LVRC National Time Trial Championship

by Ste Feeney

On Sunday I took part in the annual LVRC time trial championships, which have been held in Warwickshire for many years now. This was my second participation. The first one being last year although my reasons for entering that one differed slightly from this year.  Last year I bought a new Time trial bike to use mainly in a few early team time trials. However, as the ‘Beast from the East’ forced their cancellation, I thought I’d better do a time trial and test the new steed.

The LVRC time trial seemed like a perfect opportunity. I hadn’t really done a decent time trial for a few years but, despite being well beaten for the win that year, I was really pleased to be amongst some really good riders and ‘testers’ which gave me some renewed enthusiasms for solo events. I did a few more time trials that year and had a few decent results so when I entered this year I hoped to improve on my 4th place from the year before. Despite a quiet start to the year, I knew I was in pretty good shape after our annual trip to Majorca, so was going to give it my all!

Unfortunately for team mate Craig, a heavy fall and broken arm suffered during the final few miles of the Majorca trip ruled him out of this year’s race so I was the team’s sole representative on the day.

The race distance had increased from the previous year, up from 13 to 17.5 miles. After studying the new route I realised that this essentially removed a particularly steep, unpleasant climb after around 4 miles (a climb that resulted in our Tony Greenhalgh renaming the event the National hill climb TT champs!). Therefore, I believed the route would be a rolling one with no nasty surprises.

In the days leading to the event I had decided that I was going to use my 50mm front wheel as I expected some blustery winds and also to keep my bike weight down for the hilly route. This meant altering the brakes. As I removed the brake cover to access the front brake I noticed how dirty it was inside and decided to clean it. Unfortunately (and this won’t come as a surprise to those familiar with my mechanical skills), my heavy handedness, a source of many broken bolts and sheared threads over the years, meant I cracked the fairing right down the middle! However, I convinced myself that the tidy repair job executed (specifically, the generous helpings of shiny, smooth insulation tape) had actually reduced the front end drag of my bike.

As I prepared for the start I knew I’d have to pace myself well. Last year I’d crawled along on the final couple of miles and finishing steep climb after pushing too hard early on. As I set off I settled quickly into a nice rhythm and my leg sensations indicated I might be on a ‘good day’ so I was careful not to get carried away. The cross winds at the start were noticeable and I was glad to have opted for ‘only ‘ a 50mm front wheel. The use of my beloved Campagnolo rear disc wheel was never in doubt.  After an early glance down at my computer to check progress I realised I hadn’t reset it after my warm up so a quick reset and I was on my way! I don’t use a power meter or heart rate monitor so I had to have some reference, even if that was only speed and distance covered.

After a 2.4 mile crosswind stretch, the course veered left, up a bit of a drag to what I termed the top of the course. This turned out to be a lovely stretch of straight, virtually flat, traffic free, open road (save for just one short, steep, climb) that took us to a left hand turn just before the halfway point.  Here I realised that, although I had correctly identified the exclusion of the nasty, steep climb from last year, I had failed to assess that a different longer and steeper climb had replaced it!  As my speed was almost instantly wiped away by the gradient, I engaged a gear pretty close to, if not actually, my bottom gear and pushed on to the top trying not to press too hard so I wouldn’t be able to get going again. Once over the top I quickly got back into my rhythm, making decent progress through some winding lanes and rolling climbs. The miles seemed to pass quickly as I headed to the finish, maintaining a good pace all the way and not feeling like I was fading as I had the previous year. Onto the last climb and, unlike last year, I sprinted up it full bore to the finish line.

I was so pleased with my finishing sprint that I wondered whether I had pressed hard enough in the race. As the results came in I realised I had taken the win by just 3 seconds and had no doubt that my  hill climb esque sprint finish probably clinched the win.

I was joint fastest on the day as well as winning my age category.

Top 3: Me 41:45 David Kiernan- (Race Rapid) 41:48 Tim Smith – (Welland Valley CC) 42:12

I was naturally delighted to win my first national title and even more pleased after analysing the results afterwards and realising that the 2nd place rider had actually put 41 seconds into me last year in this event over the shorter distance!

