From the back to the front in 1.5km!

Inside 5 weeks till U23 National Championships now, which means I am on big training volume, in preparation to taper 2 weeks out. That means high volume and plenty of races.

Wednesday – Eagle Crits Rd 4 E1234 – 1st

Key Stats:

Sprint after 5hrs: 11seconds | peak 1346watts | avg 1083watts | 190bpm | 101rpm

Part of my training for the National Road Race involves plenty of big rides, 4+ hours most days. Today was no different. So I set out, 4 hours in the saddle before my local midweek crit. I already felt pretty shelled out when arriving, but nothing a can of coke and a chocolate bar couldn’t fix!

The crit started out pretty hard. We established a 4 man breakaway before 10 minutes had passed. I wasn’t looking overly forward to another 50 minutes off the front after what I had already done, but all the strong legs of the group were in the move, with 2 more coming over after 20 minutes, so it was sticking.

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Through and off it was for the remainder of the race, few attacks, nothing major until 3 laps to go. Lloyd (Catford Banks) launched himself off the front and quickly established a gap. It took some huge turns from me, Titch (VC Baracchi) and Josh (Pedal Power Cycles RT), but we brought him back with just a lap to go. So it came down to a sprint. Leaving it late I popped out from 3rd wheel and got my head down and for the 3rd time out of 4 in the series I got my arms in the air.

 

Saturday – SDCC Woodbridge Crits E12 – 3rd

Key Stats:

Establishing a breakaway: 1min 18secs | avg 565watts | 181bpm

With quite a small field, it was clear it would be a hard race. A strong team from Richardson’s Trek, the race set of fast and a small group of 4 quickly established off the front. Me, 2 Richardson’s lads and 1 Catford. A drop of wheels into the strong headwind and that was it, the two Richardson riders were away, I was left stranded in the gap and the Catford rider blew his doors. And that was pretty much the race. The two leaders always opening a gap, me maintaining my gap on the peloton behind to roughly 1 minute. And hour later and that was it. At least I was the only rider not to get lapped, and I managed to lap the field! My first podium in a Nat B, 17 points closer to Cat 1.

I was slightly disappointed in the prize money however. £10 for 3rd place. I paid £20, plus a non-refundable £5 for the transponder to be in the race and I finish on the podium and don’t get my money back? Great way to promote cycling to young riders!

Sunday – Glendene Summer Classic E12 – 10th

Key Stats:

First 30mins of racing: avg 44.7kmh | avg 283watts | 164bpm

Final 1.5km: 1min 58secs | peak 1314watts | avg 457watts | 177bpm | 92rpm

Well this was one eventful race! Not a great deal happened for a large portion of the race, there was an early breakaway of 2 riders, then a winning break of 2 riders. Sadly I didn’t manage to get in either, Despite trying to get over. But at roughly 120km, with 1 lap to go, the drama started.

Some twatwaffe anti-cycling moron took it upon himself to totally ruin a bike race. After trying to drive his car into the peloton and pulling a 3 point turn between the break and the peloton, he started throwing tacks onto the course. Causing a large amount of punctures in the group on the penultimate lap. This caused the comms to get the race 1 lap short. Annoyingly, that is a message that isn’t easy to communicate to a speeding bunch. Annoyingly I found out about 1.5km from the flag. Which was just after drama two. An agitated horse trying to launch its rider at the sight of the bunch. I don’t know what was worse; The shouting to slow down, or the riders who weren’t slowing down. Either way, I was at the back, right at the back. Getting ready for the last lap that never came about. So I had 1.5km, to go from the back of a strung out peloton to a position to compete in the sprint. Riding up the outside, in the wind towards the bunched up front of the peloton. Unfortunately, in the drama, a few riders had managed to sneak off the front. But I managed to find a few gaps and came around the final corner and opened my sprint. Making up as much ground as I could, I managed 8th in the sprint to take 10th overall. I guess I will take that after the confusion!

