Archive | Racing

Road Racing with Kelly Brocklehurst

Kelly Brocklehurst

Kelly Brocklehurst

Having previously entered road races just for a bit of speed training between MTB XC or multi-sport events, my usual approach has been attack, attack, attack, die, get dropped. At least this had been my excuse for not ever having accumulated even a single point on my BCF road licence. This season has been different though with an aim to get the ten points needed to finally move out of 4th cat. The last five weeks have therefore seen the Asics gather dust and the Trek Top Fuel get more use as a clothes horse than as a XC race machine. At the end of April a mean looking Giant Propel Advanced SL3 arrived for me at Bournemouth Cycleworks (see the photos on the shop site- thanks Marc!). This is a seriously good bit of kit about which I will give my thoughts after a few more miles, but it also meant one less thing to blame if I didn’t produce the goods. Not only was I going to have to start entering some road races, I was going to have to start some proper road training…

For those who haven’t raced on the road before (or more particularly 4th cat), on the local scene these races invariably involve lapping a motor circuit or airfield for about 40 mins. The speed varies from 20 mph to 30 mph, often several times per lap for no real reason, until a bell gets rung to let you know that the final lap has started. At this point there is a surge of riders to the front (a good handful of which you won’t have seen all race because they have been saving their legs at the back) and the carnage starts. The speed escalates, riders get twitchy, and bikes and bodies fly everywhere as all etiquette and sense goes out the window in the lunge for the line. Quite often you will have no idea in what a place you finished until results get posted on-line a few days later. Even then, quite often only those who made it into the top ten get placed if they were lucky enough that the commissaire could make out their number in the blur of a 30mph scrum.
That said, if you can avoid the muppets and stay upright, they’re a good laugh and a more interesting way of getting interval-type speed work in. For anyone who hasn’t done one but keen to give it a go, the key requirement is to get out with a local road club and learn how to ride in a pack first. Certainly in the initial stages you will find being competent riding in a bunch will help you cope with the speed a lot better than simply churning out training miles on your own.

Although the rubbish weather this winter/spring has meant more hours clocked on the sofa than the bike, a few panic interval sessions in the back end of April got some speed back into my legs and I cracked straight into a few evening crits and the like through May. Amongst the usual local diet of Thruxton, Ludgershall and Mountbatten, I have also managed to get across for a couple of TLI races with the ‘blue’ group at Moreton. These are held on a circuit of quiet lanes and based on a handicap system. This means people tend to work hard together to stay away from the chasers and/or chase the group in front. Personally I find it makes for much more enjoyable and useful racing than the usual 3/4th crits.

As for progress to date, a slightly mixed bag of results (see below) as I find my road legs but after a 3rd at Thruxton last night I should have enough points in the bag to have a 3rd cat licence winging its way in the post shortly. So that’s one goal achieved and what I should really do now is get back on the trails and tune up the XC skills (stop laughing Marc, I do have some); what I’m actually wondering though is how many points I need to get a 2nd cat licence and can I do it before Mrs B produces our first sprog at the end of July…..

Road Race Results May/June
TLI Moreton Round 1 – 7th
Ludgershall 3/4th cat Round 1 – 9th
Thruxton Summer Series 3/4th cat Round 2 – 10th
Kalas Cup 4th cat Support race – 3rd
Portsmouth CTL Circuits 3/4th cat Round 4 – 14th
TLI Moreton Round 4 – 4th
Thruxton Summer Series 3/4th cat Round 3 – 3rd

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Woodland Riders Round 3 – 2013

