All posts by Leon

Kent 10TT – PB at 24:56

17th of July 2021

Yes! New PB and smashed my season target with a 24:56 for 10 miles. I have the fastest Under 19 Girls time and 12th fastest women (all-time) on Strava, as well as 35th out of 60 men and women in todays race. I am very happy with the result.

From mid-week I have been preparing for an attempt on my PB and season target of a Sub 26-minute 10 mile time trial. My PB was 26:11, so I only needed to be 12 seconds faster and I had achieved this year’s goal.I rode the Plomesgate 10 on Thursday and looked at areas I could improve for today. My power figures were okay on Thursday, and I felt it was possible to get a new PB on this race.

We drove to Kent. When we got there, we found the course was reasonably fast, but it was not flat. The weather was okay, but it was a bit windy. I tried to hold 23.1mph as an average speed. With the head wind out, I knew I would be a bit below 23mph average.

The day started with me waking up at 6am feeling unwell, not the best start to the day. I did my normal routine before the race, but I still felt unwell. We got to the HQ on time, and it was a good temperature, not too cold and not too hot. We drove away from everyone else and found a quiet spot to warm up. I did one warm up lap of about 2 miles before dad stopped me. My rear light had stopped working. My rear light is held on by rubber things and electrical tape. Dad says that is good. He cut off the light and put the spare on. The spare was not working properly, so with 5 minutes to go dad put on another spare rear light, that did work. I went to pull away and my chain dropped again. It wasn’t going to well. We put my Chain on and I rode towards the start thinking I had a few minutes in hand. Then when I started riding up to the start and after about 30 seconds, I was sick at the side of the road. What else could possibly go wrong. I got to the start just in time. I did the usual multiple attempts at clipping in before taking the fist turn after 100 metres. I tried to push, but I was not feeling great. I tried to focus on my speed, which I did. Just before the halfway turn, another bit of bad luck. The traffic lights turned red, and I had to stop/slow right down until they went green. There was a Marshall making sure people did not jump the lights, so although I would not do that, I had to be incredibly careful it wasn’t deemed I went a bit too early. This did not affect my average time too much and as I turned to come back at the roundabout, I could feel the cross-tail wind behind me and my average at the turn was okay at 22.5, which meant I stood a chance at coming back fast. I tried to get my position as aero as I could and keep the power up. I was going down hills at 36mph and I went up a hill at 32mph, which made me feel I was in with a chance of getting the season target and a new PB. I took the last turn into a narrow country lane which looked like an average above 24mph, which was well above 23.1.Now I am home, and I can see my time. It is 24:56, which is far better than I could have dreamed of if everything had gone well, but seeing as I had a bad pre-race experience, I am super happy with the result. (And I don’t feel sick anymore). I did an average of 24.2mph overall.

National Open Road TT Championship

11th July 2021

Yesterday my dad and I drove up to Scotland. It was about a 7 hour drive there. When we got there; we went to the hotel, got changed and went to have a look at the course. It was 26 miles (about 41 km) and quite bumpy. It was mainly uphill and downhill but the hills weren’t too bad.
The next day we went to the race and everyone was very nice. I warmed up on rollers before riding to the start. I started 1 minute after my main competitor who is 14 (number 21) . She had a good start but when I started, I couldn’t get clipped in for a while and lost about 5 seconds.
Within the first mile, my chain fell of and I couldn’t get it back on quickly and the person who started a minute after me, overtook me there.

When I got back on the bike, within another half mile, my chain came of a second time. At this point I didn’t think I would be able to catch up to number 21, as both 23 and 24 had gone past me while I was not moving. I lost about 2 minutes and 20 seconds and 21 was a further minute ahead, so 3 minutes 20 to try and catch 21.

I still kept trying and by around 18 miles in to the race, I had caught up to her/21. I overtook her and then down a hill near the finish, she overtook me again and crossed the line 2 seconds before me.
I beat number 21 by 58 seconds overall which I think is quite good considering all the time in lost earlier in the race. My maximum power was 580 Watts, although that would have been for a reason and not my average, which would be a lot lower.
It was really fun and I reckon it was worth the drive.

