Bryan Steel Racing went on mass to the Tour of Cambridge to see how many riders we could qualify for the Amateur Road Racing Worlds Championships, aka Grand Fondo World finals in Italy later this year. All the riders doing this event are members of the Bryan Steel Racing team https://bryansteel.co.uk/advance/#raceteam and team manager Bryan Steel reports on the eventful weekend.
The Chrono on the Saturday started well with 3 of the team riding in their age groups. In the youngest age group, we had Jack who went to France last year, and with a stinking cold he still manged to get qualification – seeing him at the end I would still wanted to have been following him. Ian was in the 60-65 category and managed to finish in the worst position of 4th in his age group. He is already planning where we can make up 10 second for 2019. Simon Inman was our third rider, who didn’t have the best ride with his mind being focused on Sundays Grand Fondo and his first time doing this event but gained some valuable experience for next year.
The main focus was Sunday’s 78 miles across the Fenland in the Grand Fondo and in the morning we were very happy to see that there was no wind unlike last year. With most Sportives staring very early in the morning it felt very strange to be starting at mid-day, but as the package with Bryan Steel Racing included access to the Club Kermesse VIP facilities we were able to take full advantage of the hospitality on offer.
For this year all the Bryan Steel Racing riders was in the race pens, albeit split into our respective age groups.
Brook Pitchford was the first to go in 35-40 group but as soon as he went myself, Simon, Lee and Martin were taken to the start line with the other 196 riders. For me the was like old times when I used to race in big races but for the other riders it can be a daunting experience with so many other competitors, and as we started the goal was for me to keep them out of trouble. This was OK for the first 10km but then once we moved onto narrow lanes and even with the roads closed to other motorists was hard to keep in the right place all the time.
The riders were going very well but after an hour we hit the rough roads of the Fens. Along with the twisting and turning nature of the route the riders were starting to find it hard to be in the right place in the group and the race started to break up with the pressure of the riders on the front.
I was in my element like old times and even had the chance to catch up with some old racing mates before we hit the last 20km where things got serious. My first priority was to qualify for the World Championships and stay safe but as we got near to the finish I was finding I was able to hold the right line, going into the last corner in around 10th place… until an untimely crash caused me to swerve off my line and kill my speed. I ended the race in 27th place.
Once through the finish I found Brook who had done a brilliant ride, finishing in the front of his group. Simon was the next through, also finishing within the time limit. Martin Pearcy was the next of our team to finish, just outside the qualification time due to a puncture out on the route. He lost 6 minutes changing his inner tube (amazing time) and missed the limit by 4 minutes. Next in was Lee who had struggled after getting caught up behind several crashes but I also think the hot weather had got to him which didn’t help.
Of the older riders, Paul Newson achieved a massive personal best, but just missed the qualification time in his 50-55 age group. Last but not least was Steve Wright, who was in the 60-65 age group, however he was somewhat at a disadvantage as his group had to wait until all the sportive riders had left before his group started. Steve hasn’t done anything like this before but did a great job finishing just outside his time limit.
All in all, we had a good weekend with 5 riders able to book their place in Italy in September.
If you are interested to hear about the Bryan Steel racing team programme or another of the programmes we run at Bryan Steel Cycling, please visit www.bryansteel.co.uk or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
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After a difficult year in 2017 with a broken collar bone Sam has approached 2018 with a measured approach building steadily to his main goals of hitting top form when arriving in Belgium in July.
The Giro del Mon consisted of a TTT and a road race on day one, a ITT and a Kermesse on day two followed by the Queen’s stage on Monday with 4 laps of a 20 mile course taking in the dreaded Stiperstones with gradients of 20%.
Day one didn’t produce any results but it put Sam in a good position to move forward on day 2 with George Sewell committed to helping him out.
The ITT over a flat 7km course allowed Sam to use his time trialling skills putting in a good ride taking 7th overall in the stage and 3rd U23 rider.
Moving into the afternoon Sam encouraged by his mornings performance started the Kermesse in a positive mood. On lap two a break went with most teams being represented and Sam was in it. The break stayed away all race putting 45 secs into the main bunch. Two of the teams had more than one rider in the break and so was able to play the team game giving it the old one two and attacking strongly. Sam came in with the main gallop securing himself 11th place.
