Wessex CX Round 2

Whilst the hard people were heading off to the #3pcx challenge today, I was heading off to Swindon. To a golf course no less!

Before you get your hopes up that I’ve given up cycling and taken up golf, I have to tell you that the golf course is decommissioned and I went to cyclocross instead.

LCCA didn’t have a round this weekend, so I planned to combine seeing my parents, with a cx race. It’s still less than a year ago that I started racing, and I need all the experience I can get.

So, whilst I would have preferred to be in Yorkshire cheering on Keith Murray, Scott Chalmers, Scot Easter and Emma Osenton, I found myself moseying around a nicely technical grass course.

The other part of the reason I like the Wessex league, is that it so friendly. With the likes of Caroline Stewart, Chris Macleod and Graham Robins there, they make you feel more than welcome.

Caroline rode a recce lap at my pace with me, and I quickly identified one corner that I found tricky. Just one mind. Off camber, 180° right hander going downhill. Why I’m having problems with exactly the same type of bend two races in a row, I don’t know!

Very, very glad to be riding Continental CX Race tyres. With a course that had such a decent covering of grass, even when the heavens opened briefly, it didn’t properly cut up. Sure there were some damp, squidgy grass, but it was merely suicidily slippery. Not muddy as such.

It took me a while to get into the race. And looking at my lap times, my last lap was fastest again! I need the experience more than anything. Different courses, terrain, and people. I found it a huge learning curve today. Eventually winning the battle at the back with another girl.

The only problem I had was faceplanting over my bars on the second lap. Not entirely sure how I ended up on the floor – but hey ho!


I didn’t enjoy the first lap. But by the second I was back in that love/hate relationship. I love the course. I love riding cx. I dislike that I’m such a novice and so slow. I love the friendliness.

It’s not easy not having the experience or background of years in and around cycling clubs, road races and cross.

#keepsmiling

Dunkerque Roubaix With Hot Chillee

Credit Jojo Harper for all the pics, apart from my cobble and images in Ypres….

I don’t know if I was more excited or nervous, when I learnt I’d got one of two places given to Sigma Sport from Cervelo, who are one of the official ‘Teams’ of Dunkerque Roubaix as well as being one of the Hot Chillee Ride Captain sponsors.

It’s been something I’ve really wanted to do since last year, and only further enhanced by the fact that it included cobbles. Wait. Did I tell you I liked cobbles? Oh, yeah, maybe I did. Once or twice.
This is what they have to say about it:

‘This intimate 165km ride takes place two weeks after the iconic Paris-Roubaix.

The event is restricted in numbers and follows the HotChillee event format of flagged pavé race section, rolling road closures, full service corp and small seeded speed groups.

This is the closest experience amateur riders can get to a pro Spring Classic with participants riding alongside cycling legends on a route which takes in the last 40km of Paris-Roubaix.

Previous riders include Team GB rider Geraint Thomas, Tour de France winner Stephen Roche and Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Bäckstedt.

Riders experience an iconic finish in the velodrome with use of the original pro rider showers and drinks reception in the velodrome bar.

The event is preceded by an exclusive dinner on the Saturday night with cycling legends where they share some exclusive insight into the pro peloton.’

Rereading the confirmation email, I tried rather hard not to get too excited at the prospect of riding a brand new 51cm Cervelo C5 with DI2. Why a 51cm? Looking at actual top tube length, a 54cm would be a little on the large size. Although I didn’t know it was DI2 until I got there.

I’d been checking and double checking the rather crap forecast in the preceding week, and it looked cold and rather wet. An impulse buy at the last second from work, Castelli Nanoflex Pro Bibtights would prove to be the best last minute buy ever.

As usual, I agonised over what to pack, deciding that at the last minute, taking too much was better than not taking enough. And hey, I was driving my own car, plenty of space and all that.

I had a nightmare Friday night, when it took me nearly two hours to get my pedals off. More my fault than anything! They might not look the coolest on a road bike, but I think they are perfect for CX, and happily rode Paris Roubaix in them without issue! I have both CX bikes fitted with them, and absolutely love them. Crank Brothers Eggbeater 2 in case you are wondering.

