Race Result: BC National Ladies Road Championships

Daren Austin : June 30, 2014 12:20 pm : News, Results, Road Racing
Congratulations Laura, another fine result. Sadly I didn’t see you on the highlights yesterday.
Kind regards,
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Race Report: Bayeux #3‏

Daren Austin : June 23, 2014 11:31 am : News, Reports, Road Racing

In a break from the tradition for the Bayeux series of races, number 3 was a relatively fast and rolling affair, despite the “Ditchling Common” location conjuring up thoughts of quite the opposite. 10 laps of a 6.5 mile course, with no real climbs to speak of and a 200m sprint finish after a left turn at a roundabout.

Myself, McCarthy and Les made the early morning trip for a 9:30 start, and rolled out with a slightly reduced field of 40 or so. Points were only available for the top 20, and after #2’s washout there were plenty of people for which coming all the way down wasn’t really worth it. Yet despite the small field, Dynamo made up 1 in 4 riders…


Photo courtesy of Glyn Durrant, Surrey League.

The first couple of laps saw a few attacks, between myself and a few others, we kept them all in check. The Dynamo were employing some infuriating tactics of quite literally blocking the road at the front of the race, letting a couple of their guys get away. Cue lots of semi-sprints to chase down breaks.

On about lap 3 a racer with no club kit goes off the front (having done so a couple of times already) and puts 100m or so between him and the pack. No-one really seems to care as a VCM guy (who I’d had my eye on as the winner from two weeks ago, and a strong performance at the handicap at Staple Hill), rides off the front after him. The road was rolling and there was quite a headwind blowing yet still no-one seemed to care. Not quite so confident of the lack of danger myself, I took it upon myself to bridge to the VCM rider. I broke clear of the pack and made it over to him, and in turn we joined with the 3rd guy.


Photo courtesy of Glyn Durrant, Surrey League.

Over the next 5 laps we pull out our lead to a maximum reported 1:04, all the while acutely aware of the number of Dynamo in the pack to organise a chase. Myself & VCM working well together, however I get the distinct impression that the 3rd bloke has spent very little, or no time riding in any kind of organised fashion. He seemed intent on killing himself as quickly as possible – doing a turn and then coming round from the back after he’d had enough of resting. Despite this, we seemed to be extending our advantage and the pack didn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to chase. Meanwhile, an ASL guy and Dynamo guy apparently had decided they were going to spend a lap or so attacking each other, so when the time gap was subsequently report as 40s, the mentality of the pack shifted somewhat. We were reeled back in with about 3 laps to go.

With some assistance from Mr McCarthy, we cover the multitude of counter attacks over the course of the next lap – I find myself up the road of a split a couple of times – but nothing sticks. 2 laps to go and a Dynamo rider heads off the front, with some exemplary riding… I’ve got little left to give at this point and he solos off on his own. A lap later and traffic causes the race to be neutralised, restarted with 1 to go, and the Dynamo rider given his 30s lead. Coming into the rolling headwind-y straight before the left turn to the finish, we can see him 100m up the road. Over the next half a mile the pack gets increasing messy and dangerous, as we gain on the solo break and prepare for the final sprint. Just before the corner, another Dynamo rider attacks the bunch, makes the turn, overtakes the leader and takes the win. A momentary lapse of judgement leaves me boxed in and I roll in about 20th. Les just ahead, James just behind.

Great work by all, especially James, who having been dropped in the first of this series is now holding position and doing excellent work to control the front of the race. Chapeau.

