The team had a great 2018, many highs and a few lows. The lows consisted of injury, illness and things that’s we all face in our lifetime that take precedent over a stupid insignificant amateur race team. However, overall we achieved what we set out to do. All four team members either retained their racing cat status or met their goal by achieving a higher cat. Not only that, we podiumed on numerous occasions and achieved double podium results to boot. Our best year yet in terms of personal development and results. We showed our sponsors that we have more in tank for 2019 and they have rewarded us by helping us go forward into 2019 with higher ambitions and the ability to set the bar even higher.
What we do have for 2019 is our premier sponsor Datawolves and a couple of new additions that are essential for our ambitions, this has enabled us to invest In an additional team rider and a couple of extra support systems to help the train along. We are looking forward to having Luke Hind assist the team as our 5th rider and also the team to help Luke in his racing aspirations. Our aim is to ride more races together, not just twos but in threes and hopefully fours. Not an easy prospect with their geographical locations but all the same this is our intention that should further amalgamate and consolidate an already close working, amiable set of guys. To assist we have new team bikes on order from Lébroy Bikes, and a new deal with the fabulous German bicycle component manufacturer Tune. Exciting times are ahead. With our sponsors assistance we envisage yet another fantastic season ahead. Watch out for the red and black that is THRE Datawolves RT.
Luke Hind joins THRE Datawolves for the 2019 season. A promising junior with several victories and a couple course records to his name, he bolsters a strong squad for regional and national races.
Luke's 2018 season was his first as an Under-23 and his last year of A-levels, here is his take on 2018 and what to expect from the coming year:
"The start of the year went very well and my first National B at Coalville saw me get 33rd and the first academy finisher. After this I had some more good finishes in Nat B’s and unfortunately, as was the plan, I then had to focus on my A levels. This made the middle part of the season very tough and after my exams finished, I continued my race season and headed over to Belgium to test the legs. As expected the first few races very tough as I got my form back, I progressed and picked up some good finishes. I was glad to have had the experience as it showed me a different style of racing."
"For the 2019 season, I want to build on the experience I have gained so far and develop my progression in strength, performance and to get strong results both regionally and nationally to help me continue to improve."
Jon was strong throughout the year but his confidence really grew in the second half of 2018 as the results started to come in. Here he is to descibre his year:
"2018 was a season full of goals for me, to name a few, I had set my sights on gaining my second category license and achieving a podium at a regional A road race. I worked hard from the off season with my coach, Tom Neale, to gain the power I would need to succeed in achieving these goals.
I would say that my highlight of the year was racing with team mate, Ryan, at the Craig Armitage Trophy Road Race. Ryan had spent the majority of the race in a strong breakaway which allowed me to monitor any promising counter attacks and sit tight ready for the final sprint. After the break was caught with three laps to go, I had placed myself in the top five wheels and sprinted my way to 3rd place. Picking up half of the points needed to achieve my second category license goal!
Another memorable day was racing the Birmingham University criterium towards the end of the season. The heavens had opened, and the riders were soaked before the race had even begun. I had spoken to my coach the previous evening and we had set a very clear plan for the race – I don’t normally stick to the plan but today I had decided to listen. With three laps to go I was in the leading bunch of eight riders, knowing that I needed 5th place to secure my second category license. I finished in 4th with a comfortable gap to the remaining riders and celebrated the finish as if I had won the race! The other riders didn’t realise that I was celebrating achieving a goal I had set from the previous season and after being knocked off the bike in training I wasn’t sure it would be possible this season.
The structured training for 2019 started in November and we have already seen some huge gains compared to this time last year, so I am very excited to see what can be achieved in the new season. I would like to say a huge thank you to Grahame, Gary, Tom and my team mates for the continued support, friendship and banter!"
Team rider Hayden enjoyed an incredible second season of racing, taking numerous national level victories and gaining his 1st category license before summer. Unfortunately illness and some time off took its toll on the second half of his season but some hard training ensured a strong finish to the season. Hayden is putting in the hours and has big plans for 2019, here is his take on 2018:
Following a winter of well-structured training, my first season with THRE Datawolves started in early March when I raced with teammate Ryan at the Pimbo world champs. A good race to get a feel for fast bunch riding again.
