Recent summary.

I’ll keep it as short as possible and give you guys a summary of the past month and a bit of my life and racing.

Early April – The 2nd and 3rd I raced a 2 day race, Elite national called the Boucle de L’Artois, The first day had two stages both primarily flat and I looked to get in some kind of move on both of these. Whilst moving up for the final lap on stage one I got taken down in a crash and ended up just flipping over, luckily only bruising, jumping straight back on I had buckled my front wheel badly but it was ok to finish the race and narrowly avoided yet another crash in the finish…it was a weird stage as I even saw guys crashing 50m after the finish line…it was a bit of a crash fest. It was a similar story on stage 2, we were all in the gutter on the right side of the road and next thing guys had gotten too close to the up to 30cm drop of the edge of the road…a few more went down, A crash fest summed up these first two stages, I finished on the same time on both stages and looked for the next day. Stage 3 I sat in until the finishing circuit with a 30 second cobbled berg and a 3 minute climb at 6%..short climbs which isn’t enough to make the race mega hard…but it was enough to make it interesting. On lap 2 of 6 on the 7.5 mile circuit I went solo for literally 2 or 3 minutes before being caught by some other splintered attacks, we hammered it over the climb and after..creating a group of 25 give or take 1 or 2 riders. The group all did through and off pretty well for the next lap creating a good gap, the eventual winner Ben Dyball went solo for the final 47 minutes of the race! The next lap a group of 5 got away. Anyhow we now had 15 left in our group and it stayed like that until the finish. I finished 15th on the stage after chasing for my team mate a bit too, so overall I was 15th…annoyingly on the same time on GC as 6th to 20th but decided on stage placings etc.

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Circuit du Mene – a one day race with 2 stages. A 3.8 mile lumpy TT with a drag to the finish first of all. I paced it fairly well not starting too hard, I used a very old TT bike from the club and my DS Gregoire kindly lent me his disc wheel and Tri spoke wheel 🙂 I managed 8th in the ITT, only 4 seconds off Clement Davy, French Junior TT champion. To think if I’d have had the chance to ride a super fast TT bike maybe I could have podiumed…but who knows!

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“Watts were decent” ^

The next stage and the final of course was 88.6 miles. A break went fairly early on and I waited for it to come back. With 30 miles to go It was all back together and I got into a move with 4 others, 5 riders and 3 Brits 😉 one guy had the leader in his team so he didn’t work, the other guy was pretty wrecked so only 3 of us really worked. Then it started to go pretty bad so I attacked after joining the finishing circuit with 4 laps to go..after 2 laps I was caught because the group behind had been caught then a new fresh group of 7 got away. I got caught in the hard windy little climbs, which was dreadful as then the winners (group of 4 or 5 had gotten away) attacking on one of the small climbs, of course I was the only one from the previous move in this first group, and being 2nd wheel of the group when the guys had attacked from the flat onto the climb it was impossible to react too…but for sure something to learn from. I finished in the 2nd group this day of around 25 and stayed in 8th overall on the GC. I also got best young rider on the GC just ahead of last year Junior Euros champ, so that’s good for morale I guess.

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Next up I raced a one day Elite National race called the Circuit Boussaquin. It had an on and off 15 minute ish climb near the start of the race and near the finish, in the middle of this we of course rode the Circuit…in Boussaquin. The circuit was 2.9 miles long and we did 16 laps of this, making the overall race 78 miles of course adding in the hill loop before and after. I sat in for the whole race until one lap to go on the circuit, a larger group started to form, so I decided to ride across to it. There were some strong guys working including riders such as Bryan Alaphalippe and Clement Saint-Martin. On the climb I tried to break the group up a bit for the final, but knew the final run in would be hard as the bunch were super close to us on the climb therefore a chase for the sprint finish would be impossible if we didn’t have enough guys for the final 8.9 mile run in. At the bottom of the descent we had gained 10 seconds or so, looking around on the straight section we had maybe 25 seconds now, they weren’t far still. We worked together to get the gap out for the finish. With 2.5 miles to go on a small drag at about 4% someone attacked, it got tough so I went around him to see if I could gap them but it would go there. I sat on them then until 800 to go where the eventual winner somehow attacked on the descent onto the final 30 second kick at 6.5%, I gained speed to attack but then got boxed, nevertheless I attacked and got a small gap…but some guy ruined his own race and chased me down, then I tried to get a wheel for the sprint but the group was lined out and had to sprint in the wind, which was difficult after my efforts only a short time earlier. But hey I came 9th…which was ok considering Clement Saint-Martin was 8th..a super strong guy who was 2nd in the Criterium International stage 1, a UCI 1.HC in 2015. Most of all I learnt a lot in this race, which as first year senior is super important of course.

