Super Mellow Pre-Christmas Ride

Tony Williams (EvolveMTB) organised a cracking chilled pre-Christmas mates XC ride out on Dartmoor yesterday....

15 of us met up in Bovey Tracey and then headed out to the remote Warren House Inn (Southern England's highest pub), situated halfway between Princetown and Moretonhampstead, for the start of the loop.

The going was slow as the conditions were exceptionally wet and muddy but that didn't matter - was fun just to be out there enjoying a super mellow ride with mates :)

Rode around 9 miles, including a wet (and cold) water crossing - see Strava for route details - before heading back to the pub for a well earned bite to eat and a drink!

Good times - cheers, Tony!

South West Cyclo-X - Round 9 Certini Cyclo-Cross, Sun 16 Dec, Central Park, Plymouth

2012/13 South West Cyclo-X Junior Champion and South West Cyclo-X League Junior Champion!

Sunday saw the final race of this seasons South West Cyclocross series at Central Park in Plymouth hosted by Certini.

Heavy rain on Friday and Saturday would mean yet another wet and muddy race so we set off early on Sunday morning fully prepared.

On arrival we signed on and then headed straight out to take a look at the course and I was pleasantly surprised to find it twisty and slippery with plenty of climbs - nice, that's my kind of course :)

Did a quick sighting lap with Roy (eliteVELO) and then we all made our way down the tarmac hill to the start line. The plan for me was to not go out too hard off the start today....

The race began and we sprinted up the tarmac section and quickly joined the grass, I settled for a 7th place initially and then quickly passed a few riders on the first technical off-camber corner to get up into 4th.

Was going really well, had great pace leading the Junior category whilst concentrating on keeping my riding consistent and smooth although the wet and muddy conditions made the going quite slow in places.....

....and then 2/3rds into the race, disaster...

...after several drivetrain 'issues' my chain eventually jammed in between the small chainring and the frame, twisting the chain in the process.....race first DNF :(

That's racing I guess but at least I got to watch the epic Seniors battle between Matt Zietz and Dexter Hurlock - Fantastic riding from both and congratulations to Matt for the win - Dexter, we definitely need proper cross bikes next year! Once the race was over we hit the buffet arranged at Plymouth Argyle FC and awaited the league presentations.

So today's result was a bit annoying but I was really happy to be presented with the overall Junior series championship trophy and take both South West Cyclo-X Junior Champion and South West Cyclo-X League Junior Champion titles for 2012/13 in my first ever season of cross :)


Congratulations to Matt Noble - South West Cyclo-X League Senior Champion and Tim Carpenter - South West Cyclo-X League Veteran Champion.

Big thanks to Gary Andrews and everyone at Certini for organising another great cross event (definitely my favourite course of the series), everyone at South West Cyclocross for organising a brilliant season of events and finally to everyone who has raced the series, it's been great fun - Have a fab Christmas everyone - really looking forward to racing cross again next year!....but on a cross bike ;)

New Arrivals 2 - Scott CR1 Team Road Bike

I've been really enjoying putting a lot of miles in on the road bike recently as part of my coaching/training program with EliteVELO for next years XC racing.....but have been using my dad's old antique steel frame 27lb road bike!

So...continuing my transformation to the 'dark side' I recently sold my downhill bike (shock...horror) so that I could put the money towards a more up to date lightweight road bike which would fit me properly.

My downhill bike wasn't getting a lot use recently as I mostly prefer riding my Scott Ransom now for downhill so figured I'd get a lot more use out of a road bike.

After considering various options I decided on the 17lb Scott CR1 Team - full specs here. Really nice, great value road bike - super lightweight high quality carbon frame with complete Shimano 105 groupset and lots of potential to upgrade in the future.

Once again a huge thank-you to my sponsors Hot Pursuit Cycles for making this possible....just praying for some dry weather now so I can go ride it :)

New Arrivals 1 - 2013 Season XC Race Bike - Scott Scale 900RC

Super-stoked to have received my fab new Scott Scale 900RC XC race bike for the 2013 season!

Massive thanks to my sponsors Hot Pursuit Cycles for making this happen, I really can't believe it!! - I'm so looking forward to ripping up the 2013 season on this superlight carbon 29er XC race weapon.

The frame is the lightest 29er currently available weighing in at less than 949g! Scott then decorate it with only the best (and lightest) components without any compromises and end up with a stunning 29er XC race bike which weighs less than 20lbs - unbelievable :O

Full specs can be found here meanwhile here's a few pics....