The early season proved fruitful in 2018, with great results in National B and Regional A races throughout April and May. Without a doubt winning the BUCS road race was the highlight of my whole season. I raced aggressively all day and broke away for a solo victory. Leading the Datawolves to a 1-2, with Ryan winning the bunch kick at the East Lancs Road Club race was also a great moment for the team.
In the first half of the season I also dabbled with time trialling after picking up a TT bike in the off season. The set-up was far from optimal, but I filled some empty weekends with a mixture of 10 and 25-mile TTs. I managed to podium in all the open TTs I entered and narrowly missed out on a 25 win by 2 seconds. In that event I thought I was actually doing well so sat up for a drink halfway through. A mistake I won’t be making for the coming 2019 season. I have put a lot of time into the TT set up this off season and will be taking the open TT scene seriously, competing consistently throughout the year.
Following a mid-season break and some illness, there’s not much to say about the second half of the season. I wrapped up my 1st category licence prior to my break so that was a nice goal to have ticked off. I attempted some Nat B races in July and early August, but the legs weren’t quite there. Fortunately, things picked up beginning with 12th at the Yorkshire Regional Championships, a sign the form was on the way back. Indeed, in all of the races following I felt great. An untimely puncture and a crash at the Ponteland GP scuppered my chances of a further two Nat B top 10s after making the winning break in both races. Sandwiched between those disappoints I raced to 7th back in my home county of Somerset at the Tri UK road race. The final weekend of my race season was at the Leicester Forest CC RR and the Nateby classic where I picked up 3rd and 10th respectively. All in all, a good 2nd season of racing but plenty of room for improvement.
I’d like to thank Grahame and Gary for their support throughout 2018 and their continued supported into 2019. I look forward to representing the THRE Datawolves again! The winter training is currently going very well and I feel the legs will be ready for the season to kick off in March.
Welcome to our 2018 season review series where we'll be looking back at the successes and failures of 2018 and looking ahead to 2019. The first post in this series is team rider Ellis Pullinger. Ellis has had a difficult season but has still seen continuous improvement, this is why we've decided to keep him on for 2019. Here's what he has to say about his year:
2018 was a season of highs and lows for me personally. Attacking with 2k to go and winning at Mountbatten and being one of the strongest in the break at the Signum road race are definite highlights. But regularly I had to take time off due to illness, injury and personal issues. I’m yet to have an uninterrupted season!
My first hill climb season was great until I got ill for BUCS and National HC! I was always in the top 10 amongst some big names and was improving nicely into the last week of October. Then I got a chest infection and spent a week of the bike and only did one ride ahead of BUCS up Mam Nick, a course that suited me down to the ground. Nationals suited me less and required a lot of top end power that I was missing after time off. Both events had an amazing atmosphere and I enjoyed making and cheering on some good friends.
My first block of track racing went well and this is something I want to do regularly next year. There’s nothing like the adrenaline of racing at 60kph inches away from other riders. Although I was barely hanging onto form in December I had so much fun in the points race at BUCS that I will definitely be doing more track racing next year.
Early February I will be starting my own aerodynamic testing process (and maybe company) before I graduate from University in July. The team are getting some crazy aero gains for next year and I'm really excited.
I’m very grateful to Grahame for keeping me on for next year. Also a huge thanks to Gary at Datawolves for continuing sponsorship, we're all really lucky to have such great support. I’ll be hoping to have an impact in National B races in 2019 rather than being dragged around kicking and screaming! Bring it on.
Hayden's take on the second half of the season as it progresses...
Following a brief mid-season holiday in June, which I had two weeks of reduced volume on the bike whilst in Canada, I unfortunately came down with a nasty illness for week which knocked me back significantly. Throughout the month of July the calendar was still quite busy, but trying to find some fitness through training mixed with some tough National B races was difficult. Myself and Ryan had a fairly solid ride in North Wales nat B road race with both of us finishing a race that saw us cover close to 2000m climbing, amongst only 23 others. Other than that, I DNF’ed at the Bole Hill and Holmfirth national B road races in July. A combination of sub-par fitness, poor race conditions and some lack of judgement.
