Angus Menter takes maiden victory at Westpoint

After 30 minutes this race came down to the last corner. It was a technical and narrow combination – right, left, then 180 degree right over a speed bump, to a 90 degree left. I don’t think I was the strongest rider in the race, I just managed to get a good position for the corner. Coming into the straight before it I was boxed in so dropped back to move to the inside line. As I did I felt someone kicking past me and realised now was the time to fight for position, so I got my jumble sale elbows out as my mum would have said, and ended up second wheel into the corner, about 300m from the line. On the shallow climb before it flattened out I felt the rider in front of me slowing so I kicked although it felt early. I came round him up the climb then on the flat realised I was undergeared but decided it was no time to be changing as I was head down and eyeballs out. As I crossed the line I looked round and saw a decent gap. Then for five or ten seconds I felt like I was dreaming, it was a surreal sensation.

This was my first bunch race, having been tempted for a while but preferring the relative safety of Mtb and Cx races, temptation finally outweighing risk aversion. I started near the back and gradually moved to the front through the race, focusing on getting the inside line through corners, holding my position, and coasting wherever I could. I covered a couple of gaps when it was strung out, but realised it was still coming back together at the corners, as there were no really strong breaks. Woody Ferguson, Paul Burness-Moakes and I had a loose plan that if any of us was in a break to avoid working to close it, which didn’t come into play. We chatted during the race, checking how each other were feeling and pointing out sketchy riding. (as well as having a word with the instigators). In general though the bunch was pretty tidy, phew!

As we were all in the lead group in the closing stages I was dreaming of a mid devon 1-2-3. It wasn’t to be, but we did have all four of us (including Jack Cooper who I only met after) in the top ten. And everyone stayed upright, despite a slightly greasy surface at some points, yay! All in all a great race, and double bonus now I get to write my version of its history! Have to shout out some good advice from Ian Cullen, Jason Kettle and Antony Jenkins, and my family for their support. It was all the thrill I hoped it would be, the constant shifting sands, reacting to and creating new situations, hitting the apex, surfing the wheels, reading the guys around me and the guys at the front of the race, all the while working towards position on the last lap. And kicking, once for the last corner, once for the line. Next day was back down to earth though, went for a training ride and bonked, miles from home…

Primavera Road Races – 24th February 2019

 

These races are the traditional start to the SW road racing season. It is an ideal opportunity to stretch the legs on rolling Devon roads – not too long but long enough to see if the winter training has been working.

The races this year are restricted to men. Both races will follow the A3072 for 6 miles and then onto the 11.5 mile Halwill Junction circuit. E/1/2/3 will do 1 more lap than 3 & 4. Both races will return to Hatherleigh and finish at the northern end of the Hatheleigh by-pass.

Enter here:

https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/192459/Primavera-Road-Race

Mid Devon CC Winter Chaingangs – start Weds 7th November at the Velopark

Starting weekly from the Wednesday 7th November, the MDCC chain gangs will be run by Mark Dolan and Andy Parker. The sessions will be run in separate ability groups from complete novice to elite rider. The format will change weekly to keep it varied and will roughly consist of 3 aerobic efforts of approximately 15-20 minutes in duration. Gates open at 6:30 PM , finishing at 8 PM. Non club members welcome for an additional fee of £5

Regional Crit Championship Race Report – Morgan Gibson

On a home circuit I was feeling enthusiastic with my chances of winning the race. The field was full of familiar riders, so I knew which wheels to follow, who not to be stuck behind and who would be strong enough to make a break. Riders such as Dominic Pullen and Sam Medlyn would be ideal riders to take with in a break and to watch out for in the sprint.

From the start, short attacks were repeatedly being put in by the Propello squad in aim of breaking down the group. I followed a particularly strong looking attack from Dominic Pullen in hope we could carry on the effort together to form a break. However, it was not in his interests to form a break and despite me attempting to carrying on the effort, we were brought back by the Propello riders.

