Showing posts with label Neil Wass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Neil Wass. Show all posts

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Win for Skipsey at Hillingdon

Mick lined up at Hillingdon last night for another round of the fortnightly Masters Series. With him this time were Chris & Neil, who, after an early discussion, decided it would be fun to 'animate' the race a little. The pace was a bit stop-start to begin with but the team ensured they generally had someone in each move while the others recovered and about 20 minutes in, a move with Mick in it

"We were thinking this could be good," recalls Neil. "But you never know what the reaction of the bunch will be. There were plenty of strong riders left in the main group." As the break accelerated away, the bunch didn't seem too concerned and the gap stretched to about 30 seconds, but there was generally enough impetus to hold it there; a widely used tactic with the aim of wearing out the break whilst keeping them close enough to pull back.

And it it was in this state of equilibrium where Neil & Chris started to weigh up the situation: "We could see Paul Crook of Beyond Mountain Bikes  and Gray Turnock of Finsbury Park CC in our group," says Chris. "And they weren't too chuffed that they's missed the break. I don't think they expected it to stay away so the frustration started to rise after 40 minutes." 

Turnock started to rally other riders in the bunch to ride, getting help from Scott Holmes of Hillingdon CC but Chris & Neil were always in the first 6 riders or so: "We weren't blocking," explains Neil. "But we made sure that whenever there was an acceleration, we were part of it and everyone knew they would have to count us out of any bridging effort. What was great was that we knew Paul & Gray would be the main challengers to Mick in a sprint finish so the possibilities were good if we could keep them back in the main group."

With 5 laps to go, Turnock made a last desperate effort to cross the gap, but Neil was tight on his wheel and he had to sit up and accept the break was going to stay away. And sure enough it did, with Skipsey taking a finely judged Sprint Finish. "I was surprised because it almost felt too easy," he says. "But I've been through this scenario thousands of times in my head and trained for it hundreds of times so I guess that's part of the reason!"

No pic found of his win, so here's the big man at Hillingdon [where else?] in April
Turnock was gracious in defeat: "That was a well deserved victory for Mick. He's always up there in the finale so good for him, but also good for the team because the other two never lost focus in managing us lot in the bunch." Holmes agreed: "I reckon the other two in the bunch made the difference today. So many times we had the break in our sights, but they managed to slow us down. Great teamwork."

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

National Success for TMG

Two Top Tens Again!

The team Juggernaut ferried four of our riders to Hampshire yesterday for the LVRC National Road Race. The Herriard Circuit was billed by the organisers as 'undulating'. Seriously.

about 150m of climbing on each of 6 laps...

all smiles at the start on a super sunny morning

Fortunately, we had a very lean Graeme who left everyone for dead up a nasty ramp to Brill the other week.

So he was our group 'A' numero uno. Neil still had a touch of Easter Egg weight about him; Ian was thinking about survival, but the undulating section looked useful for him. 

Paul, on his own in the 'C's, was quietly confident.

And it went off hard; a bit like a junior race. About half of the field of 60 were off the back on the first time up the climb: "I really didn't expect the pace to be so brutal," recalls Ian. "But I guess it was the Nationals!"

The third time up the hill proved too much for him: "My legs just packed up; the intensity was just too high for me - I guess I need to adapt to the ebb and flow of a Road Race, and this was another learning exercise of how tough even Vets racing can be."

Ian Knight of Corley Cycles Team was discussed in the team car as being the 'man most likely' en route to the start and he didn't disappoint. Neil followed his first major attack in tandem with Steve Golla of High Wycombe on the false flat before the finish hill. However, whilst Neil & Steve were reeling from the effort, Knighty combined his light weight and superior power to launch again over the top of the climb: "I knew I had to follow that move," says Neil. "But I couldn't! Either he'd metered his 1st attack or he has amazing powers of recovery!"

looks painful: Neil gives it everything to go Top 10
So the eventual winner surged ahead with two others to stay away and it was a case of "niente da fare" for what remained of the bunch. Neil came in 10th. Unfortunately, an unshipped chain put paid to Graeme's chances. His flyweight worked against him as he lost contact and tried to chase back on on the  downhill sections of the course.