I had a late morning slot on the Eurotunnel on Saturday, and had a last mintue detour to Ypres (Ieper), which was beautiful but chilly.

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I arrived at the hotel in Dunkerque a little earlier than expected, but there was plenty of people there already, all setting up for the next day. I was quickly pointed to the Cervelo mechanic, an absoultely lovely guy, called Detlef (a Germanic mechanic, who according to Sven Thiele, famously finished first and second at the best German Mechanics awards at the Alpine Challenge). After a quick chat, he suggested I get changed and take the bike for a quick spin to check the set up. A quick check in, and a hello to Andy Hawes, Matt Stephens (sorry, Kenny!) and Sven, a change of clothes, and I made my way back out to ride the bike.
All I can say is that I did not have to change a thing, saddle height and reach were perfect. It’s only the second time I’ve ridden DI2, and it took a few minutes to get used to it again. I did debate using my Colnago saddle – but after using the Fizik Antares (I think!) – I thought it would be perfect. Perfect tyres with Continental 4 Seasons too, not a moment of doubt with grip.

A lovely evening was spent, with a rider briefing, then first of all with Kenny van Vlaminck and then with Stephen Roche. It was great to have some of the other Sigma Staff along, Will Bridgman, James Brewer and Callum Clarke, as well as both bosses, Ian Whittingham and Jason Turner.

A fairly early night was had, I’d already packed a day bag, and the musette we were given. And I knew I wanted to be up early for breakfast, which was available from 06.00. Our group was the first to leave at 07.30.

I was quite worried before the start, having never ridden the distance before, worrying as always about being too slow and getting dropped, and slightly excited about trying out a super sweet bike over some pretty rough terrain. It was raining steadily as I took my bike outside, and felt rather cold to say the least. I gave my end of day bag to Detlef, and my musette to our lead car, and was ready to roll.

Not many people in Group 3, the *social paced* group. And actually that was something to be thankful for. It was easier to remember names, and easier for the Ride Captains too. We were quickly introduced to each other, and set off.


