Jon on his first race of the season in Northampton...
'The first race of the season was a NCRA handicapped 2/3/4. I was placed in the 3rd group with a handicap of 5 mins and a lead of 2 mins over the scratch. The group worked very hard over the first 10 miles before individuals started to launch attacks. The handicap group managed to stay away but a very wet race ended safely and with some good intensity miles in the legs. It was great to get the early season nerves out of the way and I’m looking forward to improving on the result in the next race.'
Meanwhile Ryan and Hayden race the E/1/2/3 Duncan Sparrow RR in West Lancashire.
Here's what Ryan had to say...
Sunday 11th March, the first race of the 2018 season, The Duncan Sparrow Road Race...... Pimbo! Hayden and I had been talking in the week leading up to the race and we were excited to get things under way. We agreed to travel together and Hayden had confirmed he would be at my front door at 11:45am. It was a great plan and this would allow a nice relaxing drive over to West Lancashire where we could talk tactics and leave plenty of time to warm up, eat, drink, pee and ...... pump up our tyres (more on this later). True to his word, Hayden called me at 11:45am to say he was outside and we were good to go....... Hayden wasn't outside, he was in the middle of a council estate 5 miles away because he had entered my postcode incorrectly. He was late, so instead of talking tactics we panicked as we navigated the roundabouts and one way systems of Skelmersdale. We arrived with just enough time to pin our numbers on badly, pee in a bush and complete a thorough one lap warm up all while chomping on a few pre race bananas and even this only came after first having to beg and borrow a track pump because neither of us had thought to bring one. This wasn't going well but it was sunny and I was about to race Pimbo in March in a Jersey instead of a Castelli Gabba you take the rough with the smooth.
We rolled to the back of the 80 strong peloton, fist pumped for good luck and then we were off on the neutralised lap and that was the last time we would see each other for the first part of the race.
After a week nursing man flu and a perceived lack of form I took myself right to the front of the race to ensure I wasn't caught behind any splits and therefore having to burn matches I didn't have. In actual fact my legs felt pretty good and so I got stuck in and and started following moves. While Hayden sat pretty in the bunch saving his Watts for later I followed everything and made sure we were on the right side of any splits or promising moves.
A pattern of attack, counter attack, rest and repeat continued for the first third of the race and just as I started the question how many more of these micro efforts I had in me this early in the season I saw a flash of red over my right shoulder. It's Hayden, he's motoring, he's got company and the bunch don't react. The small group work well together and build a good gap of 20 and then 30 seconds and they hold this for several laps before finally being brought back. When Hayden arrives back in the bunch I'm waiting at the front of the pack to cover the inevitable counter attacks and again the partnership works well as it's only a few laps later when Hayden jumps again with another small group. Again he's brought back but very promising signs from Hayden this early in the season.
As the race neared its conclusion Hayden continued to look for opportunities while I tried to hide from the wind in the bunch and find some legs for the inevitable bunch sprint but a combination of poor positioning and a spectacular 'pop' in the last 400 meters meant I wouldn't be getting a result today. Hayden and I rolled in with the bunch happy to have got the season under way and with no signs of Hyperthermia as is historically the case with Pimbo in March.
The win went to Hamish Graham of Green Jersey RT and I still don't know how! I saw Hamish attack every lap for the last 5 laps of the race so I don't know how he found the legs. An awesome ride from him.
Many thanks to Brian Rigby for organising and all of the marshalls and volunteers for offering their time on the day. As always a final thank you to Ellen for taking some fantastic photos.
Race report by Ryan Ellis
Photo credits: Ellen Isherwood https://www.flickr.com/photos/100713057@N05/
Ellis Pullinger, THRE Datawolves latest recruit decided to kick off the season as the first team rider to compete in 2018.
Although a test race, Ellis couldn’t help but put the pedal to the metal at the Thruxton E/1/2
"The race started pretty normally, a couple of attacks getting chased down before two guys built a decent gap. I bridged across with another guy to make a group of four. We were working well together when a group of eight came up to make twelve. We built a gap pretty quickly and by the end we had three minutes on what was left of the bunch! A couple of people were sitting on as it was a large group but there was a few of us working hard before some attacks came four laps from the end.
Tom from Bikestrong went off the front and as he was a good friend I decided to take the opportunity to sit in and rest. Tom had three team mates in the move so I knew one of them would counter. When one did I was right on his wheel and we broke away from the group. He was part of the initial two to go away and he started to fade as we were taking turns. On the uphill drag to the finish I decided to push on and was on my own for another lap before Ken Buckley started driving the pace in the group and I was caught with one to go.
Watching Ken throughout the race I could see he was skipping turns knowing he would be leaned on later in the race, I learnt a lot about saving energy from watching him early on. The group kept riding past me and I was spat out the back over the finish line. Luckily they started looking at each other and I was able to chase back on. On the back straight I knew I had nothing left so as I came up to the group I kept the effort going, hoping I could sneak away as the other were waiting for Ken to move. As you would expect he was straight on my wheel and I led Ken out for what was a deserved win. I had nothing for the sprint and came over the line for 12th. Not the best result but some of the most fun I've ever had in a race."
The launch for the 2018 team took place at the Tom Simpson Memorial ride on the 25th February.
A beautiful crisp winters day ensured an amazing number of attendees for this annual event. The car park was full in no time at all with enthusiastic riders preparing for the 55 mile ride in celebration of the great man.
Groups were set off at intervals to make sure traffic congestion and safety was adhered to. Pro riders, amateurs and also Toms daughter attended, a real cross section of bikers came to help preserve his memory and memorial on Mont Ventoux.
THRE Datawolves RT set off pretty late in the proceedings and although not a race we wanted to use the event as team training ride at pace in preparation for the stage races and TTT events soon to be contested by our four man squad.
The pace was brisk with Hayden, Jon, Ryan and Ellis taking turns at the head of their group. G (the poor team manager) lasted about 25 miles before he succumbed to the pace, tagging on the back of another group to recover whilst watching the guys ride off into the distance.
We couldn’t have had a better launch for the new team line up, a celebration of Tom’s life and amazing support from riders from all over the UK.
Big thanks to David Ford for photographing the event, and of course our amazing sponsor Datawolves, the communication cable specialists.