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!
Bryan Steel reports on the the opening round of the British Cycling Elite Road Series for 2018 in the Chorley Borough. The race is part of the 2018 HSBC UK Spring Cup series and saw the Academy facing national professional teams such as OnePro and Madison Genesis on the start line.
This weekend the academy made a massive step up with riding the first national series road race at the Chorley GP. The riders were not only contending with some of the best riders and team in the UK, but they faced 116 miles of some of the hardest roads Lancashire could offer. Karl, Luke, Tom and Dave lined up and with the first-year riders and there were a few nervous faces with the race plan to get stuck in while learning what level they will need to be in the future.
At the end of the first 25-mile lap there was bodies everywhere with the race already spread over 10 miles in the first hour. Dave and Karl were sat nicely in the bunch but Tom and Luke, for whom this was the first time they had raced at this level, were off the back in a small chasing group.
The second time through, Dave and Karl were still sat in the main field and Luke and Tom pulled out after the long but unsuccessful chase. They told me that in the crosswind over Riverton Moor they got stuck behind a crash and at this level if a gap opens then they know it was going to have to be a very hard chase to get back on.
On the third lap the pace really picked where Karl got dropped and even if it was nicely and sunny in Chorley the weather had taken a turn for the worst on the other side of the 25-mile lap and with the weather and the distance at this speed the racing had taken its toll.
By the time the bunch came through the fourth time Dave was showing signs of struggling but OK, but he got dropped on the first hill out of Chorley which is the same place he got dropped last year and called it a day.
On the whole the academy rode very well but they now know that the level of racing is higher than they currently are, and the new riders now know the level they need to be to make progress.
Since his return to Belgium this year with his new UCI team T Palm Ross has taken a measured approach to the season, initially taking some top 20’s and then a couple of top 10’s.
But today was time to go on the attack and he won the GP Claudy Sohet race.
The race started with a field of 157 riders consisting of many UCI pro’s looking for a tough race.
The race is in the Walloon region- no cobbles but a lumpy course with a few short stiff climbs. The race kept pretty much together in the strong headwinds but at the bell a rider jumped away and started to pull a gap.
Recognising the danger Ross bridged across taking with him another Brit Adam Lewis . On the back of the course into the headwind the Belgian rider was still on the attack but the two Brits kept working the old one two until they were sure that one of them was going to win the race.
The finishing straight was on a rising incline and Ross used his power to beat Adam in the sprint.
We are waiting confirmation but we think this may be the first Dave Rayner funded win of the year in Belgium at least.