All posts by Leon

Helping Plomesgate CC with a Strava Segment

Another week without races. Hoping things change soon. I’m practicing courses. I start doing open road 25 mile TT’s this year. It’s quite long for an 11 year old, but I can hold my TT pace for that amount of time, so it should be okay. No-one has any expectations for my times, which takes the pressure off.

Today I went to another time trial course which was 10 miles, but a local club wanted help creating a segment on Strava, so I did two and a half laps, 25 miles, which is the distance I’m practicing for.

It was a little bit cold, but also really windy (20+mph) so It was a bit hard to keep the bike straight when I got into very strong cross winds. I tried out my new TT bars, because when I had the flat TT bars, I felt like I was falling off the front of the bike, when I went down hills. Now I have J-bars which I also used last year and they are much easier for me to use and more aero.

Also, after a while, my gears stopped working properly and they kept stopping in one gear. Dad said me fitted a faulty rear mech by accident. It slowed my times down a lot, but I was averaging 19.5mph roughly and ended up around 18.5mph due to the problems. I think that’s good, so when we get a quick day I can try again. I think I’ll be well under 1hr 15mins (20mph), which was my target for the year in races, so maybe I can go even faster when I do race.

Training today in Battisford

It was 5 degrees at warmest today, so I had to wear a lot of layers to keep my core warm. I can’t wait to get the new kit and a gilet. My dad still isn’t well enough to ride, so he followed me with my brother in a car. Callum was radio man and helped me with the route.

Over the weekend we had worked on the set-up of my new TT bike. I rode it for the first time in the new configuration today. That’s the second time in total I’ve ridden it. It felt a lot better today, but I find the hands out front position much harder to control than my previous angled up forearm position. It feels like I’m going to slide off the front of the bike going down hills and braking. I practiced getting to the point where I don’t need to brake on most of the downhill corners, but that takes time and laps to get right safely.

I rode six laps in total today of the Battisford 10 Time Trial course. By the end I could use the tri-bars on the flat and on the uphills, but most of the time it was still slower than when I use the outsides of the bars. I guess it’s just getting used to it through practice.

Testing the B10/9 Time Trial Course – Feb 2021

It was a nice day today. The sun made it warm compared to the past weeks. It was 14 degrees. I increased my speed a little bit to around 17.5mph average this week. This is quite slow compared to race speed, but the plan today was to ride a 10 mile Time Trial course three times called the B10/9 from Sudbourne through Tunstall and back.
It was quite fun, but not as flat as I was told by my dad. It was a bit windy, but not too bad. I am trying to learn the local courses, as I will be able to race on open roads from the end of March. I will miss the first race at this course, as I won’t be 12 in time. Still, it was good to get the feel of the course.
When I race, I do sighting laps and installation laps. The installation laps are where you work out where the best lines through corners might be, braking points, exit speeds and things like that. Sighting laps are just riding around the course and checking what it’s like, where there are pot holes and other things that I need to take different lines for.
Today I rode on my CycloCross bike with road tyres on, so it didn’t feel as fast as a road race bike. The only technical bit was in Tunstall, but as I was not in a TT position and not going over 20mph, it seemed easy enough. I think the tight corner on the way back in Tunstall might be harder at full race speed because I had to be careful at 20mph. If there was a tail wind into that corner or a strong side wind in a time trial position, it would be a lot harder. I think I will do a few test rides on my TT bike in a month or so, so I will find out then.

Photoshoot at Stonham Barns feb 2021

Today I went to Stonham barns and had a few photos taken by a photographer called Sarah. (we were social distanced). She asked me a few questions about my cycling and then she took some photos of me, she also took some of me with my dad, and some while I was riding. Luckily it was warmer and wasn’t snowing this week so it was quite fun.

Todays Trainig ride – 14th of Feb 2021

It was cold outside today. I did a ride with very icy roads. The temperature was about 1-2 degrees, but the wind was colder. I cut the ride a bit short as the snow drifts were too dangerous to ride on at a normal speed. I did around 45 miles total. I got used to the cold quite quickly, so that wasn’t much of a problem. Its warmer next week, so hoping it is dry too.

Training in the SNow – feb 202

This weeks training has gone well. I still have no idea where my cycling friends I race against are with speed, but I think if we race I will soon find out.
Today I am still doing endurance training, but we did most of it in the garden and in the village park. Dad put my CycloCross tyres back on my bike, which made it easy to ride on grass. Still looking forward to doing speed work and the sunshine, but I’m having fun and riding in the snow.

Training at the end of Jan 2021

Just a bit cold outside today, but I needed the miles, so I went out. Towards the end it dropped to zero and there was ice everywhere. I stayed local and on the quiet lanes. It was dry, which was the best part. It took my feet about an hour to go back to the right colour afterwards.
I did about 52 miles at 15 miles an hour, which was the target. I was a bit worried, so the last 2 miles I picked up the pace to 20mph roughly, and dad was not finding it easy (nor was I). I think it will be nice when the weather gets warmer.

National Championships

National Closed Road Time Trial Championship 2020. On Saturday the 10th of October 2020 (last week), my dad and I went to ‘Premier Inn’ at Thruxton in Hampshire for the race the next day.

We went with Jack (10yrs) and Edith (13yrs), all of us are members of Suffolk Youth Race Team (SYRT). We had dinner together that night and then went to bed. The hotel let us down a bit with breakfast, so we had to find some in another place.

In the morning, we woke up and packed our things away. I got ready in my kit, then we packed the car and checked out of the hotel. We then went to McDonald’s and bought pancakes, but didn’t eat them in the end as we didn’t really like them, so I had a banana instead. When we got to the race, I signed on and got my numbers and timing chip and took them back to the car.

Edith, jack and I rode around a bit to keep warm and at 8:00, we did a few laps of the course together to practice our lines and position.

With about 30 minutes to the race, I got on the rollers and did a few minutes on there. I finished my drink, got back on the rollers and did a few harder bursts. With about 10 minutes to go to my start, I went over and started riding around the square warm up area near the start line.

At the start line, I had to think about my gears and where my pedal was in order to get a fast start. Although I was ready, I still had quite a bad start, only getting clipped in at the end of the pit lane.

I was on the tri-bars as soon as i could have and about 1 minute into the race, I went around a corner and someone came past me on the inside of the track, but there was not much space, maybe 40 cms, so it was very close. They made me lose control of the bike whilst I was on the tri-bars, and I almost fell off. I recovered and settled back into the race without losing too much time.

There is a hill on the course near the end of the lap. After a few laps riding the hill seated, I decided to test out which one was faster, “out of the saddle” or “on the tri-bars seated” for the hill. I figured out that I was much faster out of the saddle when going up the hill and still recovered in time to push onto the finish straight.

I forgot my inhaler before the race, so I was struggling a bit with my breathing for the whole race, but at the end of the race I gave all my remaining energy away by giving a sprint to the finish line. I was so tired and out of energy when I finished, that after I signed out, I could barely stand and had to sit on the ground whilst we were talking to team mates.

I was quite happy with my result and I came 1st (I was the only one in my category 🙂 ). Although I did beat a 13,14 and 15 year old which I think is quite good.

It was great fun and I’m glad I could race there this year. Well done to everyone who raced.It was about 4 hours to get home, so I was quite tired when we arrived to see my mum and our dog.

Thank you again to Angus for lending me his disc wheel. I looked after it very well and It made me feel very fast.

Photo by Huw Williams.. Dad has this photo in his office at home

Thank you to Stonham Barns for their support this year (Alan and Terri Forward, Keith etc), you make a big difference, especially for the opportunities you make available to me.. Its never forgotten.