Olivers Mount NYS Race

4th of July 2021

On Sunday, I went to Scarborough for the Scarborough cycling festival.
We knew Sunday was going to be difficult and the course would be tough. We thought it was 11% and the same length as Semer (the local hill we practiced on). We were very wrong. It was 24% gradient and about 4 times the length of Semer. I had my standard road gears on the bike and I suffered up the hill.

I was in the peloton on the 2nd lap, which was good, as a lot of the riders dropped off and I had to catch up. We did that top lap twice, then we used the hill, not once, as expected but 3 times. It was painful. I did learn a lot about the course. I’ve never been very good at hills. I came 5th girl, which was better than I expected and overall I had loads of fun.

Thank you for the photos Huw Williams.

Photo by Huw Williams

Regional Road Championships – Lapping all boys and Girls

3rd of July 2021

Today the team went to Colchester for the Regional Road Race Championship. My main focus, and we spent a lot of time trying to find solutions… wasn’t today, it is tomorrow, where I have an almost impossible National Youth Series Race up Oliver’s Mount in Scarborough. That meant I needed to use as smaller amount of energy as possible today, but still try to win the regional Championship.

The start had a tail wind, so we made sure I was positioned at exactly the right place on the grid. That worked and the tail wind straight was taken in a controlled way. As soon as we turned out of the tail wind into the cross wind, I did the next part of the plan. I can’t explain what had to happen, but it almost worked, except Eloise my main competitor, knew, I think, what was going to happen. That meant I had to change to the next option for the first lap. I did that successfully and by the end of the first lap I looked at my my pit board I was using to help me not push too hard showed I was over 16 seconds up. I then rode slowly for the next few laps, but my pit board was showing I was gaining a lot of time each lap.

Dad was waving at me to slow down to not catch and lap the 2nd place group, as that wouldn’t be great for them. I could see the group and they could see me on the long straights. They didn’t seem to realise about getting lapped. It got to the point where I was told to stop the race by catching the leaders, as it was going to go on for too many laps. I did one faster lap and caught, passed and lapped the 2nd place rider. When I passed them I was only doing 21mph, whereas they were doing 11mph, so there was no way I could avoid passing them. The second-place group are supposed to drop back as they are lapped, but instead they chased me. I think British Cycling tried to stop that happening, but the riders didn’t really interfere with my race too much, so it wasn’t a big problem. At the line they sprinted, I was saving energy and didn’t sprint, but I one boy did come over the line alongside me, but they had been lapped, so it didn’t matter. Eloise did a great job at the finish and took third place. My teammate took 6th overall. I was only racing Eloise, and the other girls, so although I rode alone more than expected, it was still a win and I am regional champion. Very happy, especially as my brother is also Regional U8 champion and Frank Spauls in U10s too.. The whole team rode amazingly. Well done SYRT.

Lapped plus some. Now Regional U12 Champion lapping all Boys and Girls.

Big Weekend Ahead

30th of June 2021

Written by LT: Big weekend for Stonham Barns Park rider Abbey. On Saturday its a damage limitation road race in Colchester, where the aim is to try to do well in the Regional Road Race Championship without putting out too much effort; easier said than done. Abbey needs to leave Colchester to get to Scarborough, some 5 hours away with a desperate struggle to recover for the next mornings 06:00 start. Sunday sees Abbey race the best under 12’s in the UK. The race is up Oliver’s mount which is as it sounds, a serious hill you race up and down with gradients between 11% and17%. We know some of the girls and how good they are. Some will be around the same pace as Abbey on the flat, but weighing 10Kgs lighter. It will be a very tough race, just to get on the podium. Abbey is unbeaten this year, and has put herself out there racing against the top riders on terrain that will see her in the Red for most of the race. Its all character building… Cant wait for Sunday.