Monday – Stowmarket 16km TT – 5th

Key Stats:

Out leg: 10min 12sec | avg 367watts | 171bpm

Return leg: 8min 15sec | avg 389watts | 176bpm

A crazy early start! I was off at 7:50. It was not pleasant! After 2 pretty huge weeks of training, I was surprised I managed to equal my PB power. I’d like to think that means once I am fresh, I could up that power a fair bit. Unfortunately I think I used that power quite badly. I rode a traditional negative split. With a headwind out, it would have been faster to ride harder out and easier with the tailwind back. But I rode how I did, it may have cost me time, but I equalled the course record. So I was happy. Until I found out that was only good enough for 5th place. I would have liked to be much higher than that, but at the end of a tough weekend, I can’t be too disheartened!

Bianchi UK | Twenty3c – Independent Bike Shop | Writtle College | TEC Components | Ellmore ClothingPerkins Garages | Science in Sport | Borg Wheels | Sovereign Guards UK | Crotch Guard

I need your help!

I have the opportunity to ride for a top french team in one of the biggest stage races in the world…but i need your guys help to get there!

The Tour of Guadeloupe is a 9-day UCI 2.2 Stage Race in the french colony of Guadeloupe, South America. Details here: http://www.velowire.com/UCIcyclingcalendar/race/3191/tour-cycliste-international-de-la-guadeloupe.html

I have been blown away by the support my crowdfunding page has received, half way there within 1 day! I truly cannot thank you guys enough! Find out more here >>> http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/tour-of-guadeloupe

Peterborough 2 Stage 1 Day

Stage 1 – TTT:

Key Stats: 9km | 12min 05secs | 44.9kmh | 375np | 175bpm | 85rpm

It’s always difficult to pace when starting on a climb, because of this Jamie started off at the front to control us young guns. We rode the climb hard, but controlled. Second in line I took up the pace over the top of the climb to get the line up to speed. We all pulled through strong, doing 30seconds in the wind before pulling off. We working really well as a unit, keeping it smooth the whole way round.

It was quite an important moment for us, building up to national team time trial championships, this was our first ride as a quartet, which became a triplet, sorry Jamie. Sadly the strength of the team was slightly compromised as Robbie was ill, so not at 100%. So we will be flying for the nationals when at full strength! But this didnt hinder us, still posting a time good enough for second place only a handful of seconds behind the leaders.

Standings after stage 1:

  1. Wellingborough RT
  2. Cycle Team OnForm A +3sec
  3. Cycle Team OnForm B +15sec

Stage 2 – RR:

Key Stats:

Bridging to Break: 11min 07secs | peak 1309watts | avg 373watts | 179bpm | 88rpm

Final Climb: 1min 06secs | peak 937watts | avg 578watts | 182bpm | 98rpm

With little time between the TTT and RR, I was glad we were the first team off! I think I was off the rollers for 20mins tops between racing.18622947_1598969130114340_2083647329_n

The race started off like normal, the standard brave solo attacks and everyone chasing everything. I followed a few, but with no real intent. Just wanting to hold my position near the front really. Then just over half way through a big split went, of maybe 15 riders. We had 3 OnForm riders in the move, so I was cautious as to how I was going to try and get over, as I didn’t want to bring the bunch with me. I let the gap grow, till I knew it was 100% sticking. Then on the back side of the course, on a small rise I decided to make the bridge. I took one Flamme Rouge and one Wellingborough rider with me, and we worked well together to quickly distance the peloton and start eating into the gap ahead of us. In total it took us the best part of 1 lap to get across. Tactically this worked very well, as there was now 5 OnForm riders in the front split, a huge numerical advantage. The effort to get across took more out of me then I’d hoped for. Thankfully, Charles was able to constantly keep me towards the front of the group and cover me if I skipped some turns (it happened a fair bit). Can not thank him enough for this, wouldn’t have stood a chance without his support!