I set off at the front, a place I quite like to be, with John who was to stay at the front of the group for the whole ride. We chatted away as the miles rolled by, sat side by side with the group in a good compact form behind us. It rained and rained, but I was doing enough to stay warm, and it was a long while before the rain started to soak through. With the rolling road closure around us, and a good tempo (well above the advertised average of 23km/h for the first 3 hours), it was easy to while away the  miles as the rain got heavier, and the wind picked up incrementally. Our out rider motos were excellent, herding us on to bike paths on the main road, and waiting at every junction, keeping safe distances as they rolled past us, and the odd thumbs up from one of them.
John mentioned we would see the first hill with the mast on top of it soon, and we did. I mentioned, as I like to do, that they would probably drop me quickly as I was no climber. I believe in being honest at the end of the day. Ironically I climbed a lot better, but it woke up my legs and lungs, and I soon called out for them to pass me out as I was holding some of them up. I think about six of them did, John took a quick loop to come back and check on me, but I was ok just blowing like a train. And we carried on up and up. Nothing too steep or long, just a bit of a shock after a fair few miles of mostly flat road. Eventually I got myself to the top where they were waiting, and only then did I realise there was a couple still behind me. More food to be had quickly, and we set off again. The next hill I climbed a hell of a lot better, pacing myself but spinning quicker, and soon caught up with the ones that had gone ahead. We spotted the one thing I wish I’d taken a picture of – a chairlift the opposite side of the road, and a few of us mused what it was for and where it had come up from.
The rain still kept coming down, but with constant grazing on food, and still on the front, I was doing fine. My legs felt good, and I felt more confident the further we went.
However the first section of cobbles came up on us quicker than expected, John and I turned on to them upsides, and I had to let him get in front. He’s faster and quicker than  me, and soon pulled away. Honestly riding with 100psi over cobbles is a pretty bad idea, but one that I knew was only going to last until lunchtime, when I planned to let a bit of air out.
However this was the first time I had ridden a carbon bike on cobbles, and it took most of the first section to adjust as the bike was bucking around so much. No chance of hitting the sweetspot when the tyres are too hard!
Soon enough we were all through, and after the 3rd/4th pee stop (I had none) – we set off again. The rain still falling, and if it wasn’t falling, it was already on the road and being picked up by us as road spray. Then we had hail. It hurt a bit. And suddenly we were at the lunch stop.
Food was excellently provided, but as I’d been grazing away, I only had a bit of cake, half an orange, and a bit of coke. Then as I was cold and soaking wet, took the opportunity to change into my Sigma Winter jacket which is pretty warm, and a proper rain cape which was another thing I’d borrowed from @cyclingfiction (Jesse you are a superstar). I left my damp baselayer on as I needed the long sleeves, but despite being damp, it did work. Soon I was freezing from stopping, and plaintively asking to get going again, just as Group 2 and Group 1 rolled in. A refill of my pockets with food, and we got our stuff to get ready to go again. Guess who forgot to refill their water bottle? Yep. Me, despite telling everyone to hurry up. (Slightly embarrassed to say the least!)
Then, the next section. It rained harder, we rode into more and more wet roads, and it hailed again (that actually stung like mad), and still I sat on the front. I tried riding in the group a couple of times, but I was at my happiest on the front with John. Coming up to the cobbles, I had dropped back and said to Dave that I’d be happier on the front going onto them, he said to make my way back up there, so I did. I started recognising places we were going through, and a church here and there that me and Phil had ridden past two weeks ago, but still the first section took us by surprise. I led onto them, with John behind me, hard on it along the crown. Assembling all the split second sights, mud, corners, narrower sections and just riding as straight and as hard as possible and then an oh fuck….. Lead car had slowed right down and the motos were flagging us to slow down. however I know cobbles and did not want to brake. Instead slowing the turning of the pedals, it still nearly caused chaos, one of the guys riding off the crown and into the mud by the side of me. Luckily we got through it ok. I was still feeling good, surprisingly, and carried on my thing of eating every 20/45 mins, and making myself drink. Especially before each section of cobbles!
Suddenly we were at the GC section, I told John to go in front of me and I tried to power away behind him. The first section was hard, and Tom over took me just after and went off just ahead with John. I buried myself trying to keep the pace high through the next section, and just before the third section I knew I was on my limit. A quick glance around showed Dave and a couple of others just behind me, and I felt a crushing sense of disappointment that I was going to get thrown out the back. Somehow I stayed in front but I felt crushed, so completely knackered. I knew if they got in front, I’d never pull them back. But I kept going somehow, barely able to breathe, or turn the pedals when I hit the tarmac the other end. Finally realising I had probably needed the sports drink I hadn’t yet touched. As I reached for it, first one then another rider came past. The crushing weight of defeat hit me hard, and I downed half the bottle in one go. Managing to then get three Shot Bloks down as well before I turned onto the Carrefore de L’arbre. Then, literally magic. I had legs again. I stormed after the two that had gone past me, passing first one, then the other. Having to dodge up on the bank, then choosing the worst place to get back onto the cobbles. I so nearly stacked it, the bike hit a massively uneven section and I nearly let the bars go. The back end went one way, the front another. But somehow I wrestled it back into control, turned the corner, and just rode straight up the middle as hard as I could for the timing section at the end. I got through, and managed to unclip and stop. And stood there trying very hard not to cry. It was unbelievable, that I’d managed to pull two fairly strong riders back, after I’d sat on the front of the group for the majority of the ride so far. The emotional shockwave hit me so hard I could barely breath. And it was a a few minutes before I could turn around to see the others.
We left the Carrefore as one huge group, all riders mixed in. I managed a quick chat with all the guys from work, Rich Earkins from edco/Continental, and a few other faces I knew before we hit the last section of cobbles at Hem. I just followed Callum to start with, then dropped onto the side behind some guy that wasn’t riding fast enough. I overtook him on the last stretch, avoiding the guy who had gone down. When we stopped for a regroup, I felt so knackered, I had a gel just to get me to the velodrome.