Paul had been part of a 15 man break in the 'C' race. Although there was an obvious numerical benefit, it was outweighed by a lack of cohesion: "Only about 5 people wanted to do any serious work," he says. "So it was pretty much doomed." Paul did his usual canny thing and relied on his light weight as he kept in the mix up the finish hill. With the clear winner about a minute ahead of the bunch, he took 5th place in what was left of the bunch; "I don't think you could call it a sprint; more of a grovel!"
5th for Paul. He makes it look easier than Neil, but he's still not satisfied!

Big thanks to Pauline Unwin of VC Meudon for the pictures.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Two Top Tens again

Finchley RT Paul Simon Homes LVRC Road Race

Paul, Neil and Ian nipped over to Essex this morning. It was Baynesy's first LVRC race having recently graduated to the club of a 'certain age'.  Following one of Neil's long rambling monologues about how great, relaxed, civilised and friendly an LVRC race was compared to the BC variety, the break blasted away after half a lap. And stayed away for the duration.

Fortunately, Neil had taken no notice of his own 'overview' and he was alert as Vince Divine, last year's winner, took off. This was quite an achievement following a rather late night involving red wine, cheese and easter eggs, but he held on and put in some big efforts with half a lap to go when Vince put in a pretty nasty attack: "I couldn't go with him though," he admitted. Rather than sit in and wait for the sprint, he seemingly decided to burn himself out a bit more: "I suppose I just wanted to see what I could manage," but the efforts were fruitless. Leading out the sprint for 2nd place, he launched a touch early, but took 4th.

attempts to cheer Ian up were not going well

Paul, meanwhile, was playing a typically canny game and, having saved himself, took the bunch sprint and 9th place.

Ian was disappointed last week at Hog Hill, having had to pull out after 5 laps due to gear trouble. Unfortunately, the ill fortune continued today with a pinch flat on one of the many potholes on an otherwise good circuit. "Surely, I must be due some good luck next week," he sighed.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Icknield Hilly - Podium & Team Prize

A quick note to report on today's local crono around Cheddington, Mentmore and Wingrave. We had 8 entries, but unfortunately only 5 starters. Maybe the wet & windy weather didn't help Tony, Matt and Steve...

Local Strongmen Roy Chamberlain and Richard Wood crashed the party for Ross & Luke but that still meant that that Ross made it to the podium with 45:19, and with Neil making a mini comeback on his 12 year old TT bike, the trio took the team prize by a comfortable margin.

Icknield Hilly Result 29km

1st Roy Chamberlain, Corley Cycles
2nd Richard Wood, Arbis Racing Team
3rd Ross Clarke 45:19
5th Luke Clarke 45:48
Neil Wass 47:55
Steve Clarke 50:09
Darren Powell 51:03

Monday, 4 November 2013

It's Not Over Yet

Yes, the main racing season is quite a way back, but for 'hard core' head cases, there are still a few 'select' events out there, even if you discount the complete insanity of cyclo cross.

Neil decided to venture down to Hillingdon on Saturday in search of a few late points. New boy Baynesy decided to tag along for the Inverse Autumn Circuits.
Ian Baynes & Neil Wass - late season placings at Hillingdon

After a fairly uneventful first half, things hotted up a touch and having tried the 'one two' move and some solo surges, the duo decided a bunch sprint was most likely so restrained themselves for the last 5 laps or so.

The result? 3rd for Neil, 4th for Ian, so it looks like Neil will be up to 2nd Cat next season with Michael Skipsey.

Says Neil: "I didn't expect to do quite so well today if I'm honest - that's only my 3rd Road event since August! I was a bit more organised than usual though - I even had time for a warm up on my rollers."

Ian: "That was a great way to kick off riding with the TMG boys. It's great to have team mates who work with you through the race and play around with different tactics. I'm really looking forward to next season."

Monday, 28 October 2013

TMG 'Storm' to a Team Win

As Southern Britain braced itself with the onset of St Jude's Storm yesterday morning, our two teams were bracing themselves for a messy Gentlemans' Team Time Trial. Organised by our mates at Arbis Raceteam , we were pretty sure their team would be the fastest.