Then over the climb for the final time, I attacked. I brought 3 guys with me, including Charles (thank god) and we quickly established a gap as all the big teams were represented; OnForm, Wellingborough & Flamme Rouge. 18588797_1878737285727293_8620588131371105576_oWe’d managed to continue the numerical advantage into the breakaway, happy days. We were working well, but it was clear there were tired legs now. Charles, feeling fresher than I was, I decided I would hit the front up the final climb and lead him out for the sprint. Just before the top of the climb, the Flamme Rouge rider started to drop my wheel and I ended up opening up a gap. Charles rolled round for second place to make a 1-2 for OnForm! Solid day out boys!

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Standings after stage 2:

  1. Ollie Jones – Cycle Team OnForm
  2. Charles Page – Cycle Team OnForm
  3. Ed Porteus – Wellingborough Cycles RT

Onform also took 5th/6th/7th on GC & the team prize!

Thanks as always to all the sponsors that make this possible (check them out below), my coach Mark Walker and my Dad for putting up with my expensive and rollercoaster ride of trying to make it as a pro cyclist…

Bianchi UK | Twenty3c – Independent Bike Shop | Writtle College | TEC Components | Ellmore ClothingPerkins Garages | Science in Sport | Borg Wheels | Sovereign Guards UK | Crotch Guard

2 Wins in a Week!

Apparently, word on the street is…i’m a sprinter now?

Wednesday – Eagle Crits Rd 1 E1234 – 1st

A new local crit series being run at RAF Woodbridge started this week. Always good to have local races! I did the club time trial the night before, so in the morning had a quick recovery spin, just to get the legs going again. The weather was biblical! I’m pretty sure i rode through all four seasons and back a few times! Then in the evening i rode out to the crit, about 20km to get the legs going again. We arrived in plenty of time, so got signed on and just spun up and down the runway to keep warm. It was a REALLY cold evening! I had leg warmers, gloves and a rain cape on and I wasn’t getting any warmer. I decided to keep the leg warmers on for the race, and had my gilet on over my skinsuit.18121583_1893530927583536_2186775247695132498_o It was a short 1.4km circuit around the back roads off the runway. With a particularly sharp first corner which strung out the group every lap. Sadly as the lead car pulled away to start the race, there was a big crash behind me and half the bunch went down, not even 1 minute into the race! Good healing vibes to everyone! After that the group were all a bit on edge, so I just wanted to keep at the front and out of trouble. There were a few digs, but nothing serious for 45mins. Then coming through for the bell lap, Prof effortlessly floated off the front and started to gain a fair gap. I wasn’t going to chase a friend down, so i started to ease on the pedals. The peloton then realising what was happening, started to chase Prof down, allowing me to sit second wheel and get a perfect lead out. Round the last corner, and i just tried to stay in the wheel as long as possible as it was a very long finish straight. Finally picking my time and putting my head down. I started to fade a little towards the line, I definitely went too early, but managed to hold the gap to the line, with just enough time to put one arm in the air! It was really nice to get a result after having bad legs at the weekend.

Sunday – Festival Nat B RR – Bunch

A really early start this morning ahead of the Festival Nat B incorporating the ECCA championships. A course I haven’t ridden before, but proved to be very tough! The race went out hard from the gun! With the first hour of racing at 44kmh. On the second lap, a large break started to go, with all the teams and hitters in. I was 100% convinced that it was going to stick and that was going to be the race. So I rode full gas to get over. To be greeted by them by stopping riding. So it all came back together again and then the race winning break went. Annoyingly I was swinging too hard after that effort to get into that move. So i was stuck in the peloton for the rest of the race. The gap just kept going out and out. There were a few little attacks off the peloton, but nothing serious, so it was all about sitting in for the finish. Although a bit irrelevant, because the group up the road of 25, contained all the points. So I was more focussed on saving the legs for Ixworth tomorrow!