It was Round 3 of the Woodland Riders Winter Series at Tavistock and after taking the overall win at the last round I could not wait! After a super early start on the Sunday morning we drove through just about every possible type of weather on our journey down to Devon. We arrived to the muddy but sunny venue nice and early so we could walk the course before practise began. The course started off very flat with a few really boggy flat corners and jumps, It then continued over the first road and into a long straight full of flowy jumps, the track then continued through a few more technical muddy sections before crossing the final fire road and jumping into the last rooty corners before the finish line. After the first practise run I found that the course was a lot slower rolling than I thought it would be due to how boggy and flat it was, which meant even though it was quite short it was fairly physical and good training for the longer tracks to come. On my first race run I made a few mistakes but managed a time of 1.20.109 which put me in 2nd in Junior, 3 seconds off of 1st place but I was confident I could make up some time! My dad (Rich Marzetti) had a good first race run and got a time of 1.33.837 which placed him 3rd in Veterans. My second race run went better and I went faster with a time of 1.18.802 so I stayed 2nd in Junior but moved up to 3rd overall which I was happy with. My dad made a few mistakes in his second run so he went slower but stayed 3rd in Veterans which was great considering he hasnt raced for over a year! It was another podium for me which meant my podium streak is now 7 in a row. I am now looking forward to the big races coming up at Bringewood for the Round 1 of the Pearce Cycles Series and Combe Sydenham for the First BDS.

Curtis Saunders

Curtis Saunders

Sam Marzetti

Sam Marzetti

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Woodland Riders Round 2 – Tavi

The 17th of feb saw the second round of the 2013 woodland riders winter series. On arrival we first set off for a track walk. The start of the track was new, dew to there being recent forestry work, which consisted five open flat corner which hadn’t even been ridden yet so we all new there wasn’t much point choosing a line through this section because it was bound to change all the time. This section then lead into a small drop/step down onto the fire road, straight into another drop off the fire road into a right hander through to sections of tight trees with little line choice except from one other which Sam Marzetti was riding that one else was doing. The middle section was a new drop to flat into another new section which was already boggy before it had been ridden this then lead into a steep fast section straight into some tight trees. The last section was the flattest part of the track over a root garden which made it hard to get on the pedals to cross the finish line.

Fist runs were both great and bad for the bournemouth cycle works team with Sam putting in a blinder of a run of 1:04 putting him not only the fast junior but the fast man down the hill in first runs beating some highly named elite riders. I on the other hand had a disappointing run, as I was trying out clipped pedals which I was getting on fine with in practice however race run I just couldn’t stay clipping in meaning I only came down in 1:09. Keith also came down with what he said was a disappointing run however still put him in 3rd.

Sam’s first run performance gave me a massive confidence boost but also a lot of pressure as there’s also been rivalry between us which is what push’s us harder to get faster to beat one another. So coming into my second run I new I had to keep it smooth and get my lines and stay clipping in. As I passed the finish line Sam was there waiting by the results screen to tell me that I got a 1:05 which I was relieved to get. This result put me in 3rd in senior. Keith also had a better run gaining valuable time taking him up a position on the podium to 2nd. Lastly the bournemouth cycle works junior rider’s first time was not beaten in the second runs so Sam’s first run time was the fastest of the day. So all in all great results for the Bournemouth Cycle Works team with 3 podiums.

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Bournemouth Cycleworks Time Trial 2013 – With New Forest CC

This September sees the first, in what we hope will become, a series of races Supported by us. We have teamed up with New Forest CC to put on a 10 mile time trial round the New Forest on Saturday 28th September 2013.

Event Details:

The Bournemouth Cycleworks Time Trial

OrganiserMartin Balk,

26 The Brackens,
Dibden Purlieu,

Southampton.
SO45 5RY

Tel: 
martin.balk@hotmail.co.uk

  • Distance: 10m
  • Course: P303
  • Event Type: Open
  • Fee: £8.00
  • Event Start: 09:30
  • G1: IE
  • Closing Date: 17/09/2013
  • G2: TAN
  • Internet Entry: Yes
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Gravity Enduro set for QE County Park, Hants

Us band of merry volunteer shovel jockeys at QECP, known as the QECP Collective, will be hosting our own gravity enduro race on 21st July 2013! It is sure to be a banger with prizes including a holiday for two with Pure Mountains in Spain’s Sierra Nevada(http://www.puremountains.com/ ), a pair of Marzocchi forks, Dainese pads, Exempt Clothing T shirts and much more up for grabs. Chris Smith has already signed up for the race which will be held on brand new, purpose built singletrack.

