926_1340141456101429_4209278750969316578_oAs we entered the final lap, the field was reduced to maybe 50 riders, and we were all back together. No-one had managed to form the decisive break, and this had resulted in a very twitchy bunch. Relentless accelerations and compressions were taking their toll on many legs, and so when Dan Evans (who had been attacking all day) managed to clip away with Dave Griffiths, there was a brief respite. Soon they were out of sight, and George Evans made an attempt to bridge to them, defending his lead.

Over the remainder of the last lap, other riders tried long bids for glory, but inevitably this caused the bunch to start chasing again. Kris, Ste and Adam jumped on the front to help with the effort to pull the soloists back in. Adam was on our wheels and as we hit a rise he attacked. Ste and Kris did their best to let him get a gap by disrupting the pace of the bunch. A couple of riders chased and a small group of 4 were away. We could see up the road though that fatigue was affecting them, and soon Adam was on his own again maybe 200 yards off.

18954854_1340141109434797_4891599611302785937_oAs we got to the final kilo the bunch accelerated and we soon overtook the remaining stragglers including Adam, who after two days of hard efforts, was spent. Four riders had managed to stay away and the win was contested by Dan Evans and Dave Griffiths, with Dave having the better sprint on the day. George rolled in shortly after, just ahead of Matt Davies from Rhino Racing. The bunch sprint was manic but everyone stayed upright and Kris, Ste and Adam all rolled in with the bunch.

The overall top 10 for the weekend:
1. George Evans – Team Bottrill – HSS Hire
2. Oliver Blagden – Cardiff University Marmots
3. Owen Line – VCUK VELOCHAMPION Racing Team
4. Joshua Curtis – Lovelo Cinelli RT
5. David Griffiths – Mammouth Lifestyle
6. Matthew Davies – Rhino Velo Race Team
7. Dan Evans – Team Elite
8. Daniel Pullen – SunSport Velo
9. Chris Pook – Rhino Velo Race Team
10. Tarn Fynn – Manchester Bicycle Club

Adam, Ste and Kris finished in 30th, 32nd and 37th places respectively.

Overall this was a fantastic weekend of racing. Both days were extremely well organised, marshalled and in some horrendous weather conditions that was no mean feat. It was bad for the riders, but the supporting staff all stood up to the conditions to make sure that everyone was safe from harm. I can’t thank them enough for that!

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed both races. The wind and rain made it very challenging and I have to say a lot of fun! I’m on my way back to getting fit, and this weekend was a bit of a milestone for me. I’m looking forward now to the second half of the season, and hopefully some finishes a bit further up the leader board…

Photo’s courtesy of Peter Nash.

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Dave Hitchen 2-Day – Race Report

By John Myburgh

Saturday morning and the weather looked great… if you were born with gills and had webbed feet. Yes, a typical summer monsoon awaited Warren and myself as we met up with our team mates (on loan from Team ASL [Dave Stammers & Ben Dobson] and Bill Nickson Cycles RT [James Claydon]) to take part in the 2017 edition of the Dave Hitchen 2-day race. Normally we would have a few people from the team trying to get into the race however most of the team were racing away this weekend.

We met at Day 1’s headquarters to sign on and the rain was bouncing off the tarmac. I’ll be honest, I was not looking forward to racing in it but signed on, got my numbers and had chatted with a few friends. Warren swam walked in and signed on, Stammers had already signed on, Ben was signing on so we were just waiting for James but it looked like we had a team ready to race.

We agreed we would go find a cafe somewhere for a coffee and headed for Pimbo Garden Centre where we faffed about a bit while we waited for our slot and got coffee. The rain eased and stopped just as we started making our way to stage 1, a team time trial. Only 4 miles so pretty straight forward, hit it from the gun and hang on. Only it was not that straight forward…

Dave Hitchen RR Day 1 - 4

Before the train’s wheels fell off.

First an injury I’ve been struggling with rendered my left leg almost useless (I popped) and then Stammers (who needs a good warmup now that he is getting on in the years) blew. So it was left to Warren, James and Ben to carry the team to the end. We finished way down the order in a disappointing 9m42 which put us almost right at the bottom. But the rain held off so something to be cheerful about I guess.

I was in no mood for the race, feeling bad for letting the team down and with my left leg throbbing I wanted to pack in however Warren convinced me to just have a crack at stage 2 and then make a call. It was well worth it!

My tactic was simple, sit in the bunch and do no work, hang on and see how I get on, if I can survive. The whistle went and we were off. Most people that have raced at Pimbo knows it’s rather boring, four left hand corners and four straights connected by some dodgy riding from the peloton.

Dave Hitchen RR Day 1 - 1From the gun there were a few surges as riders tried to force a break and eventually a rather large break went up the road. The fun and entertainment was about to start. VCUK Velochampion won the TTT but they appeared to have missed the break. Every time they went to the front or tried to bridge across the Pro Vision riders shut them down as they had a man in the break. I know it can be very frustrating if you try and chase a break down and you have other teams shutting you down but…

I started noticing how the VCUK riders where helping each other in the peloton, a gentle push here and there, drill it on the front and then your team mate will gently help you along… If I’m honest, it really pissed me off however they weren’t making much progress so if it made them happy…

Anyway, eventually, after a lot of surges, strung out riding, hiding from the wind and so on we started eating into the lead of the break. A sign of things to come, we started picking people up who dropped back from the break and as we entered the last lap they were within touching distance. It came down to a bunch sprint and one of the guys from the break won the race but our James bagged himself 7th. Warren, Ben, Stammers and I rolled in with the bunch.

I was so busy concentrating during the race that I hardly noticed my left leg and although it was a bit sore I was actually chirpy and looking forward to the third and last stage on Sunday morning.

