The Final Icebreaker

Another early start beckoned, as for Laura’s racing in the morning we had to be at Newport for 7:30am! This time though I was a lot less nervy, although I thought that yesterday’s efforts may have taken it out of me. Once unloaded it was a quick walk to Aldi to pick up some bananas that we had left at home, before returning to the track.

Once back I went and set up camp, and as soon as I started to get nervy I listened to my music loudly, which helped this as it blocked out the track atmosphere.
Once changed I prepared to go, and kept the music whilst warming up, and this blocked out my nerves. I got warmed up, and was well prepared for the first scratch qualification, with a plan in mind.

During the scratch I felt good, and was able to react to speed changes well. Towards the half way mark I began to move up, and I ended up on the front with 3 to go, so I moved up and back down shortly after, so that I wasn’t leading it out. This meant that I could stay sheltered and near the front, so I would qualify for the final, something I hadn’t done before.

In the final I used the same plan, although at the end I was high up the track following Charley Culvert, as I knew that it was better to be high on the wheel of one of the quick sprinters. This worked, and I was pulled down towards the front when it kicked off, and then I was all out to maintain and improve the position. I started to fade a little with half a lap to go as it was a very long sprint, and I had to dig deep to keep going. I was pleased with my scratch, as I had done well in it and I was still, despite yesterday, feeling good.

During the time between the next race, I spent time on rollers and also rehydrating. I thought about the next race, and knew what I needed to do. I had a gel to boost energy levels.

After the roll out at the start of the points race I sat in for the first sprint and let people fight over the first set of points. After that had passed I came to the front end, and when an attack rolled off of the front without a chase, I decided to get across and go, as I thought that this move would stay away. When I jumped out of the group I was followed by a couple of riders, and we were able to work together to chase down the lone rider. I could see we were going at a quicker speed, so I gave the call to go straight over the top. This happened, although the lone rider was able to join us. Once I saw we had a good gap I started thinking about the sprint, as I knew I just needed to beat one rider. On the sprint lap I was third wheel, and in the final banking I came over the top and picked up 3 points after just getting rolled on the line, but I had enough points to qualify. After this I immediately sat up, dropped to the pack and rolled around in it for the rest of the race knowing I had guaranteed qualification for the final.

Due to the last half of the race, and then cool down, food, drink and a warm up I was still in a good place going into the elimination.

I ended up at the back at the start of it, but remembering last time I made sure as soon as the opportunity arose to move forwards, and I moved into the front 6 riders, where I found a wheel and came out to defend my position in the sprints. However I was out when I was boxed in by a rider above me, so darted down the track, hoping that they wouldn’t have the legs to go over the top, as it was all I could do in the finish straight. The rider had the legs though, however I was pleased with the efforts I had made and I came 8th in the elimination, which is quickly becoming one of my favourite events.

Once off the track I cooled down and took a gel and fluids in prep for the next race, so that I’d get the energy hit during the points final.
The points was quick and my previous efforts caught up with me, so I hung in and then went for it, emptying myself in the final sprint, but I couldn’t score points. I tried to go off the front but it wasn’t happening, I was just too tired.

At the end of the racing I was absolutely drained, and had nothing more to give. I was pleased with my efforts and that I gave it my all in all races. I came 10th overall on the day, which I was even more pleased with as it was the first time that I had done that well in a national track field. It was also pleasing after the hard race that was the Easter Classic on the previous day.

Castle Combe Easter Classic

So this was it. The race that always seems to signal the start of the race season, Easter Classic time! The race has memories for me. Two years ago it was a broken collarbone in the first lap, and one year ago it was the number thirteen for me and it proved lucky as I managed to avoid a crash in the final half lap, although it meant I couldn’t contest the final sprint. This year I was looking to have a very positive race, and show what I could do in what was essentially a national quality field of riders.

The morning started with gear check, sign on and number collecting, not thirteen this time, before I headed away from Castle Combe on a short road ride as part of a warm up and nerve remover. Once back I got into my race kit, before speaking with my coach about the race. Once through the plan, I got onto the rollers with my team mates to finish the warm up process, all the while drinking lots and visiting the little boys room a few times!

