Robin Delve: 2017 Cyclo-Cross Season Summary
My cross race season started at the beginning of September and has now just finished 19 weeks and
23 races later!! Training started back in February.
Basic weekly training consists of commuting by MTB to work 2/3 times per week. A hilly round trip
of 22 miles. 2 gym sessions and a long club ride on a Sunday.
Monday a rest day.
Up until June I worked 6 days per week. I gave up working Saturdays to gain extra recovery time and
to attend high intensity circuit training sessions.
Here are the other events ridden during February to September, all ridden on a MTB bike; Chalky
Exmoor Marathon..Minehead Exmoor Eat Dirt…Dulverton Cotswold mtb sportive..Cheltenham
Wild Boar mtb sportive..Forest of Dean Devon Dirt
100km Exeter Audax
3hr Quantocks MBO event
2 Soggy Bottom Summer races
South of England MTB Champs. New Forest. SW MTB XC series
Pivot 12hr team race…like 3 cross races in 12hrs!!!!
200 miles to Brest and back with panniers..in a weekend!
August summer holiday, 7 days camping and riding at altitude(6000ft) Les Saises in Alps.
On CX Bike:
4 Westpoint Criteriums
100km Gloucester Audax followed next day by a summer cross race.
Teign Valley chain gang rides.
Total 23 races in 19 weeks. 7 South West league.
5 Western league.
3 Notts and Derby league. 1 Wessex league.
1 Welsh league.
5 National races.
1 International race. Belgium. 7 wins and 6 second places.
A lot of hard riding, training and racing, not to mention driving, has been achieved in the past 11
months all culminating in one fantastic race in Belgium to become UCI MASTERS CYCLO-CROSS WORLD
CHAMPION 60-64 years.
Training starts now to go back and defend my ‘rainbow jersey’ in December 2018.
On Sunday Robin Delve put in a virtuoso performance to win the inaugural Torbay Velopark Cross, the final round of the 2015-16 South West Cyclo Cross league.
A week of rain lead to a water logged course that gradually broke up through the day of racing for all age groups. With the main senior event taking place in the early afternoon, there were many slippy and boggy sections requiring plenty of skill and the ability to hop of the bike, run, then remount and keep applying the pressure.
Robin, took an early lead in the race and never looked back. His gap grew throughout, as the 57 year old appeared to float over the tricky conditions while younger riders tried to force their way through and quickly used up there energy reserves.
The win was truly deserved after being there or there abouts for fifteen years in the South West league. The performance bodes well for the national championships which take place on the weekend of the 9th-10th January at Shrewsbury Sports Village. Good luck!
In the other age groups, points were on offer to cement series standings with this being the last event. MDCC riders took quite a few podium positions as follows. Full results can found here
1st Andrew Parker
2nd Oliver Twigger
3rd Alex Blackburn
3rd Louis Priddle
3rd Jack Forrest
2nd Sol Drury
3rd Felix Fawn
2nd Ed Selwood
Sunday 20th September saw the first round of the South West Cyclo Cross League run in the traditional format. After the
crit style races of the Flan Rou event the riders were ready for the course at the Castle Sport Centre, Taunton, a venue
mmaking a welcome return after a couple of years abscence.
After the rain showers of the past week and overnight mist, the grass surface of the course had plenty of grip but started
to cut up through the event. The flat profile lead to riders sprinting from corner to corner, making overtaking
surprisingly difficult considering the wide open space. Two sand pits and some tight sections between trees tested the
riders skills and balanced the course.
In the senior race Chris Rathbone(Unattached) and Mid Devon’s Andrew Parker spent the hour pulling out a 1.30 minute gap
over the rest of field. Neither was able to shake off the other with Parker just finishing ahead by 4 seconds to take the
overall race and first veteran position too.
The Mid Devon had many riders taking part throughout all the categories, including a win in the Youth race for Oliver
Allen. More details to follow when the results are published.
