Sunday, 28 June 2015

Win at The Bowl for Jason

no cars at The Bowl of course; yes it's a library photo
Ah, the Bowl. Our favourite Hunting Ground. Well actually on a Tuesday night with the LVRC regulars that is. The regular BC Crits can be a bit more dicey and that's where Jason, our newest member has been struggling a touch.

He's had a fair bit to contend with since he returned from Asia last Autumn. Firstly, there was the re-acclimatisation. Then, once he'd got used to the cold, there was the training. Then he had to get used to hanging around with us. Then his bike snapped. And after all that, he had to revert to 4th cat as a result of his repatriation. Then last weekend, he phoned in sick and had to miss the Ginger Smallwood Road Race.

the excitement of Cash
He has joined a few training sessions with our racers, prompting many a prediction and plenty of bike shop counter innuendo along the lines of 'dark horse' etc. But so far, all the talk has passed without placings and it would be easy to lose patience [although patience is something we tend to be pretty good at].

Not easy for our Jason then. But he stuck with it and got used to the format with a few blasts round Hillingdon and The Bowl over the spring. 

Three weeks ago, he endured a brutal National Masters Road Race which proved there was a decent amount of form to work with.

Finally, on Saturday at the Big Events Crit, he decided on a combative strategy; that is to say, he clipped off the front and no-one followed. For another 40 minutes.: "I was a bit disappointed to be on my own," he says. "It was flaming hard work." Spoken like a true road racer. We like wheels to sit on.

But he did stay away, netting both the Prime and the win, with a gap of over a minute by the end. "We knew he could do it," Ian Baynes said afterwards. "He's pretty experienced and you can see that he's relishing the training, so I'm sure it won't be long before the next few points drop." Adding his congratulations, Neil: "He wasn't sitting up was he? No slacking there, looking forward to getting him in the next cat up!"

Monday, 15 June 2015

Letchworth Grand Prix 2015

Paul nipped up to Letchworth for a Crit yesterday; round 2 of the 'Tour of Hertfordshire' town centre series. Having already taken 2nd in round one on the testing twisty circuit in Bricket Wood he was looking forward to taking on a stronger field of riders on the more flowing Letchworth course.

'You need to get near the front early,' says Paul and he was true to his word. Fast off the start line, he took the lead and strung the bunch right out into a long line for the first lap. The pace remained high but it did not stop a small group of 3 forming off the front containing eventual winner Mike Jackson of CC Luton.

The bunch was not giving up however. Chasing hard, the break never gained more that 15 to 18 seconds and with the pace that high, the trio cracked under the pressure leaving only Mike who was being reeled in quickly over the last few laps.

As the pace of the chase took its toll, the peloton by now had disintegrated leaving only 5 riders to sprint in for 2nd with Paul sitting nicely in 2nd wheel entering the final lap.

Plenty of kamikaze moves from riders that had been sitting in through the last few corners followed. It was all a question of timing so Paul held his nerve and preserved his punch. Taking a few riders wide whilst still maintaining a great position for the final sprint, he launched with 150 metres to go and took the sprint by a tyre width.
crit-ical - Paul Caton at the Letchworth Grand Prix

"That was he fun," he reflected. "It feels great to get a high placing against riders who are 10+ years younger than me!"

Although we haven't had official confirmation, we reckon he's now the series leader in the Masters category by a fair old margin. Bravissimo!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

GS Vecchi LVRC Race

Paul pulls through on a dreadful day

May has arrived. In calendar terms only for now. Today saw the GS Vecchi Race run in very difficult conditions, not least for the organiser, Terry Morgan who had to switch courses late in the day, instruct marshals not to wave flags and keep everything running smoothly as several waves of torrential rain gusted across the course. Thanks Terry.

Neil's wondering how he can keep the dirt off the car seats
The weather put one or two off but our three riders made the start line. Just. Neil & Baynesy were ejected from a local pub car park whilst getting ready meaning they had to join the race on the neutralised section, but the junction was made and all settled down, well, 'settled' doesn't really seem appropriate. We will, however, not succumb to use of the 'E' word.

A tough climb on each of 7 laps of a short-ish 8 mile circuit? "Staccato," said Ian, "Challenging," said Paul. Neil? He was was too busy cleaning his mouth out.

Vince Devine of Finchley set the agenda in the A's as expected. Unexpectedly, his 1st escape was reeled in after 2 laps, but it wasn't long before he went again, along with a few other s for company. Neil admits he was caught napping, "Not that I'm sure I had the legs either though," he adds. The remainder of his race was spent being generally a bit narky, knowing that the winning places were filled by the front group and wishing he'd given it everything to go with Phil Starr of Python RT when he launched a classy bridging move. 3/10

Baynesy dishes some dirt
Baynesy continued his rising form with some strong moves and was always near the front on the climb. Except when the break went. Or when he got caught behind a crash.  Then he punctured with two to go and wore out a pair of cleats when a tube donation went wrong. Game over.

he does it again - top result and podium for Paul

Paul rolled round without the drama of the A's in group C in characteristic style.

Understated as ever, he mentioned that it was a bit of a shame he might have to clean the bike when he got home. Oh yes, he took 3rd place in group C. Smooth.

So a gritty performance by all, but the cream rose to the top as it tends to do. Thanks to Paul Burgoine for some seriously good pics - more on his zenfolio site.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Win for John Lacey at the Virgin Active Road Race

St Jean up to speed on first outing

John doesn't like hills. Strangely, he has spent the early weeks of the season masochistically riding some hilly TTs for the Hemel, although he did dodge the Sid Latchford, very kindly offering to marshal that day.

So, he's hidden his form under something of a bushel, until last Tuesday when a speed training session exposed his resurgent athleticism. We kept that under wraps of course...

On to today, and he was obviously feeling strong, piling straight into the early break with Graham Dolby on the first lap. Joined by one more, the trio stayed together for most of the race. 

speed session last week. Don't worry, he does have a bike in team colours - thanks Eugene Rack for the pic

This was surprising because the gruppo was being blown apart by the high pace as they tried to manage the gap. The front of this group numbered only 7 by the last lap including our Paul who was playing things canny as usual and keeping his powder dry. 
gratuitous sponsor promo pic

They caught John's trio in plenty of time for the finale and it looked like a regular sprint finish was on the cards but John had prepared his own script and in characteristically 'Jean Diesel' style, he launched of the front just before the Ultimo Chilometro: "The guy on my wheel was napping, I had done a quick recce and I knew it was a fast finish which suits me - flat tailwind." And suit him it did - a massive solo effort propelled him over the line in fine style.

Paul had saved a lot of energy playing the team game in the main group so he was ready for the sprint, but couldn't quite get past Phil Rayner, taking 3rd place. "No real surprise there really," he reflects. "He's an ex international sprint specialist so I'm not too unhappy." 

*sponsor message* Paul was trialling his new tmgpro VR001 aero jersey. This obviously didn't get him the win but his verdict on the new team issue? "Perfect".