6am Sunday saw a massive rainstorm hit Hertfordshire. Fortunately, by the time our riders set off to the event, it had passed. Conditions like this also bring challenges after the event though, principally in terms of debris and sharp flints which are washed into the road. There was also no shortage of surface water, with many low sections flooded into the bargain.

 The 2 teams of 5 were reduced to 4 and 5 when new arrival Ian Baynes punctured en route to the start, his tyre so badly slashed that a repair was impossible.

Once started, two more riders were lost within the first 5km out of 60 so that by the time they reached the Park Gate Climb up to Wing, we had only 7 riders remaining out of 10. Seven very determined riders though, as you can see from the echelon formations in the 40mph crosswinds on that section.

By the finish, team A had lost Ross to another puncture, so Neil rolled over the line, gasping and clinging on to Luke's back wheel for grim death. The time didn't count though; 4 riders needed to finish in order to be officially eligible.

Team B meanwhile, had stayed calm and focused, worked together amidst the disruption and crossed the line 4 seconds ahead of the Didcot Phoenix team.

There may have been some luck involved, but there was also a fair share of determination and plenty of effort. In particular, our mate Mark Jervis, who saved the day by filling in for Paul Caton, and new boy Matt Rushton, who was seriously struggling with form only a week ago whilst recovering from a late season broken collarbone.
winners Eugene Rack, Mark Jervis, Matt Rushton, Darren Powell, John Lacey

So all in all, a great morning out - it looks like the Gentlemens' TTT could be around for a few years to come, along with a great Cafe HQ at The Cog.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Paul is Regional Criterium Champion

Paul & John play it cool while Neil does the obligatory grimace
Paul went to the MK Bowl last night in his skinsuit. A statement of intent for the LVRC Regional Criterium Championships.

Characteristically quiet, he was already warming up whilst others were chattering and trying to find lost items of kit. Racing got started with a bang and despite his group C tag, Paul was straight into the thick of the action with the younger team members.

Head Down as usual, Paul gets to work and puts his adversaries under pressure

As others struggled with their peers, he took the fight to his age group and, despite being heavily marked, he shook off the competition to take an emphatic win, his second in two weeks. The Regional Title joins the Road Title he took at Cranfield on May 4th. Congratulations Paul!

Left to Right - John Lacey, Neil Wass, Paul Caton
John Lacey and Neil Wass, meanwhile, were in with the As and Bs. "I was in shock," recalls Neil. "The race went off like a Rocket. It was as if a select group had been fired up with Nitrous Oxide! I was pretty much defeated the moment that first move went."

John had other ideas. Sat in the second group, he could have bided his time but instead he came out fighting and attacked. Staying away on his own, he soloed to take a thoroughly deserved second place in his group. "I think my long time trials are handy training for this," he smiled. "It's great to get away against the odds."

Once he got over what he described as his 'Marlboro' cough, Neil was upbeat: "Great night for the team," he concluded. "The riders who put the work in and took the risks got the results."

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Terrific Trio Boss the Bowl

John Lacey joined Neil and Paul at the MK Bowl last night for the first round of the evening LVRC series. With a large field, they stayed active near the front from the off.

Neil - group A win
Having PB'ed twice in the last three weeks on local TT courses, John was happy to stretch his sizeable legs and he spent several laps away, testing the nerve of his rivals. When it all came back together, Neil and Paul were ready to respond and the team kept things under control.

After a frenetic series of moves, Neil's breakaway partner from Saturday, Tim Davies, launched a serious attack which had many of the front group in difficulty. Sensing an opportunity, Neil followed: "I gave it everything and that's what it needed to stay with Tim," he said. "He made me work a little bit more than Saturday too." By the end, the duo had a solid 20 second gap, but Neil had nothing left for the sprint. Paul and John, on the other hand, had played a canny game and wereready for the sprint, which Paul took by a decent margin.

Final result: Neil - group A win; John - 2nd in group B; Paul, group C win

"We were really buzzing off that," said Neil. "That's definitely the best start we've had!"

Monday, 6 May 2013

LVRC Regional Championships

Cranfield's notorious 'Tricky Triangle' was the venue for the LVRC Regional Championships on Saturday. Neil and Paul were in attendance for the team and ruing their luck at the start. Within 3 minutes of the start time, the heavens opened and set the tone for a filthy first hour.