Paris – Mantes UCI 1.2. A 106.6 mile course with short and sharp climb with mostly flat/steady rolling roads in between…just over 230 starters. I expected the race to slowly split down to a small group, and attacking late would have been a possibility, with tough climbs I sat in until the final to see what happened. I knew being at the front would play a big role in sticking in the first group of the day for sure. The race did split at times but sadly came back to places in others…61 guys finished in the bunch and 3 guys up the road. In the sprint I made sure I was near the front of course, I was in about 15th with 200 to go hoping to make up some more places..but I got boxed in by two guys just ahead, somehow I jumped around them and held on for 22nd Overall.

So for sure a great April, the learning and the results.

Life in France is pretty good, the riding is super and there’s barely any cars on the roads even compared to the quiet roads in North Devon here. The house myself and my two team mates Jake and Siim is very interesting to say the least…! But overall With amazing training roads and the nice town we live in/local area treats us pretty well, especially 3 days of rain from April the 1st until may the 2nd, that’s something I’ve never experienced!

I have returned to England now as there aren’t many races in France, so I will do some local races whilst I prepare for the National championships. After that I cannot wait to start racing in the mountains, which I for sure know my strength lies..having such a high 5-45 minute power, also flying up local climbs to me, Strava says I have good times anyway 😉

Thanks as always to VC Toucy, Epic coaching, the Dave Rayner fund And to my parents of course – I cannot thank them all enough!

You can check my results here –

http://www.directvelo.com/coureur/17124/charlie-meredith

 

 

 

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February summary.

At the start of February I travelled out to Agadir in Morocco from Paris to race 6 UCI 1.2 races with my team VC Toucy. Once arrived we set the bikes up and went out together in the heat on a ride for 1:45 easy to spin the legs.

The next day we flew via Moroccan Military cargo plane down to Laayoune as we had 3 races there and 3 in Agadir. Once at the hotel we settled in quickly as the food and the hotel were both super nice despite Morocco known for being a poorer country.

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For race one and three we would get the coach to the start, and from all three races we would get a very long trip back via coach as we would race along one road straight out.

Race 2 consisted of a lot of sand heat and wind…the desert, which obviously meant a very dry energy sapping race, which was super tough yet again. After only making the second group for most of the race on stage one, stage 2 I knew what I had to do, learning from my mistakes on race one I knew I could do well. The race was mostly a headwind all of the way, but there were some crosswind sections where I knew we could form a group. I got a few of us working in a crosswind section, maybe four abreast on the left side of the road, so eight riders and we rode through at a max sustainable power of one minute, so of course in one minute only a few had made the group, we had split the race but there was a new echelon behind and they were also chasing, we had 15 in the group so we drilled it to get the gap. with 10km to go we had 3 minutes over the next group, we turned left to head towards the finish, of course there was plenty of attacks coming now, 3 of us found it hard to stay in the gutter with the first guys, some continental riders and people that had ridden world tour level races were hardly going to be easy to stay with. With 1km to go I attacked with a Torku Sekersport rider (Ivan Baklyn) and I was pretty cooked, literally from heat and maybe overworking in the break, he won whilst I got caught with 100m to go which was gutting, as for me a podium would have been crazy, however I’m glad I tried to attack rather than sit in for 8th or 9th in the sprint…!

Military plane back to Agadir and a coach trip to Taroudant we arrived at 9pm, hungry as heck the reception had milk and dates so we just stole all of the food there as dinner was at 10pm which was a painful wait.

In race 4 I managed to get away with one hour to go to try to make it across to the first group of 18, 10 guys came with me, we worked very hard in the tailwind in the final one hour and eventually caught the first group with 5km to go, I completely mucked up positioning in the sprint, 4 guys up the road meant sprinting for 5th, sadly I got 24th, which annoyed me a lot…learn learn learn, little did I know everything In the first four races had added up and the next race was to be for me.

Race 5 and rain had hit Morocco for the first time in a while I’m guessing. I knew this was good for me as I’m from Devon where we don’t see the sun very often lets say. The course was a 6.7km Kermesse styled race, with crosswinds and many corners, I liked it. After a short recce of the course as a warm up I lined up at the front and straight away it was fast and furious. Eventually after 3 laps I could take the corners super fast getting used to the circuit, on lap 5 I went solo hoping maybe 5 or 6 riders come across, as that was plenty on this circuit to stay away, sadly after 15 minutes at sweetspot (not mega hard, two riders joined me, but it was clear they worked hard to catch me and had very little to give, we were then caught by a broken bunch of around 45 riders, so nearly 50 left still. At just under halfway into the race, a group of 15 got away a little, maybe 5 seconds off the front of the bunch, I towed my team mate and one other across to the move and this move was the winning move. With 27 minutes to go in the crosswind section a move started to form and I stuck with it hard in the crosswinds, meaning now 5 of us were away up the road, a Canadian, Torku, 2 from Dellio Gallina and of course myself, we worked up until one to go where an Italian from Dellio Gallina went solo, it was a tough game, seeing who would use more energy chasing. Eventually the other went solo with `1km to go, I followed after 30 seconds of the other two chasing, I then drilled it around the second to last bend and went as hard as possible down the second to last straight in the tailwind, causing the two behind me to chase hard, as I knew I wouldn’t win a sprint that was after something easy and I can rest for a couple of seconds and go again hard, so that was my tactic anyhow. After taking the final bend very fast I lead out the sprint, Ahmet Orken of Torku Sekersport (continental team) started coming around me, I had just gone full bore from the corner so kept on pressing full gas, he came even with me almost but I kept it down and beat him by half a wheel. I’d never of thought at 18 I’d of gotten 3rd at a Mens UCI! – For me this is a great achievement and of course was very happy, with my Moroccan carpet as part of the prize too.