It was slightly surreal to make it, and ride that last lap and a half around the velodrome. By the time I’d given my bike back to Cervelo, and collected my bags, my brain had fried. Only when I got upstairs to the showers did I realise I’d forgotten my towel. One of the PMR girls lent me hers… I’d never been so glad to get washed and changed ever.
I couldn’t see the TV for the end of LBL, and was so tired, I just tried to eat a baguette. They then called the awards in the little backroom, woman’s winner, masters, grand masters. Then they called the ‘spirit’ awards. When they said my name, I just stared at them. It didn’t compute until Andy Hawes looked at me. A complete oh my god moment when presented with it from Stephen Roche, and we all stood on the podium for a picture.

But when they called Cervelo as the Team winner… my brain had enough… I made sure that we had James up there with us before they took pictures!

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Winning – the Cervelo dream team… the lads are a *lot* quicker than me! Credit: Jojo Harper

 

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What a day. I have no idea how I got through it, but it was an amazing event. So well looked after, and so well prepared. And to ride a dream bike like that was fantastic. I never thought I’d finish the route, let alone be able to sit on the front of our group the majority of the ride.
It was seriously hard work, in rather wet conditions, but I looking back on it, I loved every second of it.
Superbly well organised, the Ride Captains are brilliant, massive kudos to Dave who got so cold and wet he was shaking at one point and John who was happy to tailor his pace to stay with me at the front.
Huge thanks to Sven too – belief is a strange thing. You’ve no idea how much stronger I feel having done that.

Thanks to both bosses, Jason and Ian, for letting us have the opportunity to do this #keepsmiling

CX at Cyclopark East, The Badlands

As I was unable to find a partner for the CX at Herne Hill on the 2nd of Jan, I’d spotted the next nearest event was on Sunday 3rd at the Cyclopark. I’d not really had it in mind to do anything other than turn up and watch a couple of people I knew.

I’d also clocked rather a lot of km’s on the road, more than I ever had done in a week, although I didn’t quite make the Festive 500. Strava says 421km, but I’d forgot to turn it on when I started my ride on Christmas day, so I think it’s about 430km. Included in the weeks worth of riding were riding with one of my best mates on Christmas day, meeting a good bunch of the Kingston Wheelers on the 3 Witches ride on Sunday 27th and having one of my best days on the road so far with Adam, Dilyan and Phil on a fast(er) ride out to Fairoaks cafe (good food and not at all expensive!). Adam and I did a hell of a lot of work on the front, and most of it into a headwind, but it was one of the fastest, longest rides I’ve managed to clock up, averaging 25.6km/hr. Plus great company, it’s great when you find someone you work well with on a bike, let alone a group of people you get on with!

I’d got myself drowned out on my own on the 2nd, and only really contemplated doing the race in the evening. As I’m sure both my landlord Jon, and Caroline Stewart can testify to! I wasn’t sure if I needed a licence to race (I don’t currently have one), although I could see you could enter on the day, I was umming and ahhing until the morning itself.

By the time Toria arrived at mine by bike the following morning, I had the car half loaded. Bike, kit, more kit, spare jumpers, towels, gels, waterproof trousers, still more kit. I promptly informed Toria I was going to attempt to race, if I could get a day licence when I got there. As she has bad hips, and finds it easier to get around by bike, her road bike got loaded too.

It was already raining before we set off, and by the time we had unloaded and started making our way over to the Badlands, the wind had picked up too. I found out I could indeed get a day licence, and between the excellent help from the people at sign on, and Toria, I was soon ready to go and explore the part of the course the kids weren’t racing on.

I left Toria chatting up talking to the marshals in the pits, while I went off to have a look at the course.

Straight from the start to the far western end, it was into a headwind that was picking up by the minute. The ground was getting spongier, and I only just managed to ride the miniature hill at the far end without spinning out totally. I stopped and looked back toward the course, trying to get a feel of the direction of it, and how it might ride. Then I hared off downhill and straight up onto the first part of ‘the rollercoaster’ – really liking the way it was laid out. I rode it quite quickly with a tailwind, and dropped back down next to the pits, watching the youths for a few minutes, before riding it a couple more times. I knew I’d have trouble riding into the wind, but was looking forward to having another go. By the time I’d stopped by the pits on the third half circuit, the youth’s race had finished, and I was able to ride some of ‘the orchard’ which utilised trees as stakes, and had been a bit torn up.

