2013.

I figured I couldn’t sum my season up in 140 characters…

So, after talking with my coach and team manager we have decided that it’s best to quit while I’m ahead. Stopping my season with some good form, instead of continuing racing for a few more weeks in potentially cold and wet weather, when I could take my rest now and start my training for next season sooner rather than later.

2013 has been an awesome and very memorable season for me. Spending 5 weeks training in Majorca, begining the year with no team, then in April after a strong start and a couple of good results, becoming part of the Pedal Heaven RT. A risky move for the management to take me on, I’d hope now that I’d shown myself as a more mature rider and a true team player, as well as having great TV interview skills…

Obviously there have been a few dark days this year, of which I won’t go into detail. But I’m hoping there will be some changes made to the British Road Racing scene and potentially road laws in 2014 as a result.

We as a team have taken 3rd place in the British Cycling team rankings, putting us in the spot of best Non-UCI team in the UK, a huge acheivement for all of us involved in the team.

Hard Work ALWAYS pays off.

This season I’ve had 17 wins on the road, 15 top 3’s and 2 overall series wins with the SERRL Summer Series and the Crystal Palace Circuit series. Along with a number of team prizes in road races. The team in total has had 44 wins in 2013.
I finish the season in 13th place in the UK Elite rider rankings and as the 1st place Under 23 Rider. Which obviously by no means means that I’m the fastest U23 in the UK, I think we’d mostly agree that prize goes to Simon Yates!

A big thanks to Tim and Craig, the team management, and also the team’s sponsors for taking me on. And to Rob, Dave, Dave,Paul, Allan, Chris, Anders, Rory, Lewis, Jamie, Francis, Dante, Alex & Jo for being bloody great teammates and great guys off the bike too.
Not to mention my Parents for driving me around the country to races week in week out without fail or complaint!

I’m already looking forward to training towards the 2014 season, and hoping to again improve on this years results!

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SERRL Summer Series 18

After a week off my bike, as ordered by my new coach and teammate Chris McNamara I was feeling skeptical as to how yesterday’s race would pan out. Hoping to of recovered somewhat from my efforts earlier in the season.

We had a very strong line up with pretty much the whole team riding, including inform Dante, who has won the last few Road Races he’s done, we were all looking to get up the road early on and be aggressive from the off. Someone said after the race that the first lap had been the fastest ever lap of the Lamberhurst/Frant SERRL course.

After a good number of strong looking moves went up the road and came back Francis Cade (Pedal Heaven) and Lawrence Carpenter (AW Cycles) slipped away around 35 miles in, gaining a minute at one point. After they were away for about 10km a small chase group managed to nip away on a short drag. I just slipped into the move, and started to get the guys in the group to work together well, catching to two up the road shortly. Having a teammate in the break is always better than no teammate! Francis said he had good legs so I began pulling turns for him.

Queue 2 hours of hard through and off and big turns in order to stay away from 8 chasers, 50 seconds behind. And the bunch at 2.50. They got us down to 42 seconds at one point put a few big turns and a couple of attacks later it went back out to 1.20 to the chasers.
Two laps to go on an 800m steep climb Harold Evans (Aprire Bikes) attacked over the top, I was nearly tailed off but managed to keep within 20m or so off the leaders. With Francis sitting on the back of the front group, I was given a free ride back on by another rider in the break.
The last lap consisted of one big effort on the main climb from me, just to minimize my losses should anyone attack, cramping pretty badly at the top. But I think I had damaged some people’s legs. I hope!

With about 12km to go I rolled off the front in an effort to soften things up for Francis in the sprint. Last time we raced this course he beat me pretty easily! Somehow the guys in the break sat up and let me go. Rhys Howells (23c Focus) rode across to me, and then past me! I had to ruin myself to stay on his wheel on the decent. We then did some of the hardest through and off I’ve ever done, the road averages a good 5% for the last 5 miles. I managed to get Rhys to be on the front in the last few km, knowing he has a BIG sprint on him, I wanted him somewhere where I could see him.
With 300m to go I jumped away and rode all the way to the line, hands in the air.