I am a great believer in a pint of Guinness the night before a race but realised I’d actually benefited from an accumulation of Guinness consumption over a few days before the race. Therefore, I shall be conducting further experimentation in order to establish the optimum  Guinness consumption rate and period in the build up to events!

I’d like to thank the organisers, Team Jewson/ M.I.Racing, who have put on this great event for many years and to all the helpers and Marshalls that contributed to such a well run event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blogs

SB Hub Development Race #2

It’s been quite a while since I pinned a race number on amidst scenery as charming as the Forest of Bowland. So far, this season’s racing has mostly consisted of racing at the crit track at Salt Ayre. The Time Trial near Ilkley was a great setting but rolling in to the village of Bolton by Bowland, crossing the River Ribble on stone bridges characteristic of rural Lancashire was a great start to the day.

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Also on the start sheet were Jimmy, Tom Bracegirdle and Tom Hanlon. Jimmy had come into this on the back some good results in E12 races and both Toms are suited to racing on rolling courses like this one. However, it seemed that due to living in the independent state of Cheshire that has it’s own time zone, Tom B only arrived as the race was rolling out.

That meant that there was only three of us in the race. Although there nearly wasn’t… a slight mechanical issue saw the rest of the race setting off without me. The thought of not actually racing despite being in full kit on the start line gave me enough of a kick to catch up with the race. After a 5 min chase, I was back on.

The first 5km saw us climb gradually on a narrow, single track road towards the top of the course. We had been informed that the road surface was good with some areas that had been marked up. Nevertheless, when there’s a peloton of 60 in front of you, spotting white paint on the road isn’t easy. Tom was also keen to test everyone’s legs and hit out early on. There was no immediate response and Tom opened up a gap. Surely someone would join him and disappear up the road. We continued and Tom remained out front. A couple of kilometres passed. Still nobody moved. Then a frustrated Tom returned to the peloton to bide his time for an attack later on.

As we hit the first descent, the sound of potholes crunching through rims and the ensuing hiss of pinch flats could be heard and I made a mental note of where not to be next time round.

A 90º left turn on to an exposed road, had the effect of string the peloton out into single file making moving up very difficult.

Jimmy looked good and had been hovering around the front of the bunch. The response to his first attack showed that he was a marked man. The most fun part of the descent was a steep drop down to a bridge with a chicane and then a sharp rise from the other side of the bridge that was a perfect place for a full on sprint to string everyone out again.

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Jimmy was active throughout the race

As we returned to Bolton by Bowland and flew through the village to start climbing again. Jimmy had put in another attack. Another good move and he wasn’t alone. However, it had been noticed and the bunch flew up the steepest part of the climb with the fastest climbers wanting to close the gap. Jimmy’s group of 4 had all been caught within a kilometre of climbing. Once the group had been absorbed nothing else happened.

On lap 3 we descended in to Bolton by Bowland village and saw Tom sat on the bend. Puncture. Race over. Just me and Jimmy left in now.

40589590253_bcbc2d6e90_kThe racing continued in this manner for 4 more of the 5 laps, with the pace increasing only to neutralise the attack and then bunch up and look around at each other. This type of racing was frustrating for the riders that didn’t want to get away. The bunch had been reduced but not by as much as we would’ve liked.

Towards the top of the course, 4 riders attacked including Will Lewis (High Peak Cycles RT). A  good place to make a move and they opened up a gap quickly. The advantage the break maintained was not huge and as we descended into the village one final time with 2km uphill to the finish, they were within touching distance. I started the climb near the front, with Jimmy somewhere behind. On the steepest part of the climb the sprinting started with a kilometre remaining.

Jimmy past me as we hit the flatter section and we rolled in somewhere in the middle of the bunch. Well done to Will Lewis who was the fastest of the break and took 1st place.

Thanks to Ellen for the great pics.

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Cull Cup E/1/2 Pimbo, by Jimmy Smith

I’ve always had a love hate relationship with pimbo, at 6’4 it is definitely a course that plays to my strengths, but its usually held in less than ideal conditions, hence the hate! After last weeks dnf due to nearly getting hypothermia, i emptied my winter kit drawer into my kit bag, and spent the drive over to the HQ second guessing what i would wear to avoid last weeks disappointing run out! I settled on a skinsuit with a waterproof underneath, aero is everything after all! Luckily the weather gods were smiling on us, and we only really got a tiny bit of hail during the race, nothing like the monsoon conditions of last week.

