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Winning form on the track: National Masters track championships

In the last weekend of June, the four riders who are part of the Bryan Steel track program travelled down to Newport in Wales to compete in the Masters track championships. Bryan reports on the successful event for his riders.

The Masters events runs in the same format as the open national championships but in age groups starting at 35 and in groups of 5 years after. Within the track group we have Lindsay Clarke 55 to 59, Steve Clarke 55 to 59, Bob Barber 65 to 69 and Wayne Smith 50 to 54.

With the main events ran over the weekend, the championship started on the Thursday afternoon with the 500m time trial. Bob and Wayne decided to ride this event but as their focus was on the more endurance event later in the weekend they wanted to have an effort and clear some nerves before their main focus. Both riders did personal bests finishing 5th in their age groups.

Lindsay start her account for the weekend with a win in the pursuit with a personal best time of 2.40.316 which is only 1.2 seconds off the world record for her age group. On the Saturday afternoon Lindsay also won the scratch race which was hard as she was mixed with other age groups but managed to finish strong with younger riders. Sunday afternoon was the points race and as of the scratch the race was mixed with younger riders and with our season goal of winning the masters world and a current world silver medallist we decided to ride for a result in the whole race. Lindsay started well just missing the points by one place in the first 2 sprints but in the third sprint Lindsay manage to get a 3rd place and going into the fourth and final sprint Lindsay went for it and got fourth in the last sprint. This gave Lindsay the win for her age group and 5th place in the race overall.

Lindsay’s husband Steve’s nationals started on the Saturday with the pursuit, just missing his personal best doing a 2.42.421. Steve just missed his timing at the start which made a slower than usual first lap but after that he was running faster than his PB, trying to make up for this slight mistake but with the pursuit only being 2km Steve didn’t have the time to make up the loss of the first lap. On the Saturday Steve also had a scratch race where Steve rode very well finishing 13th in the finish sprint. Sunday’s point race was one of the fastest races I have seen right form the first lap with Steve getting involved in the first sprint but he paid for this in the next few laps, struggling in the hot pace of the race. Steve finished in 12th place but rode very well against some very good riders.

Bob is the oldest rider I work with and has focused on the sprint events in the past, but we started to work together when his goal was the more endurance events. In the pursuit he did a very good personal best finishing in 4th place in a time of 2.46.060. In the scratch Bob rode very well following all the moves and going into the last lap he was sitting 3rd place but with half a lap to go his legs started to go, finishing in a very close 6th place. For the points race and with his new focus we decided for Bob to look to be in the break instead of waiting for the sprint and going on the attack twice and in the first of these getting half a lap lead before being brought back just before the second sprint. He finished in 8th place which didn’t reflect his ride at all.

Last we had Wayne riding the 50 to 54 age group where he did a flying ride in the pursuit recording a nearly 5 second personal best of 2.24.455 and only missing out of a medal by 0.250 of a second. In the scratch Wayne finished in 9th place being very active throughout the race but I think doing such a hard ride in the morning affected this result. Like the other points races Wayne’s was the same with being very fast with him winning the first sprint but others went straight on the attack after this sprint not giving him any time to recover and affected him for the rest of the race getting 6th by the end.

Overall is was a very good weekend for the Bryan Steel Track group with every rider apart from Wayne going to the World Championships in September and this weekend was more a run out with their main goal being the worlds. Everything is looking good for September and hopefully a good haul of medals.

If you are interested to hear about the Bryan Steel Track group programme or another of the programmes we run at Bryan Steel Cycling, please visit www.bryansteel.co.uk or contact me at bryan@bryansteel.co.uk to find out more.

If you would like to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, please contact me.

IT’S BEEN LIKE CRIMBO UP IN PIMBO!

We took a team of 3 riders to the Racing Chance Foundation Nat B race at Pimbo today, organised by Fred Bamford and his team and everyone came away in the points.
The way that David, George and Tom raced today is an example of how you can help people develop when you create the right environment for them to pursue their aims and understand the value of working as a team.
The 65 mile race on one way roads helped the riders compete in a safe environment without the worry of oncoming vehicles, probably making it the next best thing to closed roads.
After the first couple of laps some tentative attacks went off the front which with the experience they have gained the lads knew were not worth chasing. In the first third of the race both David and George shook the pack up to test who were the riders with legs that could be dangerous in the final. Meanwhile Tom’s job for the day was to sit tight in the bunch and capitalise on any damage that his team mates could create.
With 10 laps to go George found himself in a soft break of 5 riders which soon developed into a 20 sec lead. Five other riders recognised the danger after George’s recent form in the OVB stage race and started to bridge across. David ever alert knew all he had to do was follow them and if they bridged he was in the perfect position and after a lap a group of 11 riders now formed creating the winning break. George and David continued to drive the break with the lead stretching out to 30 sec leaving it all to the sprint, which was a close affair with David taking 6th and George 11th.
Meanwhile the rest of the field had split apart and Tom positioned himself in a small group off the front of the bunch. Tom recognising that points were still available knew he had to win his bunch sprint and with 50m to go jumped his companions to take a very comfortable 12th.
After the race Tom, who is shortly going to race in Belgium for 2 months with Sam Smith said “ Once the break had gone with David and George I knew I had to play the team role and the best I could do was ensure I won the sprint of the remaining riders. After a slow start to the season with illness my form seems to becoming just at the right time for Belgium”
The team are now looking forward to the Peterborough Alston Homes race next Sunday
Report by Mick Padley.