Francis sprinted in for 7th, he was pretty spent after being away for a good length of time and marking the attacks from the other riders in the break once I’d attacked, so a big thanks to him for mucking about in the break after I’d gone.

Jamie Pine was 10th. Rob ‘Random’ McCarthy just behind in 12th. Dante was 17th and Chris 20th. So all of us in the points! Which is great of the team.

It was a big relief to win yesterday, out of 13 races on that course over 4 years I’ve only ever finished 3 and as it had been a while since my last win. But with just 2 weeks of coaching from TrainSharp, one of those being a complete rest week. It’s great to see that coaching works and having the support of teammates is always. Always worthwhile!

I’m now 12th in the UK Elite Rankings, as well as 1st U23. The team are in 7th. Ahead of some big name teams!

1km to go!

My Specialized SL4.

My Specialized SL4.

Canyon V-Drome / Track Racing!

A week or so ago, I discovered a crack in my beloved Canyon Ultimate AL. Caused from (I think) hitting the most colossal pot hole in the Roy Thame Cup in March. Luckily as the frame is a beast, it managed to hold up through two road races and 3 circuit races before I noticed said crack.
I emailed the guys at Canyon UK, of whom I’d been tweeting to keep them updated on the wins I’d been having on their bike! They said to bring the bike over to their offices in Kingston. And have since ordered me a new frame which is due in the next few days!

In the meantime, they said I could borrow their Canyon V-Drome for the VC Londres Open meeting. I obviously obliged!
The bike was kitted out with Dura ace hubbed deep section wheels, the frame was aero and very stiff with a great aggressive geometry. It looks pretty badass too! I did have to put a bigger gear on, but I’m silly with gears. And I put a 140mm stem on, but I am lanky. It’ll be hard to give it back for sure! And was a pleasure to ride. Plenty admired it!

The racing was great fun. The first ever race I did, and the first ever race I won were both at Herne Hill Velodrome, so it’s alway really good to come back and enjoy racing. I’ve always said my favourite race is a points race so I was excited to give it a crack after a year off from the track.

Racing got underway with a scratch race, I attacked a bit. Got 4th. Legs hurt. Lungs hurt. Ow.
That was followed by a One Kilometre TT, I got third and a PB with a 1.08. I had normal road bars and helmet on. And fluffed the start. So I was happy with that.
Next up, a devil…my normal tactic for these is to ride the whole race at the front and sprint-ish every lap. This worked until 4 laps to go when a Bec CC rider smashed it off the front, I eventually caught him after a flat out chase and sprinted past to the win.
After this was a points race. I attacked off of the line, a Jakeaway of sorts. Grabbed a couple of sprints then had to work hard to nab some extra points once I was caught. I ended with 10 points. One point clear of the second place rider.
The last race was a 20km scratch race. Being a roadie, I always like to attack and try to make the race hard. I stayed off the front for a good 15 laps, won a prime. But didn’t have the legs in the final sprint. 7th I think.

I’ve gone home with the normal cough that goes hand in hand with the first track meet of the year.

All in all a good outing! I think I got 26 more British Cycling licence points, bringing me up to 220 and maybe back into the place of first Elite category rider in the UK…and £59, which is also handy!! Cake money.

A special little mention to Andrew Bradshaw who organised the whole meeting at the age of 17 and still managed to race the B category races! Very impressive. Cheers!

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Peter Young Memorial Road Race

Rain.

Something I like to race in. But not train in. When it’s cold and wet I never get bothered. I get extra motivation when I hear people complaining about the weather before a race. And I never get cold!
Though, this Sunday was spectacularly wet. There were large patches of standing water and hidden holes, which thankfully I missed!

