Monday, 17 December 2012

Roller Racin’ – First impressions

Last week saw Cult Racing run a Xmas Roller Racing event at their shop in Pool Head Lane, Earlswood.  For a £5 donation into Mel’s charity challenge pot, folks would be entered for racing and also have some hot food available afterwards.

It was a cold and frosty evening when I turned up for an evening of festive fun and frivolity.  After I picked Nik up on route through Earlswood, we were both greeted with Cult Racing’s famous warm and friendly welcome.   Along with the usual hot drinks there was festive mulled wine, to keep out that chill, and plenty of nibbles to keep everyone happy.

There were a few lads and lasses already there when we arrived, with the racing rigs dressed in sparkly lights and ready to go.  With music on and disco lights flashing the atmosphere was building.  A couple of the guys had been before and were warming up on their rollers and turbos at the back of the shop. Serious stuff compared to my warm-up, which consisted mainly of standing by the gas fire and a few stretches.   

First up were 250m time trials for all, followed then by a knock-out system of 250m races and a 500m grand finale.  Paul compiled the knockout rounds based on the seeding from the TTs, with Mel and Jo having their own head-to-head for the ladies league.  The grand finale can be seen here!

Shouting and cheering was obligatory for each race off, with Paul performing sterling MC duties on the mike.  This meant there was a great amount of support for all of the riders and a great, relaxed atmosphere all round.  New acquaintances were made, and no doubt new rivalries too.

I took the relaxed approach to the racing, in jeans and trainers, whilst most of the other riders were in some kind of lycra outfits.  But it didn’t matter what folks were wearing, they all gave their best and had a great evening with some excellent racing and rounded off with a good natter over some steaming hot curry.

The 250m TT Tower of Power league has now been posted ...
 and I can’t wait for the next round.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Making the Leap

Over the last 6 months a lot of things have changed in the international cycling world and within my own cycling world.

We have seen Fast Phil decidedly off form in the early season classics, only to try hard in Le Tour and not quite make it, then finally come back to the heights of becoming World Road Race Champion.  Definitely a roller coaster season for the popular Belgian.

Next we have seen Team Sky clinically execute their 5 year plan, bringing Bradley home to be the first Briton to win Le Grand Boucle during Olympic year where he went on to take home the gold in the men's time trial.

Now the USADA report has sent "apparent" shockwaves through the sporting most folks thought these guys were on bread and water, have they never tried riding a bike!  But the fall out will continue in the coming months, already Rabobank have withdrawn from sponsorship of the longest running trade teams in the peleton and who will be next?  UCI executives? 

Maybe a clean sweep is needed, to wipe away what has gone before and change or restructure cycling around different ethics.  

My own cycling world has changed too.  Over the last 6 months I have been riding a flat-bar, carbon framed, discy to work and for fun along with my more traditional dropped bar, metal framed, campag geared road bike.  I have ridden a few time-trials, roadman style - on the drops, now I am lining up for a short season of cyclocross after swithcing the flat-bars to drops and making the leap from Campag to SRAM.  

For the first time I went to see someone about bike position, and with the advice from former Tour rider and a long time hero from the ANC days, Adrian Timmis, I have a setup that seems to be dialled in for me and the type of riding I like to do.  I've been trying this new setup over the last few weeks, with long solo 50 milers, the usual commutes to work and some blasts around the local parks, but unfortunately time constraints have meant I have only managed a couple of local muddy cross races so far.

Next up are some good cross racing over the festive Christmas period, starting with round 5 of the National Trophy at Shrewsbury on Sunday, then the traditional Boxing Day 'Cross at Kenilworth, another local race just before New Year and finishing off with the final round of the National Trophy at Derby.

 Expecting more of this over the festive period.