CONSISTENCY PAYS OFF FOR GEORGE SEWELL

One thing you can say about George this year has that he has been consistent; consistent in his approach to racing; consistent in supporting his team mates; consistent in bringing back the breaks and leading his colleagues out for the sprint and it was this consistency that allowed him to deliver 5th on GC in the OVB 2 day stage race this weekend.
Day 1 started with a TTT and with George being the engine in the team we finished in a good 3rd place leading into stage 2. Stage 2 consisted of a road race around the Harby circuit and the team set out to consolidate their position. David Ogg the lightweight in the team put the pressure on every time up Harby Hill and himself and George finished the day 3 seconds off the GC.
On day 2 we had two cards to play: Sam and Tom were between 20 and 30 seconds off GC and so for them to succeed they had to be aggressive and force a break, whilst George and David could sit back and and wait for developments. Tom forced a move coming into the head wind along Long Lane with Sam bridging across to join him. They then drove the break hard causing alarm bells in the peleton. A number of riders chased the break down and then they just sat in rather than capitalise on the break allowing the peleton to close the gap.
With two laps to go this was the signal for George to go into “Derny” mode and he dragged around 10 riders away with him and that was the definitive move in the race as they held a minute over the peleton. Climbing is not George’s strongest point but he held on up Harby Hill to finish 7th keeping him in contention.
The final stage consisted of a 2.5m individual TT and George was only a few seconds off the podium. He set off at a strong pace and was up on his rivals as he passed in front of Belvoir Castle but the effort used to in the road race cost him seconds in the final rise to the finish and he finished in a very creditable 5th place.

Flat out in the Fens: Trials and Tribulations 
in the Tour of Cambridgeshire

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.

Time trial

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.

Grand Fondo

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 bryan@bryansteel.co.uk to find out more.

If you would like to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, please contact me.

THE TEAM MAKES THEIR MARK IN EAST YORKSHIRE AGAIN

Today’s race was not 10 miles from where David Ogg took 3rd place earlier in the season so the team was relishing today’s race. The race promoted by City Road Club Hulltook place on the North Newbaldcircuit 6 laps of a course that includes a long two stage climb with a false flat in the middle and the finish line at the top.
During lap one David was off the front with a Giant Lincoln rider attempting to make the selection early on, David’s breakaway companion was not up to the pace but nonetheless the damage was done and riders were shelled out the back as the race went up the climb for the second time with David settling for taking the prime.
On lap two Sam formed a liason with Jimmy Parvin of the Prologue Racing Team and they quickly put time into the bunch stretching their lead out to over a minute at one stage with Sam taking a prime as they went over the climb.
Out on the back of the course Parvin worked out that Sam was the stronger of the two riders on the undulating section of the course so on lap 5 he attacked Sam on the climb forging ahead at the line as they took the bell.
As the race approached the climb for the final time George could see that Sam had burnt all his matches so he turned on the “Derny” power and led David and Tom out for the sprint putting them in the perfect positions on the false flat leading to the finish line. David held his position until the last 10m and then burst out to take the bunch sprint for 2nd with Tom showing ever increasing form and taking 7th and George with reward for his team effort taking a very creditable 1oth.
So not bad day across the border, 2nd, 7th, 10th and two primes for our trouble.

SAM SMITH SHOWS A RETURN TO FORM AT THE GIRO DEL MON 3 DAY STAGE RACE

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.