Upton RR – 5th August
August has been somewhat more successful. It started at the Upton summer road race, a national B covering a fairly flat fast course in near perfect conditions. An early break went up the road, which to me was quite surprising consider the lack of features that might naturally separate the group. The break got a good advantage whilst attempts to break off into small chase groups were frequent. I managed to make most of these groups, however the bridge to the break wasn’t successful. Heading into the final hour, the pace was hard on the front on the only rise on the course, and I managed to make the front split of the Peloton. I had the opportunity to sprint for 6th… But ended up last of the break group having tried to clip off the front of the group too late. 17th.
Brownlee Crit summer series – 9th + 16th August
If you’re after a closed criterium circuit in the UK that seems to never end in a bunch gallop, Boddington cycle track at the Brownlee centre in Leeds is the one. The small but sharp climb at the top end of the course is made just hard enough to allow groups to go. In the second of the summer series held by local based clubs, I managed to make the break that stayed away and ended up 4th place. A week later and another few breaks successfully made, I ended up 6th. Unfortunately I’ll never be a faster finisher, however racing crits are helping my decision making, corner and bunch skills.
Out of the saddle RR – 12th August
130km of a good course that provides a couple of kicks and a drag, ideal terrain for me to put in a good performance I hoped. A good field convened on a Sunday morning where the rain was somewhat inevitable and the crosswinds were ever present. I was placed well for lap 1, keeping near the front and following the moves. And lap 2 also, I was placed near the front going into the critical crosswind section. It proved to be too close to the front though as the main contenders attacked up the outside of the bunch, a move that left me boxed in and unable to respond. The gap went out quickly and I wasn’t there. Sad times. This all happened within the first 30 minutes. What ensued was 2 hours 30 of fairly boring riding. Most of the time, chase groups go and there is a small chance they may get across in these longer races which keeps it exciting. The difficult conditions and the large gap meant no one was going to get across, everyone knew this deep down. On the final drag of the race I got away with 3 others and came in for 18th.
Yorkshire Regional Championships – 19th August
7 laps, Penny Pot circuit, lots of wind, the crème de la crème (most of) in Yorkshire. Go. Lap 1 and the wiggins trio hit it hard as we emerged from the shelter of penny pot lane into some raging cross-head wind. They didn’t get away and the bunch is all back together. Lap 2 and the same thing happened again, I was nearer the front of the group they came around and off the front. I couldn’t get on the move and 8 strong riders went up the road. Although it was early on in my head I could see it staying away. The next time up penny pot I thought I’d giving bridging the gap a go. It was unsuccessful and instead just wasted a significant amount of energy from so nicely freshened up legs in the week prior. I paid for my efforts, and was floating near the back for the next hour it seemed. It also didn’t help I missed some bottles from my chief supporter and support crew Emily, but people attacked the climb just before the feed station and the vibration through my handlebars meant I couldn’t grip it. Two hours into the race, I’d averaged close to 170 beats per minute (HR) but had only drank 800mls of fluid. Less than half what I had planned for that stage of the race. Mixed in there somewhere was a two up breakaway with Julian Varley from Team KTM UK. We were joined by Pete Williams from One Pro cycling and Jake Wormsley from Holdsforth… and then the rest of the hitters. This was the selection that I hoped would draw a truce to close to the end of the race. It wasn’t to be and with a little bit left to race there was another hot period of racing that resulted in another split with 9 riders getting up the road. I had nothing left to make it across, and then I was racing for 10th from a group of 6. I crossed the line 12th in the end, surprising myself that I didn’t lose the uphill sprint at the end. Next weekend (26th) is the 180Km national B race, the Victor Belmont Trophy in Oxfordshire.
I've started riding on the track this year and had several sessions training with guys from Uni, just to get comfortable riding close to the wheel in front so that when the semester starts we can get up to race speed quickly.
The first road race of the month had some positives and negatives, on the up side I was near the front forcing the pace up the climb and making all the dangerous moves but sadly the final result didn't reflect the effort I put into the race.