The rain was never going to cease, and I hadn’t been on the bottom half of the course by the time they finally called us up toward the start. V40 men, women (all catergories), and finally V50 men.

I ran into Hazel Barnes pretty quick, and it’s damn good to know someone on the start line with you! She’s done a fair bit more racing than I, and had encouraged me on the mountain bikes earlier in 2015 on the SBCU course I did.

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It was still heaving down with rain, and by the time I’d handed my rain jacket to Toria, I felt like I had already been soaked to the bone and was freezing. We seemed to wait forever for the V40’s to be gridded, and a few of us women had a right nervous giggle as they called us up. Suddenly I couldn’t wait to be going!

Whistle. Click, click, everybody is clipping in. I get a good start, but I’m not very quick, so I soon get dropped going straight into that headwind. I ride up the hill, spinning out behind a lot, get around the corner, and straight onto the 1st rollercoaster section, picking up and passing a few women. Down by the pits, unclip and run up the hill (I know I’ll be quicker doing this as I don’t really have the speed to get up there) and then onto the unknown section. Short, sharp, steep, muddy down hill. A guy tumbles straight over his bars as I begin the descent, and I think I yelled ‘are you ok?’ Then I remembered I had to brake, and only just stopped myself from going straight through the tape, just as I spotted Phil Booth with his camera. Talk about perfect timing!

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I don’t think I stopped grinning after that. Up, kick push past the tree, onto the 2nd rollercoaster section. A lot muddier, some V50’s starting to pass me now, luckily I’d seen the kids ride the end section. Wide onto the tarmac to turn, down the sharp vertical bank and back along the ditch. Run the two sections that swung up onto the bank, back on inbetween, then the near vertical climb up onto the path. Kids cheering. Marshalls cheering, into the orchard,

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over the finish, slip, slide, control. Forget about anyone else. Then I catch Hazel out the corner of my eye. ‘Come on girl, catch me up’ I gasp with a giggle. Wind through the trees. Why is everyone cornering so wide? I’m doing better turning tight in them. Push, push. Harder. Faster. Forget how to get off at the hurdles the first time. Bcak on, and back across the start into the headwind. Cursing. Wondering why no one has built a wind shelter. Turn the pedals, get to the pesky hill. Ride the first bit, unclip and get off correctly (not the BC way Caroline!!)

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and run(ish) up, slip back on very inelegantly, and back to my favourite part. Braver this time, I ride it as hard and fast as I dare, passing someone else. Downhill, off correctly again, very slow on at the top. Ride, relax and ride hard downhill. Sheer willpower past the tree. Section 2. I like this part too! Ride hard, kick push on the off camber. Ride the sharp end the same again, the course flows better for me if I ride it this way. Then struggle back uphill. Feet are soaking. Still grinning. Run, ride, run, ride, get on carry bike properly. Idle thought about why the bell hasn’t gone as I pass the start. Slip sliding, concentrate. Push. Pedal. Off correctly. I’m concentrating more, but am more relaxed. Follow some guys wheel across into the headwind. Dave Spragg overtakes me after I run up the pesky hill ‘Alright Elz?’ ‘Yeah great!’ I jump on and follow him onto the rollercoaster. It’s a hell of a lot muddier now, and I get a good line following him and overtaking the woman in front of me on the right as I go downhill. This is where it very nearly all goes wrong. I skid out behind and nearly take her out as I find myself off on the left hand side in the rought, with my bibtights caught on the front of the sadlle. I don’t fall off or stop. I keep pedalling somehow, and suddenly am free again and ride back onto the course, following her a bit more sedately for a few seconds. Then off again. I’m too quick on these bits to stay behind her, although she passes me coming back up the ditch. I hand my sunglasses to Phil just before I go over the finish line for the third time, I feel shattered. I almost give up,  but then the urge to compete against myself kicks in. I’m halfway through the orchard when the bell goes. I mutter away to myself. Turning and getting out of corners quicker than the men that’ve come up behind me.

