Saturday, 17 July 2010

Just because ..... it's that time of year!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Ras de Cymru: Day 4, Stage 5.

Apologies for the missed report; there is a brief one one the forum.

The penultimate stage of this 2010 addition included two 'categorized' climbs before an uphill finish.

Riders were attacking from the gun; after covering the early moves, I tucked in to the bunch while Tom took over at the front of the first climb with Basil safely tucked in. Tim an I were both briefly gapped on this hill when the strong climbers kicked for the KOM prime, but we chased back on without too much difficulty.

However, the pace was frantic leading up until the next climb, and while Tom and Basil managed to safely hold their position up front, Tim and I were struggling to work our way up with riders going backwards, forwards and every which way in between.

At the base of the very first climb, disaster struck me once again when two riders came together and dropped directly in front of me. I went into them and landed awkwardly on my knee, breaking open a wound from last weeks crash on the track.

As the bunch disappeared into the distance, I desperately got my bike back into running order and set off in pursuit - it was not too be though, with a minute already between them. To be honest, the onset of yet another setback more or less broke me, and I considered 'Wiggins-ing' my bike off a convenient Welsh hillside. When a large 'laughing group' of 20 odd riders caught me up, however, I tucked in with them instead and rolled round the course.

Meanwhile, back at the pointy end:
Tom & Basil continued to climb well, and easily settled in with the lead group, which whittled down to only around 20 riders at one point. Several joined back in on the descent, however, leaving a group of around 45 to finish. A small break of several riders out of GC contention did slip away and gain a couple of minutes on the bunch.

Basil rode well at the finish, tagging on to the sprint, and managed to gain several seconds on the rider immediately above him on GC. Tom rolled in with the rest of the GC bunch. Tim was gapped on the second climb, and his group rolled in around 8 minutes down on the winner, while my laughing group came in a minute later. I took some satisfaction from sprinting to second out of my group and gaining a few seconds - but not very much as the knee I banged in the crash seized up quite badly immediately afterward.

Our GC picture:
1st Mike Smith (Team Corley Cycles) 7:33:58
4th Basil Moss @ 39 Seconds
34th Tom Vickery @ 6:38
64th Tim Williams @ 19:57
74th Eric Gowland @ 30:58

Team GC: 5th @ 10:38

Tomorrow brings the finale: 43 odd miles of 'Welsh flat' racing, with a 4 mile climb to top it all off. Basil is well positioned, and Tom is climbing really well and should be able to help him up the climb. I'm hoping the freshly banged up knee I've currently got a pack of frozen peas on stays limber enough for me to provide some domestique support leading up to the finish.

One day to go.

Eric

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Ras de Cymru Stage 2

Hello,

I can report exciting news from the front today, as Basil took the stage victory from a two man breakaway, and moved to 3rd place on GC.

Basil and his co-escapist put the hammer down through some curves in a recently graveled portion of the course, and started working together in earnest when they realised they'd acquired a gap.This gap swung out to a minute and a half at one point, but this being the first road stage of a 5 day race, the bunch was reluctant to leave things be - at the end, the break finished a scant 12 seconds ahead, but with time bonuses Basil gained 27 seconds total.

Tom and Tim both finished comfortably in the bunch, with Tom doing some good police work to shut down several bridging attempts... and a late scare with a crash in the bunch a kilometer before the finish.

All debts must be paid, however, and I paid some fairly massive negative karma for Basil's success. I was perplexed to struggle quite badly the first time up the hill, but discovered the reason shortly thereafter when my rear wheel was flat as a pancake. I stopped for a wheel change, but had to wait until the end of the bunch, and then the group that got tailed off on the climb, and then the group that got tailed off before that...Although I got some help from the service car, this only got me as far as the laughing group, and with a hard charging bunch being stuck with everyone who couldn't make it up the climb was never going to end well. However, it ended even worse as the marshall who was supposed to direct us to the off-circuit finish left his post, and we rode an extra quarter lap before realising we'd missed the turn, reversing direction and riding back. In the end we were given a time 27 odd minutes down. Needless to say my hopes of bettering last year's GC position are crushed.

On the other hand, Basil won!!! Go Cambridge!!!Basil says I should aspire to the lantern rouge, but frankly if there is anything that could drag my morale even deeper into a deep dark pit of despair, that would probably be it.

GC After Stage 2:
1st: Colum O'Shea (Team Isle of Man) 2:39:11
3rd: Basil Moss @14 seconds
46th: Tom Vickery (Tom wants everyon to know he is the 2nd 4th cat on GC) @ 1:16
58th: Tim Williams @ 1:32
92nd: Eric Gowland @ 27:40 (Still don't want to talk about it).

Up Next:Tomorrow is the double header, with the Team TT in the morning and a tough, hilly road stage in the afternoon. Stay tuned!

Basil would like to dedicate his win today to Tom Platts, who underwent surgery today after his serious accident. The entire team, despite being caught up in the race, is thinking of Tom and hoping things went well.

-Eric-