Rain started pouring down five minutes before the start at Mallory park on Thursday night and predictably there was a crash on the first hairpin. I started near the back but was going round the outside of everyone in the turns, feeling loads of grip. After a couple of laps I had a big get down and the marshall wouldn't let me continue straight away, only after he had checked me over (and I was a lap down) did he let me continue. I decided there that I didn't want to race and risk crashing when there are plenty more races left. In hindsight I wish I'd carried on as the field was in pieces after only half an hour, I feel I could've unlapped myself into the points.
Next came the Leicester Castle Classic 2/3 support race. I generally spent the whole race near the back as the corners weren't too technical and I didn't have to accelerate too hard out of the corners. Near the end I worked my way to the front and a group of four went clear with two others chasing. Me and a Spirit Tifosi rider attacked, brought back the two chasers but they blew up and blocked the road and in braking and getting round them we were swallowed by the bunch.
At the West Midlands regionals I went in with the plan of just sitting in the bunch and waiting until the race naturally split. But then only 47 riders turned up and some were getting dropped within the first couple hours. Andy Tennant attacked after a group of five built an advantage of four minutes and I stupidly followed. After making then getting spat from that group I then got dropped by the remnants of the peloton.
Nothing to write home about but plenty of lessons learned, I need to be much more conservative.
Craig Armitage Trophy RR - 15th July
Report by Jon Farmer and Ryan Ellis
Sunday morning saw Jon and Ryan head to the Craig Armitage road race in Selby. Craig had unfortunately lost his life during a collision with a motorist in 2014 and the race was being hosted by his family and friends. The briefing by race organiser, Mike Salkeld, highlighted just how important this event was to everybody involved and I know, Ryan and I both felt a responsibility to do the race proud.
After a catch up and warmup with Phil and Tom from High Peaks Cycles RT, the race was underway. 55 miles in the baking sun on what is quite an enjoyable circuit. During the first lap Ryan had managed to place himself in to a strong breakaway of five riders. This left Jon to sit back and enjoy the relatively uneventful first half of the race. After seven of the 10 laps, the break was finally brought back and the juicy end of the race had begun. The two had a short catch up and as usual Ryan was shepherding Jon through the bunch to a safe position.
A few moves had been established but none were going to stick with the end in sight and some relatively fresh looking riders anticipating a bunch kick. Jon felt a lull in the bunch speed just before the small kick that led the riders in to the wooded lanes and decided to make a short effort to put himself in the front ten wheels. Ryan was positioned nicely just behind him at this point.
The final few Km’s had the usual twitchy feeling with riders constantly forming new trains to move up with. In fifth wheel with such a short distance left to race I knew I had done everything I needed to pick up my best ever result in a regional A road race. Coming out of the final corner everybody the long sprint to the line had begun. I moved up to third wheel when I heard the dreaded sound of bikes coming together. A huge crash behind completely through me off contesting the final 20 metres of the sprint. I crossed the line in third place and headed back to the news that Ryan had been involved in the crash. By the time I caught up with him, he was walking around looking slightly confused and tensing his legs... I wasn’t convinced there was anything different about him. Unfortunately, I then saw the snapped head tube and blood all over him. This was a terrible outcome for my team mate who had done so much work to give me a comfortable ride in the bunch. Wishing Ryan a very speedy recovery!
We would like to say a huge thank you to everybody involved in the organisation of the event and the after care provided by the same individuals.
EMRRL Six Hills - 30/06/18:
Jon and Ellis lined up for the Leisure Lakes Bikes round of the EMRRL. The course only featured two small climbs, one up to the finish line and one 2km out. Ellis got in a couple early moves to test the legs and the bunch but the big teams weren't letting anything stick. Then on the 4th lap Ellis attacked up the first climb to try and split the group but only managed to bring two others with him, the main group then brought them back just after the finish.
It looked like the race would be decided in a sprint up the final climb and with Jon having sat in the bunch saving energy things things were looking good for the team. But then on a seemingly innocuous part of the course a group of 5 went away containing people from three of the four biggest teams. One other rider bridged solo over an entire lap but other than that everything was chased down. Ellis brought Jon to the front for the final lap but on the first climb Jon lost his position a little and Ellis sprinted for 13th on empty legs.
