Junior Tour of the Mendips

 

First junior national of 2016-3rd GC, please enjoy my blog and hear what I have to say about the race.

On the 10th and 11th of April I participated in my first junior national of 2016. My first thoughts were that the flat stage would be easier in comparison with all of the Belgium UCI’s I had been doing as we have to stay on the left side of the road, so using the gutter isn’t always possible, the hilly stage I knew could contain some bigger efforts!

Stage 1- A steady (mostly neutralized) climb with some crosswinds, cold conditions and flat/rolling terrain.

Stage 2- 3 climbs, one of 10 minutes, the second steep and 6 minutes, the third steep until 6-7% in the last 30 seconds to the line. Also contained a rolling stretch to the first climb and part of the top triangle circuit twice before descending off a different road.

Stage 1-started off with a 10 minute or so climb that ended up being neutralized for the first 5 minutes therefore the climb made little difference to the race, the rest was a rolling circuit that headed towards the top of cheddar before heading back round in a triangle. Being windy and having 2 sharp turns that meant you had to kick out of the corner meant I stayed at or on the front around them, especially on the sharp turn near cheddar being in a tailwind I kicked out of there around 3 times or so, meaning people at the very back had lots of work to do. The racing was fairly simple, the break went early and stayed out for over and hour 20, around 10 of us did through and off, some doing more than others and that caught the break after 25 mins of work. with 1.5 laps to go on the drag in the tailwind people were tiring and I could clearly see that, so as Charlie Quaterman drifted off the front to form a second group I joined him, there was already 7 or 8 up the road so we all worked  well together and got across within 1/2 a lap. With the cold weather and mix of rain and sleet (that made it worse) many riders with already tired legs started to drop whilst I was in the chasing group. 1 lap to go and we had reached the first group and I went straight to the front to make sure the pace didn’t drop, everyone carried on doing strong turns as the bunch of now 40 were only 20 seconds back, eventually we grew the gap to 59 seconds on the final lap and finished with that time gap, with another group coming in 29 seconds behind us also! I was 7th this stage and knowing my sprint isn’t the best I waited for the big effort to come the next day as we had 3 big climbs.

Stage 2- Thinking that all I had to do was mark 2 or 3 of the riders I knew were a threat and stopping them getting up the road was the days job…I was very wrong. With only 3 riders left in the break at the end of the day after getting away at around 30 mins into the race I thought the catch was still not possible, with new teams this season and a few riders marked out I wasn’t the only rider to make the mistake of letting the break get so far up the road…my initial thoughts were, the gap shouldn’t rise over a minute, and even if it got to a minute we, or I, could smash it up the climb and have them within a few feet, after  hearing they were over 3 minutes up the road and having only 16 fast miles to go the chase to them would be crazy. Half of our group had found the climb very hard and wanted to save themselves for the final climb, the rest of us did do turns but it just wasn’t working, people were putting in soft turns and the chase wasn’t on, now I was unsure, we had caught half of the breaks dropped riders, I knew my team mate Matt and Adam Hartley were in it, coming back to the new teams I just didn’t know who else there was in the break, and was unsure if he was in our front group the day before. Now I left it to the only people who can beat me on GC are charlie Q and another, if they beat me up the final climb that is. Being pretty confident about the final climb whilst I was sat in Charlie Q attacked very very hard and managed to pull out a gap of around 100 meters, after another 5 minutes the gap was 150 meters and I thought we were going to leave him that far so come the end it would be hard for him to contest, however being a strong rider, especially on the flat he started to gap us more as another 5 minutes on and he was out of site, we were chasing but frustratingly not hard enough, I tried to get people to work but again not much happened, we now had no time at all until the finish, we had gone through 1 mile to the climb and there was now nothing I could do except wait. The pace wasn’t insane for the first 4 mins but then an attack happened, I put my bike in the big ring but then it slipped back into the little and I had to shift back up, then I did a max 40 second effort to try to catch the front 3, I caught one that could take my place in GC and got close to Pete kibble in the final meters. Over the weekend I learnt a lot, after speaking to Peter Georgi who has raced at a high level since being a teenager I now understand a lot more on what I could of done in the race and I’m pleased with where I’m currently at, gutted I couldn’t get my first win in 2016 I still came away with 3rd on GC and hope to get a win very soon, being aggressive I can easily do, except on a 2 day race I should’ve ridden it like a one day…! Being a teenage racer or a pro, there’s always new things you can learn, on wards to my next race being E3 Harlbeke where I hope to prove myself further!

Thanks to Epic Cycle coaching

Halo Films

My Parents

Pedal Potential

Balgores

Giant Uk

FD works

Stealth secret training

Thanks.

