As Alex, George and I line up alongside one another on the starting grid, there’s an air of apprehension amongst the riders; we’ve just witness an amazing ride from Dani King who obliterate the entire field in the women’s race, was the same thing about to go down here in the men’s event? Read More
London Nocturne 2016 and from our perspective the best one yet. A few gripes about the organisation, click the lack of pubs surrounding the course and what classes as a critical mechanical failure but on the whole a super successful day. We really liked the St.Pauls circuit it being narrow, stomach technical and flat which makes for fast, doctor heart poppingly strung out racing. The stuff we love and your friendly neighbourhood team in green were out en masse being strongly represented in the LeighDay, Mango Bikes and both the headline Elite races. Read More
I just got back from Cyclcross Nationals in Shrewsbury with The 5th Floor boys – Rudy, Alex and top don photographer, Jon. As I’m the new kid, I’ve got the honours of writing up what I thought of the weekend.
Cyclocross Nationals are always a madness. You get the pre-national jitters through out the week – prepping bikes, yourself, staring at the weather forecast. I know many who get the pre nationals blocked nose and sore throat. I got the pre nats shits.
CX Nationals were my first race of the Cyclocross season. It was pretty much my first proper race since snapping my Clavicle in September. So I basically had no expectations of myself, other than that I was probably going to suck. The best thing you can do in a situation like that is just chill out, have some jokes, and take notes on where you need to improve.
I can’t speak for the rest of the boys, but I had a pretty jokes time on my first trip with a few of my new team mates. Good tunes, take away Nando’s, a trip to the cinema, playing in the mud. It’s pretty cool to be so welcomed into a team, I really appreciate how good they’ve been to me already. You can’t get much more love than someone offering to be your pit man. Cleaning your bike and handing you a fresh one every lap! It’s harder than racing sometimes I’m sure of it. Thanks a lot Rudy.
Come race day, the usual stuff – eat breakfast, talk about the bone heads making noise at 4am, question what makes someone allowed to call what they make ‘Artisan’? What the hell is Artisan water anyway? We eventually got to the course. Basically it was a bunch of people carrying their bikes around knee deep in mud. Then someone said to me – “don’t bother doing a lap, you won’t gain anything. There’s a lot of running too.” Great. I hate running, I’m crap at it, it was obvious the day was going to be hard.
Not racing once in the 2015/16 season, I was gridded a few from last. I hoped it could only get better. My kit looked pretty rad, so that was a start. The whistle went and we were off. I’ve always loved Cyclocross starts, it’s a chance to get your elbows out and have some fun. First laps have always been something I’m quite good at, but I probably moved up more than I should of.
After the first 2 sections of running, I was what only can be described as, fucked. Once back on the bike for more than 2 minutes, (which was rare on that course.) I would feel alright and move up a good few places, whilst having a great time doing so. Then we would start running again. Unfortunately my weaknesses in running, out weighed my strengths on the bike. My running really took a turn for the worse when the plate on my clavicle started getting compressed into the bone from the weight of the bike + mud. I basically ended up being a right noob running with my bike alongside me – it’s not efficient, it doesn’t look cool.
As the race went on, more people ran past me. Very few rode past me though, especially not in the techy wood section, which is nice. I won’t lie, I cracked, I was fed up and thinking of the excuses to get myself off the course. Then I asked myself if my name was Barry, which it isn’t, so I kept going. The fact that the jet wash was broken and Rudy was still handing me up fresh bikes lap on lap was actually enough to keep me slogging away to get lapped. Thankfully with 2 laps to go the boys who a couple years ago I was battling for wins with, started to come past me to start their last lap. Before the race it was something I dreaded. But on that course and that day, it was a very welcomed site to pull over and watch them go past. No lies, I ran up the steps faster than Ian Field, even had to slow down for him. He had done them a whole 1 more time than I had to be fair. Over the line, off to the showers a couple laps early.