James Bradley

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Road Racing: Some Advice

Daren Austin : June 18, 2014 6:22 pm : Road Racing


  1. Relax, trust the riders in front. You don’t really have a lot of choice in this as you’re tightly packed. If someone is a menace tell them what they’re doing wrong simply and make a note to keep away from them.
  2. Don’t worry about what’s going on behind you, can’t do anything about it anyway and it’s really quite dangerous to look all the way behind unless you’re on the very front.
  3. Make sure you do pay full attention to those you can see easily, not just the rider in front but the rider in front of them and those to the side. If it’s not already automatic it will be soon
  4. Be aware of what you’re approaching, hill, bends, potholed section and obviously the finish. Remember it so that you’re prepared for what’s coming next time round and plan.
  5. It’s easier and safer near the front than at the back.
  6. Practice holding your line at various intensities while riding solo and also while having a drink or a gel. If you’re going to need a bottle during the race practice taking one beforehand. If you weave at high intensities you’re hugely increasing your rolling resistance and will alarm anyone near you.
  7. Make direction changes smooth and predictable, even if sprinting, give an indication if it’s necessary (never in a sprint of course)
  8. If you’re boxed in be patient and use the gap when it appears
  9. Try not to get boxed in, riding on the gutter side of the road in a race is the worst place to be. Better in the middle of the bunch or on the right, if you’re on the right you have much more room to manoeuvre but watch out for cars coming the other way.
  10. Don’t overlap wheels, it gives you nowhere to go.
  11. Make sure your brakes are quiet, squealing brakes scare the whole bunch
  12. Pedal all the time unless cornering or braking hard. TT riders tend to be on or off with the power and RRs need to be much smoother and change power with finesse to hold the wheel at a steady distance as the terrain changes, keeping cadence high also helps with this.
  13. Easy on the brakes the same as with changes in direction, smooth and predictable.
  14. Hold a smooth line through a corner, no double apexes
  15. If you’re on the front pick a clean line
  16. Head up, worry about what the Garmin says afterwards (or sparingly in quieter moments)
  17. Lower tyre pressure if it’s wet, still below TT pressure if it’s dry. Grip is more important.
  18. If you’re in a break be aware that half-wheeling (keeping the power on after pulling over at the end of your turn) pushes the group’s speed up quite a lot and applies pressure to everyone. This can be a good thing if you’re one of the strongest or it can disrupt the group. Either way it’s quite aggressive so apply with care.
  19. If you’re in a break and want to keep it together don’t surge, keep it nice and smooth. Don’t carry passengers in a race, if someone’s not working ask them why, then try and drop them or stop working too (depending on where your teammates are)
  20. Go into a race with a plan, it focusses the mind on something useful from the start and stops you thinking negatively
  21. Until it comes easily concentrate on being the smoothest rider in the bunch, it’s more efficient that way so you’ll have more in the tank when it gets hard.
  22. It’s much more civilised in a break.

Hope it’s helpful, looks like a lot but it’s all about smooth and predictable to those around you and being aware of what’s in front of you in terms of riders and the road.



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Race Report: National Masters Circuit Champs 45-50

Daren Austin : June 16, 2014 10:52 pm : News, Road Racing

On behalf of the riders, I’d like to offer a huge thank you to all those who helped to make yesterday’s event at Hillingdon such a success, especially Bill who went to enormous trouble to organize the event. I was proud to wear the jersey. Whether I did it proud, you can decide…

Race Report:

The problem with marginal gains is that they are just that; marginal. As any mathematician will tell you, a finite sum of infinitesimal increases is still infinitesimal. What one really wants is mahoosive gains. Well, if not watching England lose again to a well-drilled defense counts, I was already making some gains. Not only that, the new secret weapon was brought into force; a fine new white Giro Air Attack helmet, purchased specially for Father’s Day. Of course nobody said that looking like an extra from Tron was a marginal gain, but I digress (I blame peer pressure from the 1st Cats).

Forty riders registered, 30 signed on, three from Team BH-Solidor-Wam Youth (BHSWY), who are currently ranked ninth nationally; an Elite rider, Martin Smith fresh from winning last week’s national masters road race championship, plus two lead-out men for good measure. At least I won’t be alone, some familiar London faces and of course our own Stephen Campbell.

Weather is cool and overcast, strong Northerly wind blowing up the incline, rain threatens. It’s cold. I’m glad of an under-layer and long sleeves (another marginal gain?). From the off, the pace gets going in what will be a 70 minute chess game on wheels. Lap two, Stephen attacks, others go with him, plenty of blockage, plenty of counter attacks.

And attacks. And attacks. There are moments of calm, indeed moments almost stationary up the incline. Nobody gets away for long. BHSWY are mixing it up. having three strong riders means there is always one launching or bridging, and of course we are watching and countering their moves with attacks of our own. The pace is not too bad; between Wednesday E1234 Masters and Tuesday E123. I’m working hard, occasionally on the front. I try and bridge to a breakaway, but we don’t stay long. I even try a few attacks on the wheel of the usual suspects. Laps pass and I realize how much more tactical this race is compared with others. I also notice that with a modest sized group, it is very easy to slip to the rear, local knowledge, however, means that moving up is not as hard as it might be.