 

 

Totnes Vire 2 day

Stage 1-66 mile road race of 6 laps around the Halwill Junction loop-Draggy

Stage 2-3 mile TT starting near the Holsworthy-Halwill A3072 turn lay by back to Halwill-Draggy, more uphill and nasty headwind

Stage 3-74 mile Road Race, 4 laps of a really lumpy 18 mile circuit, very lumpy with some steep nasty climbs, hitting them at around 40-50mph on the southern stretch.

Over the weekend of the 2nd/3rd of April I raced the Totnes Vire, the most prestigious race the South West region holds.

Above: Me off the front on stage 1

Stage one wasn’t the most amazing stage for me, after an attack mid race and having riders from each team it wasn’t any of the bigger teams (Pedal heaven, Raleigh or Madison genesis) responsibility to chase, and a few of us team less individuals new it was pointless to try it ourselves, we want to do the best we can do and not work to bring back a break like that, well I don’t anyway…Before any of this I did bridge across to a move alone and the amount of time it took me to catch them (about 3 minutes for a 20 second gap) kind of proves that they were riding too slowly together to think about staying away and catching the break. So stage one meant getting into the top 10 really would have to be done in a sprint, as anything going off on the last lap would have been brought back quite easily. After a few crashes in the race (so I was told) around 20 riders had lost there chances here, others struggling with the pace in places left our group at only 20 riders come the end with 8 up the road. Eventually I took 18th.

 

Stage 2 was hard for everyone, with legs of course feeling a bit tired after the road stage it was going to be a real deep effort with lactic in the muscles already. Riding to a power meter helped a lot in this situation. Knowing the course well and being on Junior gearing meant I could rest for the 50 second descent as I wouldn’t gain much time from sitting there spinning my legs off in the gearing. So I rode the first 3 mins to the downhill damn hard, with only a few kicks on the downhill I could recover and continue the effort as the road picked up again, in the final uphill ‘sprint for the line’ I knew I had done well as in the last 10 seconds I did start to fade very slightly but carried on kicking hard to the line, I was pleased coming away thinking I couldn’t of pushed it any harder or ridden it smarter.

 

 

(Stage 3) Above: Looking even worse than usual! Mud and spit on my face, surprisingly I was full gas here!

 

Full pelt to the line stage 3.

Stage 3 (day 2) I knew could be made very hard, I of course knew Raleigh were going to try to keep the yellow jersey so they would be trying to set the pace and not letting anyone high up enough on GC to get away. I remember seeing guys going off up the road at 1/2 mile in which I thought was pretty silly but also very brave, holding off a team for 74 miles with only 3-5 of them on a tough circuit with pretty horrendous weather would for sure be a challenge. I made the decision to sit in for the first half of the race and see what happened on lap one and two on ‘the climb’ and it seemed Raleigh were working but not drilling it hard. 5 Miles away from the finish line (where we would have crossed for a lap to go) everyone came to a stop as we found out a chicken lorry had crashed and blocked the whole road, in the 20 minute wait I went and sat in a car after standing outside shivering for 10 minutes. Not long after the break were set of with 1 minute 50 seconds gap and then we also rolled on, cafe legs were there for a few seconds for sure. so on the 3rd time up the climb at 55 miles in I decided id go solo and ride to a power i knew i could hold for around 45 minutes, after all we had raced the day before and your not exactly fully fresh after 55 miles…I put the attack in over the Appledore climb and got a small gap, taking the corner through Okehamton really fast i kept the power down all the way up to the top of the hill over the line then sat at that power. Heading through Sticklepath was my only rest so i built my speed up with a kick on the way down and caught the car ahead of me. Anyway 10 minutes later as I approached Whiddon down I had managed to get across the 1 minute 50 gap, as i caught them i knew they were so tired from being in the break for so long and the gap must of only been around 1 minute when I caught them. After an attack from 2 Madison Genesis riders from what I heard they went hard on the downhill-uphill corner section and came flying across to us, not long after a split of 25 got to us as well. Up the next climb after a quick downhill was an attack so I followed it and the group split into two and then there were 13 of us. After that group had also had a small split the yellow was chasing way to hard and when it came to the next climb where 6 of us smashed it across to the other 6 the yellow just didn’t have the legs to keep trying to defend and fell back. So it came to the final climb where there was one attack but it got reeled back in, I knew attacking them wouldn’t work so I’d have to place as high as possible in the sprint which sadly I only got 8th out of 11, however after a 25 minute solo effort and being a junior rider with not so much power as a fully grown man, especially with good kicks on them, I feel I did well, the winner of the final stage was a world champ at the Madison world champs.

Overall I had-

Stage 1- 18th

Stage 2- 15th

Stage 3- 8th

Overall GC- 10th

 

Thanks to Epic Cycle coaching

Halo Films

My Parents

Pedal Potential

Balgores

Giant Uk

FD works

Stealth secret training

Thanks.