I’ll first start by commenting on the weather… Isn’t it typical that the weekend before our Cannock Chase Classic the sun was out and now a week later we get one of the best days of the year? The one day it decides to rain / snow / sleet we chose to put on a race! Anyway that was last week and is now relegated to the history books.
This weekend is the first weekend that all the team had an event of some-sort planned. Adam Coates was off competing in a Duathlon, Dave Hollyoak a half marathon and the MTB team riding in the first round of the British National XC MTB Series. So as we approached the weekend all was set of a good weekend of strong results across a range of events.
Unfortunately things didn’t quite go to plan. Firstly Adam was struck down by a Flu bug and whilst he went and tried to compete it soon became obvious to him that it just wasn’t going to happen. So much that he had his first DNF ever and whilst we hate any of our team not finishing an event it’s sometimes better than to continue putting your body through punishment that’s going to do more damage in the long run.
Moving on the Sunday and Dave was heading north to compete in the English Athletics Half Marathon Champs. As the name suggests this was a big event, nearly 6000 riders competing altogether. Dave showed great form for the start of the season and finished 14th in category (104th overall out of 6000!) in a time of 1:20:54. Great run Dave!
The MTB guys all set for the first big race of the year travelled up to Sherwood Pines for a day of fast single track / fire roads against the best in the UK. Matt Barrett, having spent all week training hard became sick overnight and opted not to take to the start line. This left Ryan and Lee to pick up the results for the team. Being the start of the season gridding plays a massive part in the riders performance and it couldn’t of been worse for Ryan. He was gridded pretty much last off and in front of him were 80 eager Elite riders! Ryan did his best to pull himself through the field and after 2 / 3 laps he’d got up towards the top 40. He started to pay for that early effort and whilst he didn’t loose many more place’s that was as far as high as his position got. Still a much improved grid position secured for R2 where the course suits Ryan’s style far better.
Lee had a similar problem with a starting position near the back but being the Sports category there was always going to be opportunities to move quickly through the field. Riding a controlled race Lee moved through the field and by the end of lap one had the top 10 in his sights. Then by the end of lap 2 he’d moved into 7th place with a lap to go. Showing great form he put in one of the quickest last laps to eventually finish 3rd by the end. A great ride and his first National Podium in his first National Race.
All in all a disappointing weekend for some and a good weekend for others. It’s early season so things go wrong but you can be sure the guys will be recovered and back on it for the next event!