Put the date in your diary now and keep an eye out for when registration will open, as it is sure to be a popular event. In the mean time the Collective will be beavering away in secret, making the best race course possible while trying not to be washed away in the driving rain or being turned into a brass monkey.

QECP-GE2-640x426

All profits from the race will go towards improving and expanding the trail network at QECP. As with everything done so far, it is done for free, because of the love and passion we have for mountain biking and giving people fun trails to ride. So if you see one of us shovel jockeys around (most commonly found at our registered trading office of the Denmead Queen pub in Waterlooville) then feel free to buy as a beer and have a chat.

A big thank you to our sponsors for the race, Pure Mountains, Windwave (Marzocchi and Dainese) and as always the amazing guys at Exempt Clothing. Your generosity continues to show why mountain biking has the best community in the world.

Viva la trail revolution!

QECP Is located 1 mile south of Petersfield, Hampshire. It takes about 1 hour from south London.

If you can make the race it would be good, the money will be going back in to the local MTB trails. Keep in touch with updates on:

http://www.qecptrailcollective.co.uk
&
http://www.facebook.com/qecptrailbuilding

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South West Champs – Curtis Saunders

I came into this round full of confidence from winning southern champs, even though I couldn’t take the south west champ title I still wanted do win. This track that was used for this race was the newest track at Gawton “proper Job” which took 2 years to build. This take was wide and fast meaning very little line choice as railing the main line was by far the fastest option for most of the track.

Walking the track saturday morning was a challenge due to the last few days of rain the track was super greasy. The track started with some really run short switch backs which you had to really pump to carry as much speed as you could into the next faster section where there was an inside line which was slightly off camber but easy to get on and off and I thought a lot quicker then railing the outside burms The rock garden was the only part of the track that I had to really think about as there was a low line which had no rocks in which you could hop into which was the line I chose on race day. The rest of the track was some massive mellow corners which were hard to lay off the brake because of the greasy conditions. All the way down was tables and doubles which were made difficult due the size and steep landings, because they were small and the speed you were carrying into them if meant you really had to squash the jump because if you over clear them you will end up scrubbing off all of your speed.

Saturday practise went really well and because there wasn’t much to learn it meant you could ride the track faster and faster from the start. Nearer the end of practice I became really confident knowing I could go into race day knowing the track and the speed I needed to get a good result.

Coming into sunday first race run the nerves kicked in however all I needed was a clean run. As soon as my first started, it ended with a crash on the rock garden however I decided to get back on the bike and finish my run as I carried on to the next section I when to put the brake on and there was nothing there so I ended up doing start off the track and having another big crash, what happened was in the first crash it must of slide my back brake up which meant that I couldn’t reach it causing my second crash. Luckily for one of the team member Keith Saunders had a great run putting him in second behind English Champ Jon Cobb by only 1.5 seconds which keith was well happy with.

Coming into the section run the pressure was on and having to wait a further 20 mins for my run didn’t help as I got on the start ramp I tried to blank everything and concentrate on my run and soon as they said go I put in the cranks and I got off to a great start making few mistakes, the further I got down the track the more comfortable I was with the run however coming into a tricky section my back wheel slipped out of the main rut and slid round stopping me dead on the side of the track however I was still on the bike and managed to get back on quickly however because of this mistake it meant I had no speed to clear the next double and all of my momentum was lost. As I crossed the line I was disappointed with my run but then I guess that how it is with racing you win some you lose some. Keith’s second run was similar to his first having a clean run and as he got to the bottom he though he was quicker as did most however when a second slower luckily he still held onto 2nd with his first run.