Stephen looks very strong throughout the race, but there are many strong riders in the field. Everything is annulled with five laps to go, and the peloton count down the laps. I move up to my comfort zone and we accelerate for the penultimate lap. The pace really rises up the incline into the wind – 1.5 laps to go would make a long sprint! around Brian’s Bends and more places made up. Last lap. I’m about 15th, and we gun it down the straight and into Turn One, again holding position, the sprinters move into position. BHSWY are taking the lead-out seriously on the front. Brian’s Bends for the last time, Bus Stop Bends and the final sprint. Vince Halpern is boxed in and I pass him, I can see Stephen ahead and unlike Wednesday evening, accelerate past a few more riders. I count 14 riders ahead of me over the line. The 11T may have made an appearance. Meanwhile, Stephen is a very creditable eighth place and Martin Smith takes the win and another jersey. 15th! I can hardly believe it. Marginal gains indeed.

For those thinking of racing this week, There is of course the E123 and 3/4 races at Hillingdon tomorrow evening. The Surrey League Vets are racing Wednesday at Dunsfold (too far for me), and the next Surrey League Handicap Race is this Thursday evening at Accommodation Road. And don’t forget the nine-up TT at Silverstone on Friday. Have a good week.

Kind regards,

PS: SIS Cola gel with Caffeine at 40 minutes. A final marginal gain. And I needed it.

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Photos from Masters Nationals at Hillingdon

Duncan : June 16, 2014 9:00 am : News, Road Racing

Really exciting day of racing at Hilingdon on Sunday. TCC in several of the races. 
Here’s a few of the boys in action. Great event, well done Bill and the TCC team.

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Race Report: Surrey League Dunsfold 4ths

Daren Austin : June 14, 2014 9:30 pm : News, Reports, Road Racing

I made the trip down to Dunsfold in search of the 4 points I needed to get to cat 3.

A beautiful Friday evening for racing and some support from my girlfriend meant I needed a good race!! Pace was high from the start which made breaks difficult (and even better – no crashes!). I was the only TCC rider so set about trying to stay near the front; not on the front and get in any breaks if they did happen – they didn’t! Most teams had only one or two riders so tactically it was a strange race – very much felt like every man for himself as the laps ticked by the sprint beckoned.

Last lap and I was holding good position top 10 but got caught behind a couple of riders in the last 500m. I managed to force my way through but had to sprint later than I would have liked. All wasn’t lost as I passed a load of riders that had gone too early – it was a close finish so need to wait for results to be confirmed but I think I was 5th or 6th so hopefully enough for those remaining four points and onwards to some cat 3 racing!!!

Finally – I think there are still some places remaining for the 3rd team for the 9up at Silverstone this Friday. Let Chrissie or I know if you’re interested.


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Race Report: Surrey League 2/3 Lingfied

Daren Austin : June 9, 2014 9:19 am : News, Reports, Road Racing

If you can meet with triumph & disaster…

Of which the 2/3 Surrey League race in Lingfield had plenty today. Impeccable teamwork, exceptional displays of strength, yet lady luck just wasn’t on our side.

4.5 laps of a 14.5 mile circuit awaited us in picturesque surroundings under a glorious sun. The TCC contingent consisted of myself, Tinsley, McCarthy, Les & O’Rourke.


Photo courtesy of Glyn Durrant, Surrey League

Things got off to a good start. After a solid 2 week training block and 48 hours of rest, I was elected as a the rider to keep safe to deliver to the line. Of course shortly after that was decided, Alex found himself in a break of three in the opening minutes of the race. Foolish to let a chance like that pass, the three of them drew out a lead of around 30 seconds, only to have their chances scuppered by a poorly positioned motorist. 8 seconds unclipped I understand, pretty annoying.

The race came back together, and all I can say is that the team worked like absolute machines. James slipped his chain in the first lap, but did his usual trick of chasing back on, and unfortunately Tim punctured shortly after and that was his race over. For most of the race, the remaining four of us held a TCC presence at the sharp end of the bunch. With a good scattering of Dynamo, Paragon and Meudon, nothing was given much of a chance to get away. Occasionally there would be a 3 or 4 that opened up a gap that started to look a bit dangerous. A quiet word with Alex and next thing I know him and James are drilling it at the front of the pack to bring the breaks back in. A success every time.