Monday – Ixworth Crits 2/3 – 1st

Ixworth is a local race i’ve competed in for 4 years. My results there have gradually been improving, apart from a small get down 2years ago… But with a second place last year, there was only one way to beat it!

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After the race yesterday, the legs felt very heavy in the morning, but as soon as i started my warm up they came back to life quite quickly. After my warm up i rolled to the holding pen, before we could get let loose onto the circuit. Then after a frantic sighting lap to get on the front row. We got the briefing from the comm…then…BAMM! The race went off like a gun! The plan was always to split the race up in the first 10 minutes, something that happened way quicker than that!

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With a few of us pulling hard turns on the front, we got the front group down to 12 riders. Some great team tactics from the two Pedal Power Cycles boys really blew the race apart. Using their numerical advantage in the front group by repeatedly sending someone up the road and getting me to chase. Every few laps I was trying to string the group out up the home straight, to try and get rid of a few sandbaggers and test the legs before the finale. Once the lap board came out it all started to get a bit tense. Then with two laps to go, there was a big attack by Dap CC. This kept the pace really high into the last lap. I knew i didnt want to leave anything to the last corner, after my good friend Dougal rolled me into it last year. So with half a lap to go, out of the back corner, I just went. I put my head down and didn’t look back. I knew that the first person into the last corner was going to win the race. So everything was about just getting there. And then this….

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It was so happy to win this race! Its been one of the big races in the first half of my season for a few years now. Now i have to just continue building up till national champs in June!

As always, a massive thank you to Cycle Team OnForm for the guidance and support, all the amazing sponsors (check them out below) and my dad for putting up with me through all the bad post race moods to get here!

Bianchi UK | Twenty3c – Independent Bike Shop | Writtle College | TEC Components | Ellmore ClothingPerkins Garages | Science in Sport | Borg Wheels | Sovereign Guards UK | Crotch Guard

 

First CR!

I know I am posting this a little later than usual, but I was ill for the last 2 weeks, so life has been quite dull. But here is how my best weekend of the season so far went!

Saturday – Stowmarket Hilly 20 TT – 1st & Course Record

Another afternoon start, which worked out well as I was working on the Friday night, so I could still get a full nights sleep. Got a lift out with TT Guru and local legend, Angus. We chatted courses and wind directions, and the possibilities of a CR. Despite being on good form, I didn’t feel 100% that afternoon, most likely the late night before. But either way, I went about my usual pre race routines and rolled to the start line.

I took off. The first km was all downhill and tailwind, so it was weirdly a relaxed start. Before a sharp left hander onto the first and most substantial climb on the course. About half way up, I caught my minute man! Apparently I surprised him, by his Facebook comment later that evening! Cresting the climb, we took another left onto a main road and back into the tailwind. Comfortably cruising along at 50kmh, waiting for the turn back into the long crosswind that took up 2/3s of the course. Turning off the main road, and onto a country lane, the surface got rough and very grippy. I knew that this was the time to put the power down if I wanted to set a fast time. The road was winding, the wind fluctuating between a cross and cross head. Annoyingly, as in my recon ride the previous day it was a lot more like a cross tail!

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With 8km to go, I turned back into the wind for the final push. Trying to gradually up the power every few minutes to get every last bit of effort out, building up to a full on final minute into Debenham village. I was really pleased with my effort once I got back to the car park and could check the power numbers on the garmin. PB power for the duration. Happy days.

Heading into the hall to see my name on the top of the board was very cool! Been getting close as the season is starting, but to finally get on the top step was awesome! I managed to take the CR by 16 seconds and finish 3mins faster than 2nd place. Also got to see an epic ride from ex-pro and good friend Prof. Chapeau.

Sunday – Fenland Clarion Nat B – 4th

An early start this time, to head over towards the A1 for the Fenland Clarion National B. 120km around a rolling course with some very exposed cross wind sections and a flat finishing straight. The race started well, I got into a small breakaway on the opening lap with some mates I trained with in Calpe, we got a bit of a gap, but were never going to stay out there for long. Sitting back in the group for the next few laps, keeping an eye on any possible moves and following a few but none came to anything. I have to admit, I have no clue when the winning break went!