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Then disaster. A tree masquerading as a marker post on a corner has the aduacity to smash me in the shoulder and stop me dead. I huff and puff and get on with it. Getting a bit of shelter towards Pesky Hill. Then I’m off again. Down the best bit of course ever. I can feel my feet squelching with every turn of the pedals, but I’m in control. Stupidly unfit, but not much of the course left. I remembered on the last 2 laps to carry my bike correctly, and the kids even cheer as I get up the Vertical Bank properly. Then I’m across the line, it’s finished.

I loved every second of it. And now I want to go again. Maybe in 2 weeks.

I can’t thank Toria (pit buddy and awesome friend) enough. Or Dave Spragg – thanks for helping me out with tyre pressure as I wasn’t sure what I should be riding on! The Kingston Wheelers are a great bunch. Lovely to see a few more friendly faces there too. Thanks Phil Booth (Medway Velo) and Toria for the photos!

CSC Coaching has helped me immensely. I feel a lot more comfortable tackling anything that is more technical, it’s just fitness letting me down.

Jon (landlord extrodinaire) has also been responsible for talking me into doing this, ‘Go on, you’ll enjoy it.’ Yep. Damn right!

Massive thanks to the London CX LeagueBigfoot CC and all at Cyclopark. Horrendous weather, non stop rain and rather windy (have a look at the tape in my pictures above) – an excellent effort to get everything running smoothly. Friendly and helpful to a newbie like me. So glad to have somewhere to get dried(ish) and changed, before heading back up to see Alex Paton ride and win very stylishly.

Note to self. I need a van.

#keepsmiling

 

Anthony Mccrossan – Commentating on the Worlds. Guest Blog.

I was asked if I would write a blog about commentating on the world championships to give you all a bit of an insight into what it is us commentators do all day, so here we go….

The World Championships for me is one of the biggest weeks of the year.  Its one of those weeks that starts high and ends normally higher.  The racing is competitive, the crowds get bigger as the week goes on and strangely the commentary box gets busier and busier!

So, I arrived in Firenze (Florence to us Brits) late on Saturday night, the day before the team time trials.  I was picked up at the airport by one of the guys who works on the caravan at the Giro where I am the speaker so I immediately felt at home.  Arrived at the hotel, met a good friend of mine Seb who does radio tour on the Tour De France and of course ended up having a glass of wine and dinner.  Its great to catch up on news and exchange views on the season so far and what might happen.

The next morning I headed to the race finish area to find my home for the week.  This championships I was on the upper deck of the big grey commentary boxes you see on the finish line of the worlds, in between Norwegian and Dutch tv, along from Italian and French tv.  So, this is where I would live for a week!  Watch the racing, commentate on the action, welcome my guest commentators, watch the victory ceremonies and be part of the incredible event that is the World Championships.

Each day is much the same.  Arrive in the morning at the finish area.  Go to the press centre to check any news, have a coffee, check the set up in the commentary box.  Read everything you can about news overnight, talk to other commentators and get their thoughts on the race, have more coffee, commentate, go to the press conference of the winner, back to the hotel, eat, chat more and sleep!

It would take a long time to go through day by day what happened at this years Worlds so here are some high points and some amazing things that happened.  My role at the worlds is commentator on the host broadcast feed, so my commentary is taken by a number of broadcasters across the world.  This time to places like SBS in Australia and also on the new live streaming to the Youtube UCI channel.  The audience is diverse, worldwide and as a result my commentary is generic, not related to any specific country and that means you have to know a lot about every rider.  It’s fun, challenging and an absolute honour to do what I do.

This year for the first time I had guest commentators on some days.  On the womens ITT day it was great to commentate with Team Manager of Wiggle Honda – Rochelle Gilmore.  She is working hard to change womens cycling and had some great insights during the race.  She also isn’t afraid to correct you or say what she thinks.  One moment of commentary was “I noticed you tripped over Elisa Longo Borghinis name Anthony – thats ok – we just call her Lamborghini!”