The bell went for the final lap, and the first few kicks were attacked by a few Dynamo riders and Mike Coyle quite hard. Still fresh I stuck with them just in case, but nothing got away. It was going to end in a bunch finish. This is exactly what we’d worked for. I still had everything left to give. I could feel it, we were going to win this one. All that stood in the way was a couple of miles of flat, followed by an uphill drag to the finish – an initial sharp kick, followed by a longer drag.

With about two miles to go before the left turn to the finish, I find Tinsely’s wheel and he sets a fast tempo on the front of the pack. The pressure of the situation raised my heart rate slightly, but that was brought under control soon enough. We turn left and reach the first kick and Alex buries himself and drags me up it. Holding such a forward position worked in our favour as the roads were littered with parked and waiting cars leaving only narrow gaps to pass through. The road levels out, two riders slowly move past us. Alex peels off with some words of encouragement and I’m left to finish the job that the boys have all worked so hard for. First place is currently 10m up the road, second place just a few wheel lengths in front. I start to pass second place on his right as we reach the crest of the drag, still with a touch left to open up on the final flat. As far as I was concerned that was it, I still had 10 or 15 seconds worth of power in my legs and the guy in the lead was going backwards.

Then I look up. I see a woman wildly waving a red flag, telling me to turn left. She’s the other side of the junction and it’s too late. I try to turn but instead find myself in a ditch on the far side of the road on the left. I pick myself up and drag myself to the finish for a solitary point. Absolutely gutting.

This left hander hadn’t been on the course so far – it had seemed logical that the finish line would be where the lap board was. General consensus from those I spoke to after was that this detour was generally poorly explained and marked. “The finish is after a left and up a short drag” could have descried the final section of the course just as well as this left turn. The marshal on the corner even told me that they expected everyone to know the course already.

Anyway, nothing that can be changed about that now. What we can take away from this is that we have an exceptionally strong team in the making, with tactics that, as far as I’m concerned, should see us winning these Surrey League races, and wining them regularly.

Well done all who raced today, you did TCC proud.

James Bradley

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Race Report: National Masters Road race June 7th

Daren Austin : June 9, 2014 9:11 am : News, Reports, Road Racing

If I had to sum up the race in one word… it would be “disappointment”.

I arrived early at the venue, my start was at 08:30. After signing on and warming up for a while a roll out to the start was underway. I knew who to watch out for, these included a rider from Pedal Heaven and a Team Corley cycles.

The course was 6 laps of 20km each lap was rolling with a couple of tricky sharp left handers and a long drag climb which got steeper as you ascend. This was also where the finish was.

During the roll out the heavens opened, the rain was biblical for most of the race. Training had gone well, and I’m in good form going into the race, it seemed slow to begin with. I sensed the peloton was nervous and perhaps the rain was affecting some.

I identified that the attacking points in the race were likely to be the climbs, I was right. 1st lap I sprung into action and attacked to gap the field. I identified who was strong on the climbs and who was able or willing to chase. Once at the top I settled and was joined by 3 others. Working together we formed a breakaway group. But I have to say, the commitment was not shown by everyone. We stayed out for 2 laps, but the peloton rejoined us. Once caught, a flurry of attacks came, leaving me no choice but to chase them. Riders were being canny timing their attacks to work each of the strong riders down. I felt strong, and I know they knew it. During lap 3 I forged an attack on the climb. This time the elastic snapped. A group of approximately 12 riders away including myself. A few of us worked on the front to ensure this breakaway stuck. Lap 4 on the climb I seemed to go backwards. The break group edged away from me and gapped me significantly. I couldn’t understand it. I was feeling so good. Something had gone wrong! I realised my rear brake pads were rubbing, reaching back I released them. It felt like someone had given me a push! I then began to chase back. I was joined by another rider who I thought may assist, but didn’t, and just tapped through.

Next we were joined by the 2nd group. This group was so disorganized. I managed to establish some sort of cohesion, but I knew I was providing most of the work. I had to. I shouted things like, “This is the nationals! Are we racing so we don’t come last!” I honestly could not believe the mentality of the group. In fact going into the final lap I could see the breakaway! But with 20km to go I knew it was impossible to bridge on my own.