With the weather looking better and it being reasonably warm (warmer) it looked like a great day for racing. Having met the team at HQ we all got ready and rolled out for the pre race briefing. With the necessities out of the way we rolled onto the course and on our way to the start. Although it was supposed to be a neutralised ride to the start it was a pretty fast ride and I was wishing I did a proper warm-up!

When the flag dropped everyone went like their tales were on fire. For the first couple of laps the pace was relentless as riders again tried to force a break. A few brakes went but were pulled back almost immediately.

Eventually about 6 or 7 got up the road and the pace eased off a bit. The only real hard part of the race was a drag over the finish line, normal riding it would be easy but at race pace and with yesterday’s race in my legs it was hard.

I managed to get half way until the pain in my left leg became too much and I packed in. James, Ben and Warren though carried on and all three of them finished in the top 10, James – 3rd, Ben 7th and Warren 10th.

Dave Hitchen 2-Day - Stage 3 2

I’ll be working hard to get the injury I have sorted so I can have another go at this race. Thanks to St Helens CRC for putting on the race and also big thanks to Ellen Isherwood for taking photos! (Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3)

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The Epic North Wales KOM Series 2 day Day 1

By Adam Baines

I loved all the North Wales races I did last year, but I missed two for one reason or another. this weekend allowed me to do both of them back to back.

I was joined by Craig (our climbing King), Mr consistent Ste and my new sleeping partner 😉 Kris, who was testing his legs after a spell of illness. As you can see, we had a strong team with a very good chance of getting a result.

Now I’ve had a run of good luck weather wise in all my races so far this year and I’ve even got some decent tan lines to prove it! Not bad for the UK, but I knew at some point that luck would run out. Today was that day. Having stayed in an apartment down the road from the race HQ in order to gain some extra minutes beauty sleep, I woke up to the trees bent double and a sound similar to someone pissing on the window. No it wasn’t Craig returning from one of his famous benders, it was the rain. This was tropical monsoon standard. So bad I had to check if the race was going ahead. It was, but it had been shortened from 3 laps down to 2. So that was 60 mile down to 40. A shame because the course was set to be a cracker.

One attraction to the North Wales races is the long circuits and this was a 20 mile loop taking in some stunning scenery and some cracking climbs. Visibility was at a minimum so it was left down to the other senses (mainly pain) to take in what we were taking on.

With the shortened course it was always going to be fast, so I made sure I had a good warm up to be ready for the early attacks. As predicted the race kicked off as soon as the flag was dropped. The race started immediately on to the first climb. The pace was so fierce that Craigs rear mech decided to spit his chain off and save him from the imminent leg ripping. If his rear mech had consulted Craig first, it would have perhaps found out that Craig was relishing this challenge and was perhaps our best chance of a result.

Wheels were being dropped all over the place and I spotted the danger and moved up, sitting about 10 wheels from the front. This proved to be a great decision. Kris playing it safe near the back was our second victim. Riders losing the wheels left Kris in a rear echelon groupetto. Not all bad though as Kris has now formed a pseudo welsh male choir with the friends he made singing their way through the remaining misery.

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Kris and his male voice choir 

That left Ste and me, Ste taking his usual spot at the rear of any remaining riders and me sticking around 10th wheel trying to hide from the gales blowing us all around (did I mention the weather was bad?) After the second climb, the course took us on to exposed rolling roads with some fast, twitchy descents. For me this was the most fun part of the course.

Even after the monster efforts on the climbs, the front men were drilling it over the tops and down the other sides in a hope to shell more and more riders. It was constant, there was no let-up but I was feeling good and loving how hard it was.

Second and final lap, George Evans from Team Bottrill made a heroic effort and disappeared up the road and we were down to about 15 men in the front group. Not being challenged enough by the mountainous terrain and dreadful weather, Ste had decided to wear the very latest in cycling training aids; the cycle-chute. This inevitably took its toll and Ste missed the final split.

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Ste in his cycle-chute

Surprisingly this left me! My form has been coming and today the hard work was paying off. It was still hard and I’ve no idea how I managed to hold on to some of the attacks but I was still there and having fun. With 15 left the group was still too large for any cohesion and various individuals were trying to get away.

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Adam hiding

On the rolling part of the course in to a fierce headwind, two lads slipped away and the group seemed to sit up. The two lads up the road were still in sight and I was feeling good. With one last steep kick before the last long descent, albeit in to the same headwind, I went for it. I just rode as hard as I could and I seemed to be making good ground on the lads in front. Blinded by a vision of podiums I failed to see that 2 Rhino Velo lads had jumped on my wheel. I flicked for them to come through which they did, along with another 8 riders. I slipped on to the back of them hoping to regain some strength before the final 15% kick before the climb to the finish.

At the bottom of the descent there was a sharp left on to the afore mentioned finisher. And finish me it did. With only half a mile to go I lost the wheel in front of me. I fought as hard as I could to get back on, but with the conditions, they dangled about 10 metres in front of me all the way to the finish line. I rolled over in 13th position. Ste came in the next group at 33rd and Kris was ‘singing’ up the rear in 41st. Credit to George Evans from Team Bottrill who held on for the win.

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Adam wasted

Thanks as always to our generous sponsors, Chronomaster watches, Specialized and Leisure Lakes Bikes.

A massive thank you must go to all the marshals and NEG riders who turned out in those conditions just so us weirdos could punish ourselves. And of course, another massive thank you to Simon Parkinson and everyone at V C Melyd and Ynys Mon Race Team who put on fantastic events time and time again. I’m sure I speak for everyone at Team Chronomaster when I say I can’t speak highly enough of this race series, Thank you.

 

Cycle-chutes now available at Leisure Lakes:

http://www.leisurelakesbikes.com/speed-resistance-training-exercise-parachute-umbrella-cycle-chute-outdoor

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