On Saturday I was joined by silver medalist in 2012, Rachel Neylan.  It was a tough day for Rachel as she has been injured a lot of 2013 and to watch a race she wanted to be riding in was an impressive thing to do.  She brought the race to life, giving stories about the riders, recalling her race with Vos in 2012 and for her first time in the commentary box, she was excellent.

Florence was a wonderful place for a world championships.  On the day between the time trials and road races, the circuit is closed for training.  The riders who are taking part in junior, U23, womens and mens races all go out.  This year I went round the circuit in a car as I unfortunately didnt have my bike.  I was joined by Jerome Pineau who was working with French tv.  He was great to listen to, giving us insights on who he thought would win, what the race would be like, showing us photos of him racing this year- its all helps with the homework for the racing!  

It’s a fans dream to be there on that day and I would recommend it to anyone.  You see all the stars, Mark Cavendish, Vicenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador, Evelyn Stevens, Marianne Vos, Lizzie Armitstead, Peter Sagan etc etc all out training.  Its amazing.

On Sunday, the weather turned and we had the most extreme Worlds for a long time!  What a day for the riders.  I dont know how they competed in those conditions.  Thunder, lightning, a deluge of rain.  It was incredible.  I was joined by young British rider Adam Blythe for the race.  I have known Adam for a while and its always struck me that he would be good in media.  At the worlds our ‘shift’ in the commentary box is 7 hours + so you live the entire race!   I think he was surprised at how tiring it was, but he was excellent.  Not sure what his colleagues will think of him willing it to rain harder though!  His rider identification was incredible, even down to spotting shoes and legs!  

So what were the highs and lows?  For me the most exciting race was close run between the womens road race, the mens TTT and the mens ITT.  I thought Brads ride in the ITT was testament to how classy he really is.  The way the Americans rode for Evie Stevens in the womens road race was exciting, but Vos was in a different league.  And Orica Green Edge and OPQS finishing less than a second apart was stunning.

There aren’t many lows at a Worlds to be fair.  Katie Colclough retiring was a shame.  She isn’t mentioned much, but is a world TTT champion.  Having the only taxi driver in Italy to observe the speed limit on the motorway as I tried to get a flight home on Sunday night was probably a disappointment, you don’t get that too often!

Thanks for reading, the next races for me are Lombardia and then China for Tour of Beijing.

Anthony Mccrossan.

(A massive thank you to Anthony for taking the time to type this out! Hope you all enjoy this as much as I did, as always feel free to comment, Elz)

Lacking and Slacking!

So I haven’t posted since before I went to the Women’s RR at the Olympics. Definitely SLACKING!! Thanks to those of you (old and new) who have had a nosey at my blog! Stats have been pretty good! So here goes:

Women’s Road Race (Olympics). First of all THANK YOU Rhys White for the ‘spare’ ticket. You Legend!
I arrived at Waterloo to see Rhys sitting on his bike in the middle of the station concourse, scanning the crowd. And totally missing me until I walked right up to him. Then to get the bike parked and then a shortish walk (by my standards – I have no idea how far it was) to the Mall. We were too early, but met Spratty’s sister and husband (Amanda Spratt from Aus who rode in the race) so had a right laugh, even with the rather strange marshalls! Eventually we go in, and promptly made our way right up as close as we could get to area 1 (we were area 3), and directly opposite the TV camera and big screen.
It was an amazing day, the girls (or ladies) were so much more exciting than the men! And the roar (usually started by me and Rhys!!) when any of them were mentioned, or Emma Pooley shut down the breakaway…. Put it like this – we KNOW how to get the crowd started! Even though it heaved down with rain, I had an amazing day. And no I had no idea we were on TV (at the medal ceremony?!?!)

I’ve been slacking on the bike recently, coming home after work I have just not been able to  get myself motivated to get out (plus being as shattered as I have been doesn’t help!).
I’ve said before I don’t like riding on my own, and have been looking at VC Meudon (guys you are so helpful it’s unreal!) and Andover Wheelers (my lil friend Lili who rides for them has recommended them big time)

Ah yeah. Tour of Utah!?! Thanks for the sprint jersey I won… even though it hasn’t arrived yet!