For the rest of the race I sat in within the group, letting others shut down these attacks and sitting on wheels, conserving my energy. At this point I realised that a breakaway might not happen and that it would be best waiting for the sprint as I am used to

Towards the last half of the race I had to put in an effort to close down a gap which was forming due with some strong riders attacking. Once brought back I made sure I was close by Dominic’s wheel, knowing he had the best sprint. The pace increased to the last few laps and I held onto my position making sure I was set up by the front towards the last sprint.

On the last lap I pushed through the group, obtaining a position behind Sam Medlyn. into the last hairpin I made sure to stick to the inside as in previous races I had been swept off this corner by riders misjudging the corner. I was sat in third position behind Propello rider Dominic Pullen and Sam Medlyn. As we went around this last corner there was an issue with riders locking bars and coming off the racing line on my outside and behind me. This gave us an edge coming out the corner. I sat in as Dom started his sprint from the corner, Sam and I sat behind in the saddle ready to sprint, on the sweeping bend towards the finish Sam clipped his inside pedal sending both of us wide, this forced me to start my sprint and attempt to close the few meters that had opened up between me and Dom, I could feel myself gaining quickly on Dom however the finishing straight was not long enough to catch up before the line, leaving me with second position. It was an exciting sprint and I’m gutted that I missed out on first, but I am happy to achieve second place.

SW Cyclocross Round 1 – Powderham Castle

Sunday 1st September saw the opening event of the South West Cyclocross season with round 1 of the series taking place in the grounds of Powderham Castle. Jackie Shute, Robin Delve and a legion of helpers organised the event on behalf of Mid Devon Cycling Club.

Robin put all the experience that he’s gained racing cross around the world to good effect by creating a challenging course which made the most of the terrain available. The course featured technical sections, tight corners, power drags, running boards, changes of rising surface (grass, gravel, tarmac and loam) and a tricky copse to navigate through. Which all made for a classic course, which received praise from competitors and spectators alike.

Cyclocross as a fun off road sport which appeals to all the family. One of its features is the number of youth riders that compete with riders travelling in from Cornwall and Somerset to swell the under 16 races to 90 participants.

The club was well represented and there were some great results across the age groups from Maddie Woodger in the under 8’s race, Ellie Birchall (1st U10 Girl) Mathew Holmes (3RD U10), Jacob Start and Bayley Woodger, Aine Graham (U10’S) Ben Goldsmith (3rd U12), Henry Birchall (5th U12) and William Birchall (U12’s)

Meanwhile in the U14/16 race Sol Drury made a welcome return to racing taking 3rd place in U14, and was joined by Dylan Gorrin, Angus Graham and Ed Selwood, Callum Start and Ewan Warren shone in the u16 race.

The final race of the day was the senior race with 110 riders gridded at the start line, the race was fast from the gun and with a lack of rain in recent weeks the ground was running very quickly. MDCC had great representation with thirteen riders. First club rider home was Andy Parker in fifth and steadily working his way through the field, other notable mentions were Tristan Davies 2nd in the Junior race and Nicky Quant 7th in the women’s race.

Attention now turns to the next round in Taunton where both Jackie and Robin get the opportunity to compete for honours.

Many thanks to all who helped on the day

Race Report – Perky rides the Div Champs

South West Regional  Champs

My 2018 campaign is drawing to its conclusion and I’ve managed to carry some decent form over the last few weeks with top 5 finishes in 9 races including 4 wins.

The last two weekends have seen the two SW Regional championships, the first being the road title fought out over 90 hilly – and it turned out wet and windy – miles and then the circuit race champs over 30 flat miles at the Velopark.

The road champs weren’t going to suit me – I hadn’t ridden a road race for nearly 2 years and the ten hours a week training I do per week can’t prepare you for races of close to 100 miles against younger and often full time riders. I managed to make the chasing group and finish 15th which I was pretty pleased with.