But as we were approaching the final lap, the gap to the break started to fall quite considerably, thanks to my team-mate Robbie for that! Going up the climb for the penultimate time, I knew that was my last and only chance to get across and get a result from the race. Robbie kept the pace up on the climb, then over the top I took off and got my head down. The gap had come down to around 10 or 15 seconds at this point. So it only took a few minutes to cross the gap. Thankfully no one came with me, so i could ride my own tempo to the front group. As soon as i got to the front group, it was clear that there was a fair few people sitting on, so I started pulling turns immediately with the Catford, Spirit and Sigma boys. Heading into the last lap the gap started to grow again, until finally the cars were between us and the group again. On one of the climbs on the back side of the circuit the attacks started to come. The breakaway was thinning out. Despite getting distanced on the climb, I managed to get back into the wheels on the descent, and i stayed out of the wind all the way from there. With 1km to go, we were over the final climb and it was one straight wide road the finish. The road straightened out and people immediately upped the pace with the finish line in sight. I managed to get onto the back of the Nuun-Sigma lead out and was really happy with my positioning. Until the winner, Jake Hales from Spirit launched himself from the back of the group. I was well and truly eating my garmin at this point. I just had my head down and was pressing with everything i had left. I managed to close the gap to 3rd place but it wasnt enough. 4th in a sprint though! Not bad from a tester!

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First Double Header Weekend

For most of the year, I will be riding double-header weekends, that being a race on saturday then sunday. Being the first one, i was interested to see how the legs would feel the day after a race, and if they would be good enough to go full gas for a second day. Here is how it played out…

Saturday – NCRA Handicap 2/3/4 RR – 2nd

Slightly strange for a RR, but it was an afternoon start, so I got to get a full night’s sleep which was nice. After setting up Pink Wheels with the race wheels and packing the kit bag, i got in a full breakfast then we headed to Bedford for the race. We arrived in plenty of time, so i got to warm up and sign on in no stress. It was really nice to warm up with a few other guys from the team. My first RR with team mates, so it was really cool to see some familiar kit in the peloton. It was a weird concept for a race. 4th cats go first, followed by 3rds then 2nds, in the “scratch group”. Sitting in the car park watching people ride off you were meant to be racing was a little strange. We set off 8 minutes behind the first rider, and immediately got into chaingang formation. It was a 3 lap race, and for the first lap the whole group worked together well. Rolling through and gradually picking up riders. But as the pace increased, less and less people wanted to pull through. Until it was just the OnForm guys on the front. The gap to the front stopped coming down. So action had to be taken. So heading into the last lap, when we turned into the headwind, me and Robbie hit the front and managed to drive a split. We got a group of 4 off the front of the scratch group and we set off in pursuit of the final remaining group. Half a lap later, the 2 other guys in our group stopped working, so with Robbie holding up the group i attacked off the front and got myself a gap. Once i managed to get a sustainable gap, Robbie managed to jump over to me. We passed the front group and round in a 2up to 2nd and 3rd place. A solid result for OnForm!

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Sunday – Chelmer Hardriders 38km Hilly TT- 3rd

My second time trial outing for the year was the Chelmer Hardriders. On yet another shortened course due to road works. The course was a challenging 38km. The first 10km were into the wind, although it ended up being quite a light breeze on the day. I knew I had to go out hard, and then try to recover in the tailwind, middle section. I was happy with the pace i was setting, and i felt that i was going well. But around the half way make i hit some traffic going into a village. There was a queue of traffic behind a slower rider, then me. For about 2minutes, i was stuck at 40kmh, which in the tailwind flat section of the course, it was vital to keep the speed high. I think i lost out on a bit of time, but that’s racing on open roads i guess! It did mean that once the traffic cleared i was on a mission to try and catch back some time. The last 8km of the course was quite interesting. The event collided with a Wiggle Sportive. So there was riders all over the road, not exactly a good advert for cycling. Trying to focus on passing riders 30km into a 38km ride way over threshold isn’t all that easy! The last 8km were signed posted out, so i was trying to turn the screw a little more at every sign until the final climb. From then on it was just FULL GAS! When i got back to the HQ, i was happy to see i was in the hot seat, with 2 of the favourites to come in. Lloyd came in with a blistering time of 49:37 to take the race from Ashley Cox by over a minute, with me in third.