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New Forest Middle Distance Tri 2012 – Hetty Bostock

Race New Forest Logo

Two weeks after Reading and the recovery and training is still going well. The legs feel good, probably due to an easier stretch in the A&E rota!

Competing in the middle distance (70.3) is probably not high on ones list of priorities only 3 weeks from the Olympic distance world champs. Although the distance is long, I prefer it, there’s less emphasis on the swim.

As we line up on the lake edge for briefing, air temp 5 degrees, steady rain and wind; I ask myself the same question I ask every time: Why am I doing this? I should be wrapped up in a duvet, with the most strenuous task of the day ahead being to fetch the Sunday Times.

The water temperature is a balmy 19 degrees and as we set off I begin to relax around one loop of Ellingham Lake. The swim is fine, steady and despite being on the slow side, for the first time, I don’t panic in the open water.

After a fairly swift T1, I head out for the 56mile bike. Time to test the carbon brakes in the wet… After an impressive skid onto a grass verge and into a hedge, I can safely (unsafely?) say they are distinctly average. Whoever said the New forest was flat, obviously haven’t raced the middle distance as these guys have managed to find every little hill and include it in this race. With reference to earlier brakes, this slows me down – a lot. Especially down Boulderwood Ornamental drive, there’s a compulsory stop at the A35 and removal of shoe from pedal. I have to sit up and pump the brakes the whole way down. The sticky descents and cornering are frustrating but I make quick progress uphill and start picking off the competition ahead.

Despite dropping food twice and then stopping to retrieve it; A spectacular skid into a hedge; My inability to operate gears due to frozen hands; what felt like force 7 gale head winds and pouring rain; A set of seriously dubious brakes, I finish the bike feeling strong. Especially as I pull into T2 and there are only 20 or so bikes racked.

T2. Possibly the slowest transition of all time, not only do I leave my gels on my bike, I can’t find my kit bag in the tent. It takes them a minute to get it to me. Meanwhile I try to remove a bike shoe with what can only be described as dead hands. Damn you Raynaud’s. 7 minutes -Gah.

Blissford hill, I’d heard the rumours. They weren’t exaggerating. The course is long, off road and hilly. Add to this the weather conditions and you have a very cheeky run. At least I begin to thaw. I start to pick up my pace now I can feel my feet. I’m trying to keep to a steady 7 min mile pace which feels comfortable. I’m overtaking people, checking for ladies and counting down the competitors I pass.  I finish the race with a big smile on my face. I came first lady and 14th over all.

It transpires that a proportion of the competitors were prevented from doing the run due to adverse weather conditions. Probably a sensible decision but I can’t help feeling gutted for them. Thanks to the race organisers for a great race, shame about the conditions.

A big thank you to Bournemouth Cycleworks team; as always, for keeping my bike in excellent order!

Link to The New Forest Middle Distance Tri Results for 2012.

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Reading Triathlon 2012 – Hetty Bostock

In preparation for the Auckland World Championships, I figured I should probably compete in another Olympic distance triathlon, considering the qualifying race in Shropshire was the first one I had ever done! With the triathlon season well under way and the majority of popular races full up, I was lucky to get a slot in the Reading Triathlon. With less than 6 weeks to go until the championships, and roughly 6 weeks into my new training schedule, it would be a good test of my progress.

I set off at 5am and arrived early, having slept, eaten and rested well. I still get ridiculously nervous and feel well out of my depth as all the competitors rack up their bikes and lay out their kit. Once everything is racked and ready and numerous trips to the porterloos made, we wait at the edge of the lake. The swim, undoubtedly my worst sphere sets off, two 750m laps of the lake. I start near the front and for the first 500m feel strong, but as the faster girls pull away I start to panic. Even putting in more effort I can’t keep up.  I finish the second loop knowing my time is poor.  As I run into T1 I know I have a lot of work to do. I struggle to pull the wetsuit off with swimmers shaky arms and legs aware the clock is ticking.