Photo credit: Duncan Slator @DSCyclingPhotos
Harrogate Nova RR - 01/07/18
Ellis then carried on from Leicester to Leeds to join Ryan and Hayden in the Harrogate Nova road race on what turned out to be a very grippy course where the power was always on. Having returned from Holiday Hayden came down with a stomach bug and didn't eat for four days, coupled with not riding for two weeks he was lucky to feel good enough to start.
Ryan got in the break from the gun as Ellis was opening up the legs from the day before and Hayden was trying to remember how to ride a bike. That first break stayed away for just over a lap but after it was brought back nothing was let go for the next hour. Hayden pulled out at this point not wanting to risk further illness.
Out of the final major corner the race was strung out and over the top of the finishing climb a group of five forged ahead into a cross-headwind. Knowing this was the move to be in Ellis attacked with another rider to attempt to bride the gap. At the bottom of the fast descent into pot bank and within metres of the back of the breakaway Ellis dropped his chain and in the 40 seconds spent stationary the peloton also teared past. After a solo chase down Penny Pot lane the gap went out and Ellis abandoned and met Hayden to cheer on Ryan at the finish. Starting out of position in the main group Ryan came in for a top-20 behind the breakaway.
Not the results the team was hoping for but plenty of positives to take away from a solid weekend of racing.
Jon, Hayden and Ryan lined up for the East Lancashire spring road race on the Bashall Eaves long course. The 55 miles race would take in 5 laps of the rolling course that contained one notable climb and numerous fast flowing sections, some hampered by poor road surface. The team assembled for a roll out to the course only to realise the race briefing was 10 minutes earlier than they thought, meaning the warm up was far from ideal but had to suffice. The team discussed tactics for the day, with Hayden eager to work to gain a result for Ryan and Jon. The field of 51 riders rolled out neturalised for a mile from Edisford Primary school until the flag was brought in. Initially, the team were spread out in the pack with Ryan up the front, Jon in the middle and Hayden sitting last wheel.
From the flag drop, the Manchester based Crimson performance team drove the pace on hard on the first lap. Seeing the danger Hayden moved himself from the back to the front 10 riders on the first climb, an ascent that would see the race split in half. After being caught on the wrong side of the early split, Jon found himself in a small group of around 10 riders that formed the chase and were hoping to regain contact (by some miracle – punctures or farm traffic would have been ideal). The pace was kept high at the front by Crimson, but their three riders was quickly dropped to two. Seeing the front of the race suffering, Hayden attacked half way into the first lap going clear by himself, his sights set on the first of four primes on offer. Hayden claimed the prime and pushed on solo, forcing other teams such as Crimson and Chronomaster to chase.
Hayden was reeled in close to the end of the second lap, only to immediately jump off the front, again forcing Crimson to chase. He narrowly missed out on the second prime to a rider from the host club. However following this second lap sprint, Junior rider James Noonan decided to press on with the bunch slightly distanced. Hayden jumped on his wheel but only to get a free ride, not wanting a break to stay away for the race. Despite multiple plees, Hayden refused to pull a turn with Ryan getting a free ride in the pursuing peleton. The duo stayed out to cross the line for the third time with Hayden taking the prime, and despite a gap of 48 seconds at one point, the two riders were brought back by the bunch. Without hesitation, Hayden launched again with 3 riders joining him, although they were not willing to work as Hayden refused to pull a turn. Feeling better throughout the race and particularly good on the short steeper inclines, Jon decided to continue with the group and set a new goal of finishing first of the chase group.
