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Llandow Crit 23/02/14

Thought I'd better report a club win-Joe is now a 3rd cat having won the 4th cat race on Sunday.

I noticed his time for the 5k Park Run the day before was a bit down on his winning PB of a few weeks ago-I thought he'd been over-training but I'm told he decided to run from Flemingstone to the race in Bute Park-not sure if he ran back afterwards.Ah the folly of youth TBeech

Another 3rd Cat crit

another reenactment of the chariot race from ben hur

ogmore results ;-



Ho Hum

(Dont bounce like I used to )  RBeech

Full results - click here

Early season road race 2 - gower riders 3/4 cat 06.04.14

Afternoon start. Cross Hands. 6 laps of a deceptively lumpy 10k circuit.

The windiest, coldest and wettest conditions I have raced in (though I have TTd in just as bad). Another 1st was me crashing, about 2/3 into the race. Riders went down in front of me and I had nowhere to go but down. Pretty much got away with it - written off my shorts, arm warmers and damaged my gillet. But the bike bounced nicely and not aware of any damage (though I haven't dared look too hard yet). I got straight back on and back into the race, which had already split to pieces by this point. Finished in about the third group (possibly just scraping into the points).

Race best summed up as a brutal war of attrition. I think 50 started and about 20 finished. The group of about 5 I came in with was probably the biggest!

Glad I raced though I very nearly saw sense and didn't - On arriving at HQ with 11 degrees, gales and heavy rain clearly set in for the ago. I soon after drove out and rejoined the A48 to get home for the Everton game. By the M4 I had a change of heart (another one), and drove back to HQ again! Now if I'd damaged my bike or myself I'd have been kicking myself!

Full results - click here

4th Cat Castle Coombe - 18.04.14 - Report by Shawn Murtough

Well folks, today was my first experience of a Criterium. I've been keeping my entry quiet for the fear of abject humiliation but I was happy enough with how it went.

For all those virgins out there here is a summary:

I was entered into the 4th Cats at Castle Combe, 13 laps, 25 miles.

Special thanks to xray specs for his insider knowledge of the circuit and tips and advice.

My preparation was ok, not everything I wanted but near enough. Work/travel commitments meant I have missed a couple of recent chain gangs which I think would have helped...and getting dropped from the racers CG after 1.5 laps, this Tuesday just gone, did not exactly fill me with pre race confidence, but in hindsight may have been a blessing. Wednesday and Thursday I did what all the manuals say and that is taper! Wednesday was a gentle 3 mile run and Thursday 6 miles on the bike but couldn't resist chasing a KOM on Strava back in Swindon.

Despite visiting family I managed a reasonably rested night but was woken from my slumber sooner than I would have liked. The morning was all about keeping topped up on fuel and trying to do as little as possible (so a trip to the park with kids was not exactly high on the list of priorities, but some things in life are more important than the bike  :o ).

Breakfast was straight out of the Graeme Obree mould: jam on toast, a couple of mid morning bananas and a CNP flapjack saw me through to the 12:30 start.

Arriving at Castle Combe I didn't expect to be confronted by so many bikes/turbos/rollers but it was a full race programme so shouldn't really have been surprised.

Signed on and got myself a day licence (£5 with BC Silver).

Had a very gentle warm up and then had a look at the Youths race and then a few laps around the pits.

As the 4th Cats lined up in the pit lane to ready ourselves for the line we witnessed a big crash in the youths sprint which put the fear into a few fellow first timers.

The race itself....it was big field probably 130+ riders but the circuit is wide so  didn't seem too cramped.

As the race kicked off it was straight up to full pace, no gentle intro. I managed to find myself on the edge of the peloton in the full force of the wind in the first lap. Mental note to self to reposition for next lap.

The experience was exhilarating and daunting in equal measure, think chain gang but with a very fluid group and people moving up and back either side of you. Plenty of shouting in the group "hold your line" and "easy on the brakes", I don't think any of it was aimed at me. I did have contact with another rider at one point which he kindly thanked me for!

The first lap was brutal as I had expected it to be. I am reliably informed that riders were shedding off the back from lap one. The pace remained high throughout. The one bit of xrays advise I could not follow was to keep in the first 10-20 riders. From the start I was in the back half of the main pack and despite my best efforts found it really hard to move up. And equally getting the wrong line into a few corners cost me some places which were difficult to get back. I did my best to pick a wheel and try and follow it.

After 9 laps I lost contact with the main pack much to my annoyance. A 3 man gruppetto formed and myself and a Bristol rider did most of the work to get the three of us home and I even managed to win the mini sprint.

The Strava verdict is here:


Definitely by far the most fun I have had on a bike, beats time trialling and the track by a street. Castle Combe was a great circuit. Although there was also a crash in the Cat 4 sprint, I think it is more to down to inexperience than the track being dangerous.

Tired but happy tonight, Chinese and a few beers as a reward.

Well done Shawn. Totally agree with you about racing being the most fun...stressful too mind, perhaps more so than TT. Will be interesting to see how you compare llandow with castle coombe. Pembrey is worth a go too, you may be able to combine it with a family outing to the park/ beach. Road racing is even more fun (and less hard if you are avrelatively good climber), though probably more dangerous in that space is at a premium and there are things other than other riders to hit.

I think you did really well for your first race. Most get spat out the back fairly early on and get put off. RJ

A real baptism of fire! I,ve ridden that one and the big field and high proportion of novice riders led to lots of crashes. One rider went straight on at the first bend at took out 4 riders! My suggestion is to ride the chain gangs and Llandow. The standards of bike handling are better on both! SMadeley

Well done Shawn, sounds like a great experience. RBowmer

Well done Shawn. The same people shout that at all crits. I'm not even sure its directed at anyone. I even found myself saying it after a while...

Just passing on what others in the club / CG told me and that which I have learnt the hard way. CG

Full results - click here

More to follow as season progresses