As the flag went down, a few riders attacked, which I followed. A group of ten or so got a decent gap. Soon to be joined by Olympic Gold medalist Ed Clancy, IG Sigma Sport riders and some others. With now a group of 20 I wanted to see if I could split it, so through the feed zone I put in a dig. Getting a decent gap, only to be caught half a lap later. The next lap, I attacked on a small rise and went full gas for a good 5 miles before being joined by Alex Higham, John Heaton-Armstrong both Team Felt and Elliott Porter, Rapha. We worked together for a good few laps, John sadly punctured.

After sixty five miles the race then began a smaller circuit that went up the finish climb of Staple Hill, a drag that rose to a steeper section at the finish. We did 7 laps of this circuit. We got to the last corner, I was third wheel, feeling pretty strong still even after 85 miles in very testing conditions. We slowed to a near snails pace. Higham gave it a go but was shut down by Elliott. Who then opened up the sprint. I waited until the steeper part of the hill started and opened up the taps. Taking my first ever road race win by 20 meters.

I said earlier that I stayed warm, well I did. Until after the race. Some mega air conditioning occurred shortly after the finish. I’ve managed to clean myself up too, after three showers…

Today, I felt like I was riding with the legs of two men. One who was good on the hills. I’d like to dedicate the win to Junior Heffernan who lost his life two weeks ago in a road race.

I’m hoping today has proved some people wrong. And likewise some people right. And made some people take notice!
I’m not just a crit rider now!

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That’s a pretty awesome photo too!

Twitter – @Jakey_Cakey

Safety in British Cycling.

On Sunday 3rd March 2013 I travelled to South gloucestershire to race the Severn Bridge Road Race. My first road race of the year.

I arrived and signed on with an old teammate of mine, Junior Heffernan. While getting our kit on for the race we exchanged stories of our previous years racing, he was based in France. We joked about our time riding together for Pendragon – Le Col – Colnago. And we both admired each other’s new bikes. He was very excited about racing for his new team Herbalife, a professional set up in the UK. Looking to have a promising year with races here and abroad.

On the third lap of six. Junior collided with a vehicle at speed. Alex Higham and Allan Ridler stopped immediately. Both medically trained, but tragically Junior died at the scene.

After the race was stopped. I broke down in tears in the race HQ. Everyone was shocked. Sickened. Saddened.

Junior was a friend. Teammate. Talented cyclist. And above all a quality guy. He was always happy when I saw him and never had a bad word for anyone. His loss will be felt throughout the cycling and racing community.

This was taken by Sarah Hooper, the Corley Cycles DS. I think it's probably the last picture to be take of Junior. I cried when I saw it.

This was taken by Sarah Hooper, the Corley Cycles DS. I think it’s probably the last picture to be take of Junior. I cried when I saw it.

My thoughts go out to Junior’s parents Bernard and Denise. His Family. Friends. To all of those who were also at the race.

This tragic event has sparked up the question and debate of what could be done to improve rider safety in British racing. For example in France and Belgium drivers are stopped minutes before a race goes past by Marshals, they have the right to stop traffic. By law. Unlike in the UK where the NEG (National Escort Group) and marshals are not entitled to stop traffic. There are a few accredited marshals in Wales and Essex who have the power to stop traffic until the race has passed. This is a rarity. This accreditation must be given to all NEG riders and marshals in order to prevent any similar incidents from happening. And to give riders the safety they deserve. For £100 for a British Cycling Gold Membership and racing licence I’d expect this to be a given. Where does our money go?

There is an e-petition set up by Paul Morton, an NEG rider and ex-policeman himself. This can be found here – http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/46709 I was the 5th person to sign, its now up to just under 8000 signatures. If you could take a few minutes to sign it, you WILL save lives. And change British Cycling for the better.

A tweet I saw last week puts British Cycling’s part in this in perspective – “British Cycling need to spend less money on making some track riders 0.003 seconds faster. And spend more money on rider safety”

Lastly, Junior’s parents have set up the ‘Junior Heffernan Memorial Fund’ so please give anything you can – http://www.charitychoice.co.uk/fundraiser/robinbrew/the-junior-heffernan-memorial-appeal-olympic-legacy-project

Hopefully these events will cause a change to come to British Cycling. It’s time a change was made.