With wet conditions, a nervous bunch meant they stayed close to the front and out of trouble; somewhat fortuitously as it turned out.

Neil - get some sleep! Bronze for him and Gold for Paul
Pre race favourite Ian Knight joined an early move by David Palmer which escaped Neil's attention: "His acceleration was just too strong," recalls Neil. "I was boxed in at the moment I needed to move and by the time I got out, he had a good gap and I knew he wasn't slowing." Frustrated, Neil made one effort to chase but decided not to pursue any further: "It seemed unlikely I would catch them," he continues. "And even if I did, I'd definitely have been wasted by that point!"

Sitting in for a while, Neil eventually formed a strong break with Tim Davies of Icknield Road Club, a situation for which he was particularly grateful when a crash occurred on the fastest part of the course. The two man escape gained steadily on the bunch in the closing half hour and having dealt with repeated attacks from Tim, Neil won the sprint for 3rd place.

Paul followed in the bunch, taking the sprint and the title of Regional Group C champion. Neil took the bronze for Group A. Delighted with his win, Paul said: "It was a tough race but it's great having a team mate up the road. With Neil in a break, it gave me the chance to relax a little more than usual and focus on the finale."

Monday, 29 April 2013

Mixed fortunes on another cold weekend

Steve Clarke at the VTTA (East Anglian) 25, thanks to Dave Jones
Ross Clarke showed the way this weekend as some of our riders struggled to match some of their early season promise.

On Saturday, Tony May led the way on the E2/25 course in Cambridgeshire through hail showers and high winds with a time of 56:28 in the VTTA event with Steve Clarke following on 56:54

Sunday saw Paul Caton at the LVRC Finchley Road Race. As round 2 of the Mstina series, he was keen to get a solid result but, by his own standards, was found wanting when the race hotted up: "I missed the big moves today," he admitted. "And to be honest, my legs didn't feel great either." Placing 4th in his category, he is joint 2nd in the Mstina series standings. "It's still early days," he continued. "Hopefully that's my bad day out of the way for the season!"

Michael Skipsey finished in the main group: "I'm hoping for some form once the temperatures get back to a decent level," he joked afterwards.

Ross Clarke made his return to Road Racing after a 6 year absence on Sunday. Riding the Reading Road Race at Woodcote in Oxfordshire with Neil Wass, he was prepared for a tough race - and got one. With a 2km crosswind hill on each lap, the circuit proved a challenge for the category 234 field.

In the move - Ross Clarke at the Reading Road Race on Sunday - photo - Graham Robins for British Cycling
The race was stopped temporarily on lap 2, and once it got going again, the gloves came off and Ross made sure he was near the front as a gap opened up over the climb. Cementing his place in the break of 12 riders with some strong pulls, he did his fair share of work to ensure that, despite a desperate chase from the 2nd group, the move stuck. Crossing the line in 9th place, he was pleased with his performance: "I knew I wouldn't be strong in the sprint because of my Time Trial Focus - the shortest intervals I do are 10 minutes! But the background form seems to be OK so I can sharpen things up a bit with a bit more work. It was good fun and as starting point, I'm quite pleased with that."

Neil came in with the 2nd group Ruing his missed opportunity, he admitted to being disappointed: "I let myself get too far back on that climb," he reflected. "It was a simple error, but we held the break within sight most of the way, and the main group were much further back from us so I guess that's a positive."

Monday, 15 April 2013

4th again for Neil

Maybe he was reminded of the Imperial Winter Series, but Neil seemed to overcome his distaste for crowded circuits  on Saturday at Hillingdon. With over 85 starters, he needed to.

Apparently, the commissaire at the Westerley Circuit Race started the race while Neil was helping a fellow rider get his dossard pinned on. Well, nothing like a challenge eh?

"I spent the 1st lap in the wind trying to get back into the bunch," he remembers. "And once I got there, it took me half an hour to find a way through to the front."

Knowing his 'style' of racing, that's probably no bad thing.

Anyway, having found his way through the melee, he put in the odd surge and kept himself in the running. With a 30mph headwind at the finish, it was a pretty low speed sprint but he kept pushing, found his way through and came in 4th.

