Southport CC - Bickerstaffe Road Race (Regional A 2/3/4)
In the week prior to this Sundays race I wasn't thrilled to be racing. Despite starting the week with a solid 3rd at the Tameside midweek Crit i'd been feeling under the weather ever since and to make matters worse, it had rained every day and the forecast didnt show any signs of improvement. Good news though, I had a team mate for the weekend. Jon was crashing the night before the race. His only requests were a fresh towel and some milk for his protein shake so it felt like I was getting a good deal in return for some company and pre race banter for a change.
Up early on Saturday ......... NOT Sunday and we arrived in Bickerstaffe at 8am to surprisingly pleasant weather. We squeezed into the last remaining car parking space at HQ, Signed on and then had a really good look at the course during our warm up. It's flat with some left hand turns like most courses in the area with a fast flowing section down the back straight and a slight drag round to the finishing straight. Having suffered two punctures in races in April I was relieved to find that the road surface in most places was excellent, with the exception of a few small pot holes (marked by the organiser) and lots of cow shit!
Our tactics for the race had been simple. Being based in the North West and knowing which riders and teams were strong I would be the one to follow the moves leaving Jon in the bunch to what we anticipated would most likely be a bunch sprint. For much of the race this worked perfectly. I would get myself on the right side of any dangerous moves and bridge across to anythng promising but despite my best efforts and those of other attacking riders nobody established anything more than a short lived gap of 15/20 seconds. As the race went on and following another failed break attempt I settled back into the bunch to take a breather and have a conversation with Jon.
'DEFINITELY a bunch sprint today'.
'NO WAY anything is staying away today'.......... You know where this is going!
By the time I had made my way back to the front of the bunch 4 riders had rolled off without a reaction, the bunch were not cooperating and we would eventually be sprinting for 5th and not 1st as me and Jon had so confidently predicted just moments earlier.
As the remaining laps ticked down I hadnt seen much of Jon but as we approached the final KM he nonchalantly rolls up alongside me and takes the wheel in front. This is exciting, with only one left hander to go Jon and I sit circa 6th and 7th wheel and with only 4 riders up the road 5th place is up for grabs which would be a solid result in this company. Unfortunatly the pace is not high enough and as we hit the little riser before the left hand turn I begin to be swamped on the right. It's too late for me but I scream to Jon to move right to block the path of the riders behind and take the best line into the corner. Jon does this perfectly. I have been swamped and lost several places and with only a short run into the finish line after the corner there is only one thing for it. Divebomb (sorry lads). I jump out to the left, take some wind and take a very tight line around the corner and amazingly Jon is now on my wheel and we have only lost a few places through the corner. I drive out of the corner and start to take some wind believing that I have Jon on my wheel but we have lost each other once again. I manage to get into the wheels and sprint with the first group of riders to secure 10th while Jon faids slighly before the line but digs deep to grab a top 15 for the team. Encouraging results for both of us but even better Jon is confirmed as the first 3rd Cat rider to cross the line and he's £20 better off...... Until we order our Domios Pizza later.
A really enjoyable race on what was a nice fast but safe circuit so One for the calendar again next year. Well done to all riders and many thanks to Southport CC and to all those who marshalled on the day. Thanks to Ellen for the great photos.
1 Micheal Ashurst Onimpex Bio-Racer
2 Kristian Zentek Team Chronomaster
3 Christopher Booth
4 Matt Hallam Crimson Perf.RT.
5 Lee Brown Holmfirth C.C.
6 Jake Cowen
7 Thomas Ashcroft Bott Cycle Team
8 Anthony Greenhalgh Team Chronomaster
9 Paul Wilkinson N.Chesh.Clarion
10 Ryan Ellis Thre Datawolves RT
11 Thomas Mitchell B,Head N End CC
12 David Parrington Hoppers Rollers
13 James Noonan Hoppers Rollers
14 David Price Chorlton Velo
15 Jonathon Farmer Thre Datawolves RT
Race report by Ryan Ellis
British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Criteriums (York Sport) - E/1/2/3
Only Ellis was in the criterium races at BUCS, Hayden preferring to save his matches for a big day on Sunday (turned out to be a good idea):
"I knew going into the weekend that my form wasn't that great so I went in with the intention of just having some fun. After attacking from the front out of the hairpin I got into a break of 5. That was brought back after a few laps and then the winning move went. The pace then got too high coming out of the corners and I popped with 20 minutes to go. I settled into a group of three and we rode the rest together, getting some good cornering practise."
BUCS Road Race Championships (Sheriff Hutton, York) (National B - E/1/2/3)
Ellis and Hayden took to the start line of the 2018 BUCS road race champs, representing the University of Southhampton and Leeds Beckett University respectively. The Sheriff Hutton circuit has been used for the last few renditions of the race, and never fails to provide a grueling test for the rides with the likes of Bulmer Bank to negotiate. The race would take in 7 laps for the a total of 77 miles/124 kilometres that would result in 1800m of elevation gain.