The Circuit or ‘crit’ champs were far better suited for me and I hoped a top-ten finish was a realistic aim with the form I had. My preparation for the race wasn’t ideal, the race was originally scheduled two weeks earlier but was postponed due to bad weather, and the rescheduled race clashed with the Junior Tour of Wales were I was helping to manage the junior team. A quick dash back saw me arrive home 80 minutes before the race start which gave me time to ride over to the Velopark as a warm up.

The race had attracted a good quality field with a mix of elite and first cat riders with second cat’s making up the remainder of the field.

Fred Shescke of a Team Tor was the favourite but with another 4 of his team mates capable of winning his whole squad were dangerous. Elite rider Lee Frost (Tri UK) had finished top three in the road champs so was on form and his team mate, elite rider George Smith, was a big threat too.

I decided my tactic would be to try to keep my powder dry for 20 minutes and then try to bridge to any breaks which included Fred Shieske.

His team mate Charlie Revell went clear after ten and at around 20 minutes a counter move formed including Fred, his team mate Josh Croxton and Lee Frost – they quickly had fifteen seconds and I realised this was a move that had to be closed down. I jumped hard and did the next half a lap on the front and when I swing over the rider behind me shook his head – I had to make a split second decision, drive on and risk being ‘jumped’ or sit up and risk the move going away if the rider behind was not bluffing. The legs felt good so I decided to push on, continuing until the junction was made to ensure I wasn’t countered. It took a lap and a half and by the end I was seriously deep into the red. On checking Strava later I found I’d ridden the second fastest recorded lap of the circuit – impressive when you consider who has raced on there.

Once the junction was made a group was formed of 8 experienced riders and we started riding strongly through and off and within a few laps we’d stretched the lead out and caught the solo rider. After that it was a question of covering moves. Team Tor we’re particularly dangerous as if one of them attacked the team mates were entitled not to chase but were likely to counter attack if the gap was closed. In the closing stages I made a point of covering attacks by Croxton and Shieske leaving it to Team Tor to cover the Tri UK attacks of Smith and Frost. I had a dig myself at three to go, but it seemed destined for a sprint.

I managed to get myself onto James Williams wheel on the last lap, but had to fight to keep it at other riders wanted to force their way into the third place slot I’d taken. Lee Frost led out from the penultimate corner with the riders making their efforts down the penultimate straight. Williams passed Frost on the penultimate corner and whilst I was able to follow his wheel, he was simply too fast for me and my efforts were focussed on holding off Fred Shieske who came up very fast and I just managed to hold on for second place.

The stat’s looked pretty good at 26.5 mph for 1 hr ten mins and 37.5 mph in the final sprint. I was very pleased to take a silver medal at 47 years of age – whilst I’d finished 5th in the road champs in 2012 – my last regional champs medal was a gold all the way back in 1989!

I learned afterwards that Juliet Elliott had also taken a silver in the woman’s champs and we’d secured a good number of medals across the various youth categories, so all in, a very good day for the club!

Matt Langworthy – 2nd in National 25!

Ex Mid-Devon CC rider Matt Langworthy competed in the Mens National 25 on 5th August, the day after having placed 11th in the Andover National B road race. The course was rolling on the A3 near Petersfield. Despite the previous day’s efforts, Matt managed to place joint second with Chris Bartley, the Olympic silver medalist British rower, with a time of 00:46:13.

This was Matt’s second fastest 25 mile time. South West based rider Marcin Bialoblocki won the event convincingly with a time of 00:44:22 showing his class. Matt is targeting the Regional Road Race Championships and the National 10 for the final part of the season.

Race Report – Hatherleigh Junior National – Louie takes 6th!

This is the most local of the National series for me meaning I was able to sleep in my own bed and have a fairly relaxed race weekend not worrying about getting there on time being only a 1hr drive from my house! The race was on the same circuit that the Primavera was held on in February. Although it was -8 back then… and it was 30 degrees for the National! But fresh back from Spain I wasn’t too effect by the temperatures which helped.