This Tuesday, the club will be holding the usual cross training session. Meet at the Velopark in Paignton starting at
6.30pm. For this session we’ve hired the velopark so we can use the stakes and planks to create a small cross course to
practice on. It will give you a good opportunity to try out some different tyre pressures, while we practice skills and do
some interval sessions. There will be small charge for the evening so please bring along £3.
Today saw the second round of the Soggy Bottom mountain bike cross-country series. I arrived to a bright and sunny Newnham park to be greeted by two young army cadets marshaling the road crossing at the bottom of cottage return, a couple of riders passed not looking too muddy, Today was going to be fast!
As the vets race started in the afternoon, I missed the earlier races. After checking the results, it became apparent that once again the Mid Devon youngsters had done well in their races. Felix Faun achieved a third place in under 12s with a 4th place for Oliver Allen and an 8th place for Ross Pratt in the youth category.
My race (Vets, Grand vets) was due to start at 1pm. I had just enough time to go for a pre ride. I joined Southforks Pete Dawe and Nick Butler. Also in the group was Lee Hayward from BikeMotion. We set off. It was going to be a mass start again so we tried the field out for sprinting, It was obvious the best place to be was on the hard pack road along side it. The course consisted of lots of single track with short sections of fire road for overtaking.
On the start line I pitched up next to another MDCC rider, John Newbold. The whistle blew and off we went….. I managed to ignore my previous idea of getting on the hard pack quickly and lost quite a few places. The course narrowed and the lesser skilled riders who had sprinted on the hard pack caused an enormous bottle neck. Anyone who knows me will be able to imagine the level of “French” that was coming out of my mouth at this point!! Anyway I kept on pushing and managed to close the gap that the lead group were making.
We blasted past the portacabin that would be the finish point. Again, one of the ‘only fast on the flat’ guys pushed past and then immediately got in the way at the bottom of the first climb. He held everyone up so badly that when we reached the top (where you could overtake) the lead group were well out of sight. I got onto the single track and made a huge lead on the chasing group. This section consisted of lots of twisty flat corners covered in roots of which 30-40% were greasy.
After this it was cottage return, a very fast single track descent that is in my opinion one of the best sections at Newnham. I smashed down it like my hair was on fire. The rest of the race was pretty uneventful and as much as I pushed the delay caused by the riders at the beginning had ruined my chances of a top 5. I rode over the finish line in 10th position. Not too bad but some work on my initial sprint starting will definitely help for next time.
I went and found John to find out how he had done, His race was 3 laps and mine 4 so he was already finished. John had come 4th in grand vets and was a bit peeved as a crash on cottage return had lost him a couple of places meaning he was pipped to the podium.
Overall it was a great event and made better by some support from fellow MDCC riders and their families. I’m already looking forward to round three.
In an exclusive interview with cyclocross.com Mike Gratton discussed his long awaited cyclo cross debut and his hopes and fears for the new season.
“I’ve been tip toeing around the edges of cyclo cross racing for the last couple of years, playing mind games with my major rivals. I now feel that I’m in a position to announce my cross debut on the 4th January at Plymouth Moto X park. I’ve visited the venue several times, checked out the berms and table tops and feel that the course will suit my aggressive style of racing and no holds barred attitude”.
When asked about his recent training regime Gratton explained “I’ve been trying to avoid steep descents and muddy corners, but now feel confident that I can release my inner Svenness (Sven Nyss multi world champion crosser)”.
A spokesman for Mid Devon Cycling Club stated “We are pleased that Mike is joining the team, he will certainly bring a unique dimension to cross racing”
Past MDCC member Harry Birchill turned out on Monday to award the medals and t-shirts to the riders in the 2XC Rookie Cup race at Stover School. Well done to all the riders taking part and special congratulations go to Harry on becoming the National Youth MTB Champion and winning the National Cross Country Series for his age group, all in the past week!
A new non-too serious training ride to dust off the cross bikes and skills begins on Friday the 25th of July. Meet in the car park at Forde House, Newton Abbot for an hour or so, followed by an optional post ride beer / lemonade. E-mail email@example.com for info. Mountain bikes are welcome.