Following completion of the rider briefing, the usual scramble to be chomping at the bumper of the lead car ensued with riders trying to ensure they reached Bulmer bank in good position for the first time. Ellis initially found himself nestled in the bunch, whereas Hayden was sat last wheel. Everyone made it up and over the Bulmer the first time round, the pace not too hot due to some very strong wind. A number of small attacks began on the backside of the course but were quickly shut down. Ellis made the first decisive move off the front of the bunch on the fast finishing section, and was quickly joined by Hayden and Leeds Beckett team mate Billy Robinson. The trio quickly established a gap, with no willing chasers.
A lap later and Ellis drifted back to the bunch whilst Hayden pushed on with Billy for company, establishing a gap of 1 minute 17 seconds to the main bunch. The duo were joined by a trio of riders, including Sheffield Universities Archie Cross while Ellis disrupted any moves from the bunch. The quintet work well but turns became less strong with the realisation of more riders attempting to come across. Hayden made a move that would take himself clear of the rest of his breakaway companions, a bold move considering there were still 60kms to race. At it's greatest, Hayden held a gap of 39 seconds but some sporadic attacking from the chasing group closed the gap quite quickly with a lap and a half to go. Hayden slotted in the group of 15 riders that remained and proceeded to recover the best he could despite the attacks within the group. On the last ascent through Terrington village, with the bunch 4 abreast, Hayden attacked. With the chasers looking at each other, he established a significant gap entering the final cross-tail wind straight, and had done enough to take the solo victory ahead of the bunch.
Awaiting full results
Thank you too the University of York, the volunteers and marshalls for making it happen!
Chevin Cycles Evening Road Race League Round 1 - E/1/2/3/4
The first round of the league was contested on the nearly pan flat Bishopwood course, and would take in 6 laps for 35 miles of racing. Tuesday (01/05/2018) evening was particularly windy which meant there were many cross wind sections. The race is run in a handicap format and meaning 4 different groups, based on category/experience, start at 1 minute intervals. Groups typically proceed to chaingang until the groups ahead are caught and the race all comes together.
Unfortunately a few riders from the last group merged with the third group prior to the start, later disqualified, that meant the 4th group on the road didn't catch anyone. Further up the road, the third group, containing Hayden saw the front of the race with 3 laps to go. There was one solo rider out front that was being kept in sight by the group. On the last, following a tough tailwind section, Hayden attacked the rest of the group. He was able to bridge over the solo rider who had been out there for two and a half laps. In the finishing straight Hayden swung away from the other rider to take the win.
Thanks to Chevin Cycles for organising the series. Hayden looks to defend the yellow Jersey throughout the rest of May.
Result: Chevin Cycles Evening RR Series 1
1 Hayden Allen THRE Datawolves RT
2 Christophe Demoulin York Cycleworks
3 Cameron Blake Prologue Racing Team
4 Tom Cullen Otley CC
5 Toby Jarvis Team PB Performance
6 Tom Barras
7 Billy Harding
8 Harry Lee Selby CC
9 Thomas Davison J’s Cycle Shack
10 Lee Morley Ilkley Cycling Club
CTT Otley 10M TT (V212):
Hayden took 4th place with a time of 21:10 in a field of 80 riders in the Otley 10 mile TT on Saturday. The course was an 'out-and-back', and was a slight decent all the way to the halfway roundabout before a gradual drag back up to the finish line. Hayden's ride didn't get off to an ideal start with his garmin headunit turning off in the open 2kms. This lead to some suboptimal pacing on the way out that may have cost him on the way back. Eventual winner Chris Smart completed the 10M course in 20:38. Race report: https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/race-report/17472#anchor
Photo credit: @photography_PCS
EMRRL Round 2 - Witham on the Hill:
Race organiser - Mark Botteley
Race report - Jon Farmer
Following the successes of Hayden and Ellis at round one of the EMRRL, we decided to dedicate a four man squad to round two. It would be the first outing of the year for newcomers Nick Moore and Joel Candy; and the first time the four riders had raced together.
The plan was to see Nick and Joel represented in the early, long range moves; both being very handy in TT’s (representing UK Feather flags/ Tri RT for the 2018 TT season). Hardly a minute after the neutralised flag dropped and Nick was making a nuisance of himself, taking two riders off the front of the peloton. Attack after attack went but nothing meaningful formed. The decisive moment occurred around 50 minutes in to the race when a very heavy crash split the group. Unfortunately this led to Nick abandoning the race and Joel being distanced with too much ground to make up. Myself and Ellis managed to bridge across to the front group and were now in a reduced bunch with half the race to go.
The steep kick in to Witham had been the launch pad each lap for riders to try and attack the group. I was feeling fresh and able to respond to all of the accelerations. Until the final time up the climb (5km from the finish) resulted in my left leg cramping in several places and I was unable to contest the finish. Ellis had spotted this and was now in contention to fight it out for the sprint finish. He was well positioned in to the start of the climb but the early attacks from behind left him swamped at the finish line.
A mixed bag of fortune for the team but some very promising signs of early season form. A huge thanks to Mark Botteley for a very well organised race.