I made sure I was at the start line ahead of time, to guarantee a place on the front row, a crucial step for doing well in the race. Once on the line it was the normal brief from the commissaries before we got going.

I got a good start, and I was aware that Zach would attack immediately, so embedded myself at the front end of the pack. I kept this position in the pack during the first lap, and when there was an attack and I was near it. When this attack was brought back I countered it, as I was near the front and felt good.

Once a gap opened I got into TT mode, and was able to extend the gap. A few riders came across to me, not the ones I would have preferred but still better than nothing. Annoyingly after about 100m of work they sat up, however I still had a gap, so I then kicked again and got rid of them. Where the guys had come across, the pack had sped up, so after the chicane I sat up as they were close. I got back in the pack, and was straight into the front, and covered another attack at the front of affairs.

After this I tried to sit near the front, aware whilst trying to recover as much as possible, as the attack had been a good effort. When I was sat in I was able to recover a bit, and the laps went by quickly.

In the final lap I was near the front end going through the bell, although I then lost this position, dropping back. I then found George Bazley, my team mate, who was moving up, but I wanted to move up a little quicker, so out of the top chicane I had to work to get to the front, exposing myself to the wind coming to the finish, but making ground up. I was in a better place, but not close to the front enough, and in the final sprint my legs went, so I fought to the line, but I couldn’t put in a good sprint.

I was pleased with my race, and my aggression and attacks during the race. I was near the front often, and even with an attack was still able to remain there and make a sprint attempt at the end. I enjoyed the race, and it felt good to be going that quickly around a circuit that I had spent so much time over the winter training on, which no doubt helped in the efforts today.

After a cool down, a chat with the Southern Road Team Coaches and with Peter from EPIC, I stayed to watch some of the racing in the sunny weather, before heading home to prepare for the final track Icebreaker at Newport the following day.

Zappi’s Circuit Race

Following the ride in the TT on Saturday, I was off early on Sunday to a race up in Oxfordshire as part of the Zappi’s series that was running. I knew the field and what to expect from the race, so I was confident that despite the TT in the legs from yesterday, I would be able to do relatively well and come away with a decent result.

After arrival, I signed on, and got myself changed into kit, before pinning on numbers and warming up for an extended period of time. This allowed me to go into it feeling as good as was possible.

I got away well, and was near the front of affairs, so when the first serious attack came, I didn’t have to pick myself through a massive pack to bridge across to it if so necessary.

Initially I didn’t react to it, but as a couple of good riders bridged across, I started to get across to it. Nathan also realised it was time to go, so we bridged the gap. When I got there I was feeling a little worse for wear, so I sat on the back of the group for a few laps to try and recoup some energy, but glad that I had made it to the pack. Once I had recovered a little I took turns, and tried to stay covered from the wind.

There were several attacks during the course of it from the group, and quite often I would drop off the back a bit, but I was always able to get back on terms within a short space of time.

With 5 laps to go I was starting to fade, and coming into the final laps I was running on next to nothing.
I had a quick chat with my team mate Charlie who was also in the break, and he was feeling better than me, so I told him if it was together in the final lap, then I’d lead him out, as I wasn’t feeling great.
In the final lap, as agreed I picked it up on the back straight, with Charlie on my wheel, and span it up out of the bottom corner, heading up to the finish I maintained it, and when Charlie came out round I died totally, and there was nothing left to give in the rest of the sprint. Other riders in the group came past, but I still finished 6th.

At the end I was totally empty, but I was pleased that I had made the break and then been able to help out my team mate to achieve the best outcome.

A good weekend of racing, and one that gave me confidence ahead of the further early season road events, both TT and crits.