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I managed a PB power for 5min, 10min, 20min and ftp over this weekend, along with a 2nd and a 3rd. Overall a successful weekend, but back to training and maybe i can make it the next step up the podium next weekend! Thank you to OnForm and all the sponsors for the support!

Bianchi UK | Twenty3c – Independent Bike Shop | Writtle College | TEC Components | Ellmore ClothingPerkins Garages | Science in Sport | Borg Wheels | Sovereign Guards UK | Crotch Guard

OnForm Launch Day

So over the weekend, Cycle Team OnForm had the official launch!

Super exciting times for everyone!

The day started with the option of a 20mile or 40mile ride. I opted to do the 40mile ride, and the group had a good mix of U23, Women and Junior team riders along with some parents and people who had come along for the day to see and meet the team. It was really enjoyable to catch up with everyone, congratulating everyone on strong starts to the season, and discussing the next goals. The sight of a full group of riders in the best looking kit in the peloton was really cool!

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Once we got back from the ride, it was time to get showered and put on some fresh kit in time for the official team presentation. We were based at Writtle College for the event, a big sponsor for the team, and a really good partnership to help advertise their Cycling Performance Degree. Firstly, we got a chance to mingle with everyone in the  lobby over lunch. Before everyone got directed into the lecture hall and we got our briefing as to what was going to happen. Firstly both junior teams, then the women’s team, then us, would go up in front of everyone. We were told to enter in a specific order, but naturally we all forgot the order about 5mins before we were due on stage. Sorry Simon!

Jamie, our mentor for the U23 team was leading the presentation. As he introduced each of the teams we would enter, stand at the front of the hall as he would ask a few of us questions. Along the lines of, “how have you kicked off your season?” or “what are your big targets for the season?”. I’m not overly keen on talking in front of people and I’m sure there is a video of me somewhere. But please, no one show me! After the initial presentations, there was a full team Q&A, with questions from the crowd. Questions covered everything from race day nutrition to sock length and tan lines.

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After the live Q&A, we headed up stairs to have our official team photos taken. Yes, as you can imagine, there were many jokes…

“Ollie’s just doing the day job”

After that was sorted, it was final good byes and good lucks for upcoming races, before heading home and too work…fun times…

A BIG thank you to all the sponsors for a brilliant launch!

Bianchi UK | Twenty3c – Independent Bike Shop | Writtle College | TEC Components | Ellmore ClothingPerkins Garages | Science in Sport | Borg Wheels | Sovereign Guards UK | Crotch Guard

 

North Road Hardriders 2017

First race of the season done and dusted…and it’s awesome to say it was a good one!

First early start of the year, but surprisingly it didn’t feel out-of-place and I was straight into my pre race routine, something i had planned out very carefully. On the drive there, the threat of rain made the pre race feeling quite tense, but finally the sun broke through and we were in stall for a particularly mild weathered Hardriders! Having collected my team kit the previous day, it was the first outing for my new Ellmore Clothing Aerosuit. I have to say top marks all round, fitted wrinkle free and was very comfy throughout the race. Very thankful to have such good kit for the season ahead!

