Thruxton Race

Today I headed to Thruxton race circuit for the end of the season ‘points chaser’ race meeting that was taking place. It was a well supported event with riders across all of the different age groups keen to ride.
We got there in good time, to allow for changing into kit, signing on and warming up, and the sun even came out to make it pleasant if a bit chilly.

As with other races at Thruxton, on the start line the Under 12’s, 14’s and 16’s were separated out and set off at different times, I was in a good position on the front row of the grid for the under 16’s.

I got a great start, and was sat fourth wheel, and left a few wheel lengths between me and the rider in front. It turned out a very good thing that I left that gap, as where the organisers hadn’t taken away the cones from the earlier u8 and u10 races, the rider on the front went to turn, and created a pile up, with several riders going down. Luckily for me I had just moved across to let a rider past me, so I avoided it. Unfortunately for him he didn’t, and got caught up in the crash.
After a couple of hundred meters I was in the leading pack with about 6 others, the rest of the riders were either off the back of us or caught up in the crash. Two strong riders attacked early on just after I had done a stint on the front and had dropped to the rear of the group, so I wasn’t able to latch on. This left me and three riders, and shortly this reduced to me and two others as we shelled a rider. We started to chase down the leading two, however the advantage they had didn’t come back so we were left to battle it out amoungst ourselves.
The laps rolled on and soon we were given the bell for the last lap. I was on the front up to the final climb where I then pulled off and sat at the back, I didn’t want to be leading out the final sprint. Nearing the top, I left a few bike lengths gapto try and get the jump on the others when I attacked, but just as I was about to go for it the lead rider started his sprint, so I then had to chase back on.
In the end I came home 5th, with only a few bike lengths between the three of us at the line.

A good ride though and I was generally pleased with 5th on a windy day, especially knowing that if I hadn’t moved across early on would likely have been caught up in the crash!

And I also learnt not to trust dad if he says that Thruxton will not be windy… Thruxton is ALWAYS flippin’ windy whatever the forecast!

Feeling Epic!

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On Wednesday 9th September I traveled North Bristol to have my first meeting with my new main coach, Peter from EPiC coaching. Peter is my main contact point with my coaching team (there are three coaches in total looking after me).
Over the current season we had become aware of the need to step up my coaching input, and I had already worked a little with Peter over last winter, and had seen him at Castle Combe and the Regional Omniumns. Epic have some really good riders on board, and so I was delighted and excited to have the chance to start working under their guidance.

The meeting was good and Peter asked lots of questions to learn more about me, and was happy to coach me and help me develop. We discussed my aims and my plans for the following season and the long term, and day to day life schedule was looked at so as to make the coaching plan achievable.

So far I am a couple of weeks of the coaching, and am finding it good fun. I like being told what I’ve got to do, as before if I didn’t fancy something then I migh have had a rest or done something else, but now I have to do the correct session. I am doing more road riding and have even ridden out alone a couple of times (much to my Grandparents horror :) ). I have also completed a FTHR test, which nearly made me sick, but to mums delight I wasn’t!
Other sessions have included a chain gang, pedaling technique practice, and working in HR Zones, these are set out for me each day via a Training Peaks account, and I then upload the data from my GPS/HR computer when I have completed each activity. Each ride is slightly different but all have the same outcome of building my base and power output.

It’s going well and I’m looking forward to future months of training and competing with EPiC coaching.

A bit of CycloCross

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On Saturday 5th September I had a fun morning out at Odd Down for the Sulis scorpions go ride Cyclocross.

The racing involved a TT, mass start race and a handicap race. The course was created on the circuit, including hurdles, mud and steep grassy inclines.

I rode a decent time trial at the second attempt, after sliding out on a mud descent the first time around, and came 2nd in that stage. For the next race we moved to a different part of the circuit where the mass start race was held. The route was simpler but had a lot of tight turns. However the hurdles I was able to hop over without getting off the bike. At the start of the race I sprinted off, not wanting to get stuck behind any riders on the tight course. This opened up a gap for me that closed a little over the race but I was able to stay ahead and came across the line in first place 8 laps later.

IMG_0963 (1024x701)Due to the win in the mass start stage, I was in a good position heading into the last event, the handicapped race on the whole circuit. I got off to a good start, and was in a good position but then I slid out on the muddy and grassy ascent, costing me time. I got back up and then went to get going again, but the chain was off and jammed. Sorting that out cost more time, and so when I finally got back underway I knew my chances of winning were slim at best. Nevertheless I continued on and placed highly. It was then down to the organisers to add up the final points.
I expected to come second, however it was announced that both me and my friend Jos had tied on points. Due to him beating me in the handicap race he was given the win overall and I settled for second place.

It was a good morning of racing, great fun, and a change to the normal, smooth Tarmac that I’ve become used to.

Track Accreditation

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On Tuesday 1st September I headed back to Newport Velodrome to do my track accreditation, so that over the winter I could race in the winter league at Newport. As Newport is an inside velodrome you have to pass a test to make sure that you are capable of racing safely, by doing drills and exercises safely. For the test you have to do everything properly and make signals obvious, a bit like a driving test, so the examiner knows what you are doing. You get 3 chances, so forget to look over your shoulder when changing 3 times and you fail.

For the test we had to do a warm up. This consisted of riding around on the black line with changes every lap, and then moved on to riding on the stayers line (blue) with changes every half lap.This was very easy for me as I have been doing it at the track recently.

We then had to space ourselves out by 2-3 bike lengths and the back rider would weave their way through going over and under until they got to the front. This was also a fairly straight forward and simple exercise, with the only problem being some riders not maintaining distance and sitting on the wheel in front – thus not leaving a gap to weave through. If this happened we were told to move on to the next one, I did this a couple of times when I was weaving through.

The final thing to do was stacking riders and rotating in the stack. We were put in to groups of four, with one rider on the black line, one on the sprinters line (red), one between the sprinters and stayers lines and the last rider on the stayers line (blue). To change the back rider would slow down, the others would drop when it was clear and then the rider would come up to the top of the stack. The hardest thing about this exercise was that all of the front wheels had to be aligned all of the way around, apart from in the changes. The rider on the black set the speed and the others had to maintain the front wheel alignment. This meant going quicker at the start of the banking and then slower coming out of it, if you were higher up.

That was all of the drills and exercises we had to perform as the hour session soon passed. After we had gone back in a group of seven of us were called over and told that we had passed, with the other 5 who took the test failing. So a first time pass… bring on the Winter Track League Series!