FTR Milltag Spring Classic
With the rest of the team further south, Ryan and Hayden lined up for FTR Milltag spring classic, raced on the Sharlston Common course near Wakefield. The field, 80 strong, would race 9 laps of 9km circuit. There were two key climbs each lap, one of which led to the finish line, and a technical decent sandwiched between a long exposed back side of the course.
It seems British roads have suffered this winter as a result and this course was no exception. A number of punctures struck the peloton with Ryan unfortunately a victim on lap one. The opening laps were fast with the normal small flurries off the front allowed little room. The prime at the end of lap 3 caused some action with the pace being driven up entering the finishing climb. However the cross-head wind deterred riders from continuing on, and Hayden found himself off the front driving hard and opening up a small gap. Billy Robinson (eventual 3rd place) was the only rider to come across from the main bunch. The gap went up to a maximum of 45 seconds before the bunch reeled them in with five laps to go.
Recovery was now the aim for the next 4 laps, with Hayden hovering around the middle of the bunch. On the final lap Hayden was well placed to break off with 5 other riders. It was never a done deal though with the peleton always in plain sight. At the bottom of the finishing climb, Hayden made his move. The gap was tight at the end back to the now swamped break and pack but he had done just enough for the win.
Thanks to FTR for putting on a great race and the sponsors for making it happen.
Photo credit: David Beckitt (luft.cc)
Ryan takes the win at the first round of the Tameside Circuit Tuesday night Crit series!
50 riders lined up for the first midweek race of the season at Tameside but the large bunch was soon being shredded with a number of strong riders making their way to the front to apply the pressure. Breaks came and went but as the final 3rd of the race approached a peloton of circa 35 riders were all together and with just under 15 laps to go another two riders tried their luck and built a small gap. At this point Ryan struck out and over the course of the next few laps he bridged to the two leaders only for the group to be brought back inside 10 laps to go. Having burnt a significant number of matches during the last move Ryan sat back in the group to try and conserve energy for what he thought would be a bunch sprint but when the bunch stalled with 4 laps to go Ryan jumped and a moments hesitation from the main pack was all he needed. Ryan put his head down and held off a charging peloton to take the teams first win or the season in style.
Well done Ryan
The circuit Hayden & Ellis were racing on had come down to a bunch kick up the final climb for the last few years, so going into the race Hayden didn't want to expend too much energy following early moves. He went with one on lap 2/3 but it didn't go so sat back in. With just under a lap to go, 2 strong riders chipped off the front and he knew he had to be there. Hayden promptly bridged across from the peleton, making the junction at the top of Draycott Bank. Ellis in true teammate fashion was swift to cause a nuisance at the front of the bunch and deterred the chase. The gap back to the main group went up to a minute so the last climb would be just the three breakers. Hayden thought his best chance would be to ride an even power so he took it up from the front. One rider came round him and the other was dropped. A fantastic result for Hayden finishing with a 2nd and extremely pleased to back up last weeks result. On to the FTR Milltag spring classic next weekend (15th April).
Ellis had to say the following:
Felt lethargic from the start but as sometimes happens I felt better as I got stuck in. Attacks were going for the first hour and a half, I followed a couple that looked promising but nothing stuck, then two dangerous guys went and got a gap. I saw Hayden attack to bridge and immediately made my way to the front to stall the chase. He bridged up to make it a group of three and I was doing soft turns on the front and chasing down every attack. Gap went out to a minute by the end. Was in the top 5 wheels for the whole of the run in to the final climb and was leading onto the steep section. Could not be in a more perfect position and I was feeling fresh from sitting in the last half a lap, but unfortunately a race motorbike was stopped by two cars and I had to almost stop. The result of this was i became swamped and knew I couldn’t make up the gap so rolled in easy for a low place. Frustrating as I was feeling fresh and could’ve been 2nd and 4th for the team.
Not wanting to miss out on the action this weekend, Ryan made the last minute decision to head over to the new Wakefield Circuit to see if he could make it two wins in a week. A fast aggressive race with plenty of strong riders meant any breaks were short lived and this race was always going to come down to a bunch sprint. As the pace slowed and the bunch swelled going into the last lap Ryan did well to hold position, eventually finishing in 8th following a frantic final lap. Many thanks to the guys at Huddersfield Star Wheelers for hosting a great day of racing and even arranging for the sun to come out (no arm warmers).
VC lincoln crit 3/4 - yarborough & fast & furious behind bars 3/4 - round 1 birmingham business park
A weekend of progress for Jon. Saturday saw Jon travel to Yarborough for the VC Lincoln crit - a very technical and narrow circuit. A mechanical on the front row allowed four riders to immediately form a break, three of which would stay away for the entirety of the race. Jon raced aggressively throughout and formed an early four man break to try and catch the lead group. A lack of cohesion meant that the remaining peloton would catch this break and Jon would settle for a bunch finish.
The second race of the weekend for Jon was the fast and furious Behind bars event (Round 1 @ Birmingham business park). Jon was placed at the front of the bunch from the start and followed most moves that looked promising. With two laps to go he noticed what looked like the decisive attack from a Morvello Basso and Pro Vision rider that he had to follow. The bunch also reacted to this and managed to close down the move leaving Jon spent and not able to contest position for the sprint finish. A great, aggressive weekend!
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.