Bristol University 10 Mile TT

On Saturday 12th March, both me and Dad rode another individual time trial at the Bristol University Cycling Club Open 10 mile TT.
Once at the event, it was a case of signing at race HQ, and then heading out on the roads to warm up, before getting back to the start line and sorting myself out for the effort. I was well hydrated, warmed up and felt good at the start.
I set off well, and got up to speed quickly, and with that my heart rate got to the correct level. I was able to crack along at a good speed, and at a steady cadence. I rode to a higher heart rate than previously, and going up the climbs, I didn’t control it as much, so it rose and then dropped a bit on the descents. Heading to the roundabout I tried to keep a high effort, which I then was looking to sustain on the return leg.
I got slowed at the roundabout, and traffic isn’t going to stop, and then I found it hard to get up to the same speeds again, as for the initial sprint, I couldn’t accelerate as quickly as I had previously. On the way back on the climbs and headwinds my speed dropped, and I began to run out and die towards the two miles to go mark.I fought through this, but was conscious I was slowing, and unable to increase speed massively.
After the line I was completely empty and I knew from that I had done a good job. Today seemed to be one of the weird days where there is never a moment when the wind is at your back, it always seemed to be a headwind, which was frustrating.
I ended up doing a 24:08, which I was very pleased with as I hadn’t rider the course before, and Dad also did very well, riding a 25:45, which he was happy with although he would have been quicker if not for the roundabout!
After the cool down ride back to the HQ, it was time to head back home and prepare for a crit up in Oxfordshire on the Sunday. A report to follow…

25 Mile TTT

On Sunday 28th February, both me and Dad rode in our first ever Team Time Trial at the Severn Road Club 25 mile 2 up TTT. My partner was Charlie, a fellow BCDS academy rider, who I had previously ridden a TTT back in October, and Dad was riding with Charlie’s dad, Simon.

As with last week’s 10 mile TT, it was a case of getting there, signing on, getting ready, warming up and then doing the TTT.
I didn’t get the longest warm up in the world, and we made it to the start just, with about a minute to spare after an TT effort to get there! (Note to self, find out how far the start is from HQ next time).

From the off I picked up the speed, but there was a killer headwind, so it wasn’t a quick start like last weeks with a tailwind. The start was hard, and by the turn into the loop for the first time I was feeling the effort. Me and Charlie changed well, and split the work up, however where Charlie had raced at the track the day before he was a bit tired, so I tended to do the stronger headwind sections or the climbs. This helped our speed stay high, and also to make sure energy levels stayed as high as possible.
As it wore on, we kept working well together, and the miles went by.

On the second loop, familiarity helped us, and this meant that we could go quicker this time, as we knew what was coming up by way of turns, ups, downs and roundabouts. Coming out of the loop and into the headwind I did long turns, pulling it along to the final turn roundabout, which seemed never to come!
Once heading back Charlie’s bigger gear was useful, and especially on the descents this came into play. On the way back I dug deep, to keep going, and through this I was able to keep doing work, in particular on the slopes and false flats.

Coming into the finish I gave it everything. So after the line I was fairly tired to say the least!

Our time for the course was 1:03:56, with the Dads riding a 1:05:17. We were both happy with the times, and knew that we had worked well together, and also enjoyed the event.

After handing numbers back, cooling down and watching some very quick times come in, we stopped off for food with friends from Bath Uni CC, and then it was time to return home and get some much needed rest!

10 Mile Individual TT at Frome

On Sunday 21st February, both me and Dad rode our first ever individual time trial at the Frome and District Wheelers Open 10 mile TT.

Once at the event, it was a case of signing at race HQ, and then for Dad, one of the first riders set off, time to head to the start line. I was one of the last to set off, so once Dad was underway I was left in the van to prepare myself and my kit, and then to start warming up. As I had enough time, I was able to get a good warm up in and make sure I was hydrated before heading across to the start line, ready to go.

I set off well, and I was able to get up to speed and then settle in to the effort, and I was able to crack along at a good speed, and at a steady cadence. Going down the “ski slope” (local name for part of the bypass) I picked up lots of speed, and I carried this through into the next long straight maintaining the free speed I had gained.
As I had thought, there was a bit of a tailwind on the way out, this helped keep the speed up, but I was conscious that I had to do the return leg into a headwind, so I was a little conservative in my efforts.

