Spokes Kingdom Classic and Monmouthshire GP
Spokes Kingdom Classic
So the weekend started by driving up to Glenrothes (somewhere in Scotland), the drive was around 5 hours but wasn’t too bad as we went through the Scottish moors so the views were nice. Once we arrived it was already quite late as we didn’t set off until the evening so we pretty much unloaded some bags into the room then went to bed.
The next day we woke in decent time to go and have a good breakfast. Then it was time to get the bags from the room and set off over to St Andrews where the race would be starting. After a short spin on the rollers it was time to get lined up and set off for the neutral zone. The race started and after a few little attacks which were quickly marked, the pace slowed down until 2 riders got away on the starting circuits before they were caught around 15km later. Coming into the first KOM I was positioned well so thought that I might as well go for the points and rolled across the line first. After this there were a few little attacks but nothing stuck before one rider attacked and the bunch sat up meaning the gap quickly grew out to around a minute, then another few riders went away. I then decided to attack a few times to try and get a gap but I was quickly followed so I tried to get some people to work with me to try and get the gap down a little. Then with around 15k to go I hit a proper Scottish pot hole which was basically a crator this ended in me getting a flat (3rd tub of the year)… after a quick change from the HMT car and a good tow back on, by Mark Barry, I made my way through the convoy and back to the bunch, to then find out another 3 or 4 riders had gone off the front. With no one really prepared to work I attacked a few times but they were both followed quickly so it was then just a case of riding into the bottom of the final climb to see what I could do. I decided to limit my losses so I attacked as soon as we hit the climb. After a little glance around I found that I had a bit of a gap so carried on pushing hard to the top of the climb getting a few break away riders now in sight, once I caught a couple I crossed the line in 4th not the result I wanted but it could’ve been worse. The gap to first was around 2 minutes so I had my work cut out to get this back on the following stage but was going to give it a go. After a nice Italian, where Joe couldn’t hack the spice, we headed back to the hotel for an early night.
I woke up the following morning and had my breakfast before heading off over to the start of the stage 2. This stage had 3 decent climbs in it but was a flat run into the finish. The stage started off with people trying to get in breaks and with the Spokes team controlling the race once we hit the first climb I attacked at the bottom and managed to get away with one other meaning I took the KOM points. We kept going over the top but were brought back a KM or so down the road. Not much happened until the next climb where I attacked again getting the KOM points then carried on over the top before being caught a few km down the line. After this a few attacks went but the race was still controlled until 3 went up the road containing the ‘Road captain’ aka Lewis (well he thinks he is anyway). So the gap was allowed to go out to around a minute coming into the final climb, Lewis was then distanced by the break which meant I attacked to see if I could gain any time and get up to the leaders but was followed by the rest of the bunch coming into the long final run in to the finish. No one was willing to work meaning the gap to the two leaders hovered the same and they stayed away meaning I slipped down to 6th on GC and finished in the bunch.
At the end of the weekend I finished 6th and won the KOM competition.
Monmouthshire Junior GP
The weekend started with a quick trip on Saturday morning going over to see how Darren and Graeme were going on with the ‘Neverest challenge’ where they were kindly raising money for my cycling (thanks a lot guys, much appreciated). Then we started the trip down to Wales. Once we got into Monmouthshire we went over to find the course where the little loops were. I got changed and went to do a loop or two with Joe and Sam. Once I got back we headed back over to the hotel to get changed before heading out for a meal. After some nice, slow service and being full after the lasagne and a course of the general ‘banter’ we drove back to the hotel and got ready for bed as it was knocking on by this time… the people in the hotel had clearly lost the plot when the fire alarm went off literally just as my head hit the pillow. Then it was time for a nice catch up in the carpark with half of the field that would be racing the following day. Once we were allowed back in I went to bed ready for the next day.
So the morning started with a trip over to breakfast to have some proper get round food. I’m not saying what I had but one clue is you wouldn’t expect to be having it for breakfast. Once we went back to the room to get the bags we set off over to the HQ ready for sign on. I met up with the rest of the team then we went to get signed on. When we were signing on we saw 1 set of numbers where one was normal sized and the other big enough to cover my whole back, yeh you’ve guessed they were mine, at least the others had a good laugh out of it ;) after some pro folding skills (basically origami) I went on the rollers for a little bit before it was time to line up. Once we set off there was a few KM of neural before the flag dropped. A few attacks went but nothing stuck due to there being such a fast section on the dual carriage way which was a bit sketchy to say the least. Once we got off it there was a big crash, I somehow managed to avoid a flying bike. Soon after this 4 riders went up the road including my team mate Callum, who was riding for central for the weekend. The bunch knew it was a strong group so the gap was only allowed out to around a minute where it hovered for a while. Coming onto the finishing circuits the gap had come down a little to the leaders. A few of us tried to push on in the reduced bunch but we were followed so the race sat up a little until the next climb where the race went hard again, this is where we made contact with the leaders. The race then eased up a little which meant another break of 3 or so riders went up the road with Callum in. With a few laps to go the pace was kept on in the bunch so the gap was only allowed to grow out to around 40-50 seconds, coming into the final lap I knew the gap had to be closed soon so I attacked just after the finish line bringing 5 or so others with me as the road still dragged up towards the top end of the course. I stayed on the front going hard as I didn’t want to risk the group coming back together, once we hit the next climb the group was working reasonably well together as we now had the 3 leaders in sight. We caught them up the climb meaning there was now a group of 9 of us but not knowing what the lead was back to the other group I tried to keep the group working as there were a few attacks going. We stayed together into the bottom of the final climb and I waited until 300m to go before launching my attack, thankfully no one else was able to get back up to me so I crossed the line with the win by a few seconds.
I was really happy to get my first Junior National series win and it put me into the lead of the National series! I’m now looking forward to Junior Tour of the Basque country in a few days time.
Thanks to Pedal Potential, Dean Downing and Darren for the continued support.