I sound pessimistic as hell, but I just really hate running. In reality there’s a lot of positives to take from that race. That course and race was so hard, it really brings out who is the best prepared and ready for the challenge. Honestly, I’ve done everything I could possibly do to not be prepared for such an event, the results show that. But I did alright really. When I think about it, there’s a solid foundation (despite the running) to build a very fit and strong rider for the next season, and a top 10 at next years champs, really isn’t far fetched at all. But first of all there is a great summer of racing to do be done with the 5th floor boys. I’m really excited to be in a team of riders and friends, who are riding for the right reason – to enjoy. Going on rides and doing some so called training is going to be a lot easier with them. I really am honoured to be apart of such a great team.
So after a burger kings and some jokes in the van on the way home, that’s pretty much it. I can not thank Rudy, Alex and Jon enough for such a great weekend. They were all brilliant. Alex rode wicked in his first ever nationals and learnt a massive amount I’m sure. Rudy out done himself in looking after us and bossing it in the pits. Jon took a brilliant collection of photographs that I’m sure you will all enjoy, I did.
We were lucky enough to travel to some amazing places to ride and race our bikes in 2015, so we asked riders from London and New York to chose their favourite photo from last year and write few words…
Alex Blomeley #5thLDN
After nearly 6 months of recovery and recuperation I was finally back on the bike. So I went to Mallorca for a long weekend. This was to set the tone for one of the most incredible years of my life. I’ve taken every opportunity and ridden with and met so many people in so many cool places. I have the bike and great team mates to thank for that.
Donalrey Nieva #5thNYC
It’s not a photo of me nor is it one of my favorite photo I took this year, but it embodies what cycling and what being part of this team means to me. Seeking great adventure with people who I would consider good friends outside of cycling.
Mark Hagan #5thNYC
I have been avoiding eye contact with cross for years now, thinking it was a waste time. But I was a walking contradiction, a hypocrite even. I constantly sought out adventure rides and quietly relished in the freedom of rented cross rigs. I could no longer hide my enthusiasm, and jumped in head first with the purchase of a used bike. This photo catches a moment that expresses that joyful freedom of the discipline. – photo by Donalrey Nieva
Luke Clark #5thLDN
First road race – first race puncture. This meant the sideline for the remainder of the race cheering on the team. Waiting at the finish line while screaming support, I captured Rudy just getting beaten to second place in the sprint finish.
David Hall #5thNYC
It’s not about the winning, it never has been for me; but at this precise moment I felt a huge weight off my shoulders as if I had justified my position on the very team I was called captain, justified the bike and support we’d fostered by talking a good game and ultimately kick starting a season where I would focus on what my potential was as much as the potential of the team.
Pasquale Chionchio #5thLDN
Easy one for me, not a picture about cycling but about the spirit and the fun around it. Rudy and I were in charge to book the accomodation for our Dolomites trip. We came across this house which looked insane despite the distance from the routes we had in mind. The house was out of this world, could have been the perfect set for “Scarface goes skiing”. We had fun, we laughed, we ate, we drunk, ultimately we cycled around among the best mountains in the world. This picture shows just the daily banter.
Ryan Fisher #5thNYC
Sit tall in the saddle hold your head up high,
keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky and live like you ain’t afraid to die,
don’t be scared just enjoy your ride.
Reece Wood #5thLDN
Racing the 2015 Red Hook Criterium Championship Series alongside my teammates was an absolute blast. Thanks to our amazing sponsors for making sure we were there on the start line… And thanks to Mr D A Trimble for putting on one hell of a roadshow. See you in 2016!
Angelo Calilap #5thNYC
It’s beyond the moment, sometimes. It’s the accumulated moments leading to that moment, filled with challenges, victories, losses, struggle, and joy, that make that instance, that moment. That. Much. Better.
Nikolay Koblov #5thNYC
A year later
Same pedals strokes
Rudy Melo #5thLDN
It’s hard to choose the best or favourite shot of 2015. There are so many to choose it from. But this one I took of the Stelvio is very special to me because when I got into cycling I came across a photo of this Pass and said to myself that I wanted to ride there one day. Back in July I rode the Stelvio from both sides. And to make it even better I had the pleasure to share that experience with my friends and team mates. What a ride it was. 106km with a 3,300 meters of climbing.