This brings us to last Saturday. I decided a trip over to my parents might be a great idea. It was, even though my friend Verity has had to send her road bike back coz it’s far too big for her! We went out for a spin round the block (her on the very heavy mountain bike) and I then rode back up Fawler Hill (sodding 10% and potholed) to home. Me and V had decided to go to Bicester Village for a walk round on Sunday. But when I logged on the computer, I saw there was a bike race at Cricklade. Actually it was Cricklade Kermesse. And it’s only a short drive from us. So we went there to cheer on Wightlink RT and had a great laugh with our homemade signs

We made these in the pub!

Great fun!

So on Tuesday I was doing the usual scanning through Twitter when I see one of those RT (retweet) and Win competitions. So I RT’d it. Imagine my surprise when I got a DM on Wednesday from Chain Reaction Cycles saying I’d won a place on the Garmin Sharp Ride Out. Woah. Brilliant! If I could get the day off work….

It took until 10ish this morning to speak to the boss. YES. DAY OFF. NICE ONE! Also thanks to Lili who is going to help out at work on Friday morning for me! #Liliisalegend

Needless to say the last 2 nights I have been out on my bike!

Oh and I’ll be seeing you on Guildford High Street on the 16th September if you’re coming along to the Tour of Britain… us three (me, Verity and Rhys) are marshalling again!

Thanks to all my amazing friends over the past few weeks. And my fellow Tweeters. You are all awesome!

Keep smiling

 

Reading Ride-It tomorrow

Just a quick post – I’ve already said I’m doing the Reading Ride-It tomorrow (the 30miler). Thank god I managed to contact Annie – who rode the last of the LadyCat with me – and I’ll be able to meet her there. This is brilliant as we pretty much ride at the same pace and she was great to have a laugh with!

I also seem to be supporting Endura (clothing) single handedly – bought a mens small racing jersey, and fingerless gloves from http://www.pedalon.co.uk/acatalog/shop_info.html and already own a hi-viz jacket. The mens racing jersey was 50% off – even though the bloke on the till had no idea they had a sale rail!! Happy days!

I also have my Magnificat bib shorts – they are perfect! Wonder if I’ll be able to wear them tomorrow?!?!

The ride tomorrow doesn’t seem as well organised as Wiggle’s Magnificat last weekend. Maps of the route still haven’t appeared in my email inbox – and have failed to get a reply after emailing them. Thankfully they have maps there tomorrow.

I’d also like to point out that I’m not having a dig at them! And I understand about pre riding the ‘course.’

Anyway, hopefully the rain stays away…
There is always wishful thinking…

Cheers!!

Addicted!?

So I’ve been back to work since Monday – racehorses don’t feed/exercise/water themselves (unfortunately). I thought I’d give myself a day off the bike yesterday as although my legs were fine, I was shattered! So hope all of you that get the Bank Holiday off had a great time 🙂 Oh, did it rain? 😛

I posted on Twitter to ask if anyone is doing the sportif at Reading http://www.evanscycles.com/ride-it/reading-10th-june-2012
I’m going to have a go at the 30 miler – although that does mean I need to get some miles into my legs this week! And no I haven’t gone out today!

It doesn’t matter if I don’t know anyone doing it – it would just be nice to go around with someone, seen as this will only be my second sportif and on roads I don’t know! Hmm, hopefully someone will come through!

I got a surprise this morning when my dad text me and said he’d bought me some bib shorts (and in my size)!
 http://www.wiggle.co.uk/wiggle-ladies-magnificat-cycling-bib-shorts/
I’m unbelievably pleased!

I also know it’s going to be hard to find time to go out on the bike – but I enjoy it sooo much, that TdF planning is having to wait until its late/dark.

So any suggestions for the next sportif? I don’t really want to be doing anything in excess of 30 miles for a couple of months. I can’t afford to travel far either!

And next Tuesday I get to meet up with some fellow Twitter friends and go for a ride around the area I grew up in (Oh god, white Horse Hill!?!?!). Yes I do have a couple of days off work 😉

Cheers!!