Another Wass grimace as the line approaches. There is actually a pic on our Flickr page where his mouth is shut. Rare, that
He's now top of the 3rd cat rankings in central region.

Michael Skipsey put in another appearance but was caught mid-bunch when things started to hot up: "It's early days," he reflected. "There's no way I'm going to ruin a season by taking risks."

Paul Caton's recent run of bad luck continued at the Sevale LVRC Road Race in Malvern. As round one of the Percy Stallard series, it was important to get a decent result, but a puncture in the first 5 miles put paid to that. After a lengthy wheel change, Paul was left to ride the race alone. His dignity intact, he finished only a couple of minutes down on the field having done more work than anyone else in the race, we're sure.

Tony May braved some foul weather on Saturday at the Lea Valley 25 in Cambridgeshire. The normally quick E2 course was not at its best with the exposed flatlands making the wind and rain particularly challenging. Posting a 57:11, we think he was great value for just riding, with a higher-than-usual number of non-starters.

Ross and Steve Clarke picked a good weekend for a training camp.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Weathering the Weather and a First Team TT Win

This weekend saw more extraordinary weather. Incredibly, despite the sheer volume of rainfall, we saw two races with barely a drop from the sky on Saturday.

First up was the Team MK early season warm up race at MK Bowl. Neil Wass and Michael Skipsey ignored the downpours and pitched up without a warm up for the 2/3 category event.

"It was pretty quick from the off," recalls Michael Skipsey. Neil was straight into the action and joined a breakaway move with local favourite Aaron McCaffrey of Virgin Active and and Jonny Shuster of Corley Cycles. This was brought back after 3 laps though and as the Prime whistle blew, Neil decided he needed a break. "I thought I'd keep an eye out though," he recalls. Sure enough, the pace eased after the sprint and he joined another Corley rider, Ben Chapman. The two formed a strong attacking partnership and built a sizeable gap on the group, despite attempts to pull them back.

Michael Skipsey did his bit on the front of the bunch and sacrificed popularity for teamwork by managing attacks off the front.

is it me or is that front tyre looking soft?
Continuing their charge, the leading duo were joined by Justin Belcher from Banbury Star who added strength to the break. All was looking promising for Neil until, with 2 laps to go, he punctured and had to pull off into the finish area.

Justin and Ben stayed away, with Ben taking the win for Corley.

As supporters on the line commiserated, Neil was unperturbed: "I was pleased with my efforts today. You can't get upset about a puncture - at least I know there's a bit of form there."

As the race concluded, Tony May and Ross Clarke were battling around the A5 Rangers 31mile Hilly course in Northamptonshire. Incredibly, the rain held off for them too, and Ross took 3rd place in 1:15:56 behind Matt Botrill and and Tejvan Pettinger.

Combined with a strong performance of 1:25:29 from Tony, the TTers took home the team prize.

Sunday saw Paul Caton racing the LVRC Fleche Waltonne event organised by Welland Valley CC

Having travelled up to the Welland Valley, he remained optimistic. This annual event is known for its Flandrian Style semi paved sections, so it's tricky enough. But Sunday brought snowy conditions which for the first time ever led to a cancellation. The video explains enough. After two laps, the organisers decided that a peloton riding in car tracks was enough. Paul was a touch disappointed - he had just broken away with a small group over a climb, but even his glasses had frozen over and the gears were jumping with snow in his cassette. Bravo to Paul for toughing it out! Thanks to georgehallscycles for the video.

Thanks to team member Richard Burch for the MK video and pictures

Monday, 4 March 2013

New Members Spring Into Action

Michael Skipsey (far right) - he didn't give up!      thanks to for the pic

Michael Skipsey was the leading light in the new TMG line up in the Paul Simon Homes Masters Race at Hillingdon on Saturday. 

Efforts in the 2nd half by John Lacey, Neil Wass and Eugene Rack saw repeated bursts of speed, but the bunch was ever watchful and their efforts were in vain.

With a deftly manoeuvred sprint in the finale, 'Skippy' nipped through a gap and was still accelerating at the end as he took 4th over the line. More pics over on our flickr photostream

Tony May picked up the baton on Sunday and raced the Hainault Hilly TT over in Essex.

