Iona at Peterborough Crit

Iona at Peterborough Crit

Monday, 30 July 2012

Racing News from Linda

Naseby - Team Race Series

A super day, a good turnout from the team and supporters from the Bowline Club and made even better by the sunshine and being able to ride on dry roads, after what has seemed like weeks of rain.
50 miles, 4 laps - the first 7 miles of the course being relatively flat with a fast pace - and then rolling hills to the last climb at the finish.

Someone had left a "reminder" about where to go on the last lap - about 300m from the finish. However, I missed this (on all four laps) and decided to make a break about 2km from the finish. Little did I know I would be attempting a solo into a howling wind that soon zapped my legs... Oh well, live and learn! It was my second road race - the first in the UK - and a fantastic experience.

Well done to Iona and Steph and thanks to Steve.

Mallory Park - 26th July

I am loving the sunshine and more importantly dry tarmac!! Summer has arrived and after the last two races at Mallory being in the rain, it was just great that we had dry conditions for the Thursday night race.

There was a breakaway after 3 laps of the 20 lap race. Two riding buddies, Jon West and Leon Wright were also racing and there they were off the front!  They stayed away for 2 laps and it was a good effort.  Leon went on the win the race, with a strong sprint.  I think I should take a lead out of his training book...or just stay on his wheel!! 

With half a lap to go the bunch was getting twitchy, everyone looking for the break and to get a good position. I followed a group on the outside, only to end up on the edge of the track on the edgings. Another rider came back to the group after some ‘off road’ on the grass. Still it was an exciting and adventurous finish, just a shame it's the last Thursday night circuit race of the season...We are all raring to go!


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Duncan Murray Wines Road Race (Women's Team Series)

It was unusual for us to race in dry conditions. It seems that summer is here, well, at least for a while, as they say :)

There were 3 of us racing for GB Cycles, Iona, Linda and myself. Our plan was to finish in the best position we could. There were over 50 riders at the start, but the two significant hills on the course diminished the leading bunch to approximately 30 riders.

It was a little annoying when, with one lap to go, the comissaire stopped us on the side of the road to let the men's race go through. I was a little concerned that my muscles would not respond in the final sprint. Luckily the race was neutralised for 1 mile so we all had time to warm up for the final sprint. On the last climb to the finish I found myself chasing wheels and trying to overtake riders who were having some trouble holding the wheel in front. Doing this I obviously wasted some valuable energy that could have possibly gained me some extra places in the sprint. Well, I guess that's what road racing is all about... being in the right place at the right time!

All 3 of us finished in the lead bunch, gaining us some valuable points in the team standings, and we are now in 8th place. I finished the race in 15th place and therefore gained a whole one point on my road racing license! Hurray :-p !

Once again it was a safe race, thanks to the organisers and marshals involved.

Next weekend I will be racing in my Maltese National Jersey at the last round of the MTB XC World Cup in Val D'Isere. I'm looking forward to experiencing my first World Cup race this year.


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Round up of the week's racing

Surrey League Road Race, Kirdford Circuit - 15th July


Steph writes...

The last round of the British national MTB XC series was cancelled today because of flooding. It is the worst summer I've ever experienced since I've lived here. I'm loving the cool temperature to race in but I do miss the sun. I hope we get better weather for the Olympics :)
After a quick chat with Steve, I decided to race one of the Surrey league road races. The race was well organised, the route was pleasant and the motorcyclists did a great job in keeping us safe on the open Surrey roads. I have nothing to celebrate about my ride, but I did feel strong up until I was involved in a crash. It all happened in slow motion when with 2 laps to go the rider in front of me from Kingston Wheelers flew in the air. I do usually find a path to escape a crash but this time I was completely blocked. I did manage to stay upright, which was a good thing but when I looked for other riders to work our way back to the bunch there was no one left. I worked hard to cross the finish line solo with couple of minutes behind the bunch. I was super pleased to find out Sarah got 5th. Excellent race by Sarah! Well done mate ;)

Get well soon goes to Maryka from Kingston Wheelers and all those involved in the crash.

Many thanks to the organisers, marshals, motorcyclists and neutral service (i.e. Steve again!)

Our next race is the National Team Series up in Naseby. Looking forward to racing with my fantastic team mates :)


Sarah writes...

I could go on about how many shifts I'd worked before Sunday's race and how little sleep I've had in the last 8 weeks but that would be boring! Let's just say I was shattered and I had pretty much decided not to race until I spoke to Steve on Saturday night. The problem was, I actually had some form - having spent the previous week in the Alps, allowed my legs to recover and managed to get some speed back in my legs. Now was a good time to be racing! But it was going to be a very early start to get down to West Sussex for 8:30am on my first day off of the week. But I had been given the day off work specifically to race, so I felt I really ought to go.
I spent the first 2/3 of the journey trying to decide whether or not to turn around and head home. I was struggling to keep my eyes open. Warming up, my legs felt jelly-like and heavy. Not good. But as usual, once the pre-race nerves had settled I actually started to enjoy the race.