DAVID OGG DOMINATES IN THE NORTH YORKSHIRE HILLS

This weekend the team of David Ogg, George Sewell and Luke Hind competed in the Ilkley two day on a tough course around the Darley area of the North Yorkshire moors, reports Mick Padley.
Stage 1 was an individual time trial which put David some 12 secs back on GC, so it was still all to play for going into Stage 2.
All 3 riders were very active in stage 2 with David helping to bridge across to the early break unwittingly collecting some KOM points in the process. In the end local knowledge came to the fore and the stage was won by Yorkshire rider leaving the lads to come in with the bunch gallop.
Stage 3 was a TTT but we had worked out that to go for the overall would be difficult so rode the stage with the afternoon road race in mind.
Stage 4 on paper was always going to be difficult with gradients of 17 and 12% and so it proved. Having worked out we had a chance in the KOM competition David attacked from the gun and was initially out on his own mopping up the points. He was joined by a second rider, but David wasn’t about to loose his jersey as he was the virtual KOM leader on the road and took maximum points at every opportunity. Coming into the last lap a group of 3 initially tried to bridge across but the pace David was setting made that difficult and they retreated back to the bunch.
It took the remainder of a very depleted bunch to finally bring David and his breakaway companion back, but by this time he had captured the KOM jersey and not to be outdone with 300m to go he was still competing for 3rd place, but being out front all day had took its toll on the legs. Seeing that David’s chance had gone George opened up his sprint with the bunch and came home with the remainder of a very small peleton compared to the 80 riders that had started the day.
As a bonus to winning the KOM it looks like David has also come top 10 in the Points competition, a brilliant weekend and a great team effort.

Cycling and Golf?

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!

 

 

 

 

PROOF POSITIVE: BEER AND RACING DO MIX!

Today’s race was sponsored by the Wold Top Brewery who gave every rider a bottle of beer. I don’t know if it was the anticipation of drinking the beer at the end of the race or the worry of leaving it all with me while they raced that put the fire in the teams belly but they certainly rode very aggressively whilst at the same time being smart and took control of the race.
Whichever vantage point I chose to watch the race from there was always Godfrey orange at or near the front of the race. It started on the first lap with David Ogg going away with two other riders gaining 30secs very quickly. The panic that ensued in the bunch was palpable with the other riders chasing hard to close it down. Immediately the break was made Tom Booth went over the top taking a few riders with him, the rest of the team sat in whilst the bunch worked hard to bring him back. Soon as it was brought back Karl Baillie launched a stinging attack which lasted half a lap.
The other riders trying to put some control of their own into the race and formed a break, but it didn’t last long as Sam Smith brought them back on the long descent and the status quo was re-established.
This was the pattern for the first half of the race with either an Academy rider forcing a break or closing one down.
A lull ensued and just as the peleton was catching its breath George Sewell and David hatched another plan with George driving on with David on his wheel. Alert to the danger around 15 riders jumped across the gap and this was how the second half of the race proceeded. David and George knew the group was two big to take to the final but found themselves outnumbered as the riders had them earmarked as the danger men and so had to wait for the final as the peleton was now a minute in arrears.
The finish line was up a gradual slope so George used his power to stretch out the group and put David in a good position for the sprint. With 20m to go David was in the lead but was just pipped on the line by two other riders and had to settle for a well fought third whilst George took a solid 8th place after playing the team role. In the bunch gallop Sam put Tom into a position were he could contest the sprint, all in all a good day at the office.
Next week the team is competing in the Ilkley 2 day stage race with Luke, David and George whilst Sam, Karl and Tom will be racing in the Coalville Wheelers race.
Now then where did I put those bottles of beer?
Report by Mick Padley.

It’s been a bit hot “darn sarf” this week

Some of the lads have had a busy week with Tom Booth showing some form and taking 11th at Hillingdon during the week. Tom was in the fast closing chasing bunch and took 3rd in the bunch in the sprint, a sign that he’s making good progress.
On Sunday the whole of the team competed in the Thames Velo Nat B race on the drift circuit, which is relatively flat interspersed with a couple of drags which was reflected in the average speed for the race of 29mph.
We anticipated a break going from the start, but the first one didn’t contain any riders of significance so we bided our time in the break. Until around 32km when David Ogg went with some useful riders but the commitment wasn’t there from everyone and a Morvelo Basso rider pushed on alone whilst the break was absorbed.
As the break came back George Sewell went over the top to try and bridge to the lone leader and form a useful group. A couple of other riders went with him but the peleton sensed the danger and closed it down which was the signal for Sam Smith to chance his arm and form a breakaway with Karl Baillie and some other riders, but last years winner Dan Bigham was having non of it and with his team mate closed the gap.
With 25kms to go the winning break finally made it stick containing Dan Bigham and Rees Howell who has been making his mark this season. Even with encouragement from our riders the main group seemed uninterested in fetching them back, perhaps the 28 degree heat was taking its toll.
As the group approached the drag to the finish Luke Hind, our first year rider, tried to launch himself away from the bunch but got swallowed up in the mass sprint. Unfortunately no points today but the team animated the race and made other teams take the boys from “up North” seriously.
This coming weekend we have a 6 man squad racing in the Top Wold Actif race near Beverly and if their performance on Sunday is anything to go by they have the legs to do well.
Report by Mick Padley

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