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The final day was sadly shortened to 137km, so the flat course wasn’t great, no break was allowed to go and the racing was super negative, so as it came down to a sprint I like many riders stayed out of the crazy top 25 sprint, It was Febuary and risking my whole season wasn’t on the list! However I came away with tons of experience on how to ride crosswinds and different types of racing, also some great results and strong rides to start the season.

As many of you will know, I left home to move to France on the 27th of January. After time in Morocco and out on my training camp near Mont Ventoux I have spent enough time at our ‘house’ to have settled in, life is good and I’ve gotten used to doing things for my self surprisingly well. I’ll talk more on this subject in another blog however.

I’ve done one race in France so far, last Sunday the 26th, not knowing the racing it didn’t go perfectly, however I did solo to the split up breakaway with 2km to go and picked up 9th just behind my team mate Siim. It was a little annoying but hey, I’m here to make some mistakes and learn, I’m sure in my next race I can improve and eventually get some wins out here. Peace!

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Thanks to –

Bott LTD in Bude.

The Daverayner fund.

And Epic Cycle coaching for all of the support!

 

Plans for 2017.

So the season is nearly underway. I thought I’d give you guys a short insight into what my 2017 contains. Last Saturday we crossed the channel via the tunnel and my dad dropped me off in Toucy, France. This is where our team is based and where I will be living  for the next 8 or so months. I have been here only 2 full days alone now and already settling in a little, of course in a months time I will be able to say more on how I’m actually finding the living experience out here, but for now I’m happy. Tomorrow I will start packing up my brand new Lapierre (which I will show in a different post) to fly out to Morocco where I will take part in 2 sets of UCI 1.2 races, both containing 3 individual races – on the 3rd, 5th, 6th then 9th, 11th and 12th of February. Currently whilst writing this I’m waiting for the arrival of my team mates Jake from Ireland and Siim from Estonia, and look forward to some company – as you can imagine, being alone with a bad Wi-Fi signal isn’t ideal for many 18 year olds, but I’ll be quiet and appreciate I have it!

For the rest of the season we will do a mixture of French national races, some flat and some mountainous with a mixture of single day and stage races. I’ll also travel home to especially to compete in the National Championships of course. I’ll keep it short for now – and I’ll keep you guys posted.

 

A successful 2016

This is just a short post on my blog just to show many of you my results from 2016.

Again as always, massive thanks to everyone who’s helped me achieve my goals this season. The biggest thanks however goes out to my Parents and Epic Coaching, without the two I wouldn’t be where I am in my cycling!

Here are most of my top 5’s this season allowing for UCI non top 5.  Nat=National. (wouldn’t allow ‘National’ due to layout)

     

Porlock Hill climb, Final race of the season.

On Sunday my dad and I traveled over to Porlock via Lynton on Exmoor. My first impression was ‘It was very hilly’ as there were many climbs getting as steep as 30% where the car struggled. The area had very hilly countryside up on the moors then 2 miles away it would drop sharply to the coast.

The climb we had however was up a toll road, made for heavier vehicles or vehicles towing caravans and was a smooth 6% for the first 2 miles and the final 2 miles at 5% making it 5.5% average.

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After signing on, pinning on my number and getting changed I warmed up for 20 minutes on the turbo with a progressive effort to my power meter then two 6 second high cadence bursts. Once this was completed now 8 minutes prior to the start I then removed the bike from the turbo and rode the 2 minutes to the start and toilets. I now had 4 minutes to relax before a 15 minute or so effort. I’d heard the top section, the last 8 minutes or so was a really strong headwind, and decided to just ride at the same wattage all of the way up even though the last section wasn’t as steep, but if you overcook the first 8 mins you could end up losing a lot of time into a 20mph headwind going onto fairly exposed moorland coming slightly more off the coast.

