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.

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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

Hillingdon GP

Been a while since the last blog post. Here goes.

Today was the Hillingdon GP, a National A Circuit race with no less than three UCI Continental teams racing. With 56 laps of the one mile circuit, it looked like the bigger teams would work for a bunch sprint. This was not to be!! After twenty minutes a group of four attacked the race including Yanto Barker, a team-mate two Raleigh riders and two unknown guys. Will Bjergfelt from Motorpoint rode across to them making the break five strong. They worked well together sharing the work to push their gap out to around half a lap.

With just over half the race gone a crash brought down two Pendragon Riders, Chris and Jon both hit the deck hard. Leaving Chris unable to continue. Jon held in there with multiple cuts and grazes on him. Also with a very flappy jersey! The break seemingly away for good riders started to chance going off the front only to be shut down by Team Raleigh and the boys from Willier who put in a huge effort in chasing the break down.

13 laps to go the pace of the race slowed and I chanced going off the front. I got a gap and Jamie Sparling (Raleigh) came with me, what a beast he was! With 8 laps to go Jon Dibben stormed away from the bunch and joined us. At which the Raleigh rider was instructed by his manager to sit on and do no work. Waiting for the inevitable Jamie attacked us and somehow managed to ride across to the break! Jon and I forced ourselves round to 3 laps to go when we were caught by a group of riders. There was me thinking I was going to get a top ten…legs blown I sprinted, badly, in for 15th. Tom Barras from Cycle-Premier-Metaltek taking the win. Yanto in 4th. Doing so many laps of Hillingdon made it feel like a different world. I genuinely was dizzy at the finish. Whether that was from me exploding more than Mount Etna the other day I don’t know…

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/85810156 Today’s Garmin data. I was pleased with my performance today, after being in a few moves earlier in the race and having to close some splits after crashes I was happy to have the legs to get away. Next…the National 10.

And so the pain begins!

The last two weeks of racing, training and getting soaked.

So over the last two weeks I have been soaked through and through around about seven times. That’s a whole week of practically underwater cycling! None the less I still managed to bash out plenty of hours on the road. I still maintain the fact that I haven’t touched my turbo for the whole winter!

Right so lets get down to racing. Last week was the last round of the Hillingdon winter series, which I had been competing in since the first of January. I managed to get three second places, one win and three other top ten rides. That in the end secured my 3rd place in the overall series and due to my recently dubbed “mental” style of racing I won the “Most Combative Rider” prize of £100!! Bringing my total winnings up to £400!

The last race of the series was meant to be a nice easy roll round before my first real road race of the season on Sunday, but with there being a small chance of Vince Halpern stealing my podium spot from me the race started off with a few attacks from him which I had to mark. After twenty minuets a group of four, including myself, overall series winner Lewis Atkins and two riders from the Sigma Sport team got away with an ever increasing lead. With attacks from our group all coming to nothing, we all prepared for the sprint. I hit the last corner in first wheel, and pedalled as hard as I could, lunging for the line. A photo finish had to be used to determine who came 2nd and 3rd with Lewis the clear winner of the race and the series. The bunch sprint being taken by Tao Geoghegan Hart, a very talented youth rider who has a lot of potential to show this year.

 

1st Lewis Atkins. 2nd Tom Smith. 3rd Jake Martin

Sunday’s racing was a bit more serious. I wanted to perform well, as it was my first real road race of the season and the first test to see how I’d cope with the climb after a winter of hard training.

The weather was abysmal, with the hardest corners on the circuit being flooded which ultimately caused the crash which in turn screwed up my race.  The race started steadily with no real attacks coming until two or three laps in with Magnus Backstedt going away on the climb. Their lead grew to a reasonable gap. I bridged across to them with four or five other guys at the top of the climb. I then attacked from that group in hope of gaining more of a gap but I was chased down and our group swelled to twenty five riders. I had planned to attack on the last lap on the opposite side to the finish on the smaller climb and with some help from my team-mate I’d hoped to stay away to the line. But those dreams were cut short just before two laps to go.

I hit a hole. I was surprised to come back out of it. Shortly after going to the centre of the earth and back my front wheel flatted. I was stranded in the middle of nowhere waiting for the neutral car to turn up. I got bored after five minuets of waiting so I started to walk down the road I was on, ever being passed by people who had not made the front group. Finally after ten minuets a car appeared out of nowhere, and I got a wheel change, I was even asked if I’d been waiting long…I rode one more lap catching and passing a number of riders and eventually finishing 32nd. The first lap down rider. I was pretty disappointed to have such bad luck on the day, but with Yanto coming 4th it didn’t seem too bad. The race was won by Ben Stockade who battled on up the finishing straight to claim the win.