Over the past few weeks i have had some frustrating races, having good legs but lacking the race sharpness to make it count. 15th at Clayton and getting into a few breaks last week had given me some confidence, so i went into this race with high hopes of some good legs and hopefully a good result.

Arguably, this was the best field i had lined up in so far this season, with a big chunk of the ribble squad fresh back from a training camp, along with a scattering of hitters from madison genesis, saint piran etc. I enjoy races with decent riders, they race in a much more aggressive way, and, for the most part, aren’t afraid to give really turns if you can match them.

The race started with myself, Kris, Joe and Si all in attendance.

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Dillon Byrne launched from the gun and as I was feeling good I did think about going with him, but lap 1 was wayyyy too early with 73 miles more to go. Kris and matt holmes were pegged on the front, and as we hit the headwind section on lap 2, they had managed to peg Dillon back. The bunch seemed to stall for a second, with Kris on the front I decided to give it a nudge in the gutter and managed to peel free with Ed Hopper and another Ribble rider.

We worked pretty well together, and i could see it was splitting to bits behind, so i was happy to be in the front of the race, in case some of the stronger riders managed to bridge across. Sure enough, by the end of the next lap, myself, Matt Holmes, Dillon, Si Wilson, Matt Nowell, Ed Hopper and Gruff Lewis had chipped away, and we all set about rolling through and off. And that was it really for 90% of the race, the odd echelon in the wind, smoothly rolling through, we managed to lap the bunch with around 15 laps to go, along with some legend on road skis (god knows). Kris and Si had been doing a great job of disrupting any chases behind, and Joe had managed to chip off the front into a strong chase group too.

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Coming into 5 laps to go, the work rate had slowed a bit, but I kept rolling through, with one eye on the back of the group in case of attacks. To be fair, i think the wind played a big part in the lack of attacks, with only a few really happening on the last lap. I was caught in two minds wether to try surf the wheels in the sprint, or to go for it and try get away, but with the firepower in the group, i knew that would be a big ask.

Coming into the final straight, i was pushed to the front, so i sat to the right of the road (opposite from the wind direction). I looked across to see Ed Hopper with all of the others on his wheel in the opposite gutter, so i took my opportunity and opened up my sprint early, in the hope of catching them off guard. With about 20m to go i still had clear road ahead of me, but was starting to tire, when i saw Matt holmes and Si wilson just starting to pull past on my left. Unfortunately there was nothing i could do and they managed to pip me to the line by half a bike length, disappointing, but strong rides from them both meant their results were hard earned.

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I am over the moon with a podium place at this race, my previous best being 11th way back in 2015. Hopefully all of the training (and ‘death camp’ in Tenerife) are starting to cement in the legs, and this is a sign of things to come this year

Thanks as always to all our sponsors, we all massively appreciate their support!
Also huge thanks to Ellen Isherwood for the fantastic pictures and braving the weather on an awful day, as usual at Pimbo!

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Posted in Blogs

Pimbo NWCR Road Race series #1 – 3/3/19

I’m of a certain age – old enough to remember the medicated toilet paper used in schools in the ‘70’s, which seemed to be made of antiseptic scented grease

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proof paper, that’s it IZAL…. only a Badgers nether region could put this stuff to good use, and I’m not

 talking about ‘the Badger’. Anyway such experiences as a child, plus the requirement to wear short pants up to the age of 16, sort of prepares you for future hardships.

Today’s Pimbo E/1/2 road race can only be considered a hardship. Racing around an industrial estate is down on the entertainment scale but when mixed with low temperatures and rain it gets quite grim (Grimbo). Unlike my schoolboy days, I decided to wear long pants (well bib longs), this might have saved me from the abandonment suffered by approximately half of the 70 odd field of Lycra clad masochists.

