Keeping busy E-Racing, SEG Performance Challenge & supporting an Everesting
While it's great to see road racing in France, Holland and Belgium getting up and running, there is still no prospect of Junior racing in the UK. Though restrictions are slowly lifting here its hard to see on the social media channels all the U23's rejoining their teams back and not wonder when our chance will come to get back to racing.
So the e-racing quest continues in June and July with the opportunity to test myself against some of the best U19 Juniors and U23's. I entered the SEG e-Racing U19 series on the RGT platform where U19 and U23 racers got the chance to compete against each other on the same course at the same time. This was a great way to test my level against some top U23's from the SEG academy as well as other European teams and evaluate how well my training has been going over the lock down period.
It also represented a good way to show myself and my capabilities to a prestigious team like SEG academy.
The series kicked off with a Classic on the Pienza course with 3 climbs per lap and a total of 1100m of climbing over 5 laps and 40km, followed by the Ventoux Challenge and then finishing off with a Crit with each race 2 weeks apart. There is then a 3 day stage race and finally a race to the lighthouse at Cap de Formentor.
I didn't know how the racing would go and what kind of level the race would be so I went in with a plan to stay in the front group and hang on for as long as I could as I was expecting the U23s to be much stronger than I was. However I was confident that the training my coach had set me over lockdown meant I had good legs.
To make sure the race is fair there is a very strict process for calibrating your scales and submitting a video of your weigh in pre race and submitting your power files from 2 sources (from the platform and from your power meter) and heart rate data for analysis post race for checking.
Race 1 - Pienza
It was straight up hill from the gun with 5 laps of 8km and a 2km climb every lap so the rolling circuit that was up or down suited me as its like riding on my home roads in the Peak District.
Various riders tried to go up the road but were brought back with SEG sending various riders up the road to make other teams chase and bring them back. The 2 km hill each lap proved to be the selective section of the race, whittling down the peloton each lap.
With 2 laps to go on the main climb Harrison Wood of SEG attacked in what turned out to be the decisive move of the race gaping the peloton. With 8km to go I had to work hard to pull back an attack and another U23 got off the front for second place and then it was really going to come down to a sprint for 3rd.
Coming out of the last corner with 200m to go I gave it everything and just missed out on 3rd by 0.01 of a second to fellow Pedal Potential supported athlete George Mills-Keeling of Ribble Weldtite but was first U19 and 4th overall and beating some good U23's which I was really happy with given the calibre of competition.
Race 2 - Mont Ventoux Challenge
The course started at Malaucene with 2km of flat section before the 23.5km of climbing began with an average gradient of 7.4% according to VeloViewer. The race took place on Friday evening and the temperature was about 29 degrees so it was going to be a hard , hot race.
The race turned out to be an attritional time trial up the mountain as the pace was kept high all the way as riders were dropped out of the peloton.
With 6km to go I was doing a lot of chasing to bridge the gap to 2 riders up the road catching them with 2.5km to go but with 2km to go 2 riders jumped away, one of whom was Thymen Arensman, who is turning pro this year with Team Sunweb and who got 2nd overall in 2018 Tour de l'Avenir and the other was Darran Van Bekkum, an U19 to took first and second respectively.
In the final I was in a small group of 3 sprinting for the final step on the podium but missed out by 0.3 of a second again to George Mills-Keeling but I took 2nd U19 and 4th overall again which I was pleased with as it gives me a 1st and 2nd in the U19 and two 4th overalls in the series.
Race 3 - Borrego Springs
Race 3 was a pan flat crit over 38.5km. There were supposed to be about 40 on the start line so I thought it was going to a case of hiding in the bunch saving energy and then a mad dash for the line in the final 300m. However only about 15 lined up and I suspected this would put a different spin on the race.
It was the usual full gas start with a few attacks but within 1.3km of the start Daan Hoole of SEG racing academy and Dutch U23 time trial champion went off the front and was joined by Vincet Hoppezak also of the Netherlands to form a 2 man break 2 km from the start. They were joined a couple of km later by Jordi Meeus of Belgium and also SEG.
With no one willing to chase their lead extended over the race. While I wanted to do well overall against the U23s my focus was on the U19 race having found out that I had been promoted to 1st place in the Ventoux race due to the lad who won having an innocent problem with his turbo trainer..
Having followed moves all race, I committed to a single attack at the end and managed to win the U19 and take 6th overall in the race giving me 3 wins in the U19 and 2 forth places and a 6th overall which I'm very happy with.
Next up is the stage race 3 e races over 3 days and with 2 punchy days in Pienza again and up the Paterberg I'm hoping it suits me. We'll see!
The e-races are excellent to watch as the SEG team have made them entertaining and with engaging commentary and adding the riders in frame on Zoom is a great feature too.
Below are the links to the races so far;
With race restrictions now starting to lift in France, Belgium and Holland I'm hoping we can get back to some real racing on the road soon as it doesn't look like much racing is going to be happening in the UK.
Thanks to the team at SEG for putting the races on
SEG Perfomance Challenge
The first challenge was a timed effort up Puig Major on the RGT platform. Having done my research, talked it over with my coach and made some calculations and a plan I thought I could do a decent effort up to climb as it looked like it suited me.
I stuck to the plan with my coach and the effort and applied the power where it would give me the best return and at the end of the climb was pleased (and surprised) to see my time as I completed the effort quicker than I had thought and calculated.
The second challenge is the Col du Galibier - 18km at 7% average is one I have had to miss due to a knee problem that I have been managing and not wanting to get worse but I will be back for the final effort up L'Alpe D'Huez.
Everesting for a good cause.
The group of riders I often go out and train with recently spent a day supporting one of our group, Sam Smith and his recent everesting attempt.
Leaving the house at 03:30 to get set up and starting at 04:00 it was going to be a long day of riding and helping Sam through the challenge to give him every chance of success in his venture. Sam was riding to raise money for the NHS who have done an amazing job through the Covid 19 crisis in the UK.
The attempt was done on a hill called Fiddlers Elbow in Derbyshire and it was great to see lots of people came out to support and ride with Sam over the day, including Lizzey Banks of Bigla Katusha who rode a few reps with us. It was a great day out with a bunch of good mates for an excellent cause. Sam finished at 21:00 after 285km of riding and 8900m climbed. An excellent effort and he raise over £500.