Despite an unshipped chain and a junction delay, he made the top ten with a time of 1:19:39

"Fairly pleased with that," he reported, claiming the temperature was "not too bad."

Looks like some pretty serious gloves were still needed though.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Imperial Winter Series Finale - Video

Thanks to John Mullineaux of, we have some very 'up close' footage of Neil almost knocking him over as he attacks for the last Prime of the Winter Series at Hillingdon. Watch out at 55secs.

Some great support from the youngest team members. You won't have to listen too hard to hear the shouts on the finish line!

Full race report here

Prime overall results here

Monday, 11 February 2013

Everything's Gone Green

Neil rounded off the Imperial Winter Series at Hillingdon on Saturday with more top placings in the finale. Bouncing back into form after a couple of weeks of cold, he threw caution to the wind and powered to the Prime win, fending off a spirited challenge from 2nd placed Greg Wiltshire of Kingston Wheelers.

Neil was 2nd over the line in the last race of the Imperial Winter Series pic: AE photos

Launching early for the finale, he established a gap out on his own of 50+ metres, but the extra time in the wind took its toll and he was passed in the closing seconds by James Golbourne of Team V-Sprint who took the win.

New team member Michael Skipsey added to the growing sense of anticipation within the team as he crossed the line in 12th place - part of an accelerating rise of form for the Fireman from Luton.

getting his hands on the Green Jersey from Tony Doyle
Honours followed swiftly when Neil received the Green Jersey. Presented by Tony Doyle MBE, it was his reward for the strongest Prime Performance over the whole Winter Series.

He took 5 Prime Wins out of a total of 10 events and with 61 points, he managed a relatively comfortable victory over 2nd placed Greg Wiltshire.

"I started racing the Sprints as practice really," he said afterwards. "But once I realised I could compete and it added a bit of spice to the main race, it started to become more of an end in itself."

Monday, 14 January 2013

More placings for Neil at Hillingdon

pic: AE Photos
Neil continued his run at the Imperial Winter Series on Saturday with 3rd in the Prime and 4th at the finish of round 8. A look at the 3rds Prime leader board shows him in the lead with two more wins to be added, so it looks promising. A great selection of photos from AE photos posted here

Friday, 30 November 2012

A bit of Hillingdon video

You needn't look away - no crashes here. Looks like the cramp kept Neil in the saddle for the final sprint.

Monday, 26 November 2012

2nd for Neil at The Inverse Autumn Series

Following a crash - marred start to his autumn racing last week, Neil had another go at Hillingdon on Saturday. One of the wettest days of the year, it didn't seem ideal, but he gritted his teeth [in fact there was a lot of grit between them by the end] and gave it a go.

Breaking away after 10 mins, he formed a strong 2up with Jozef Metelka of Zappi's Cycling Team which lapped the field at least twice.

After 50 minutes away, Neil had little left for the sprint. He'll try not to be so nice next time.

 Dark & wet. Very wet in fact. Neil Wass leads Jozef Metelka of Zappi's. Thanks to for the pic

Monday, 12 March 2012

2012 Season Starts with a Bang

Mixed fortunes befell the Anders TMG Horizon riders on the 2nd weekend in March as they hit the roads of the South East to start their 2012 racing. "Hit" is perhaps too literal a term.

On Saturday the 10th, Neil Wass hit the deck after only 3km of the Spring Chicken Road Race in Buckinghamshire. "We were a little apprehensive this year," he recounts. "We've all done this race before. The roads aren't exactly in top condition and the riders are all that bit more nervous and excited in the early races, but even I didn't expect to go down that quickly!"

In the opening kilometres, Wass had positioned himself with safety in mind : "I'd got myself into the front 10 - not on the front but I thought that was safest so as to avoid any bunch incidents, at least for the first lap." Unfortunately, one of the handful of riders in front lost control on the first bend. "Hi front wheel just seemed to go from under him." says Wass. John Lacey continues: "It was pretty greasy, but we managed OK on subsequent laps, so I suspect he may have been a touch nervous.

"All I could do was scrub off some speed and try to hit the ground as slowly as possible," concludes Wass. "I avoided anything more than a bit of road rash, and it is the first time in 8 years of racing that I've collided with another rider, so I guess my good luck was well overdue to run out!"