This was a better standard of racing than the previous Surrey League Race I had entered. It was also a great course with ups and downs, twists and turns and some good fast sections.

An attack went fairly early on in the race. I bridged across without dragging the whole peloton with me (a bit of an achievement for me) but the other rider sat up and not wishing to spend the next 4 laps riding on my own, I also eased off. I was feeling strong and probably did too much work early on. This was the first time I had raced with deep-section wheels and only the second time on my new bike. I really noticed the speed and acceleration with just a little injection of power. I was also more confident on the corners - must be all that descending at speed around hairpin bends last week.

Helen McKay attacked with 1.5 laps to go. I had a feeling this would be the winning move but I was boxed in and I was getting low on energy, so didn't attempt to bridge across to her. Emily Bagnall then attacked, got a good gap and rode hard to join her. I cracked open the emergency gel, had a good swig of energy drink and got ready to attack. Now was my chance... until I sprinted in the wrong direction, missing a turning! I had to stop and turn around in the middle of the road. I then had to chase for about 0.5 miles to catch them. Thankfully I still had some energy and speed in my legs and it wasn't long until I was back on the Commissaire's car. He signalled for me to pass him. Apologies to the Pearson's rider who came down the road with me and didn't manage to get back onto the bunch.

I had wasted useful energy chasing back on, which was a real shame. I sat on the back of the bunch for most of the last lap, allowing myself to recover and to save myself for the finish, which was at the top of a long drag.

The speed cranked up in the last 2 miles. I was in a great position. The pace eased off a bit and a put the hammer down, gaining a huge gap on the field but unfortunately I had gone too early. One rider caught me with about 50m to go and another was "hot on my heels". I changed into a bigger gear but unfortunately she pipped me to the line.

5th place overall - not a bad result for being so shattered and who knows what could have happened if I hadn't taken the wrong turning...

As always - big thanks to Steve for coming out to support us and thanks to the race organisers for putting on a fantastic race. It was well worth getting up for! 



Mallory Park closed circuit race - 12th July


Linda writes...

22 laps, one crash, rain and 7th place overall. This was my first circuit race in a nutshell. Oh and did I mention the nerves and excitement?
My race plan (again) was to stick to a wheel and finish with the pack. I was quite surprised and pleased to discover I felt quite good on the last lap. (I didn't see the sign telling us how many laps we had left until 3 laps to go...maybe a good thing!) It could also be an indication I need to work harder rather than stay at the back...oh well, I'm learning (!) and it was a great buzz.

Looking forward to the next one already.

Scarborough Cycling Festival Races - 15th July


Iona writes...

 Today I made a trip to the seaside, and for once the sun was shining!  I was racing a local Crit on top of St Oliver's Mount, which is the top of a hill next to the sea.  The circuit I would be riding was fairly flat, with only a drag up to the finish, and a slight fast down hill, to a sharp left hand corner at the bottom of the circuit.

There were only 6 of us entered into the women's race, so we were set off with the men's 4th cat race.  Now racing with the 4th cat's can be a bit hairy at times, so I managed to stay up front.  Thankfully too the riding seemed safer than usual, and the standard of the riders stronger, than some 4th cat races.  The drag up to the finish was into a headwind, and there was a sharp left hand bend at the far end of the circuit.

Early on we lost 3 of the girls out the back of bunch.  So it was down to just 3 of us, but for me I wasn't concerned about the women's race and just wanted to get a good result in the men's race, as that way the women's race would take care of itself.  I wanted to split the bunch and attacked of the front early on, but to the men's race I was no threat, and none of the other girls seems to want to join me, so they let me go.  But it didn't last long and I was soon brought back.

With 4 laps to go, the men really pushed the pace on the headwind section and the bunch split.  I heard yells of, 'we've got a gap'!  The bunch sat up, but looking back I saw that we had indeed got a gap, so a took the opportunity and jumped off the front.  One lad came with me, he came flying past me, yelling 'come on'.  I got on the wheel but couldn't help, all I could do was sit on his wheel.  But I lost half a bike length out of the sharp left hand bend, and he rode away.  I went back to the bunch, with still 3 lap's to go.  Ahead I could see the the lad out front was about to be caught, we caught him on the start finish line, with 3 lap's to go.

Bell lap, and I moved up towards the front, hoping to be in the first 5 around the bottom bend.  But the bunch lined out, and I was a little further back than I would have liked, despite there being only about 10 of left in the group.  As we neared the sharp left hand corner, we got mixed up with a couple of lapped riders. The lapped riders pulled over to the right hand side, blocking the line we all wanted to take into the corner!  That didn't help matters, and therefore lost a little speed around that bend.  Into the finishing straight, and up the drag, the bunch of about 6 men ahead kicked and I lost contact with them.  The line seemed a long way off with no wheel to follow.  I knew the only other girl was behind me, and as we neared the line, she came from behind me to win. I came in second, and very disappointed to have lost contact with the bunch!  I still finished 9th out the men's race and second female overall, so not too bad, but still would have liked to have been up there with the bunch sprint.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Oakley Village Road Races

Steph writes...