I knew what I could hold for 15 minutes so I went for that exact power. The first 6 to 7 minutes felt fine and I’d passed my 2 minute man 5 minutes in feeling ok, the buzz of the first part was high so I held back from pushing too hard in the pouring rain. Come the damp hairpins in the tree covered first half I took the first one at full speed, not knowing the course on the second I nearly crashed having over 120 psi in my tires, as, well…you shouldn’t need any grip up a gradual hill with little corners, turns out I did but taking that one at full speed and only scrubbing off a little speed I nearly slid my way around the final bend you could say. Come 10 minutes In and now out into the more exposed section after crossing the cattle grid the effort was hurting a lot but I knew I only had ‘5’ minutes to go and had just passed my minute man on a very nice hill climb bike under 5kgs (my 7kg TCR was ‘heavy’ to a lot of these people riding the event’). 14 minutes now and I wasn’t sure on how far the finish was, I was unsure if I was going to crack or not, the legs felt so dead and the wind was slowly getting more brutal, but I was still holding the watts. The next corner on the inside it said 1/4 of a mile to go, which equated to about a minute in the heavy headwind, the legs now had nothing but I kept pushing the power and was onto a PB. 15 minutes and 38 seconds in I crossed the line…the extra 38 seconds at the 15 minute power had killed me as for that old PB I of course had ridden just as hard, but I managed the extra little bit as I must of gotten slightly stronger. To me that was super pleasing to have ridden like I did to the power I had. It truly meant I’d ridden a consistent season, for results and for physical performance just slowly getting better month after month.

My 15:38 wasn’t good enough however, Dan Evans, a winner of the National Hill climb champs had posted 15:11, then on from that Ed Laverack of JLT condor had put a 15:01! Both amazing rides from both of them to take 1st and 2nd whilst I took 3rd overall. Who knows hey…if I could have a bike 2kgs lighter what time I could of had…But to have been as fast as I was with no changes to my normal road bike I feel getting my time was pleasing for an 18 year old. My power was nicer however!

Now I’m looking onto 2017, I will be taking 3 weeks easy, 1 week fully off and the odd shortish ride here and there in the other 2 weeks before I start my winter training for some much longer races than I have raced in 2016. Thanks to everyone that has made the year a great one, and to those that have made it possible. There are so many names to mention I feel I may forget somebody if I attempt to say a thank you (but those people know who they are). Please be sure to check out my sponsors page as well.

Over the winter I will still post my blog where I’ll keep you all updated monthly with my training and information on what I’ll be doing in 2017. Thanks for the support, the views are well into the thousands and I’m pleased many enjoy my blog.

Final Junior Race-“Keizer Der Juniores”

 

My final Junior only race of the season and I’d like to thank everyone that’s been involved helping me get to races physically and financially, without them I wouldn’t have had such a good quality of races to ride. Please check out my sponsors page if you haven’t already.

On Thursday the 15th of September my Mum, Brother and I traveled to Swanley where we were due to meet John Barclay, Dave Storey, Rhys.B and Jake.S the next morning. After a slight change of plan due to transportation of bikes we met at Maidstone services where we also met Jacob.V, Tom.E and Louis.R-D. We then only had 80 miles excluding the tunnel. Once we’d eaten some baguettes from a bakery for our lunch we headed to where we were staying in Koksijde, A very basic but quite hostel. After getting changed outside as we couldn’t yet get in we checked over the bikes and headed out to the TT course, which is stage 2a on the Sunday. We had a lot of rain in the pre race ride but managed to test out the course at what could be the worst weather.

Stage 1-The only stage that had some sort of climb with 3 large laps and 4 small laps. The race was ready to go at 2 o clock and we rolled out neutralized to a war cemetery where we payed our respects mainly to young boys of ages 16-18, it was read out by the mayor/race officials that we were here just like them, ready to go into a battle, to win, except we could afford to lose and live another day, unlike many of the young boys did not. Whilst the ceremony took place wreaths were placed whilst we all stood in groups with our flags showing our country.

Neutralized again after putting back on our helmets we stopped after stopped again then the racing started fast. Throughout the stage I made 4 big attacks, the final one succeeding on the climb where 15 of us slipped away, that’s pretty much all that happened on the stage, where the racing was super negative as that group stayed away for about 5 minutes…I looked back and the bunch was just a massive long line, nothing went that day and if it did not for so long. I tried to split it in the crosswinds but it wasn’t a long enough section and only lined the bunch out completely in 2 minutes…I rolled in that day staying out the way of an extremely dangerous bunch sprint where all I remember seeing was someone with a completely bent front wheel just about riding on it. The final day (day 2) was all to play for with the first 150 on the same time.

After getting up pretty early we headed out on the TT bikes for stage 2a, a 15 minute ride from our hostel. Once at the TT I set up the turbo with the bike on a turbo wheel. We were to wear a (for me, very baggy) skin top typed jersey, I asked John if he could ask the commissare if  we could just wear our own skin suits, just for the TT instead of South East kit. After asking we were allowed, Jacob V pinned my number for me (to high quality thanks Jacob!) and I put on Velotoze (overshoes) and got my gels ready for 15 mins before the TT. After a thorough warm up I switched the wheel over on the bike put on the helmet and tested the gears etc for one final check, all was good and I proceeded to the gear check followed by UCI regs check on the bike to make sure the bike was not illegal (5cm or further back from the bottom bracket line and no further than 80cm from the bottom bracket line to the end of the bars. All was good and I now had 5 minutes to wait until I started. A final few sips of the drink and I got onto the start ramp. Before I knew it I was gone. I paced it well if I’m honest, not starting too hard as it was a crosswind for the first 700m followed by a cross tailwind until halfway then onto a cross headwind and then headwind for the final 800m. The TT was too short for me after I completed it in 7 minutes and 27 seconds, 13 seconds off the European TT champ, so I was pleased with that ride considering it suits a punchier rider, I prefer anything over 15 minutes up to 40 minutes…but still, that was the course! Considering it was super windy and open with some technical turns and lanes I still averaged just over 30mph, which wasn’t bad.