South West Cyclo-X - Round 7 Velo Cake Cyclo-Cross, Sun 18 Nov, Redruth School, Redruth

Although it was pretty cold start to the day, the sky was blue and the sun was shining as we loaded up the bike and kit and headed off down the A30.

On arrival in Redruth the racing was already in full swing with the kids races so we quickly registered and then got out to checkout the course and watch the youth race.

The course looked pretty good, although not very was mostly long straights over four terraced levels with the bottom two levels connected via several sets of stairs to run up and a fairly steep slope connecting the top level.

The youth race was fast paced with Will Kelly dominating and never looking under threat, leading from start to finish!

Time for my race, got a great start and led the field out for the first quarter of a lap but then struggled for power on the very long straights so lost a few places with the more powerful senior riders cruising right by.

Settled into a good race pace and was riding my xc bike well but being pretty small I found running up the long flights of steps each time took a huge amount of energy and required quite a large recovery which made the following part of the lap slow going :(

Dug deep and kept at it and took the Junior win (and another 50 points for the series) and got 8th place in Senior so another good result :) Well done to Matt Zietz for a great win and thanks to VeloCake for another good days racing. As usual, BC Race results and write up can be found here

Leading out at the start...

Trying very hard to keep Matt Noble in sight...
Riding the steep slippery slope to the upper field

South West Cyclo-X - Round 6 South West Champs, Sun 5 Nov, South Dartmoor College, Ashburton

MDCC were hosting the first ever South West Cyclocross Champs this weekend so we headed down to Ashburton on Saturday to help out with setting out the course....between the rain showers. I could tell by walking around on the grass/mud that it was going to be sticky conditions for the race...

Woke up to the sound of torrential rain on Sunday morning - oh great :( it had been raining all night so it was going make it a pretty muddy race.

Got there early to watch and support the riders in the earlier races....and witness the course conditions worsen by the minute! Couldn't decide which tyres to run (mtb or cyclocross) but in the end went with the CX tyres.... I don't think it would of made too much difference either way as the mud was very sticky and clay-like and nobody's tyres seemed to be shedding it very well or offering up much grip!

I got a pretty good start (4th place) as we headed out on the first lap but didn't settle into a rhythm very quickly and a small mistake on the top of the farthest bank cost me a few places whilst I tried to clip back in.

Eventually settled down but the race was slow going as the ground quickly turned to slushy mud making sections of the course un-rideable as the race progressed.

For me the main goal in this race was about being Junior Champion so was I was totally focussed on getting the Junior win and spent the race managing that and not worrying too much about my overall position (finished in 11th) - a full race report and results can be found here and here. The flat track and very gloopy conditions certainly suited the more powerful riders anyhow.

Got lapped, just before the finish line, by Dexter Hurlock, who rode yet another fantastic race and took the Senior win - well done mate! Today I was simply grateful not to have to endure another lap!

So I in the end I won the Juniors and got the South West Junior Cyclocross Champion title and a rather nice gold medal so another successful day's racing :)

Good start....heading out in 4th

Me and a pretty muddy bike post race

Tough conditions meant a lot of mechanical failures

Junior podium

And a nice gold medal for the win.....stoked!

South West Cyclo-X - Round 5 Sun 28 Oct, Penair School, Truro

Was an early start yesterday as we headed down to Truro for Round 7 of the South West Cyclocross series. The forecast was for a cold and wet day.

We arrived in plenty of time so watched the Juvenille and Youth races before getting ready for a warm up around the Senior's course.

The course was really good, making great use of the natural banking around the various sports pitches, providing some tech features which when combined with the slippery conditions proved very tricky to ride.

I'd changed the set up of my bike (see previous post) for this race, swapping the the SID suspension forks for a set of rigid carbon forks....whilst this has made the bike a bit more efficeint to pedal and lighter it has also dropped the bottom bracket height which meant I was clipping my pedals a lot when peddling out of corners.....oh well just had to get on with it :( 

Race time....I was gridded so managed a great start off the line. I fought hard and my pace was good and had no problems keeping with the faster Seniors but I need to work on my mounting and dismounting skills as this is where I was suffering and lost some time and places. Tim Carpenter (eliteVelo) kindly suggested I tuck in beind him as he went passsed so we hatched a plan to use a bit of teamwork to try and reel in the next rider ahead.

In the end I overtook Tim and took the Junior win and 6th position in the Seniors race so pretty happy with that :) Provisional results and full race report can be found here

Was a great days racing on a very good race course so a big thank you to everyone stop Round 8 - South West Champs, Ashburton next weekend....maybe see you there.

