South West Cyclo-X - Round 3, Sun 29 Sept, Dartmouth

Another early start as we packed up the van and headed out to the Round 3 of the SWCX in Dartmouth.

Straight to sign-on followed by a quick lap of the course between the early races and it was back to the van to get changed and do a turbo warm up.

Around 12:25 we were called to the start to get gridded. I was gridded on the front row so got myself in the central space ready for the off. 12:30 and boom! - I got a great start and led out though the first half lap until a line choice error saw me off the bike and I was immediatly relegated to 5th.

Slightly annoyed with myself I chased back on to the riders in front - I saw that Tim Carpenter (3Sixty Performance) and Matt Noble (Plymouth CX) had managed to get off the front so threaded my way through the field with some sneaky line choices through the technical corners and got back on their wheel.

I then got back out in front and decided to try and make a break so rode quite hard and pushed the pace up. I managed to get a gap and just kept the pace high to see if they would chase. I could sense Tim trying to hunt me down but by the end of the second lap I had a lead of around 10secs so just kept pushing to increase my lead.

As the race unfolded the the order began to change behind me with Tim now racing James Bovey (MDCC) for the Vets category win. By 2/3rds of the way through the race I had increased the gap to around 30secs I then eased up slightly and just concentrated on riding smoothly and consistantly whilst managing the gap.

So I crossed the line with the both the overall and Senior category wins - So stoked!! Even though I'm still a Junior in all other cycling disciplines this is my first Cross season in the Senior category so to take the win is pretty special :)

Thanks to Cycle Sport South Hams for putting on a great days racing with a fantastic course - the best X course I've raced on. Thanks also to my coach Roy at eliteVelo and Mid Devon Cycling Club for all their help and support.

MDCC Dartmoor Hill Climbs, Sat 28 September, Haytor

Woke up to thunderstorms and torrential rain on Saturday morning but we packed to van regardless and headed off to Haytor for the first of the MDCC hill climbs.

We arrived pretty early so decided to do a quick reccie up the hill in the van to check out the conditions. The road surface wasn't too bad but the cattle grid was very sketchy and as we ascended further we entered the fog. Visibility was quite poor toward the summit.

We signed on and were the told the race was to go ahead and as I was the first rider of the day we headed back to the van to get changed and do a warm up on the turbo with the plan being to complete the warm up 10 mins before my start time of 10:11 and then drive up to the start line.

We arrived at the start and had just got the bike out when one of the organisers approached us and asked if we knew the start had been delayed for 30 minutes and that the course had been shortened due to the bad weather :S

So it was now smashing down with rain so I had to sit it out in the van and wait with the warm up pretty much wasted...Oh well!

Eventually it was time for the off and for the first 2 mins or so my legs felt crappy but eventually that went away and I settled into a steady rhythm and began to pickup the pace.

Ended up taking the Junior win by around 40 seconds with a time of 8:41. Not bad since this was my first hill climb event and I was on a mid weight road bike ;)

Sadly the Widecombe hill climb planned for the afternoon had to be cancelled due to the deteriorating weather conditions but I'll definitely give it a go when it's re-scheduled.

Drop Bar Double

Full on double drop bar action this weekend....

On Saturday I'll be racing the annual Mid Devon Cycling Club Dartmoor hill climb event. Haytor in the morning followed by Widecombe in the afternoon....brutal.

Sunday sees Round 3 of the South West Cyclocross League at Dartmouth School...gonna be a mint weekend of racing! Check back on Monday for the results :)

Tour of Britain, Stage 6, Sidmouth to Haytor, 20th Sept

The day the Tour came to town......Stage 6 of this year's Tour of Britain was being played out right here in my backyard on a lot of the roads I train on so I spent a mint day yesterday in the thick of it.

Max, a few of his Uni friends and I decided the best thing would be to soak up the atmosphere and catch the finish up at Haytor and ride some of the roads on our way.

I left Exeter at just after 10 and headed up over Haldon via Shillingford and then on through Chudleigh to Kingsteignton where I met up with the others.

From Kingsteignton we headed out to Bovey Tracey and then up the Haytor climb to the summit where we found a great spot along the barriers to watch the finish.

Really enjoyed the day, was so good to get the opportunity to see world class riders at such close quarters. 

We headed out for a blast around Dartmoor once we'd seen the podium presentations and as we drifted away from Haytor towards Widecombe we were passed by the Movistar team car who then proceeded to hand us a protein bar, felt just like a Pro....for a split second....awesome end to a fab day :)

South West Cyclo-X - Round 2, Sun 15 Sept, Wellington

Sunday morning and a short hop up the A38 over the border to Wellington in Somerset for SWCX Round 2 at Courtfields School. Autumn has suddenly arrived....with a chilly start to the day and rain promised for around lunchtime....just when I'd be racing....should be good!

A quick practice lap between the youth races unveiled a nice fast course with not too much tech or running which would mean a fast and furious race. By now the wind was beginning to pick up and with wide open fields to race around the likelihood would be that some drafting would be required.

photo: Simon Rawling
Around 30mins before my race I did a good warm up on the turbo before heading down to the start line where I was gridded on the front row with a stacked field of 65+ riders. After a slight delay we were off and I got a mint start, happy to sit in second place with Vin Cox leading it out.

photo: Simon Rawling
As always the pace of the first lap was high with National Champ Steve Davies moving through to the front. I tried to stay on his wheel but knew the pace was too high whilst american rider Kamden Reedy pushed on to battle with Steve so I dropped back to the next group of four riders - Matt Loake (Southfork Racing), Tim Carpenter (eliteVelo), Matt Noble (Plymouth CX) and Alister Lovell (Royal Navy Cycling).
photo: Simon Rawling
As predicted the rain started to fall halfway through the race and the surface became pretty greasy and as the laps progressed the two Matts dropped off from the group making it a three way battle for third place overall. This group worked really well with Tim and I sharing the workload on the front to manage the gap and maintain our position.
photo: Simon Rawling
Having left a bit in reserve and knowing overall third place and second Senior was within reach I knew I had to attack so decided to make a break. Halfway around the final lap I went off the front of the group and sprinted all the way to the finish line.

photo: Simon Rawling
Stoked! first season in Senior and a third place overall and second in the Senior category - oh and £20 prize money....sweet!

Full results from the race can be found here.

Big thanks to Mark Deakin for a great event and Simon Rawling ( for the fab photos - many more from this and previous events can be found on his Facebook page.

Southern XC, Round 5, Sun 8 September, Avon Tyrrell

As the 2013 XC quickly draws to a close I headed up to Avon Tyrrell early on Sunday morning for the final round of the Southern XC series with Tom Dunn. Patchy weather with heavy rain showers on the way up meant a wet race was on the cards....brilliant, was really looking forward to some wet racing after this super long dry spell! I thought it might inject a little interest especially knowing this was going to be a flat race track where outright power would be key so probably wouldn't suit me too well  :)

On arrival we quickly got changed and went out on a practice lap. The course was pretty good fun -  very tight and twisty with a lot of bumps and, if the rain came into play, some potential slippery root action :)

The Junior race kicked off at 12:30. I got a good start off the line and tucked in behind Joe Griffiths who led it out for the first half lap before Sam Stean made a move to the front, I jumped on his wheel before he began to pull out a lead.

photo: Fizzeek MTB
Joe then dropped back to fourth and I spent the middle part of the race battling with Liam Earl for second place. Although it was very close racing I couldn't quite match his pace towards the end of the race on this course so happily took the last spot on the podium to come in third. All in a good solid performance and enjoyable day's racing.