I definitely lucked out with this holiday. My girlfriend and I booked a week in Belgium – she was thinking Christmas markets and chocolate. I was thinking beer and cycling. I’ll let you decide which won…
For the past 5 days, pairs of riders have been battling it out in the first ever London Six Day Race. Well I say first ever, that’s a lie, Six Day Racing was invented in London but it’s been a while since it’s been back.
Sunday was the first cyclocross race of the 2015/2016 London CX League for myself and Alex Blomeley. I have a feeling it was the last day of summer, the sun was out, was nice and warm, dry race, etc. I believe it will be a mud fest from now on. #CrossIsHere.
Photographer and friend Jon Baines was there with us and as usual captured some great shots. Click more below for the full set.
After the first three days of unbelievable of cycling in the Dolomites it was hard to imagine somewhere having a more challenging and beautiful environment than Arabba, however Pasquale’s excitement was indicative that the best was yet to come. Despite riding and racing together day in day out in London, the mountains drew out a different set of strengths and weaknesses for each of us. It was really exciting to see who favoured which type of climbs and the subsequent fresh [light hearted] rivalries that formed within the team.
‘Beating the sun’ normally involves getting out of work sharper than usual and hauling ass over the George W bridge, go as far as you dare and make it back over before the light drops completely.
CX season being around the corner we did with a twist hitting some walking and therefore pretty techy trails that skirted above the usual blacktop below. The result was that the sun won. Though we’ll take losing if this is what it looks like.
In July, we – #5thLDN – set off on our now annual ‘training camp’. I use the words training camp lightly, as although this is about riding our bikes (hard) as a team, it’s also about riding as a group of friends. Eating together, drinking coffee (and beer) and sharing an incredible experience.
This year’s location were The Dolomites – an infamous mountain range in North Eastern Italy, known for it’s rugged, imposing rocky landscape and being home to some of the greatest cycling roads in the alps, if not the world.
After a long time waiting (over 2 years) the famous Red Hook Crit was finally held in London. You never know what the 1st time in a new city is going to be like, but RHC LDN 1 was very successful. Huge congratulations to David Trimble, from RHC/Trimble Racing and Rockstar Games for throwing an amazing event in our home turf.
We had Reece Wood, George Garnier, Alex Blomeley and Rudy Melo from the #5thLDN taking part on London’s round
We had a team plan for the qualifying round and had a really good run, but unfortunately our fastest lap was neutralised just before we made it across the start/finish line due to a crash. We were told that our hot lap would have put us all in the top 20 on the grid for the main race. But we strongly managed to qualify to the final with our second fastest lap, Reece 45th, George 47th, Alex 53rd & Rudy 81st.
After an unlucky start for Rudy, having to avoid 2 riders that crashed into each other at the start line, he spent half of the race trying to get back into it, while George, Reece and Alex were having a really strong race with all 3 riders in the main group.
George was strongly sitting in the top 20 before he got taken out in one of the corners, unfortunately similar thing happened to Reece on the same corner, but that didn’t stop them to get back up and finish. Alex was having a really good race, moving up places and staying out of trouble.
The first Red Hook Crit London was won by William Guzman with Mario Paz Duque in second and Thibaud Lhenry in 3rd, Alex came in a few seconds later, in the same group with a strong 25th placing while George and Reece recovered to finish in 35th and 41st with Rudy stopping and finishing 78th.
While the Oregon Outback as a ride/race/trip had an enormous impact on me (more on that later) the biggest element is who you share these kind of experiences with.
While we hadn’t necessarily planned to ride this together, myself, Don, John, Bryan, Chris, Calvin and Brad united in the parking lot starting grid and became a veritable band of brothers. For some it was new relationships for me it was cementing old ones that were distanced through only seeing people briefly at races or in the case of myself and Brad; supporter and team.
I couldn’t have asked to share the experience with a better group of dudes.
Don did an incredible job of capturing all these guys who will be engrained in my memory of that epic trip.