 

As my pre race plan dictated, I started my warm up in plenty of time. Headphones went in, got myself in the right mindset and all focus was now on the race. I like to prep with one or two bottles of SIS electrolyte drink, a product I have always used, which made me very pleased to hear they would be provided our nutrition for the season. From here on out, there was no chatting or faffing around. My head was in the game and the legs happened to feel pretty good. It was clear i had recovered pretty well after such a heavy block in Calpe. With nothing more than a quick, quiet word with Lloyd, I rolled off to the start line.

Everyone had told me about the dreadful road conditions to be expected at Hardriders. But I always took it all with a little pinch of salt as I had no experience of it myself. But it’s fair to say they were not wrong! I knew it wasn’t long until the first climb, so i got myself into a rhythm nice and early. We were treated to a tailwind for the first 25km, which made a few of the climbs easier, but only made the descents even scarier. A Shiv with a disc is not known to be the best handling bike in the world and on some of the rutted descents that certainly showed.

Riding mostly on feel, with nothing more than a quick glance down at the power numbers, I felt like I was riding well, the sensations in the legs were good considering what id been through this winter. Once i reached the main turn in the course at 26km, turning into the wind, i knew it was a mere 10km to the finish and i had to start tightening the screw. This got harder and harder and i was probably paying for the efforts on the early hills. But i had to just keep digging in. As i sailed past some club riders up the final climb into Essendon, with a few cheers from the crowd (yes! a crowd on a TT! madness!). I dug deep for the final few kms, trying to just up the pace as much as possible. The sight of the finish flag was bloody nice that’s for sure!

After rolling back to the HQ, the joy to see I was sitting fastest was massive! Something I didn’t expect at all. I went to the race hoping for a top 5, podium if i was really lucky. Too see i was currently leading with only Lloyd to come in! Like a miracle!

 

I would like to say a big thank you to all the organisers and marshalls! Safe to say the best organised and marshalled event I’ve ever participated in. There must have been 3 or 4 marshals on every junction, with prior warning on dodgy parts of the course too. It made the experience even better. So a big thank you for such a great event! You will be seeing me next year!

Also a thank you to Cycle Team OnForm and all their Sponsors for the support this season. Heres to many more great results!

Bianchi UK | Twenty3c – Independent Bike Shop | Writtle College | TEC Components | Perkins Garages | Science in Sport | Borg Wheels | Sovereign Guards UK | Crotch Guard

Calpe 2K17 is drawing to a close…

I am in my final few days here in Calpe. The villa has been home for the last 3 and a half weeks now, a few hiccups, but overall it has done well. For the first 3 weeks, we even managed to keep it quite clean. Until Ross arrived, then it appears to have got worse (he admitted to me yesterday that he hasn’t actually read any of my blogs despite being my best friend, so he won’t see this).

I guess i should probably recap on my time here, or tell you guys about some of the best/most interesting moments at least!

  1. Meeting new people – Something i admit i am not very good at. I am used to keeping myself to myself and staying within a very close knit of friends. At first coming out to a foreign county and staying in a villa full of random people was quite daunting. However, with a villa full of like minded, determined people, who all just love riding our bikes, we all got along perfectly. The banter was strong, and the gains even stronger. I do have to say, i’ve never learnt so much about memes in a week. So a big thank you to you guys! You know who you are. #TeamDownstairs4Life
  2. Riding new roads – Quite a change from the bumpy, pot-hole covered lanes of Suffolk. Every road here seems like its straight from a race circuit. Everything is grippy and you can throw the bike into every corner with no fear of any road imperfections. Which has certainly led to some fun times attacking down descents. Apart from the road surface itself, the shear variety of roads here is incredible. I guess that is why it is such a hotspot for cyclists. Anything from long straight roads through the olive fields, straight from a testers dream, to steep, winding climbs that test even the toughest rider. The climbs have certainly been the most interesting aspect for me, even though i appear to made a bit of a habit of getting spat…
  3. Seeing the pros – Personally i see this as the biggest difference between cycling and any other sport. Most of the pro teams have left Calpe now, to head of to other warm countries to start their racing calendars. But for the first 2 weeks i was out here, i don’t think i went on a ride without seeing some form of professional team. Anything from European Conti teams to the biggest World Tour teams in the world. And we got to ride with all of them! What other sport can you train with the icons of the sport? Highlights have to be; rolling out of town with Giant Sunweb, hanging on to TopSport Vlaanderen during there cool down back to Calpe and getting a wave from Olympic Gold Medallist Greg Van Avermaet.
  4. It’s always sunny in Spain! – Well that is certainly a lie! Flipping glad Dad made me pack my rain cape now! “You never know”, he said. Sure as hell, the first 2 days i was out here i don’t think it stopped raining! Worst its been in years according to the locals…just my luck.
  5. Focused Training – With readily available climbs of 10min+, my focus for this camp has been on longer, time-trial-like efforts, with the intention of adding in the short sharp efforts when i return home on the turbo and with racing. Being something that i just cannot do at home this has done wonders for my legs, and hopefully it will show during the season.