On Tuesday we had our team launch, which was in Abergavenny, Wales. This meant a very early start and a long car journey with Yanto to get there on the day instead of staying the night in a hotel somewhere. On arrival to the place we were launching from the weather was just as bad as it had been on Sunday, if a little colder. We rode for around 2.5 hours in the mud and rain. It seemed that the weekends racing had taken a lot out of me as I was pretty shattered towards the last legs of the ride. Pictures were taken and interviews were spoken. Lots of food was eaten and then we were on our way back home.

On the same night as the team launch I got the tube to the “Look Mum No Hands” Cafe in Old Street, London for the last round of the Rollapaluza Winter League. By the time I arrived I’d already been awake for fifteen hours, survived the bonk in Wales and managed not to get stabbed on the Northern line. In other words I was shattered. And then I was told I had to ride flat out a couple of times for just over twenty seconds. I qualified in second but after more and more people rode my time got pushed down. But I managed to get another ride in. But I was knocked out in one of the closest heats of the night, just missing out by a fraction of a second. To be honest I was quite glad I didn’t have to go again! A special mention should go to Lydia Boylan of the Look Mum No Hands RT who was gracefully beaten by 0.03 of a second to Anna Glowinski in a very close Women’s final.

This weekend saw another two days of racing. On Saturday I raced at the MOD Longcross circuit. One of the few circuits I haven’t raced at. I was told there was a small rolling hill on the rear of the circuit, turns out it was about 15% and 100m long!! The race was a handicap and with the weather being once again inclement the gaps between each group weren’t too large. After 4 or five laps of flat out racing the scratch group that had originally started as six but was down to four caught the main group of riders. I decided to press on and head to the front and keep the pace high just in case some riders got shelled. The racing was quite negative but with 12 laps to go I took off on one of the longer breakaways of the race, staying clear for nearly 3 laps. On the final lap, I led into the final corner but didn’t fancy a 900m sprint so I swung off to 8th or so wheel. Turns out the majority of the people in front of me had planned to sprint a tad dangerously and I came in with 5th. Marcel Six of the Twenty3c-Orbea team took the win after staying well clear of any other riders.

 

Looks like I have a mudguard...ha

Sunday’s race looked to be much more exciting with the race categorised as a National B event, the field was a mix of elite riders and first category riders. The racing started ferociously with riders pushing the pace right from the gun. I have to say the race felt much more like a track race than a crit. With forty five minuets remaining a group of six riders lapped the field, I was boxed when the move went and tried to chase but the race was shut down my “Team UK Youth” who had riders in the break.

Half and hour into the race I’d written off getting back up to the leaders. But I managed to get into a move that had a number of the leading riders in so we got away. We hammered along until we caught the bunch, so then I too was a lap up. But with four riders two laps up we had to gain another lap to be in contention. So straight after getting the first one a group of us took off and buried ourselves to get our second lap.

One lap to go Magnus Backstedt took to the front and raised the pace so high there wasn’t a chance for any late attackers to try their luck. With James Stewart tucked on his wheel and me one wheel back from him just behind Justin Hoy. Smack on the 250 line Justin started the sprint, hoping to take Magnus and James by surprise. Just as he made his move Backstedt swung up slightly to give way to Stewart, this caused us both to falter before going full gas. I swung high and used the track’s banking to my advantage and blasted down towards James who was a good ten meters clear of me. Once I hit the line in second he was less than five.

So you’d think I came 2nd in the race. Wrong. Two guys, Simon Brooks and Tim Elverson had gained three laps after reading the moves very well and making the splits when it counted. The win went to Simon Brooks who was the better placed in the sprint of the two riders with three laps up. I was fourth. Not bad seeing as that was the most confusing race of my life.

If you made it to reading this far, you deserve a medal! Well done.

The race I’ll never forget.

I’ve been putting off writing this post, mainly to save myself the embarrassment of people knowing what really happened at Hillingdon last week! Most of you’ll know that I came 2nd and most of you have probably seen the pictures. And yes I was a mug. But it seems I’m not the only one to of made the “celebrating early” mistake, with Laurent Mange believing he had won the opening stage of the Tour of the Med, only to discover Thomas Voeckler popping out from under his raised arms. I have to say I’m glad I didn’t do a full on celebration!

