Friday, 2 March 2012

Clayton Velo Classic and Training Camp

Hi everyone

Last weekend was my first race of the year, the Clayton Velo Spring Classic near Preston. At 55 miles and handicapped, it was a great season starter and training race. It was on a small rolling 4 mile circuit on quite tight country roads which made it pretty dodgy at times.

Me and my teammates, Richard Bott, Andy Coup and Andy Hawdon, all started in the scratch group with 9 Rapha Condor riders. Team Node 4 didn’t show up which made the scratch group smaller than expected. Me and the guys did our turns and we soon caught the other groups on the road which included other big teams like Vanilla bikes and Bglobal.

Bunch (Pic by VeloUK)
It was 5 months since my last race, so you forget what it is like trying to hold your position in a large bunch with guys squeezing past you at speed. It takes a wee while to get used to it again, but by the last 4 or 5 laps I was back in the zone. This was the good thing about doing this race, lots of quality fast riders to get back up to speed, physically and tactically.

With 40 odd mile raced, attacks started but nothing was getting much room to get away. On the 3rd last lap I spotted a group going clear so I jumped across and began working with them. There was the right amount of teams in there for the riders back in the bunch to stall and by a mile or so later 9 of us were well clear.

The winning break  (Pic by VeloUK)   
In the last lap, guys in our group began attacking but each time someone would pull them back.

As we enter the sprint finish, because of the head wind I wanted to leave it late but Richard Hepworth put in a great attack with over 300 metres and none of us could get anywhere near in time.

He crossed 1st, David McGowan of UK Youth 2nd and myself 3rd. My team mate Andy Hawdon was 4th.

The sprint (Pic by VeloUK)   

As a racer, I was disappointed at not winning but I’m happy to get a podium for the team in the first race of the season.

Training Camp

Two weeks ago, I was away with the team to our training camp in Costa Blanca, Spain. It was well needed as the weather in the west of Scotland had been wet and horrible all winter!

Most of us attended so it was a great way to get some fast miles in together and for me to get to know the guys a bit more. Also, thanks to the sponsors supplying us in time, we could try out our new Specialized Tarmac SL4 bikes and Bioracer team kit.

The team, from left, Simon Baxter, Kit Gilham, Myself, Andy Hawdon, Andy Coupe, Richard Bott and Tommy Bustard (Pic by Ciclo Costa Blanca)
We stayed at the Abir Gardens Hotel near Altia and were supported by Terry Kerr of Ciclo Costa Blanca Cycling Holidays.  They are based within the hotel resort and have a great hub for bike hire, maintenance etc. He followed us, and many other riders that came along, in the van during rides which was good.

Ken Jones who sponsors the team with Bioracer clothing also joined us which was a great addition to the camp.

The team spelling about (Pic by Ciclo Costa Blanca)

We got some great rides in the good weather over there, racing up some of the local well known climbs like the Col du Tudons and the Col du Rates.

Riding hard up the Col du Tudons, Kit, Me, Norwegian Dude and Simon (Pic by Ciclo Costa Blanca)
I really loved the roads over there. They were in great condition and the descents were awesome. It was a good way to brush up on the descending skills after months of Scottish roads full pot holes, ice, slush etc...

On the last day I unfortunately came a cropper when I hit a bad patch of gravel round a hidden bend. The bike’s ok though...

Me (Pic by Ciclo Costa Blanca)

All the guys in the team were going really strong which bodes well for the races. Special mentions to Team Camp Captain Richard Bott for helping the camp run real smoothly.


Some more Pics:

Simon, Tommy, Richard and Andy

The beach at Altia

The Hotel

Simon, Tommy and Me

Benidorm from the Plane!

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