1800 meters of climbing on mostly dirt roads in 85km? How else do you think Don would have celebrated his birthday? Make sure to check out the #DonsNonBdayRide hashtag on Instagram for more photos from the ride!
The other day we were talking about Austria and long ago it was. But the Tour de Kaernten was only the other side of summer. It already feels like a lifetime ago. Perhaps I’ve already repressed the memories of the event: six stages over six stages covering over 400km and 7000m of climbing. Read More
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
With not much time to spare, I got myself ready, had a quick warm up with one practice lap to see what the course was like (HARD!!!) and then lined with with the other 110+ riders.
I am not the most experienced cross rider, but one thing I know is that having a good start is very important. I got a good place at the start line, but after a massive crash on the first straight, which I got caught behind, left me in the middle of the field. I ended up staying there throughout the whole race, I went back and forth with a few riders but maintained my position. The course was HARD, hilly, technical and long.
As I was going back the next day for round 2, I had a quick warm down on the rollers then we headed to the hotel. Little do the hotel staff know, after my shower I cleaned my bike in the bath.
After a cheeky Nando’s (safest option when not knowing where to eat) and the cheapest round of beer I have ever ordered, it was time to get ready for bed and mentally prepare for the next day.
Sunday. The same course, same off camber corners, same long gravel climb, same stairs and much more mud were there waiting for me and my team mate Alex Blomeley.
I had a great start this time, sitting in the top 10, then after a shit mid race and a better end of the race I ended up 38th out of 88th. Meh! But I still had a blast. Thank you Rapha for putting up a great event! Gutted I cannot make the round 3 in London, but Alex will be there dropping hammers for me.
My 5th Red Hook and by far the most eventful yet and this is really saying something because I’m still shouting about the last 4 races to anyone who’ll give me an audience.
The events surrounding the race like the pre-party, discount the after party, sales transportation, malady accommodation, food, weather and people was just smooth sailing. The racing on the other hand was off the hook fast, furious and so much ‘fun’. How I’d really describe it is that its one of those things that at the beginning there’s apprehension, a worry and a ‘should I really do this’. Then after the actual event it’s that total, unequivocal, full and freeing ‘HELL YEAH!!!’ succeeded by the understanding that it was the one and only decision you could have made and the adrenaline and experience will be with you from that point through to the next pant filling and life affirming thing you want to do.
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, store 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.
Theres always a lot of stories that come out of crit week. Most of which are super positive. You can’t avoid breaks, purchase bruises and all sorts in racing like this but everyone comes away with something and no matter what it is you always want to go back. Red Hook Crit Barcelona 3 really had everything, here even tears (quickly followed by some serious dancing) and we weren’t without our fair share…Read More
Concrete, cialis marble, roundabouts and racing. Chuck in Nandos and a very ‘local’ hotel and you’ve got the Milton Keynes 2 day race. Don’t get me wrong, we all had a blast. Its just that well, Milton Keynes is a bit shit isn’t it?
Organised by TeamMK at the Milton Keynes bowl the weather blessed us and it was going to be a good weekend of racing. It started with a very short 3km time trail. New lesson learned, 3km time trails suck! We did pretty good, I came in 8th with George in 12th and Rudy and Daniel not too far behind.
This led a little time to wait before the crit scheduled at 3pm. Not much food about at the venue and we were hungry so George, Rudy and I smashed back a bacon and egg bap from the only food vendor which was a burger van. It wasn’t really what we wanted, but it was pretty good. A couple of locals in the queue laughed at me, stating ’proper athlete this one’, I could only shrug and smile in retaliation.
The crit was good, fast paced with a lot of attacking. I managed a breakaway for a bit, got pulled back in and then the attack went that stuck to the end. We missed it and spent most of the rest of the race trying to organise the front into chasing properly which ultimately failed and we lost 40 seconds. The last lap was a bit of a nightmare as we were lapping a large group of riders who had been mistakenly given the last lap board as well which meant that no-one moved and there was an inevitable crash (this was caused by someone, number 73, dropping a shoulder and riding into some poor lad who hit the tarmac like a sack of spuds). Ended up coming in the top ten with George close behind to secure my GC position in the top ten also.
The next day started early in the countryside for a 90km road race in the morning fog. It was great fun, although at one point I was pretty sure I’d lost it all. I punctured at about 50km in just as I was in a good move off the front. Hand up and pedalling slowly, the bunch and my team mates fly past, I heard George shout in protestation at my bad luck. It was gutting and I was sure then that GC and the race were over for me. God bless neutral service. After a quick wheel change I spent the next half an hour pedalling like mad at 60kph behind a BMW estate being dragged back to the field. It was amazing but also properly exhausting, its not easy. I was back in the pack for the last 20km and just had to focus on staying up at the front and setting myself up for the sprint. Going cross eyed with the effort I was praying that around every corner the 1km to go sign would appear. When it finally did Rudy was on the front looking back at me. I knew he wanted to lead me out, he was ready and he’d got it fucking perfect. I nodded and Rudy dropped the hammer. The bunch dragged out into that familiar arrowhead with me 4th wheel. Rudy pulled off with 400 to go, a few riders in front meant I could hold back and at about 100 to go I let it loose.
There was another breakaway which had stuck that day and I came in 7th overall. Leaving me with 9th on GC. The team did a great job and having Rudy up the front in that last KM was one of the best race experiences I’ve had. Chapeau boys and thank you.