Below, Finishing the TT, In the small village of Wulpen.

 

Stage 2b-The final stage was a Kermesse kind of stage, with many corners, 160 90* turns I worked out over the 62 mile race. There was one 35-40 second nasty kick at 6%, It was short but it really hurt each time around. So, after eating some spaghetti for lunch we got ready for the race in what was fairly hot conditions which started at 18 degrees and sunny, which slowly dropped down to 12.5 degrees and heavy rain. People were commenting saying I must be boiling at the start, which I was, wearing a vest, skin-suit then a jersey, but once the rain had started of course I was ok and not so hot anymore. The sketchy conditions meant there was a group of 7 up the road, a further 4 went to try to get across and shortly after myself and one other went away too, I sat in the gutter and rode hard to get a gap when myself and the other lad kept driving hard, another guy came across to us, sat on then attacked us stupidly as we were going at a good pace not so hard that we’d blow, but we could see we were progressing with the bunch nowhere in sight. 5 Miles later we picked up the guy that went solo then we all pulled together more and after 20 minutes of bridging we got across to the 4 man group, which then joined the other 7. There were now 14 of us and we continued working. After being in the group for 30 minutes knew the pace was good although too slow in the corners, but still I carried on working for the GC and we had good time on the bunch. I was unsure where I was in the group on the GC as well if I’m honest. Robin Blummel attacked with 1.5 laps to go, of which he stayed out there to win over our group by 18 seconds. I came in with 11 others, as the other 2 had gone out the back slightly. I knew I couldn’t win the sprint from those guys either, so I kept working for the GC, and knowing it could be my first big UCI result I sadly didn’t risk going off the front from the group either as I didn’t want to be counter attacked, but still feel the choice I made was the right one.

Overall in the race I managed 6th on GC, which in a UCI 2.1 in Belgium on the flat, I was very pleased!

Results

1-100th

2a-18th

2b-12th

Mountains-13th

GC-6th

A very nice end to my road season and end to being a Junior on the road. Next year I’ll become a senior so I’m currently looking/deciding on what team to join for 2017.

Thanks to all of my sponsors as usual, please check out my sponsors page if you haven’t already.

Contact-Cmeredith@live.co.uk

Aubel-Thimister-La Glieze

First of all I’d like to thank Jerrod Hartley of VCUK for giving me a lift over to this race and Tom Schellekens of TWC Pijnenburg for allowing me to ride for them in the race, I’d also like to thank all of my current sponsors who help me out so much. So thanks for everyone who has helped to make my racing do-able.

Stage one-A lumpy day 100km long with 3 long draggy climbs finishing with one section at 6% for just under 2 minutes, so some found themselves hurting after the drag. I stayed at the front from 15 minutes into the race until I attacked with 16 miles to go, being just after 2 laps to go it was  a good time to go, however we literally stayed out for 10 minutes as the other two I was up the road with were already skipping turns 5 minutes in, so I kept working to keep the gap hoping that the next time up the climb riders would come across to the move, It seemed as if halfway up 7 or 8 tried to come across but the nature of the racing meant the bunch didn’t let it go and it came back together. On the final lap I dropped back for a drink from the car, which only after a hairpin with 5 miles to go I found out it wasnt there and wondered why nobody called the car up, so I only moved up to mid bunch on this stage in the last 5 miles, the sprint was after a fast downhill and only included 20 seconds of available sprinting being on junior gears and going so fast, 1 second off the winner from 2nd to 115th position or so, so gc was ok.

Stage 2a-TTT, Not riding a TTT together before until the morning of the race, personally I was unsure on what to expect in the race, 3×1.85 mile loops it included some fast bends and a nasty steep 1 minute climb in maxing at 8% and average of 6% this was steep for a TTT and made it hard for ourselves on how to pace it are my thoughts looking at it now. With all of us finding that one minute section hard I feel that pushing hard on the flat for some may have been an issue although I’m unsure, we were 34 seconds off the riders from Denmark who proved the TTT was important after one of their riders won by 2 seconds on gc in the end. Sadly the TTT played a large role on the GC.

Stage 2b- After being attacking from around 1 hour into the race my team mate Willem got into the break, when I tried to bridge after the descent the bunch started chasing me so after myself and 3 others got to 7 seconds or so with the bunch close I knew I had to let it go, so I let the bunch carry on chasing the 20 man breakaway group which they failed so catch, It was a very frustrating moment for myself in the race, as that breakaway after stage 4 took up 16th and better on GC! On the finishing circuit of 3 times through the finish line I sat in, a 3 man group were already up the road so 4 others got across to it, I saw them going with about 3km to go, the chase was on a little but when it fully sat up myself and two others tried to bridge the 20 second gap with 2km to go, with 300 to go on the final climb I attacked to make sure the bunch didnt catch and I still got some seconds, however 6 of them came around me in the sprint, so the effort was worth a try, but being one of the biggest junior UCI 2.1s out there it wasnt racing for the soft.