Herne Bay 10-mile time trial In Kent

27th of June 2021

LT: Info added – Abbeys target for 2021 is 25:59 for 10 miles. Abbeys time today was 26:11. 12 seconds to go.
Written by Abbey:
Today, I did the Herne Bay 10-mile time trial In Kent.
We went to bed at 11:30 yesterday because we got to the hotel late and then we woke up at 5am to get ready for the race. The hotel lady gave me a bag of free M&Ms 😊

It was a great course and the weather was warm by the time I started and cloudy, a bit windy and misty/fogey. I had a bad start and didn’t get clipped in very quickly, but I made up some time down hills. On one down-hill, I got to 32mph which is about 51kph.

My Garmin stopped halfway through the race and the results aren’t in yet so I don’t know my time, but I don’t think I did very well.
I also raced yesterday, and my legs ached a bit so maybe I would have done a bit better if I didn’t race the day before.

National Open Circuit Time Trial Championships – Sheffield Race 6/6

26th of June 2021

Today I did the National Open Circuit Time Trial Championships – Sheffield Race 6/6. It was cloudy but really hot at the same time. My dad and I drove up in the morning and drove around the course. As we suspected, it was quite hilly again.

There were 3 juveniles that turned up to the race, and the girl who started 1 minute after me, who I tried to stay ahead of overtook me exactly on the line so overall she got a 1 minute faster result than mine. She is 14 so I didn’t expect to beat her.

At the start, I forgot I was using the power pedals which I have to push harder to get my foot in, so when I tried to clip in, my foot slipped straight off the front of the pedal, and I lost around 10 seconds.

I had an asthma attack halfway up a hill and slowed down quite a bit there. There was also a quite strong headwind and It was so strong that I had to sprint down a hill and I still only did 15mph which is about 24kph.
Then a bit further on, there was a tight left-hand turn which I completely mis-estimated the tightness of, and almost stopped because I was going to fast and would have crashed if I didn’t brake.

At the next junction, about 6 cars passed and I had to slow right down and lost lots of time.

Overall, I think I did quite decent and it was quite fun. I have a race tomorrow so I’ll see if I can do good then…

Lotus Round 4

23rd of June 2021

On Tuesday, I went to Lotus to do round 4 of the series. Because I am the only youth C girl, they let me race in the youth A/B race which is fun. Its really hard because I am racing with people up to 16 year old. I think it’s a good experience though.

Last Tuesday’s race was the hardest round yet by far. There was a really strong head wind and everyone sprinted straight off the line into the headwind. I am definitely not as strong as any of the U16 boys so I dropped off the back just before half a lap. In round 3, I stayed on the back for about 15 minutes but the wind wasn’t as strong then.

Many people from Suffolk youth race team were there and we have a great group of riders racing.

Winner – National Youth Road Race Championships – Hillingdon

19th of June 2021

Abbey represented Suffolk Youth Race Team team in the National Youth Series event at Hillingdon on Saturday.

The weather was okay, not particularly warm and a bit damp in places. Abbey prepared well for the race, although the race was delayed by some 15+ minutes due to a nasty accident in an older category. Abbey adjusted her warm up accordingly and got her self on the front row of the grid. As the race started, Abbey had a nasty slip while trying to clip in, which caused her to drop off the back of the Peloton.

Abbey chased back on and rode back to the front by the exit of the second corner. As the riders rode the back section of the course that dropped to the left down hill and then turned sharp right, Abbey had a bit of a moment and her rear wheel slid out. When she came around for her next lap, she was a bit cautious and found herself pushed off the course by an other rider. This lead to a race long problem with the corner, whereby Abbey would go into the down hill section at the front of the group, but by the time she had climbed the hill from the exit of the corner she was about 10 seconds off the back before coming onto the start finish straight. Its normal for riders to get dropped on the up hills, not so common to get dropped on down hills. Most laps Abbey had to ride down the start finish straight trying to catch the peloton. Each lap she achieved the ‘catch’ and by the time they got back to the hill she had moved back to the front. By half race, Abbey had lapped the second place girl.

Abbey showed very good strength and fitness and we felt she could have been more of a problem to the boys if she wasn’t “getting back on” each lap, but instead attacking.

Abbey came 1st and winner of the NYS U12 Girls race. I had some camera issues, so we do not have many photos, apologies. If anyone publishes any, I’ll share for both riders.