After 3 months in sunny Malta I returned to a pleasant 20 degrees temperature, with plenty of showers to keep the riders pleasantly cool.

This was my first road race in the UK this year, and I looked forward to catching up with Iona and to test myself against some of Britiains' top riders.

It was 15 degrees cooler than I've been used to and this was so refreshing. When we all lined up ready to start the commissaire explained to us some precautions to take, and wow, she was  amusing! I must admit it was one of the best health and safety talks I've ever been to! Her point to staying safe was amusing when she added..."I do not need the paperwork, I hate paperwork, so stay safe and follow the highway code!"

The race set off with over 50 riders and immediately the pace was over 38km/hr average sometimes reaching 43 ( these are figures from my garmin edge 500). It was a good pace to keep warm and stay focused. The rain kept us cool but unfortunately it also increased the number of punctures in the field. Poor Steve, who provided Neutral Service, had to deal with 11 punctures in the pouring rain. On the final lap the pace slowed down to 35km/hr  and reached its peak on the last km when the sprint to the finish line approached 50km/hr. Iona and myself both finished in the bunch, myself 18th and Iona 23rd, all in the same time. Our next team series will be in 2 weeks time at Naesby... not to forget to mention that this coming weekend I will be racing off road in the last round of the British National Points Series.

We would like to thank the organisers and all the marshals involved for making it an enjoyable and safe race. To all the riders who charged up the pace and, last but not least, to our neutral service / team manager Steve

Iona writes...

Mud glorious mud, that was the car park!

Steph had just returned form Malta, and so back to racing in the lovely UK weather.  So now to find said team mate!

We recieved a race briefing, and were told that there might a tree branch down in the road.  Lucklily this was moved in time, and so we set out for 6 laps of the almost pan flat course!  There was plenty of standing water on the roads, and on the second lap it started to rain.  Early on it seemed that most people wanted to keep the pace high, with many little digs of the front, but nothing was getting away.  I think the feeling was such that most wanted the pace kept high to avoid incident, as there seemed to be an awful lot of traffic on the course.  In the last 3 years there always seems to be some sort of incident running into the finish on the last lap.

The race itself was fairly uneventful but behind, Steve, our team manager who was providing the Neutral Service for the race, was kept busy wtih the numerous punctures.

By the last lap Clare Galloway had managed to get away, and was off the front of the bunch, where she managed to stay to win the race.  I managed to get myself to the front and in a great postion  I then found myself on the inside with a couple of the Scott Contessa girls to my right.  I could see what was going to happen.  The girl on the front leading her team mate out, pulled in front of me and just sat up!  I had to check my speed, and go around her, but the sprint was in full flight, so I had to chase hard to catch the tail ends of the bunch, as they charged for the line!  Not good, and the most annoying thing was the fact that I had been in a great place up until that point. Oh well, on to the next race, and to Scarborough for a small Crit, before the next team series race in Naseby.

Many thanks, as always, go to Steve. And also welcome back to Steph!

Curlew Cup

1st July 2012

Iona writes...

We set out for 4 laps of an undulating course, and for now it looked like it might stay a dry race. The route itself wasn't too demanding: up and down, rolling route, but the wind was going to be the thing to make it tough.

Lap 1 and barely a mile from the start in Stamfordham, the bunch had to navigate a flooded section of road. It turned out not to be too bad, but for the first couple of laps we were unsure as to how fast we could hit that amount of water!

After another couple of miles the road turned left at a junction, and up the only real hill. It wasn't that much of a hill really, just a short kick up and then a bit of a drag. But due to the headwind and the way the road dragged up, it was going to be the best opportunity for anyone wanting to split the bunch.

First lap and there was no shortage of attacks, the Matrix girls took it in turns to send a rider up the road, but nothing stuck.

First time through finish and the bunch strung out as riders went for the prime.

Second lap and this time up the hill, the field split with 5 getting a gap on the bunch. It strung out, it was like a drag race, up that bit, into the wind. We were still trying to close the gap to the leaders knowing we didn't want to be left behind in the bunch, and in doing so, we found ourselves in a chase group of 8. We worked together mostly, and stayed away form the bunch behind. At one point they were at 40 seconds, and we could just about see them, but each lap the time gap grew as they increased their lead.

The rain held off until the last lap, but half way around the last lap the rain started to fall. Coming into the nasty left hand corner just after the decent, where the small circuit meets the large Ryall's circuit there was a crash. No one liked that bend, but the small amount of rain had made the road greasy.
Next thing the rider in front of me was on the ground in the middle of the road. I tried to avoid her, but no I was straight down too, next thing the two riders behind me were also on the ground. I landed hard, but my first thought was go to get back on the bike. The lucky 4 of our group of 8 that had been first around the bend, avoided the crash. I was first up off the ground and back on the bike. That last 3 or 4 miles to the finish seemed like a long way, and I crossed the line on my own, coming in 10th.

Typical I'd put same pair of shorts on that I'd crashed in three weeks ago... as if wanting to ruin the same pair. So second crash in three weeks and in exactly the same place on my shorts again! All I can say is, they're a darn good pair of shorts... not ripped at all!