Sadly, i will be heading back to cold, rainy Ipswich on Saturday night. Back to the normal training and working routines. I am sure it will be a tough transition at first, but something i have to deal with. Anyway it is only a week now until my first race for Team OnForm, North Road Hardriders 40km Time Trial. And i will be collecting my kit in the next week or so, so stay tuned for the pictures!

Lastly, a big thank you to Lawrence and Sarah for sorting the villa and making my trip possible!! I will certainly be seeing you all again next year!!

OnForm Team Weekend

Solid set up. Awesome guys. This is gonna be a good year.

That’s the short version.

This was my first experience of a team weekend, so obviously i was pretty nervous. It was my first chance to put names on a results sheet to a face. Luckily the first encounter was in my own territory; a cafe. The cafe in question was Twenty3c in Stony Stratford. First impressions were that I was going to be in good company for the coming year. After a quick flat white, we heading into the car park, to group up and head out into the lanes of Buckinghamshire. The weather was suitable poor, with constant drizzle and the grit getting fired at you from the wheels in front. Rolling up the line every 5mins or so, always meeting a new person, bringing new conversations and insights. Every now and then the car would come racing past, something i hadn’t experienced before, shooting off to see the other group on the road or pull over for a photograph. 2 hours of chatting and pedal pushing later we returned to Twenty3c, for a needed change of clothes, another flat white and even more time to sit around and discuss bikes and the many strange topics that arise between cyclists…

“How many watts can you do?” 

Something that works really well for me is that my coach is involved with the team. So i got to catch up with him for a while too, which was very nice. Prompted by the Bianchi Aquila TT bike sat behind us we chatted for hours over aerodynamics and time trialling, one of my favourite topics at the moment.

After that the drive to the travelodge and then to dinner. More chit chat, again over food. It gave us a chance to meet parents along with riders, which was nice, we all knew we would be seeing a fair bit of each other over the course of 2017.

The next day, the base of operations was Bedford University. Once again kitting up and rolling out for a longer cruise this morning. Rolling around the top of Bedford and out to a little cafe built into a double decker london bus. This time we were split into our separate teams. OnForm is a large setup, consisting of an U23 development team, mixed junior team and an elite women’s team. Stocked up on my favourite Paddy & Scotts coffee, we set off again back towards Bedford Uni. The ride back was once again very enjoyable and a great chance to mix with my new team mates.

Once back at the university, we washed up and got the chance to try out the new kit for size. The kit sponsor Elmore Clothing seems to have a full set up of great kit, which i am sure will look awesome once paired with the pink and celeste of OnForm. After this, we got a talk from one of the lecturers from the Sports and Exercise department of Bedford university, which involved a tour of the facilities. Plenty of fancy lab equipment that i am sure will one day be of aid to my training and racing, but as of now, I think a bike and my power metre will have to do.

Overall i truly enjoyed my weekend meeting my teammates for 2017 and the staff that will be helping me out. I look forward to the next meet when i get to see everyone again!

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