Rest In Peace Junior. Happy riding wherever you are mate.

Stay Safe.

Majorca Training Camp 2013

Hi guys and girls!

A short, mostly picture based post about my time in majorca.

I left the UK on the 14th of January, just as the snow hit, with the intention of staying for ‘only’ three weeks but due to some unforeseen circumstances I was then left free to stay for a further two on top of that! A blessing it seems. As my fitness and riding has improved no end. Probably down to riding in the mountains and living like a monk for 5 weeks…

I know some of you guys like the stats so – In Five weeks –

Distance – 2112 Miles.
Time – 127 Hours. Not like the film. Though there were some close cliff calls.
Calories – 87337 Calories burnt.
178965ft Climbed.
57mph – Max Speed.
1 Ultegra Di2 rear mech broken. 1 Rear dropout snapped. 1 chain destroyed. 2 sets of brake pads worn. 2 tyres worn.
1 midnight robbery.
674 cakes consumed (estimated)

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And just to name drop, I bumped into Sir Bradley Wiggins on Formentor and he was kind enough to let me ride with him, top bloke. We also rode with Omega Pharma-Quickstep Team. It was good to see Kristof Vandewalle who I met last year at the Trois Etapes. He recently won the GC and prologue in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen last week! Props!

I’m looking forward to racing in 2013!

#JakeAway

New bike from Deutschland !

Recently I found myself with out a bike to race on in 2013, I had a few frames but still needed a new groupset and components. So I came to the logical conclusion of trying to find a bike that would cost around the same as re-building a frame. Set with a budget of around £2000 I trawled the internet looking for something that would serve me well in Belgium next year. But all I could find were cheap carbon frames, of which I’ve had plenty of bad luck with this year, or mid range carbon frames with low end componentry. Until, I stumbled across the German brand ‘Canyon‘. They only sell via their website and also have an outlet store. On which I found a 2012 Ultimate AL 9.0 Di2 bike for £1685. £400 cheaper than the RRP. A few conversations with my parents led to us buying it within half an hour of finding it! Ordered on a Thursday it was delivered by UPS on the Tuesday. Pretty quick! That’s German efficiency.

I’ll run through the spec briefly (ish)…

Frame – Aluminium – 60cm – I prefer aluminium, it feels stiffer and it’s studier than carbon. Well, that’s my view at least!

Groupset – Ultegra Di2 Electronic groupset – Full groupset, no cheap brakes – I hope I never have to go back to mechanical! I wont have to worry about snapped SRAM levers or cables from now on.

Wheels – Mavic Kysrium Equipe – Sturdy for training, good enough for race days and hopefully strong enough for the occasional cobblestone.

Tyres – Continental GP4000s – Top end race tyres – The 2013 model comes with cheaper tyres!

Saddle – Came with a cheap Selle Italia which I swapped out for a ProLogo.

Bars & Stem – 3T Rotundo Pro bars – 44cm – Ritchey stem – 130mm

Pedals – Carbon Ultegra PD-6700. Only because they match the frame. Anything in matte black is good.

Here’s some pictures of the bike and of it and I in action!

IT'S ARRIVED !

IT’S ARRIVED !

Time to get unpacking. It came with a free Torque wrench. How nice.

Time to get unpacking. It came with a free Torque wrench. How very nice.

Unnerving lack of top cap. Clever.

Unnerving lack of top cap. Clever. And Scary.

I'm using Elite bottle cages and bottles.

I’m using Elite bottle cages and bottles in 2013.

I added the neon cables this week. K-Edge Garmin mount too.

I added the neon cables this week. K-Edge Garmin mount too.

The full thing.

The full thing.

Racing at Hillingdon.

Racing at Hillingdon.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ! ! !
And Thanks Mum and Dad.