Stage 4-A fairly hilly race and everybody wanted to either defend their GCs or get away off the front. The two biggest climbs both around 10 minutes long I tried to get away on the first around 3 times, both of the first moves were slowly dragged close back to the chase and were counter attack, the third time the KOM Jersey and 4 others got away over the top once it had become 4% or so, wind was playing a role and I thought we were going to get away, with hard turns still we were brought back which was crazy, nothing was leaving the front. The next climb, infamous Cote Du Rosier, which we rode at the same pace as the men in Liege-Bastogne-Leige narrowed the group to 40 of the strongest in the race, In the finishing circuit of 2.5 laps of 3.5 miles a small group of 6 managed to get away, 2 of which stayed out to hold to take 6 seconds on the 35 man bunch. The yellow jersey had a tough day going out the back slightly on the climbs but respectively held his own on the shorter punchier climbs on the finishing circuit.

Sadly on GC I was 31st, 16 made up from the breakaway then 17th to 35th being the peloton depended on where you finished in the TTT, some very big names and winner of the biggest junior races outside the top 20 in GC in a similar situation to myself made me feel better about where I came, I learnt a lot and its pleasing to be able to attack on climbs at the highest level of Junior racing. My next UCI will be Keizer, where I hope to ride in the same way as I have here, but come away with a great result. Thanks again to everyone for the support!

Junior Tour of Ireland

Thanks to all of my sponsors so please be sure to check out the sponsors page! Thanks to the Junior tour for organizing a great event as well.

Stage 1-A flat individual time trial, 4 miles long with a nasty 25 second kick in it. Being road bikes only the TT was a fair test in a way to see who the stronger riders were in the race as many I had heard of but not raced. In the end I placed 5th, which considering my weight and style of riding I was very pleased with being 9 seconds down on the winner who posted a very respectable 8:33 in tough crosswind conditions (also causing many on 80mm wheels to get blown around rather a lot).

Stage 2-72 miles long and the first proper road stage, some tough drags some just about big ring-able made the race hard for many. Breaks with fresh legs tried their luck throughout the stage, being one of the flatter stages I knew the yellow jerseys team of Hot Tubes would want to try to defend that jersey especially with 9 men, which was the reason I sat in all day and basically did nothing but save my legs. The final man up the road was caught with 3km to go and some lead outs started, in the end I rolled in 23rd.

Stage 3-At 10km in my team mate Matt Cox got into the to be race long breakaway, at 35km in with a group of 8 we joined the 14 man group to have a huge breakaway of 22, after sitting on the bridging group from 16km to 24km in the final 11km chase I helped get across. We had a gap of 3 mins 30, which was insane, then we were hearing 4 minutes, 4:30 then 6 minutes, at that point we were a little confused but working like mad. 2km later we were stopped after being told the bunch had gone the wrong way, 30 mins later we started again with a 4 min gap, the gap before they went wrong and many legs already tired in the group it went down to 16 men as we re-started on an 8 min climb, not mega steep but being right on the coast the wind also made it hard, from here on knowing I was highest on gc in the group me and my team mate Matt worked hard physically as well as getting the others to keep going through, ever since the bottom of the next descent many were thinking about the stage. In the last 5km I sat on the back to make sure nobody went away, but with 2km to go I was at the front and Robert O’Leary attacked who I didnt expect to be 10 seconds down on me on GC, my team mate Matt chased him down to 7 seconds, I should have also chased but my mind was overwhelmed and not used to dealing with such a situation like that, I froze and sat on others in case they tried to attack. So I had moved into yellow. 8th on the stage…

Stage 4- Stage 4 was a very repetitive stage, my team mate Etienne went off up the road to help take pressure of me so I thought, this didn’t work at all if I’m honest, people close to me on GC kept attacking and there were 10 big threats to me and 4 of which were confident to try to attack me, with no help from my team (if I’m honest, not that I expected loads but a little would helped and prevented) It was hard, chasing down moves instantly was my only option, in one of the crosswinds I stuck it in the gutter in the hope to split the race, Instead they lost my wheel and I ended up riding away sadly. My team mate Matt hugely redeemed himself in the final 22km after sitting on the front for the final section of the race, showing his strength and crazy good stamina as a first year, averaging 28.8mph in the cross tailwind along the lumpy coastal road it was quite some effort and one I’ll respect him for forever, not many first years could do that for even 10 minutes..he did 30 minutes. Surprisingly nobody attacked in the last 30 mins of the race, stress levels decreased and I had people saying your team mate is so so strong! Yellow jersey was still on my shoulders after stage 4. 18th on this stage.