Eugene Rack dropped back to check on his team mate: "I saw him go down and I wanted to make sure he was OK. It could have been a lot more serious and I didn't want to continue racing not knowing." Having checked things over, the duo retired. Says Rack: "There's the rest of the season  to come - better to be safe than sorry."

John Lacey - last man standing back in the bunch at the Spring Chicken
John Lacey maintained his signature cool composure and completed the race, finishing in the bunch: "I could feel twinges of cramp - annoying because I forgot to take some salt sticks before the race, but I was here to get back into the groove and I didn't want to risk any spasms from overdoing it."

Sunday brought even warmer weather. Paul Caton tackled the LVRC road race in Towcester. "It took me a few minutes to get my race head on, " he says. "Unfortunately, by the time I did, a break had gone up the road!" He wasn't the only one to be ruing lost opportunities though, and a group of 4 formed to chase on to the break. "In terms of positioning, in a small group like that, I thought I was in a good position," he continues. "But it clearly wasn't my day." One of the four riders took a bend far too fast and crashed right in front of Caton, leaving him no option: "I hit the guy who came down and went over the bars."

Jumping straight back on, the four now down to three, Caton was slowing "I'd lost a bit of time and the impact had winded me a bit, so we were swallowed up again by the bunch but I sat in for a bit and tried to recover." Recover he did, and sprinted for 10th overall. "Not a great morning out, but at least I got something out of it." he concludes.

Nick Walker: "It was one of those weekends you'd rather forget. The guys seemed to be doing the right things though. Let's hope we got the bad luck out of the way. There's plenty of time for results later."

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Teamwork pays off as Wass opens his 2011 account

Paul Caton - solid start

Paul Caton & Neil Wass headed for Surrey this weekend to test their early form at the Surrey League Kingston Wheelers Road Race. Starting earlier in the year than usual, they were modest in their expectations: "I tend to go for the odd Time Trial at this stage normally," explains Caton. "It helps me to put some markers down and see where I need to focus my training.

The first race for both of them, they had little idea of what to expect. Says Wass "This is nearly a month earlier than the normal start for me. I'm a creature of habit and I like to see the clocks go forward before I get the race bike out."

They were fortuntae with the weather. Dry roads and bright sunshine helped the chilly temperature of 7 degrees feel  spring - like.

Neil Wass - feeling positive

"It was great to get out there and race," says Wass. "We just went to see wat we could do. We've both put a fair bit of work in since Christmas." "Er yeah," adds Caton, "We've totalled over 4,000 miles since January the 1st."

The pace was high from the off, and both riders stayed near the front to watch for any dangerous moves. "We sat in for the first couple of laps," recounts Caton. "It's rare to see anything conclusive happen this soon and there were 10 laps in total."

From thereon, the boys got busy and taking turns, made sure they were in any move which looked threatening. On Lap 4, Caton solo'd away for half a lap and was away with a Dulwich Paragon rider. "That was great," says Wass. I remember thinking 'great, I can have a rest for a bit!"

Things started to get more serious as Caton's move was brought back and Wass found himself following the counter move: "It was a bit sooner than I expected," says Wass. "But you're never sure which will be the winning move; especially in the 1st race of the season." This break opened a gap of over 30 seconds but was brought back after a lap and a half, but the shock for Wass was that a counter move went very quickly and contained riders he thought would be dangerous: "

"I could have done with a bit of recovery, but I got the feeling that I was about to miss the winning move," he recalls. "So I had to dig deeper than I would normally at that stage and bridge across." A big push got him over to the break and 9 riders worked well together, building a gap of nearly 2 minutes at its peak. Caton, meanwhile, was watching and covering moves in the main group, which contributed significantly.

Wass crossed the line in 9th, a little frustrated with the  result: "I gave everything to the break and cramped on the finish hill, so it was a bit frustrating, but a lot of that came from my bridging effort and if I hadn't have done that, I'd most likely have been out of the points. It's probably my strongest ever start to the season and I did feel pretty comfortable for most of the race. The fine tuning will come."

Paul Caton: "It was a bit more demanding than many races I've done so it was great training, both physically and mentally. I'm really pleased I rode it and it's mde me keen to do more of these races this year."