On the return leg I started to empty the tank, and kept mentally telling myself how far I had to go, and saying that “it wasn’t much further!”. This allowed me to push harder and keep the speed up. I was passed by a rider, and this also helped as it gave me something to ‘chase’, a carrot to a donkey!

Where I had saved some energy, I was able to get over the hardest bit of the course at a good rate, and then was able to pick it up in the final dash for the line. I probably picked it up too hard too soon, as coming up to the line I started to slow a little, but I kept pushing and was able to get over the line before my speed dropped too much.

I ended up doing a 23:25, which for a first time I was very pleased with, and Dad also did very well, riding a 25:45, which he was delighted with.

After a cool down and handing our numbers back in, it was time to return home, and then to prepare for next weeks team time trial – the Severn RC 25 mile 2 Up that I am riding with fellow BCDS Academy member Charlie. A report on that to follow…

Half Term Holiday of Cycling

Over this half term I have attended both a Track Regional School of Racing (RSR) and a Circuit RSR.

The track RSR was held at Newport, and was a very early start as we had to be at the track for about 7:15. During the RSR we spent time on the track, and this time we were doing the Madison event, where two rider teams compete in events, with one resting and the other riding in the race group. To swap around it is most common for a sling to take place, where the rider that is coming into race will gain momentum from the race rider, with the race rider dramatically slowing down. I had never done one of these, so over the day I learnt a lot, and by the end I was getting the hang of it.

One of the best parts was practising behind the durney bike traveling at 30mph, slinging people in and being slung. I was grateful to my partner, who helped me throughout the track time giving me advice and tips as he had done a Madison previously.

I had Wednesday off of the bike to rest, which I was thankful for as the weather was awful.

On the Thursday morning it was off to Castle Combe, for the first Circuit RSR of the season. There was a big group of riders there, from the south, Central, south west and Wales regions. The weather was nice and sunny which made the riding all the more pleasant, even if it was a little chilly. During the riding, all 120km of it, we did various exercises based on the concepts of bunch riding skills, cornering and also a little bit on attacking at the end. For the bunch riding and the cornering I was relatively confident, as my past of group rides from an early age, riding around odd down plenty of times and also various race packs I’ve been in had helped me to develop my skills in this. I liked the attacking part of the session, even though it came at the end of the day when I was starting to tire! I quite like putting in attacks and trying to catch people unaware, so through his exercise I was able to practice this and experiment with different tactics that could win a race in the future for me.

It was a great couple of days riding, although it ended on a bit of a negative as I left a toolbox behind that I had bought with me – “D’oh!”. Once home it was swiftly in to contact with the coaches, and one of them had thankfully picked it up for me to collect at a later date.

Lots of lessons learnt in these days, both on and off of the bike, but the stand out one, never forget the toolbox again!

Onto the next couple of days and a new experience for me, my first 10 mile time trial on Sunday, so am looking forward to hopefully setting a good time on my first outing.

Local Press

It’s been great to have lots of interest from the local press recently.

We’ve had interviews with BBC Somerset, The Somerset Standard and the Frome Times.

I’ve collected them all together in one place.

The Standard piece is here :

The Frome Times:

and then the BBC Somerset Interview can be listened using the player below.

bbc somerset

BBC Somerset Interview

Today we had the pleasure of being interviewed by a local BBC Somerset radio reporter, Jack, who was doing an article on us for their morning radio show.

They found out about us from an article that the Somerset Standard had published. They thought the story of a brother and sister both training and racing bikes was was interesting, and so got in contact and asked to come and meet us.
Jack knew we are looking for publicity to help us get the sponsorship we need to pursue our goals and ambitions, so we were delighted when he offered to come and do the interview.

When he arrived we were not long home from school and setting up to start a training session, Jack took the opportunity to record audio of that process. Following this, Dad, Mum, Laura and myself sat down together to do the main interview. We answered questions about our cycling journeys, how far we have come, what the future holds and little things like our daily routines to fit in the necessary training with school and family life. It even included a question about my shaved legs!
We were also asked about the need for sponsors to help us with the costs as we progress, and we explained about the amount of travel, the cost of kit, coaching and entry fees.