So…the race…started as usual with an early attack from me. With this Sunday’s Perf’s Pedal race on the mind I wanted to get in a good tough race to prepare the legs for the kicking I am likely to receive. I was away from the race for around fifty minutes whilst being chased by a group of 8, containing the strongest riders of the series. At times I thought I’d stay away for good, but the wind sped up, and I slowed down. And inevitably I was caught. The weird thing was, as soon as I got caught I felt fresh and ready to go again, straight away! Maybe that was down to not having to constantly change pace like the chasing group had.

With 2km to go I attacked hard up the hill, putting the group in difficulty once again. But the move was short lived and shut down by Jerone Walters (Sigma Sport).

One lap to go. The usual last hope dash for the line came from Sandy King (Cyclefit Racing Team) who has been improving with each week of racing after a year out due to a knee injury. His move was also shut down by Jerone from Sigma Sport who took it upon himself to chase all the moves this week.

350m to go. I was slightly boxed in, but 200 to go a gap appeared and I just went for it. 52 11 all the way to the line. Just before the line I raised one fist half way, and then slammed it back down to my bars. I’d been beaten. Tom Smith (Felt-Colbournes) lunged on my right to take the race by 0.01 of a second!

A little disappointing. If I’d managed to win that race after being away for so long, I’d of been really chuffed. But 2nd was still a strong result after the epic ride I’d done. Well done to Tom who took his first win of the series after coming in the top three five times but never managing the top spot!

Lucky Number 13

Lucky Number 13

 

 

Oh and I won the SERRL Fowlmead E1 on Sunday, but only two people turned up so there isn’t much of a report to be done about that. So basically, I rode away and lapped the other rider and took a cheeky ten points. But the best thing about Sunday was that my Dad came 2nd in the 4th cat race. So I can do a report on that!

SERRL 4th Cat race : After twenty or so minutes three riders went away. My Dad, Paul Martin, chased and bridged across and latched onto them. He was doing his turns and getting stuck into the racing with the other riders in the group, who were all struggling against 30+mph winds. At one point I was in my lowest gear on the flat and going nowhere! On the second time I lapped his group I told him to try and attack them. Which he did to great effect on the last lap, leaving two riders wondering what had happened.  Adam Hudson of Deal Tri came round my Dad just on the line to win by less than half a bike. To say the least my Dad was over the moon with his result, having only raced six times! It seems his standard race training of 600km Audax’s is beginning to pay off.  He also won the WindyMilla Bike fit from last weeks Hillingdon Winter Series, which will help him get the correct fit on his brand new bike.

 

Hillingdon and Hog Hill. 30-31/01/2011

Hillingdon:

This weeks round of the Imperial Winter series was less than perfect. With the wind still relentless and the riders ever the same, and getting ever more fit, the racing is getting faster and faster!

The race started off with an early attack from myself, but that was not to last. I was brought back after around two laps. James Moss of Endura racing seemed to be the strongest rider on the day putting in some big digs on the climb, and eventually a group got away. Containing series leader Lewis Atkins and James. The racing dulled down after no one was willing to work together to get them back. After this became clear, I began to try to get away from the bunch. Only to be chased down, time and time again.

One lap to go. I lined up on Tom Smith’s wheel. Hoping to get a good tow to the line. With around 250m to go Tom Kicked like a horse. I responded only to be boxed in by a wall of orange. My old team. I crossed the line in 30th after barely sprinting. Words were spoken after the race. Mainly along the lines of what is good sportsmanship and what classifies as a dangerous sprint.

Hog Hill. Sunday. Second win of 2011.

During the car journey to the race, I realised I hadn’t raced at Hog Hill for a year, and the last time I did I got dropped. So I was hoping that I’d progressed enough since last year, so I wouldn’t get smashed. On arrival at the circuit it seemed that only 2 people had pre-signed on. Both elites. Getting nearer and nearer to the start only I had actually turned up. But with twenty minutes to go 3 guys rolled up. Namely Jason White (Cycle-premier Metaltek) a known strong rider on the brutal course.

On the line the riders and I agreed to do through and off for half and hour. Then whatever happens, happens.

Bang on 30 minutes  of racing I attacked up the hill. After a number of similar attacks I managed to drop two of the riders, bar Jason who held onto my wheel until the last lap. A few lapped riders tried to hold onto the wheels of Jason and I but were soon shelled after a sharp increase in pace on the hill. On the final go up the hill, I rode away from Jason to claim my second win of the year!

Ending a previously disappointing weekend with a very high note!  It seems climbing won’t be an issue this year. Losing about 7kg’s has probably helped aid that.

Thanks to SERRL for holding the races. And to Dave Hayward for the photos.