The breakaway group then edged further away and out of sight. My group then started to play tactics, with nearly all either attacking poorly or not working on the front. I wasn’t interested. I don’t fight for 12th place. Typically 2 riders went off the front of my group and stayed away. The rest of the peloton seemingly expecting me to chase it down. At the finish, I trickled over the line losing a couple of places, but still in the top 3rd of the finishers.

Disappointed with the race, but at least I gave it everything I had. If it wasn’t for the mechanical issue, I think I would of got a top 5.

Still, onto next Sunday. The National Masters Circuit champs at Hillingdon, where I hope things are better.

Come along, Bill needs helpers.

Graham Crow

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Race Report: Surrey League Handicap #7 (Staple Hill)

Daren Austin : June 6, 2014 10:14 pm : News, Road Racing
Eleven Twickenham rides in a field of 60! Clearly the message to get there early for sign on had sunk in.

Myself, Alex, Graham, Les, James Bradley, Phil, Alex Toghill making a welcome return after the crash, Miles and Andy (from Hounslow who were organising the event), Richard Anderson and Mark Oakley in his first race, meant that we were duty bound to do something in this race.

SIX groups were despatched at what seemed like big intervals. With a TCC rider in each group, Andy and Mark in the first, Richard in the second, myself in a third (of 3Vs and 3’s) and so on.

Our group of ten set about at a fierce pace with six of us doing a lot of work, myself included. Big pulls along the Longcross road, and again up Staple Hill. We catch stragglers off the first group and eventually pass the second, some of whom manage to stay with us. Kudos to the Wheelers who put in some big turns. I could feel Tuesday’s race in my legs, but a Normalized Power of 310 Watts can only be a sign of progress.

Meanwhile (from Alex Tinsley…) At the back of the race, Les, James and me were in a large scratch group of 10 or so riders. This group built up good momentum from the start and found Graham (somehow not in the scratch group) after a lap and a bit. The usual fears of the last couple of groups coming together and then stalling didn’t come to pass and despite a large time gap to the lead groups, we’d swept everyone up by about lap 6.

After that, it was just a bike race. I went with an attack on staple hill and started working with a couple of guys, but we never got very far and everyone was a bit hesitant to do a hard enough turn to get clear. A couple slip clear with a lap to go, so decide that I’ll use myself to try and bring them within reach before the finish, leaving Graham and James to content the finish. I give myself a good grilling, the two riders to get caught, Graham comes 6th, James realises that he’s not eaten enough food and runs out of legs on the climb and I roll in near the back of the pack.

(Daren again) Our group of thirds eventually threw in the towel on lap 6, with not enough commitment from the whole group. A pity as we were strong enough to stay away in my opinion. Anyway we are caught at the second roundabout on Lap 6 with two to go and I drift backwards to recover as we descent to the hairpin left hander. As we corner, there is a huge acceleration, my chain slips and I come to a standstill as the peloton get five bike lengths. Never sit on the back I hear myself saying as I sprint but the charge up Staple Hill (from Alex) sees the elastic slowly stretch and finally snap at the top of the common. I’m dropped. I time trial the last two laps to the finish passing five riders and earning another League point.

Great fun and the Nocturn tomorrow. We have riders in the Folding Bike Race, the Track Bike Race and of course three ladies racing with the pros! Hope to see you there!

Kind regards

Daren and Alex

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Race Report: BC West Thames E123

Daren Austin : June 4, 2014 2:47 pm : News, Road Racing

Rode the E123 race at Hillingdon with Graham Crow last night. About 60 riders including teams from Nuun, Windy Milla and CSE racing. Cool and windy conditions.

Lap three sees Graham get into a small break with some blocking from myself and other teams. They get away with an eventual maximum gap of 20 seconds. The peloton chase them down eventually, I take a nasty caffeine gel and move up for the last few laps putting my “Follow Vince” race plan into action. It comes together for a final sprint and I am blocked in by the Windy’s whilst Graham is better placed. Graham finished 13th and I’m pretty sure I was top 25, but results suggest otherwise, ho hum. But a 28.6 mph average speed, a top 10 among the third cats, and I felt better than after the last E123 race. Drove to work today ;-)

If you are planning on racing tomorrow’s Surrey League handicap race at Staple Hill, try and arrive early as some of us were turned away last time. Race starts at 19:15. I arrived at 18:30 and that was too late for a place!

Kind regards,


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