Coming back to that toilet roll, it’s no longer manufactured and changes hands for about £7 / roll on eBay, however, someone is making something of similar sturdy quality and a large roll of it must of fell off the back of a lorry onto the parcours. This created an item of interest during the 30 laps (x miles). Noting its gradual disintegration and movement across the road, trying to spot its new position and avoid it, was the main entertainment of the day. Unfortunately, towards the back end of the race I believe it claimed a few victims. I managed to avoid a rider sat in the road following the crash and used this as a mental ‘pick me up’ to continue the race. From lap 2 I couldn’t feel my fingers by lap 5 I started to look longingly at the side road where my (relatively warm and dry) car was parked. However I continued in the knowledge of collective suffering.

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Shaking my fingers to regain the feeling

The bell lap couldn’t come quick enough, by this time a solo leader Steven Parsonage (

Durham University Cycling Club) had made good his impressive escape and the diminished field eyed each other up for a sprint finish. I observed riders physically shaking from the hypothermic conditions, then I spotted Hamish Graham smoking a cigar, well not literally but looking calm and collected and more importantly warm in his full winter jacket. Knowing Hamish had done well on this course before I knew it was a good wheel to follow. Into the finishing straight the sprint opened up, I got out of the saddle turned my legs but experienced a distinct lack of forward propulsion, as if sat on a stationary train when the one beside you moves, I felt sick and nearly was by the time I crawled to the finishing line (in 29th place!).

Back to the ‘truck stop’ a shivering mess my wise and now warm teammate (due to his abandonment) presented me with a hot coffee, the best prize of the day.

Congratulations to the winner Steven Parsonage Durham University Cycling Club.

Many thanks to the organisers and Ellen Isherwood for standing in the rain taking photos.

Posted in Blogs

Racing abroad and the first ride on the S Works Tarmac.

It’s too early for proper racing but my season started today. I was lining up at the Josep Florencio Open in Montroig, a coastal village about 1.5 hours south of Barcelona. After receiving a whatsapp last Thursday that my former team mate and training partner, Boris, would also be racing, I was looking forward to racing with some mates and racing my new S Works Tarmac Disc for the first time. A much appreciated lift by my girlfriend, Gemma, meant I could get to the race in the middle of Catalonia and her choice of hits helped to gear me up for the race.

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The race is one that I had done once before, the 20 km circuit starts on a narrow street in the centre of town where it picks up the main road. This road is as flat as an iron and very fast and remains so until a sharp left turn inland through a town and the road starts winding up slowly at first, through another village, where the road kicks up towards the KOM point, that is followed a technical descent, then a left turn on to a dead straight plummet towards the start/finish.

After sign-on, I noticed a couple of jerseys that meant that today was going to be fast. Team Wiggins,  the pink of Lizarte (Movistar’s unofficial feeder team), as well as numerous Team Compak jerseys, who tend to dominate the podiums in the region.

We rolled out of the centre of town and hit the flat main road and I was already spinning in the 11 tooth. The Lizarte rider had started right out the back of the bunch, making the most of a patch of sunlight to keep warm and take a run-up at the roll out. However, by the first corner, he’d made up  40 places and was confidently moving through the bunch. I followed him and moved towards the front of the 186 man peloton.

The first real test came on the first climb, I was still quite well positioned as I came out the top of the town. It was here that I the lightness of the S works put me at an advantage, surging forward as I pushed on the pedals. Suddenly, my seat post slipped and went all the way down to the bottom, knowing that this had been my own fault was frustrating but I tried my best to deal with it, completing the rest of the climb out of the saddle.

We dropped down the twisty descent, here I could notice the extra grip in the corners, combined with the disc brakes allowed me to out brake riders around me. Then on the long descent, I started slipping back. I managed to hang on to the bunch as we crossed the start line, but on the flat road I found myself at the back of the bunch. I chanced putting my hand up for neutral service as I slipped back through the team cars, the last car that past me, the Lizarran team car,   they asked what I need and one of them stuck their head out and nipped up my seat post to where it should have been (approximately). I couldn’t quite believe my luck at managing to get this sorted. So after shouting “Muchas gracias” I made my way  back through the cars.

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Then came the next test. A 50 km/h head/cross wind had put everyone in the gutter. The strongest riders were using this to their advantage, putting everyone in the gutter. Three distinct groups formed. I managed to get across from the cars to back of the third group. I was desperate to get across to the next group, so I headed to the front and pulled with 4 or 5 riders as 50 sat on.