After the interview Jack recorded audio of us starting our training, clipping in to pedals and the whirring of the wheels. When we were on the bikes and riding he then videoed part of the warm up to put on their social media, and then once everything was sorted we were left to continue our training.

We are looking forward to hearing the interview on the radio and seeing the post about it on the BBC Somerset social media, we hope that it will help raise our profile and let potential sponsors know about us.

The interview and links to the article on social media will be posted when they become available.

To read the article about us from the Frome Standard, please click on this link:

Icebreaker 1 track meet

On Sunday I traveled to Newport to ride in the first of the Icebreaker series at the Velodrome.

At the start I was feeling quite nervous, I think from the fact that I hadn’t ridden an Icebreaker before, even though I knew that it would be a bit like a track league or Youth Omnium.

Laura had already raced before my event got underway and she had done well, so that made me feel better, and once I was on the bike and warming up I started to feel more at ease and ready for the racing.

First up was the scratch race. I was a strong field of 24 riders it was fast, but I settled into it and was riding well and starting to feel comfortable. Unfortunately half way through the race another rider came down on me hitting in to my bars and front wheel, almost causing a crash. I managed to keep the bike upright and keep going, but my confidence and composure had taken a bit of a knock which effected the rest of my race. By the end of the Scratch I was too far back, as I had expected it to go off earlier, so I finished just outside of the top 12. This was disappointing, but my main issue was getting my focus back for the next event.

Next up was the Points race and I knew what I needed to do to get to the final, as after missing out on the scratch final, I didn’t want to miss out again. I let the first sprint go, the idea being that the riders who scored in the first sprint would be the strong sprint riders, and then as it was only a heat they wouldn’t go for others. I then tried to put myself near the front and ride an attacking race, trying to get in the breaks to get some points. After missing out on the next two sprints in terms of points – being 6th and 5th in the sprints respectively, I tried to position myself well for the final sprint, in order to place as highly as possibly. I ended up 5th on the line, which unfortunately wasn’t quite enough to get to the final, a shame as I gave it my all, but made a few tactical mistakes that didn’t help me.

The final event of the meet was the Elimination, and this is usually a race I enjoy, but I got it badly wrong, finding myself last out of the pen and on to the boards, and so at the back at the start of the race. I had to sprint to catch on and I managed to do enough to survive the first elimination, but feeling tired my observation wasn’t good enough, and whilst I thought that I was safe I wasn’t, with another rider sprinting over the top. As a result I came out very early, and was extremely disappointed in myself. I should have made a bigger effort early on to get to the front end of the race, and then I would have been in for much longer – but it had been a big learning experience and that is as important as anything at this stage.

By the end of the racing I was feeling tired both physically and mentally, I was disappointed at how the day had gone in terms of results, but was also aware that it gave me some important lessons and how to deal with problems whilst on the track.

I am now looking forward to my next Icebreaker, when I will have the chance to put the lessons that I learnt today into practice and that should improve the results and give me a more positive outcome.

Big thanks to my coach, Peter Georgi of Epic Coaching, for his support on the day, especially given I was feeling a bit out of sorts.

First Circuit Race of 2016 – Sulis Scorpions round 1

A first circuit race for 2016, and my first riding for the BCDS Academy.

The days riding started with an early breakfast, and then a steady ride into Bath to the race circuit at Odd Down.

I arrived with plenty of time to spare so it was good to see lots of familiar faces and say hello to friends.