Cyclocross Spec Kona Kula

Have changed a couple of things on my Kona Kula XC race bike to try and make it a bit lighter and more efficient for cyclocross...
  • New wheelset - Hope Hoops SP-XC6 - 24 hole Stans ZTR Crest rims on Hope Pro III hubs (1463g)
  • Schwalbe CX Pro tyres
  • 160mm Alligator rotors (70g x 2)
  • Trigon carbon rigid fork (480g)
Net effect is a totally rigid bike that now weighs in at just 18.5lbs (down from 21.5lbs in XC spec) so I'll test it tomorrow and see how it goes and if all goes well I'll race it in Truro on Sunday...stay tuned :)

South West Cyclo-X - Round 4 Sun 7 Oct, Stover

Yesterday we headed down to Stover School near Newton Abbot for Round 4 of this years South West Cyclo-cross Championship and my second race of the season.

On arrival the carpark was already busy which was a good sign as it meant a lot of entrants for this race - 55 racers in the Seniors race.

Did a warm up lap of the track and the course was very open with long straights and not much tech.....the bike felt OKish so I decided to stick with my mtb tyre setup but probably should have changed to my skinny CX tyres.

So time to race....and because of my 4th place finish in the last race I got seeded on the front row of the grid, sweet!

I went off hard at the start and throughout the first lap, trying to keep pace with Matt Loake. This worked for a bit but I was struggling to maintain any speed on the long straights as the ground was very soft and was sapping all my energy.....I really wished I had changed tyres!

I got passed by another rider who managed to tangle bars with me which meant then being over taken by a pack of riders as we untangled so my second and third laps were not great and I was not happy.

Seeing the other Junior riders begin to catch I then settled down and got back on it. I started to pick up the pace again and managed to put in some solid lap times and pull out and maintain a reasonable gap.

In the end I took the Juniors win and 10th place in the Seniors....but more importantly, for me anyway, was that I was only 44 secs beind Matt Loake ;)  Full race results can be found here.

Stover is a lovely race location so a big thanks to everyone for organising another great day of racing!

Pre-race photo

55 Riders line up at the start

End of a fast Lap 1

Lap 2 - Ruined but still charging

Lap 3 or 4 - Getting back on it

Celebrating the Junior win with a wheelie over the finish line

Post race discussions


Dark Woods | Wet Woods

Cyclocross racing tomorrow and didn't want to ruin my legs today so ended up tearing up Dark Woods for while this morning...although with all the rain yesterday Dark Woods had turned into Wet Woods...was pretty good fun though :)

2XC2012 - Race 6 Sat 29 Sept, Heatree Dartmoor

Rolled up to Heatree, near Hound Tor on Dartmoor, yesterday for the final round of this years 2XC race series.

This is a new venue and what a great place! The weather was nice and sunny and the track was proper XC.....a real mixture of good stuff....

Rooty technical climbs, loamy singletrack and fast flowing technical had it all and is probably my favorite track of the series and judging by the reaction of others, it was theirs too. Attendance was fairly low so lots of racers really missed out on a great event!

Was a really good race for me racing against Harry Foreshaw (Fully Sussed/Certini team rider and current South West Junior Champion). We traded places on what was a very quick and equal first lap -  Harry took the fastest lap of the day (incl. the Seniors Race 2) at 8m 41s with me 1sec behind at 0h 8m 42s. I pushed hard on the second lap and managed to pull a lead on the first climb and create a gap of 40 seconds during the lap. I eased off a bit on the third lap to recover and Harry made up 3 seconds on me but I pushed hard again on the final lap and I gained a further 15 seconds.

Lap 1: Racing hard with Harry Foreshaw leading

Was a tough race (thanks Harry!) but in the end I took the Race 1 and Juniors win by 49 seconds, so really pleased with a solid performance against stiff opposition. Full race results can be found here.

Thanks to Steve Birchill and Alan Drury at MDDC for organising a brilliant event at a fab location with a really cool XC race track....really hope the word spreads and more people attend next years race and help create the success it deserves!

Back to racing Cyclocross next weekend for Round 4:  Sunday 7th Oct:  MDCC Cyclo-Cross, Stover, Newton Abbot

MoreDirt Locals, Thurs 27 Sept

Got featured in this weeks MoreDirt Locals - cheers Billy!

Full article can be found here MoreDirt Locals

Here's some of the pictures we did for the article....