Stage 5-A real team effort, after talking tactics the night before the goals were clear on this stage. Sadly my team mate crashed out 5km into the race at over 30mph and snapped his bike, his gc hopes were gone so sadly he had to ride in on some neutral spare. My team mate Jamie was very poorly so I didn’t expect anything from him, although he surprised me and battled through chasing some threats. Next Etienne of course helped bring back some other breaks and chase down the bigger threats as well. Coming into the final 10 minute climb before Gallows hill Joe Lineham also gave a huge turn into the bottom of this one, bringing a two minute break back to 1 minute in his time on the front. Over the top of this climb with 2 mins to go I attacked and looked back over the top to see only 2 riders, Etienne and Robert O’leary. This move was brought back so until gallows I sat in. Gallows came sooner than I thought, I was too far back taking gels, luckily on the flatter part I rode up and my team mate Etienne gave me the wheel he was sat on allowing me into 3rd. Colton Brookshires team (Specialized) went flat out on the front, Robert O’leary tried to go around with 30 seconds to go, I followed his wheel whilst Brookshire followed mine and I sprinted around O’leary in the final 10 seconds to clinch the win from Brookshire!

(Small image due to Image graphic,

but an amazing win up Gallows Hill!)

Stage 6 and overall-Stage 6 was a short Kermesse of 50 miles with a 1 minute steep bing ring effort, It was very fast but we did the exact same as stage 5. A break did get up the road with 4 riders, sadly one got dropped another crashed with 1km to go. There was a chase from the green jerseys team (Specialized) of which in this race is most consistent rider of positions in the top 20 for each stage, being Colton Brookshire who took the bunch sprint for 3rd with my team mate Etienne taking 5th only 8 seconds back on the winners  who had 1 minute with 4km to go, of course cat and mouse came into play against a very hard chase. Gage Hecht of Hot tubes took an amazing win from Alexis Roche (NRPT).

This meant I had won the Junior Tour of Ireland, My biggest win yet this season!

 

 

National Champs

 

So on Saturday my dad and I drove the 140 miles out to Chepstow, although I’ve raced the circuit before I wanted to check the circuit again to refresh my mind and check for any significant changes such as potholes. We arrived at the circuit at 3pm and set off to ride it with Reece Wood, Matt Walls and Jake Beach as they said I could ride it with them.

In the evening we found what restaurant we could as our hotel weren’t serving. After eating out we headed back to the lovely hotel to rest up and go to bed at 9:45. My thoughts on the course had been it can be hard, especially with a tailwind up the drag as less slipstream means the race can be made very hard! Overall the race was 4.5 laps, 5 times up the drag but 4 full times over the line near the top of the drag, the decent was around 6 mins as well followed by a lumpy section back to the drag again.

On race day I fueled up at 7:30, 3 hours before the race was due to start before heading off from our hotel in Bristol at 8:20 to go over the bridge and start setting up at 8:45. So then at 9:20 I had already gear checked and signed on as soon as it opened I got ready and started my 20 min warm up that had a progressive effort in with 3 short kicks to make sure I was ready for what could of been a hard start up the 15 minute drag in the race. We had a short briefing followed by a longer neutralized section as explained on the start line.

For the first 1 hour of the race I made sure to sit in and held the front 20, I made sure to eat as well as I knew I was going to attack. Next I bridged to a break, the legs felt good, however I was really starting to struggle with my breathing as I had a chest infection, (the worsened illness of my sore throat from the Scottish national) I knew I had to try to make the best of it so for the next 5 mins I cleared myself of as much….excess…as possible! I hoped now I could physically breathe better as it was like being strangled. Next 20 minutes of the race I put in around 3 attacks which were all chased down. Elliot.Redfern of HMT, Pete Kibble of Velocity global bike and another were up the road, at the bottom of the descent fully rested I made what could have been my final move and really gave it some as the bunch had eased up after a rapid descent, I made a 6 minute effort and got across the 30 second gap. I could see the bunch still not far off me up a 2 minute climb on the bottom section as I had 20 seconds on them, I fully pressed on here and got away from them even more, I then caught the break sat on for a minute and upped the pace, so much around the bends as well that it caused a split, Pete and the other rider seemed a little tired after going a lap earlier, and knowing Elliot and I were strong I wanted to keep the glory more for my self and keep the pace higher as I knew us two could do that especially with 45 minutes to go only 15 minutes into the attack.

We worked for the top of the drag and rested downhill still keeping a few hard revs here and there. We were then caught by Ryan Coulton of Pro vision with fresher legs, and not long after Jacob Vaughan and Ben Hardy. The 5 of us played some cat and mouse with only 2 miles to go, Elliot and I must of felt pretty similar, him even more as I’d been up the road for just over an hour and he had been up there for over an hour 10 minutes by this point! An attack came from Ryan and Elliot chased it down, and he then launched his sprint getting a little gap on us, Jacob went around him and stormed off ahead whilst the non sprinter tired legs were no match for Jacob and just about not enough for Ryan as he rolled in about a meter ahead of me. Despite being ill I feel I made the best of the race coming away with third, its sad me and Elliot got caught so late by the fresher guys but in the end its a learning curve to see what can happen with bridging later as well, a tactic I’m willing to give a go soon at some point, one that looks like it could suit me much better!