Sign on was very busy so it’s lucky I got there early as it gave me plenty of time to get ready to race. However there were a few delays, so by the time we got on to the circuit to start the race I was a bit cold.

morgan sat inAt the start of the race I got away well, and embedded myself in the front. At the end of the first lap another rider made an attack, and I decided to bridge across to it, as I knew he was a strong rider, and that the break could last. Another rider joined us but then subsequently sat up, and we were back in the pack, frustrating as I believe that if we worked together we could have stayed away.
Our attack had thinned out the lead bunch to about 11 riders though, so I just sat in conserving energy and observing moves, allowing me to be aware if the pace was going to pick up or lower.
This worked well, and at the start of the sprint lap I decided (as no BC points were on offer for it) not to properly go for it and conserve as much as possible. I still made sure I was near the front end though, so if it split I wasn’t caught out in the pack. Looking back on it I think I could have attacked after the sprint and potentially split it up further.

For the latter half of the race I stayed in the wheels, sheltering from the wind and observing what was happening, but trying to stay near the riders who I thought would be up there in the finish.

morgan crosses the lineWith two laps to go I started to position myself, moving through the pack and on to a wheel near the front, but not too far forward so that I would have to take the sprint lead out duty. In the final lap  I was able to hold the wheel, but didn’t have much room to move, so into the final corner I was about 8th-10th. I was able to get a good kick and sling shot out of the corner, and opened my sprint, quickly catching and overtaking riders ahead of me. I moved through and just missed out on 3rd place by a couple of wheel lengths.
I was happy with the result, especially with my sprint that I was able to finish the race off with.

All that was left was a gentle ride home for a good feed 🙂

BCDS SQT and New Kit

morgan-sqtA very early morning today, up at 5 and off to the Velodrome for an SQT session with BCDS.

It was good to meet up with Dan and the other riders, and get in some good track time.

During the track session we did a warm up with ‘taking lap efforts’, Russian steps, a points race exercise, and finally an elimination practice and race.

Following on from the track session we had some time with WattBikes, before getting together to pick up some new kit and talk about the year to come.

A good day, if a long one, and after a nice roast chicken dinner I am looking forward to bed

Roller 10 mile TT

A new year and time to set a benchmark on the rollers…

So I did my first 10 mile roller time trial of 2016. To do this I only use my Youth A gearing of 46×14, so it is all about maintaining a high cadence.

I paced myself well and was pleased with a 16 mins and 28 seconds, shaving 12 seconds off my previous effort. My cadence throughout was approx 142rpm – I am looking forward to when I am allowed a smaller rear cog or a larger chainring! 🙂

By the end I think it was fair to say I was a sweaty mess!

Newport Velodrome Winter Track League C Winner

A very unexpected trophy this evening, I picked up the overall winner of the Newport Velodrome Winter Track League C.

I had been winning 3 events on most evenings that I attended, but I didn’t realise I had been often enough to have put together the points to take the win.

I was surprised when my name was called out, as was Dad, but delighted all the same.

I am now looking forward to moving up to the B league, and putting in to practice the things I have learnt over the last couple of months.

Sulis Scorpions Hill Climb Champion

This evening we went to the Sulis Scorpions Club awards.

It was a happy and sad occasion for me as it was the last time I would be a Sulis Scorpion member, but it was nice to pick up the trophy as Hill Climb Champion. The hill climb was run as part of the Velo Club Walcot event in October, and I won the youth category, only just missing out on winning Junior time too.

My sister Laura was crowned club road race champ in the U14 category – she was an U12 but raced up an age group.

I made such great friends in Scorpions, both riders and coaches, and I will miss seeing them each week. That said I am looking forward to returning to races at Odd Down in 2016 and seeing everyone again.

2016 Season – BCDS Academy

I am going to be racing as part of the Bristol Cycling Development Squad Academy in the 2016 season.

I attended a track SQT session with Dan, the BCDS coach, and was pleased to have made the squad. This will mean team mates at the races next year, both local crits, National series and the Youth Omniums. My friend and fellow Epic coached rider Charlie is already a BCDS rider, so it’ll be great to ride with him.

I’ll still be a member of Velo Club Walcot, my home club, and look forward to the Hill climb and club rides in 2016.

Winter Track League

I’ve been racing in the Newport Velodrome Winter Track league this year, and I am doing a lot of learning!

Peter, my coach, has been really helpful in guiding me how to approach the races, and whilst I have plenty to learn I am starting to get success.