Race started of quite slow and slowly built into a race rather than a club ride. Few guys started to chip away but nothing stuck. I followed a few early moves but sat on them knowing they weren’t dangerous. But just to play it safe be in them. With 2 laps to go on the small circuit I attacked and 2 other riders bridge and get onto my wheel. Including GB rider Lewis Askey. About 20mins into the break with 3 of us working good a group of 4 got across to us with an additional 2 GB riders being Alfie George and Sam Watson. This was a strong move.

On the final lap of the mini circuit before we headed to the finish Lewis Askey attacked the group of 8 and got away. This meant that the break started to split up and have riders trying to get across to him. Sadly I didn’t have the legs to react straight away and get onto Lewis’s wheel and I waited for the others to chase. In the end a group of 5 go away from the original break and made it to the finish with Lewis taking a strong win! I finished around 30s back in a group of 4 where I took the bunch sprint to come home with 6th. Little bit gutted to be out of the top three at my Home national but still a great result for me! Overall a very smooth event and very well organised.

Thank you to the organisers and everyone who chipped in – Was a great race. Big thanks as always to MDCC and EPiC Coaching for the continued support!

Race Report – Minehead Grand Prix Jacob Thomas U14

I’d been looking forward to the Minehead Grand Prix for ages. It was a town centre crit and one of the biggest races in the region. I knew it was going to be difficult as lots of the local riders wanted to win here. It was great that it was a really sunny day.

Over 20 riders lined up on the start. But my race was almost over before it started when the rider next to me struggled to clip-in and almost put me into the barrier. This meant I was already off the back going into the dead turn, but I managed to get back on and move up the group along the back straight.

The course was mostly straight, flat and wide, and the pace was kept high the whole time. We were strung out along the straights and came together for corners. This meant it was hard for anyone to get away. Lots of riders tried, but nobody could make it stick.

Half way through the race was a sprint lap. I decided not to try for it and to save my legs for the finish.

By this time a few riders had dropped off the bunch because of the pace, but mostly everyone was still together expecting a bunch sprint.

As we were coming up to get the bell for one lap to go, a North Devon rider attacked hard out of the final corner. I was halfway down the group and quickly started to move up. My teammate, Reuben, had seen the attack and already got on the wheel.

The attack slowed before reaching the dead turn at the end of the finishing straight, and by the time we were on the back straight, everyone was together. It was definitely going to be a sprint.

As we approached the final corner I moved up the group and I came out of the corner in about third wheel. I didn’t want to make the first move as the corner was a long way from the finish, so I waited for someone else to launch first.

A Taw Velo rider came flying past me on the right so I started sprinting. I got level with him about half way along the straight but my back wheel kicked out and I lost some speed. I went again, put my head down and carried on sprinting. I passed him and managed to hold the advantage to win by around half a bike-length. It was a great race and really fun to be riding on closed roads.

Troy Wheeler – Fully Sussed Summer Series

New member and Junior MTB racer Troy Wheeler reports on his latest race:

Last weekend saw me at Fully Sussed – ‘summer series’. This event was known to be your typical grass and roots XC event, fast climbs, and some great single track. Despite the continuous rain in the day – the track held its dryness (And luckily the weather stayed away from us for the race!). I went out in the early evening for a practise lap and soon came to realise my legs seemed quite stiff! I worked them off with a higher cadence. The track was smooth, flowing, and hardworking. I knew there would be great racing this evening.

At around 7:15 our race began; with some big local names behind the line I knew I was in for an hour of pain! As the whistle blew I went with my typical race plan of attack off of the start, it worked which gave me a good lead by the end of long hauling fire road climb, unfortunately I suffered a mechanical on the first lap causing me to drop to mid pack.

After the 1st lap I knew I had my work cut out. I climbed back up to 1st place senior, where I then unfortunately suffered another 5 mechanical s through the race, all due to a broken clutch on the rear mech! I ended in 3rd place, this to me was acceptable due to the circumstances. All in all was a brilliantly fast and flowing track. Great event put on by Fully Sussed.

Thank you to MDCC for the support.