At the bottom of the climb, I managed to get on to the back of the next group. As we climbed, I was really paying for chasing so hard. There was still another group of 40 or so up the road that by this point, had opened up a gap of a minute. I rolled over the top of the climb hanging on to the back of this second group.

I managed a third lap before getting spat out of the group and absorbed and passed by the cars and rolling in for an early finish. The hard chase had been too much for me to maintain the pace later. Nevertheless, it had been great to really push the S works and see what it could do. It’s next outing won’t be until March and now I know how good this bike is, I can’t wait!

A couple of quick thanks to the Lizarran car for helping me out and Gemma for the support and photos. The winner was Stephen Bakker and Correntin Navarro of Wiggins Le Col was third.

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Aughton Road Race

Words by Adam Baines, photos by Ellen Isherwood.

It has been said that ‘La Vuelta’, for some, is the race of redemption. An opportunity for those pros who’ve had an ‘anno horribilis’ to salvage something from a season they’d rather forget.

So, in that vein, today was my Vuelta. John MacKellar and I were lining up in the rescheduled Aughton Road Race, just outside of Lancaster. After a pretty terrible year on the bike I was hoping to finish the season with a top ten result. John, having just returned from some well-earned R&R said he was just hoping to get around.

When we arrived at the race HQ, it couldn’t have been any more different from the Vuelta if we tried. Race HQ today was a quaint little Scout hut on the side of a hill, which looked like it hadn’t seen any sunlight or funding since it was built (I’m guessing circa 1973). It appeared to be held together with mould and moss, which was understandable given the current weather conditions. Far from the 30+ degrees of Spain we were faced with torrential sideways rain and temperatures just breaking into double figures.

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Not the Vuelta, but very pretty in its own right.

 

But despite the basic facilities and grim Northern weather, I was filled with fun, nostalgic thoughts of cub camps at Waddecar and Saturday morning school rugby. Mixed together with the familiar faces of the North West racing scene, I was very happy to be there and looking forward to getting stuck in.

At the race briefing it soon became apparent that the majority of the 60 names on the start list didn’t feel the same way. A disappointing turnout of 22 riders made up the full field. The others had obviously decided the lure of televised Spanish sun was more appealing.

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The committed 22 that were up for a race in tough conditions.

 

In my mind the small turnout meant that those who had taken to the start line were committed and this wasn’t going to be an easy race. The race consisted of 8 laps of a 7-mile circuit. From the start line, the route hit a fast descent which was followed by an undulating section before a long, stepped climb into a block headwind back up to the finish. There were no real areas where you could relax. The reduced field contained some strong lads so I just had a feeling it would split to pieces. Any early breaks would be difficult to bring back with such a small peleton, so I decided I was going to get involved straight away.

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Getting stuck in early

When the flag dropped I soon found myself on the front, I put in a bit of effort to get a small gap and see who would join me. I was quickly shut down and a Croston Velo lad rode over the top and got away. He was left dangling for a short time before we hit the steepest part of the climb, a 300m stretch of road at 10% (a stretch I would later come to hate!). A few of the skinny guys went after him and it was soon all back together again. Straight away Dan Ellis from Bella in Sella countered and I was ready for it. We went for it, each doing turns full gas. We were increasing the gap and things were looking promising. Carl Potter from Lancs Road Club joined us and we were going hard but it seemed like the peleton were catching us. The peleton thought they had us and they eased off. This was the moment. The move. In that split second, we went again and this time we made sure we got away. We soon turned left onto the finishing straight, gained a tailwind and really started to make the break.

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Getting the move going

Half a lap later we were joined by Phil Jones (Transition Race Team), Dan Dry (Lancaster Uni CC) and a local racing legend Karl Smith (Bott Cycles Race team). We were now 6 and working well. The next few laps were the hardest miles I’ve done for quite a long time and I began to suffer! With the realisation we had another 5 laps to go I decided I needed to conserve some energy and miss a few turns just to stay in the break.

This obviously didn’t go down to well with some of the others but I reassured the complainers that despite my extended recoveries, I wouldn’t be contesting the win, so there was no need for them to worry! I did what I could, when I could.