The final day was always going to be a war of attrition especially with the National Hill Climb Champion in the field, and so it proved to be on lap one with attacks going in on the 20% grade. On lap two Sam, after being supported by George, was still in the bunch as it went over the top. George his job done called it a day.
As the race proceeded the rate of attrition was high, but Sam with his eye on doing well in his category pushed on and came in just behind the main bunch. Such was the difficulty of the stage only 50% of the field finished, but by pushing on Sam finished the third 3rd Cat in the event.
A tough event and the first time the lads have competed in a 3 day event so good experience for the future.
Next week the team are competing in the Nick Clark E123 race at Leighton Buzzard.
Bryan writes about how golf can be like cycling….
After my second Olympic medal and my retirement from racing I was asked by a number of charities to be an ambassador, which meant they kept asking me to attend their fund-raising golf days with people asking to go round with me.
As I hadn’t had the chance to do any other sports throughout my cycling career, I thought this would be a nice new challenge and you can image how I felt when after taking the time to have a couple of coaching sessions, a few goes on the driving range and a couple rounds with people I know, there I stood in the first tee with my JJB golf starter set.
In my group there was someone who was telling me the thousands of pounds he had spent on equipment. The funny thing was, 5 minutes later we met again looking for our golf balls in the same patch of rough ground.
Cycling is the same and it very easy to be put off by the cost and the amount of kit on the market along with the people who are very happy to tell you how much they had spent. It is very easy to be put off, but as in my first round of golf, a little time spent getting ready will make the world of difference.
At Bryan Steel Cycling we try to break this down by helping you get started in the sport in a fun and social way whilst also challenging you in the right way.
To do a sportive you don’t need a thousands of pounds bike, just a bike that fits you, set up for you, and most importantly to have done the right preparation.
If you look at www.bryansteel.co.uk/engage you will see various membership packages to suit your needs and give you the right level of support to achieve whatever cycling challenge you are planning to achieve.
The main thing to remember is that like in golf, it not about throwing money at the sport, but instead investing some time in yourself to do some training and making sure you are prepared for your big day – and like my first round of golf, having that warm glow of beating the man who had spent thousands of pounds! (I did have a great time in the end, but cycling is definitely the sport for me!)
Remember, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on equipment the bike will not go forwards without someone getting on it and pedalling the thing!
Last weekend Bryan and the team enjoyed some fantastic weather (for April!) as they led a group of riders around the Rutland CiCle Tour Sportive organised by ITP Events. Rider leader Paul Newson reports on the day.
Entrants had the option to sign up for the coach-led ride on the middle distance 80 mile route, and on Saturday we were joined by two riders getting back into their stride – Gary and Steve; two ladies training for an Iron Man (which involves a 112 mile ride at over 14mph average) – Sam and Tina; and Nadjia, recently recovering from surgery and still undergoing treatment, who had travelled up from London the night before especially for the opportunity to ride with Bryan and learn from his experience.
After introductions and coffee at Bryan’s van, conveniently parked at the start line, our guest riders and leaders for the day jumped the queue and set off at a steady pace while we all settled into the rhythm for the day. Key factors where pacing on the hills and making sure everyone ate and drank enough, especially as the temperatures rose to a balmy 25º. Pacing was down to us to make sure we stayed as a comfortable group, but there can be no fear of a good feast at an ITP Events Sportive with their buffet of high-carb delights at every feed station. The fruitcake is a particular speciality, and if you’ve tried it, you’ll know why!
The ride took an undulating tour through the smallest county in England, Rutland, and neighbouring counties, taking in spectacular views of the Eyebrook Reservoir and the impressive Harringworth Viaduct along its way. The route gave Bryan plenty of opportunity to speak to each rider in turn and advise them on how to improve their riding technique, especially with the hills. Nadjia in particular benefitted from the pedal technique advice which gave her that extra boost to get up the steepest sections.
By the end of the ride the hills were starting to have an effect on some of the riders but we all finished safely together to debrief back at the Giant Store Rutland for a well-earned finishers medal, coffee and recovery burger.
Tina, one of the Iran Man trainees, said afterwards: “Thank you guys so much for an epic ride today. I really enjoyed it and have taken away some valuable lessons to put into practice.” We look forward to keeping in touch and finding out how they get on!
Visit the ITP Events website for a full list of their events where you can sign-up for a ride with Bryan. We look forward to seeing you next time!