Following a discussion with Ryan, the plan was for Hayden to keep the pace high on the front to bring it to a sprint. However, Hayden won the sprint for the 4th prime, a sprint with 2 others that had caused yet another split in the group. Hayden was temporarily caught in no mans land. A Crimson performance rider, second in the sprint for prime 4 pressed on with the bunch now some 50 metres behind. A couple of looks behind from Hayden, and Ryan yelled him to ride for a result. With that Hayden caught the front rider and was joined by another. The Crimson ride was keen to push on and happy to do most of the work, before he dropped his chain on the climb. Immediately after the commissaires gave the duo the time gap, Hayden attacked to lead the race by himself. He held a strong tempo to the line to claim his 4th victory of the season. Coming out of the final corner, Ryan positioned himself well with others seemingly offering to lead the group out. After a comfortable ride round in the main field for the entirety of the race, Ryan had the energy to execute the perfect sprint to win the bunch gallop. A 1st and 2nd for the THRE datawolves. For Jon, the final lap of the tough course meant only 5 riders remained. The pace was being driven hard and one final attack with around 3km to go saw Jon and one other rider go clear of the others in the group. The final 1km uphill drag proved a little too much for Jon and he finished second in the group. Overall, a good performance and a good lesson learnt for Jon.
Thank you too the East Lancs cycling club for putting on a great event.
Next weekend Hayden and Jon race the GA Bennett and GT Ellingworth road races on bank holiday Monday in grantham.
Photo credit Ellen Isherwood.
Behind Bars Circuit Series
Race report by Jon Farmer
Jon headed over to the 3rd cat only race at Birmingham Business Park on Sunday morning as a solo rider.
Using the race as training for some of his upcoming target races, Jon had spoken to his coach Tom Neale throughout the week and was heading to the race with only one plan – Attack and then attack again. This was mainly to rid Jon of early frustrations from races where he had been too conservative and not able to utilise any of the form he had built over the early part of the season.
Fuelled on Espresso(s) and a complex mix of oat flakes and milk, Jon completed his usual warm up and knew that the legs were feeling good. He attacked the race from start, creating and reacting to the majority of moves throughout the race. The attacks continued throughout but no move was given any more than 10 seconds – clearly where having several team mates to disrupt the chase is needed.
In to the final stages of the race and the inevitable 30 man gallop for the line, the bell rang and as usual the pace sored as the riders fought for position at the front of the bunch. A notable attack came from a Morvello Basso rider and the two Loughborough student riders. Jon immediately jumped across and was positioned well in to the final 400m of the circuit. However, Jon was forced to take the inner line and was unable to fully open up in the sprint. Coming away with 8th or 9th overall, Jon was happy with his attacking form though is looking forward to better results to come.
Thanks to Behind Bars Sports Events for putting on a very well organised race and thanks for the amazing support from Datawolves!
West Pennine Road Race (55 miles - Regional A - 2/3/4
Ryan and Hayden lined up for 14 laps of the short Bashall Eaves circuit near Clitheroe, East Lancs. The 60 rider field set off from Edisford Primary school, with both THRE riders places in the top 10 throughout the neutral section. In the warm up chat, Hayden and Ryan discussed trying to get one, or both of them up the road and in the move. From the flag drop Hayden went straight to the front and kept things hot, forcing other teams and riders to Chase.
Lap after lap, Hayden and Ryan were part of moves that went clear on the draggy side of the course, however most were shut down. Hayden broke away for a lap with one other around the half way point before it was shut down, only to spend a lap off the front by himself a lap later. Ryan maintained great position in the front poised to follow any promising moves. At the front of the race, Ryan avoided the first of two crashes, caused by a touch of wheels in the bunch. Fortunately Hayden was a few bike lengths off the back and managed to slow and avoid the carnage, and rejoined the back of the main group shortly after. Things were all the more quiet in the third quarter of the race with many likely saving energy after the fast start.
At the bell, Hayden attacked from 10th wheel, taking a strong, and fresh, Paceline RT rider and one other with him. The rider from Paceline RT put in an extremely strong turn on the back side of the course to all but secure the top 3. On the headwind drag, the freshest rider broke away with Hayden hesitating to get on the wheel. In the finishing straight Hayden, moved to the opposite side of the road to secure the sprint for second and the points to achieve his first category British cycling licence. Meanwhile in the bunch, Ryan had been maintaining good position on the final drag before the paced slowed and he was swamped prior to the final left hand turn. With the dash to the line short, Ryan was unable to unleash his sprint.
Thanks to West Pennine Road Club for a well organised event. Photo credit: Ellen Isherwood.
Jon, Ryan and Hayden will return to Clitheroe this weekend (20th) for the East Lancs RR on the long Bashall Eaves circuit. Best of luck to the whole team!