With 4 laps to go, we were told that the bunch behind had been decimated and there were 3 riders chasing at 2 minutes back, with a few riders in 1’s and 2’s behind them. At that point the pace relaxed but it was still fast enough to maintain the gap but now at a pace I could contribute to fully. However, despite this reduced pace, the fact I hadn’t raced since June was starting to take its toll. I could only hope that the attacks wouldn’t start until the last lap.

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John in a group behind before it completely broke up

With just over a lap to go we were heading into the headwind about to hit the steepest part of the climb. I was on Phil’s wheel when his chain dropped, there was a split second when I waited for him just to see if I could help him but by then a small gap had opened to the other 4 lads. I had to chase back on and reached them just as we hit that steep section. It was at this point the attacks began and I was doomed! There was nothing I could do, I didn’t have anything left in my legs to go with the attacks and they were soon up the road. My only hope was Phil would come past and I could jump on his wheel.

But when Phil did appear, he flew past me like a train. In fact, I’d have had more chance of jumping on the London to Glasgow Express from a platform in Carnforth Station than getting on Phil’s wheel. I was now faced with a tough solo lap to hang on to 6th position. I tried my best to measure my effort so that I wouldn’t completely implode on the headwind climb. It was a long, lonely, painful lap and as I turned onto the finishing straight the first of 2 chasers passed me. Finally, with 100m to go, despite my best efforts, I was passed again and had fallen to my finishing position of 8th.

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It was almost a bitter pill to swallow but that’s racing. I’d achieved my goal and I loved every minute of it. John put in a great post-holiday performance and finished not too far behind me in 10th

Congratulations to the winner Dan Dry who looked strongest all day, Dan Ellis who came in second and Phil Jones who put in a heroic effort to chase back on after his mechanical and finished 3rd.

A huge thank you to Graham Jones and his team of helpers from Lune Valley CC for not giving up on the race and turning out in the grim conditions to make the event happen.

Thanks to all the BC Commissaires for all their work this year and to the ever present Ellen Isherwood for the wonderful photos.

Thanks to our sponsors Chronomaster wristwatches, Leisure Lakes Bikes, Specialized, OTE Sports and Pearson Ferrier Estate Agents.

And from me, the last one of 2018, always remember to #PDH

Posted in Blogs

Team Chronomaster Road Race

by Stephen Feeney

On the 12th August, some 12 months after I’d organised our Team’s inaugural road race (with the assistance of many willing volunteers and friends) our second promotion of the 2018 season, our road race on the hilly Bashall Eaves ‘long’ circuit, took place.

This year Joe Bowers took over as race organiser meaning I would have the chance to capitalise on my usual end of season decent form. Unfortunately, although I was still on reasonable form, I was a little unsure of my condition going into the race due to a lack of races in the weeks preceding our event. However, I did appear to be in better condition than many of my teammates, several of them having already called an end to their successful seasons!

On the eve of the race, as I began packing my kit and start preparing (with my Guinness supper). the tragic news of the untimely passing of popular local cyclist Richard Taylor of Harry Middleton CC started to break. Just the day before he had posted about his latest exploits whilst on a cycling holiday (120 miles riding across the mountains of France with a rucksack on!) and my reaction was one of shock and disbelief.

Suddenly the prospect of racing seemed far from my thoughts, and undoubtedly many of the entrants to our race felt the same.

Richard was well known throughout the local race scene. His fondness for a post ride tipple never detracted from his obvious determination and commitment to the sport. He also gave back where he could and marshalled our Bolton by Bowland Road Race in June.

I can’t remember exactly when I first met Richard but I remember his warmth and immediately liking him and his attitude! I can recall racing with him a lot in 2017, a year in which he (eventually) achieved his first category racing licence.

Richard and me last season

He seemed to have more than his fair share of bad luck in races, punctures being a particular ‘Achilles heel’! Indeed, I can remember speaking to him during last year’s Chronomaster Road Race. I was marshalling and he’d had to abandon the event having punctured. To compound his woes, he’d actually punctured on a wheel he’d borrowed to replace his own punctured wheel. His spirit was not dampened, however, and he set off back to the headquarters stating his intention to stop at a shop en route and pick up some beers!

