Monday, 28 March 2011

Braveheart Fund Blog - Early Season

I want to thank the Braveheart fund for supporting me this season. It will be a great help

So far this season, I’ve raced twice. The first was the Super Six Round 1 in Gifford where it went really well for me and the team. I was first and Gary Hand got second.

Last weekend I went down to Cumbria to do a round of the CDNW race series. It was 7 laps of a rolling 10 mile circuit just east of Cockermouth. The race had some really fast riders from the top teams doing it so I knew it would be good preparation for the up and coming Premier Calendars.

It started out really fast, lots of attacks. About half a lap in, I managed to get in a break of 7 including riders from Endura racing, Sigma Sport and two from Cycle Premier. The gap from the bunch grew and grew to 3 mins by lap 5. By then we had eased off the tempo a bit, knowing that the finish was only 2 laps away. A couple of riders started to sit on which started to ruin the good pace we were setting, a bit annoying as we weren’t 100% out of danger yet.

Going into the last lap, we had about 2 mins from several chasing groups behind. I was wanting to cut the group down so I attacked with half a lap to go, bringing 3 other rider with me: Scott Thwaites of Endura, Kit Gilham of Sigma and Tom Barras of Cycle premier. 1km to go and a head wind draggy finish, we were evenly matched doing cat and mouse tactics. None of us were wanting to lead out as for sure that would sacrifice 1st place.

It ended up we were going about 5 mph, and all of sudden we caught sight of the chasers just down the road. 2min lead gone in 1 k. Panic set in and Kit Gilham just went for it. I was on his wheel, the other two on mine. I left my sprint too late as Barras and Thwaites blasted pass me where I couldn’t respond fast enough, but I’ll learn from it.

Scott won the sprint convincingly, Barras 2nd and me 3rd. Pity I didn’t win but a good result as I see progression in races down South.

Next race is on home turf, the Rosneath Super Six, so that should be good.


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Gifford Super Six Win

Last weekend was a great start for me and the team.

1 - 2 for the team

It was the first race of the season, the Super Six Round 1 in Gifford, a bit eastwards from Edinburgh. With a full field of 80 and some top riders coming up from down south so it was going to be a cracking race. I especially liked the new finish, which was moved to the top of the hill before Gifford, that had a slight uphill drag finish which suited me a lot better.

I was a wee bit unsure of how I would get on in the race, because I was hardly able to do anything for two weeks because I had a right bad chest.

One of the breaks we made

There were lots of breaks through out the whole race. The team did well to get in most of them. Problem was that the bunch was determined not to let them get too far away. It was a pain getting into the break, hurting to stay away, then getting reeled back in. Eventually persistance paid off and the winning break got away comming into the last lap. It was represented by myself, Gary and English riders Ben Greenwood from Rapha and Tom Last from Sigma Sport. Both Gary and I had been away, driving the breaks the previous few laps so I was hoping to recover the legs a bit, so that when the fight out for the finish started, I had plenty of power to use.

Davie, Dougie, Gary and Me in the break just before the winning move came

It worked out really well for us as we had the team advantage. So we decided to just roll through the first half of the lap, then mark the two riders on the second, not giving them any room what so ever. This gave me time to recover. It was time to mark up.

I was on Greenwood, Gary on Last. Both riders started to have a go when the main climb started. Each time they tried, we didn't let them get away from us. After countering their attacks, Gary had a go himself in the closing miles, really pressurising the other guys to chase him down because they couldn't afford to let them go. When Gary got caught, he went again, great effort, this time gaining a bigger gap and tiring them out more.

At the finish

On to the home straight, slight uphill drag, Gary was still leading with a gap, giving it everthing. I was on Greenwood's wheel and Last chasing slightly behind. But as I was about to sprint, maybe 200 to go, Last came storming past me, I was a wee bit sandwiched between them but managed to get round him, powering straight to the line first.

Gary was 2nd, and Last third, giving us a 1-2 victory and the perfect start to the season. Great team work by the whole team and we got what we deserved.

Here's a video of the finish:

Have to mention a great ride by first year junior, Stuart McCluskey. He was alway in the thick of it through the whole race and putting his fair share of work in the breaks and really driving them. Well done.

Heres's the link to a good report by Davie Lines: Hassan wins with a helping ‘Hand’

I did an interview with veloresults the day after the race: Robert Hassan – First Super Six Winner of the Year

This weekend I'm away to the Wheelers training camp in Largs which should be good, then the following weekend we have got the Dick Londragon RR in Aberdeenshire.