Friday, 15 March 2013

NVRT Baines Racing Road Race

10th March was the day the 2013 road racing season got underway for this blogger. I was in the ABC's at the NVRT Baines Racing road race held on the popular Towcester circuit.
What a day to kick things off, it was the worst weather the race had ever seen in it's long history, snow, sleet, rain and a strong easterly wind was going to make for a very hard days racing.
We set off from the HQ which was the old A5 Rangers club room and out to the course a mere fifteen minutes ride away. Despite wearing the most clothing I've ever worn during a race I was still freezing, so I upped the pace to get to the start, it worked I was warming up - at last.
The snow was getting bad and Don Parry was already talking about cutting it short; a bad omen?
Feeling pretty warmed up I decided to recce the finish which was a steep uphill effort, and today it was made worst by the strong headwind blowing down it. Contending the finish when it came would require a Herculean effort.
Don didn't hang about and got racing underway as soon as we had all gathered.
I felt comfortable riding along, until I got baulked out at a crucial point when an optimistic break went off leaving me to battle with the pace and the poor position I was forced into. I hung on and moved back up on the climb when the pace slowed.
All went well for some time, I found I could move about the group fairly easily. Then it all started to go wrong. The rider who's wheel I was on suffered a major blowout, his tube wrapped around the hub and he was riding on his rim desperately trying to keep control. This caused a split and by the time us few stranded riders got our act together the race tail car had driven into the gap.
I estimated that we could catch the main bunch in time for them to slow on the hill. A quick talk and we agreed we were up for it and swiftly formed TTT formation. I could tell we were going quicker than the main race so I was prepared to bury myself and hoped and prayed I could get a rest later on in the bunch.
Something wasn't right. I had the tail end of the bunch in my cross-hairs, and now they were nowhere to be seen? We pushed on, it wasn't right.We had gone off course, race over.
We can only assume that an essential marshal on the left hand turn to the finish had gone back to the warmth of his car after seeing the race car pass. It should have been obvious by the size of the shrunken bunch that riders were still coming through, oh well.
I was so hoping to put in a good effort, slightly annoying to fail through no fault of your own. Still we live to race another day, which just so happens to be later this month.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Chairman's choice April 2013

One for the diary. The fourth running of Raphas 'Hell Of The North' on April 7th. It's a ride that pays homage to that Queen of the classics the  Paris - Roubaix. Held over a distance of what is listed as 100kms, but more like 80kms, it passes through twenty sections or sectors of very rough road and gravel tracks; that's  the homage bit to the  unrelenting Paris - Roubaix pavé. Rapha call these sections gravé.
Whilst this sounds a bit hardcore, it is actually without a doubt the most fun and chilled bike ride I've ever done.
However and this is a big however. This ride is restricted to 300 riders, and it fills up within an hour, it's also a bit hush hush! But read on. The official start is near Highgate North London, were official entrants sign on and get their route card. The route goes north through the lanes of Hertfordshire and Essex before finishing at a pub in Barnet. Where upon the handing in of your route card you are given free beer and frites, and invited to watch the PR live on the pubs flat screen.
That's the official ride, here's what I and my group of fellow riders have done the past two years.
Instead of starting in Pond Square, we park up at a free car park in Barnet and wait in Barnet on the A1 until the first few riders start to come through, then jump in.
The route is waymarked, not in the usual way, but instead with bright pink 'R's on the road at the turns, so you have to keep'em peeled. The ride is on quiet lanes....mostly, but it takes you onto some rough stuff that'll test your inner tubes and finesse. Though I guarantee you'll be beaming.
Even though I don't sign on I manage to blag my beer and frites at the end every time, with the old 'I've dropped my card' routine. Well you do see them scattered all of the place anyway.
I've ridden all the Hell Of The Norths so far, and the weather has been kind. Obviously if it turned biblical it would be a different story. This year sadly I won't be riding as I'm actually over the water watching the actual race in the flesh, but if anyone want's further details just speak up. Click onto the linky for an insight into the ride.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The final countdown

To the first road race of 2013 is almost at an end. The LVRC Baines road race on the 10th looms close, and I'm as the say 'shitting it'. The field is loaded with not just quality vet racers, but 4th 3rd 2nd 1st and Elite British Cycling racers. I can only do my best.
Today held a pleasant surprise though, I looked at my training schedule and I was due a rest or 45 minutes of easy spinning. I chose the 45 minutes and span a steady 75/83 RPM along to Jools Hollands tinkling ivories. There won't be any music tomorrow night when we go off road for two hours of body battering night time mountain biking, though I will be keeping my powder dry.
Then Thursday we have a last hard effort on the turbos. After that it's just a case of keeping fit, well and ready for Sunday, easy!
Apart from that all's gone well. I rode the Luton CC reliability trial, quite a fast and easy ride. And one at which the slight weight loss seemed to show.
Best news though was the time on the Harp Hilly 100, even though no serious effort went into the ride, I still managed to get around twenty minutes faster than last year. The downside  though, is that I seemed to have developed bad back pain, it just appeared Sunday morning whilst putting on my road shoes. Ir affected my ability to lay down any power, so I hope it's gone by Sunday.
Harp Hilly 100 60th anniversary route