 

Well done to Jacob.V on the win, he rode it like a boss and it was well deserved!

 

Thanks to Epic Cycle coaching

Halo Films

My Parents

Pedal Potential

Balgores

Giant Uk

FD works

Stealth secret training.

Thanks everyone!

 

Spokes Junior 2 day National

On Friday the 3rd of June Peter Georgi, Etienne, Mark Cox, Matt and Myself travelled the long trip up to Scotland for a hard weekend up North.

Stage 1 was a rolling course with a flat sprint finish, 40 miles, Stage 2 a little rolling too with a 10 minute climb at the end, 36 miles, stage 3 rolling again with 3 4-5 minute climbs in and some tough twisty lanes on the final shorter circuit to make up for the climbs, 60 miles.

Stage one I made 2 efforts to get away but both were chased down, it was a fairly basic stage with the break going but the final rider getting caught with 4km to go to end with a bunch sprint, myself and other team mate Matt rolled through in the bunch, sadly Etienne was shoved onto into the grass verge and flipped over his bars onto some grass inside the final 1.5km, the 3km rule was on his side and he also had a bunch time.

Stage two, a very interesting stage. I sat in for the first half of the race to conserve energy and suss out the race kind of thing. Peter Kibble followed an attack from a rider, knowing Rob Scott and Will Roberts were up the road I thought I’d best bridge too, with Petes team mate Matt Walls on the front blocking I instantly put out a max kick and then the break was formed. With the other rider unable to work after the 10 mins and not being able to come through very often myself and Pete were left to do the work ourselves. With 20 minutes to go Etienne my team mate managed to bridge across and as the bunch had now gotten to 30 seconds he helped keep the pace high in the headwind section as we worked hard to bring out the time a little more as it was only 4km from the climb! Once on the climb Etienne was setting the pace on the front whilst I marked Pete as he was now inbetween the two of us, we caught Will.R and now with only 6 mins to go of the climb and stage we had to catch Rob, my legs werent 100% as were Petes im guessing as over the course of the stage we had a lot of work to do in 40 minutes up the road to catch Rob and Will, so with 250m to go we caught Rob who had been out for over an hour and a half and must of been destroyed, having sat onto us until the final corner I then saw the line, I didnt think the line was that early and to my mistake I came from 3rd wheel, Etienne got a gap over me in the last 150 and I sprinted so so hard to try to pass him but it was only good enough for half a wheel length! A great 1-2 for us two though and now being 1-2 on GC we had a lot of defending for the final stage on day 2!

Stage three was a tough stage mentally and physically, so many attacks were being thrown out so early so frequently and we just couldnt jump on them all else we’d of probably lost out worse being too tired for the final climbs, so we let the break form, over the first climb we heard 3 mins 30, so myself and Etienne (in the leaders jersey) had to do some chasing. Over climb 2 of 3 of the day I sat at a 2 minute pace over 400w on the climb, I rarely ride to power in a race as unless your alone its fairly pointless, but I did and it worked, sitting at my pace in a cross tailwind on the climb i dropped the group down to a nice size of 10 or so riders with Etienne taking over the less steep part of the climb, a group of 20 managed to catch us as we were working at a pace we knew we could hold for the rest of the race and they were desperately working to catch us, which they did within 10 minutes. Skipping to the final lap we now had about 10 of us working and we got some really good through and off going, the maximum gap got up to 3 minutes 56 or so and we now had the split up break in sight, with a group of 7 just up ahead the team cars pulled out of the way and we stormed past them picking up my team mate Matt Cox who was unable to make the first group on the road as his rear mech cable had snapped! He added to the fire power rather a lot as he got into the break to sit on, which knowing what we know now and his gear gable snapping worked perfectly for the relatively flat run in to the finish, with only 4 riders left up the road Matt really had the hammer down helping to protect myself and Etienne who more so were on the lookout for any final jumps as there were 2 possible riders who could try to attack us. Matt helped diminish our group further, sending riders out of the back as the pace through the seriously technical section set by myself then further driven on by Matt helped tire the race. We caught the 4 with 4 Km to go and Matt then sat on the front for 2Km before 800m to go where his hard efforts left us pretty much with just the sprint, myself feeling tired as heck from helping drive really deep in the final 20km constant felt it in the sprint coming in at 22nd place.

Once I got home I received an apology saying I should of been in the leaders jersey on the final stage, causing me to ride the final stage differently I was gutted to think I could have won the race overall! A learning curve also, I thought that a big race would have gotten it right but in future I need to check things over for myself.

Overall I was still pleased to have kept my 2nd on GC overall.

Thanks to Epic Cycle coaching

Halo Films

My Parents

Pedal Potential

Balgores

Giant Uk

FD works

Stealth secret training

Pete Georgi and Mark Cox, Thanks all!