Once out of T1 and leaning forwards over my tri-bars I begin to relax, and for the first time in the race, enjoy myself. The legs didn’t feel great and I know I can go much faster but as I started overtaking people I began to gain confidence. Maybe despite a poor swim, I can gain back some ground. The bike leg was long, the route had been changed due to road works last minute and diverted by an extra 6km. Despite the loss of time in the swim, I was sure I’d overtaken most of the girls, so after a quick T2 I set out on the run.

14km of rutted grass, the main point of today is preparation, so I hold back slightly to prevent injury. I’ve done a lot of work on my speed over the last 6 weeks and it’s paid off. I feel strong and start overtaking most of the field. As I cross the line I check the score boards. 4th female. Not bad, a confident bike and run but I know I can perform a lot better.

I enjoyed the Reading triathlon and will definitely go back again. The set up and organisation is brilliant, helped by the great September sunshine. Six weeks till Auckland, the running and cycling are feeling strong I just need to improve my swim…

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Halo BDS Round 6 – Llangollen – Curtis Saunders

BDS Logo

Round 6 of the halo BDS was held Llangollen a well know venue to all british riders, renowned for its steep and unforgiving terrain I came into this even with slight caution but with excitement too.

Leaving late friday night meant we had little sleep due to the fact that we had to get up early to walk the track before the uplift started. First impressions of the track were how the hell am I going to stay on the bike let alone how am I going to walk it. The top section of the track started off with a sprint with a few sets of table which were a lot trickier then they look due to the steepness of the take offs. This then lead into a few fast flowing burms which were awesome fun, however after this there was a slight uphill sprint section which was by far the worst part of the track. Then going from up hill to near vertical the track began to live up to its reputation, pretty much the whole middle section was steep switch backs which were impossible to slow down in. this bottom section consisted of a couple of bus stop with the second one have a massive step which even the elite riders were having difficulties with. Lastly there were a step down into to gaps which were flat-out scary!

Practice saturday when well getting in 6 runs which was a lot considering it was 1h 30 turn around on the uplift. As the track was fairly new and wet to start off with it was loamy however nearer the end of the day were 300 odd riders had been riding the same line a signal foot deep ruts had formed throughout the whole middle section which made to track super fun, put it this way every run I had a grin on my face, by far the most fun track this year even though the track was really muddy.

Seeding runs were average for both me and Keith, both having runs which only had a few mistakes in which was not bad considering the difficulties of the track.

Keith’s race run went well making up a huge 10 seconds on his first run giving him a time of 2:45.211 putting him in 9th

Unluckily for me just before me the heavens started to open and the track soon got wet and slick and because the track was running a far bit dryer sunday compared to saturday I decided to put my dry tyres on which was a bad judgment and cost with a signal mistake which lost valuable time putting me into 17th place.

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Aston Hill – Autumn Race – Curtis Saunders

With the sun making an appearance this weekend it meant only one thing a dry and dusty race which everyone enjoys, and did it ever show with over 250 riders it was by far the biggest push up race I’ve ever competed in.

The track stared with a flat out sprint into a table top straight into some fast off camber corners which had plenty of roots to catch you out and because of this there were many crashes and more serious than others. This fast section then lead into several switchbacks which contained tricky steps which meant your tyres couldn’t find much traction in the dry dust conditions this meant keeping it safe and maintaining your speed through this section was quicker then flat out and risk sliding out. The next section was some more off camber corners which were made eve harder by the amount of riders riding down as the rots and ruts were becoming more and more dominant. Lastly there were even more switchbacks which were tighter the first lots and steeper these then lead into a short sprint to the finish.

Bournemouth Cycle works team got off to a great start with me(Curtis) getting 3rd in senior and Keith Saunders getting 10th in the veteran category.

Second race run when ell for Keith making up 4 seconds taking him up to 5th out of 33. I on the other hand when .2 slower which dropped me down to 5th out of 77 , however I was really chuffed with I result coming back from and injury and still being up there in the standings all in all a great weekends racing.

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