I can remember racing with him on the Manchester 2 day last year. He was close to his achieving his first category licence and looking for a good overall finish. His legendary, fearless ‘knee down’ cornering skills, coupled with some powerful riding between the twisty bits, had left him in a podium position going into the final hilly stage at Oakenclough. This perhaps not Richard’s favourite terrain.

As Richard began to feel the pressure on the main climb on the last couple of laps I did my best to ‘look after’ him. Offering encouragement and filling in the gaps where he was struggling to hold a wheel up the steep bit. Going into the last couple miles he was comfortable in what remained of the front group and poised to take a high position when he yet again suffered an untimely puncture that he would be unable to recover from.

That year Richard carried on racing until November, travelling around the country to find races, and did manage to get that first category licence. I’d kept in touch with him to keep abreast of his progress during that time and his commitment never seemed to wain.

At one time, there was talk of him joining our ranks. He already got on well with all of us and it’d have been great to have him in our team but I’m sure that applied to any club that he may have been connected with. However, unsurprisingly, he did have some very good friendships amongst his own team mates.

I am sure that most people that knew Richard will have several humorous accounts of times spent with him!

There were plenty of sad faces and tears at the Headquarters on the morning of the race as everyone tried to go about the business of bike racing.

A minutes silence to remember Richard was held before the race and his teammates, along with our own Tom Hanlon, former team mate and close friend of Richard, led the bunch during the neutralised procession.

As the race started, it was clear that it would be business as usual. This was appropriate and in keeping with Richard’s own mantra of hard pedalling. He had become synonymous with his own hashtag #pdh (pedal dead hard).

My tactic, based on recent races around Bashall Eaves, was to ride conservatively and try and keep with the leaders in what would no doubt an attritional race.

Also racing for Team Chronomaster, with Tom and I, were John McKellar, Warren Gell and Pete Lindfield.

Having spoken with my teammates before the race I believed that we were all looking to adopt a conservative approach. However, I was soon to be surprised!

Perhaps riding on pure emotion (coupled with not inconsiderable ability) Tom attacked from the gun taking with him Luke Jackson from Harry Middleton CC. The duo gave their all and managed to hold off a fast chasing group for many miles before being captured. Unfortunately for Tom, this early exploit, and subsequent emptying of the tank, proved terminal to his race ambitions. To be honest, I was impressed that he had even had the motivation to start never mind race so aggressively!

Pete was feeling the effects of the time trial he’d raced the previous day and lost contact with the rapidly diminishing front group.

Every time the race hit the a climb the pressure went on, attacks were launched, gaps appeared and riders were dropped.

John, Warren and I kept to the game plan and with a couple of laps to go (the race covered 5 laps of an 11 mile circuit) we were in what remained of the bunch.

B38 Underpin team had been very active all race sending riders up the road and marking chase groups and eventually Jude Taylor, 2nd in this race last year, was clear.

With around 15 miles to go a chase group formed. I remember watching as it began to move clear, it wasn’t a flat out move but seemed to go unchecked for long enough for them to get a small gap. I toyed with trying to get across to the group but as most moves hadn’t managed to get clear I thought it would be reeled in. Unfortunately, I was wrong and a combination of strong riders and commitment ensured the groups escape and eventual capture of lone leader Jude.

As the finish approached, a lead group of 7 riders looked set to contest the victory with the bunch left to sprint for the minor places.

In an amazingly close sprint finish Chris Booth took the victory ahead of Team Crimson’s Tarn Fynn.

I managed to take 3rd in the bunch sprint (only 23 riders remained in the bunch) for 10th place. Warren and John had lost contact with the bunch in the closing stages of the race.

I would like to give a special mention to Joe Bowers for all his hard work organising this event. He appeared incredibly calm both leading up to and during the race. A lot calmer than I had felt the previous year!

Thanks to all the officials and helpers without whom these events would simply not happen!

Thanks again to Ellen Isherwood for the amazing photos.

Our 3rd event had proved a success and, with it being a particularly tough one, I’m sure Richard would have approved. Congratulations to Chris Booth (Salt Ayre Cog Set) on the win.

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