The evenings generally consist of a Scratch race, the Hare and Hounds, a 4 lap (1km) Dash, Elimination race, and then my favourite, the Points race.

I have generally been able to win 3 of the events most evenings, and I enjoy attacking in the final part of the points race and trying to stay away until the end.

Hopefully this experience will help me in the Youth Omniums next season.

Wet and Muddy

This cycling isn’t all glamour you know…

Today’s training ride was challenging due to the weather conditions – very wet, very windy and as a result it was extremely muddy!
It was a nice ride all the same, mainly endurance riding but with some sprint efforts mixed in.

A bike cleaning session followed before I was able to head in for a shower and getting myself clean!

Chippenham 3 Up Team Time Trial

On Sunday 11th October, I competed in an open team time trial hosted by Chippenham wheelers, along with Charlie Kelly (a fellow Epic coached rider),  and Felix Young, a VC Walcot rider and Scorpions coach.

We had ridden  the course before, so knew what would be coming and how to tackle it best. Due to this we were able to go into it with a plan for different terrain and parts of the course where conditions changed.

We set off at a good rate, much quicker than we had before, and it seemed like we were going to set a very good time. However Charlie suffered a mechanical issue with part of his bottom bracket coming out, so we had to stop whilst Charlie put it back in. It was a quick fix, but it cost us time that we would have to make up again.

On the bigger climbs I would sit on the front, with Felix taking us down the other side, and then all of us pulling on the flats and slight inclines or declines. With this we were able to get around the course efficiently, and coming in to the final few miles we were all riding on the edge of the saddle.

Going up the final climb I again pulled on the front, and by the top we were feeling dead, but then before we knew it we had crossed the finish line.

We recorded the quickest time at that point, the first sub 1 hour, and overall were comfortably inside the top 10 with a time of 59:33, narrowly missing out on the composite team win.

The Red Angus VC Walcot Hill Climb

[vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Morgan-Hill-ClimbOn Sunday 4th October I had a relaxed morning due to the Red Angus VC Walcot Open Hill Climb that was taking place in the afternoon at Claverton hill.

Last year I was able to win the hill climb, and was looking to win again as the reigning champion for the youth category. There was added pressure as I was the favourite for the category and expected to win, I haven’t been in this situation much this season!

I was a bit nervous, both in the morning and then when we arrived, so to calm my nerves I went for a spin down and up the climb, mainly to mentally prepare myself. This worked and when I reached the car again to warm up on the rollers my nerves were gone.
I grabbed a full drinks bottle and headed down the hill to the start line, before putting the bottle down and making sure I’m was in the correct gear!

Morgan-Hill-Climb-2I took to the start line, and where it was a standing/held start I got into the position that I start a 1K pursuit in, and got ready to go. When I was released I was able to get the gear going extremely quickly, a 46*25, so was able to put in a harder gear. This gave me more speed to carry into the steepest part of the climb, which I was able to get up at a decent rate. I was able to keep the gear going well.
The climb has a long eerily silent section where there is gradient of 7-10%, it is over covered by trees, and it is where a lot of time can be made up. Due to my endurance and strength I was able to keep the gear going so that I was progressing swiftly up this section and soon I could hear the VC Walcot “Tunnel de Noise”, and a message or “What would Angus do?” chalked on to the road surface spurred me on, before I knew it I was in the noise.
The noise gave me a boost, and I was able to put it into a harder gear and find some energy to get out of the saddle and sprint up the final few meters. I got across the line and felt sick, so I rode on to the top of the climb to recover a bit.

After cooling down I went down to the timekeepers to find out the time and if I had won. I recorded a time of 2 mins 23 seconds which was a clear win by 20 seconds from the rider in second. My time would have seen me place second in the Juniors, 4 second behind the quickest, and I was 18th out of everyone who competed on the day.

I was delighted by this, with my title retained and a good position overall. The only shame is that I can’t defend the Youth title next year, so someone else gets it. Next year I will be looking to win the Junior title and hopefully be higher up overall and maybe get the team prize with VC Walcot.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]