Ras de Cymru

RobP

Rob Jones and Jake Clark both had solid rides in last weeks 6-stage classic, and finished in the middle of the GC - highly respectable given the quality of the field, and the fact that both were novices to the race. Rob P and Graham Howell were early casualties of a blistering pace, and were DNFs - there's always next year boys.

Rob Jones report of the final stage, and reflections on the whole event is a very illuminating read.

Rob J report

ras

 

Welsh National Road Race

Gruff Lewis: Welsh Champion 2011

Race Report

Gruff Lewis, Welsh Road Race Champion 2011

Sunday 22nd May, and OVW 80th birthday was marked by the hosting of the Welsh Road Race Championships 2011. Conditions were not pleasant - squally showers combined with a very strong South Westerly and Rob Powell's punishing course meant that only the strong would prosper.

Harry Radcliffe, the only surviving founder member of the club lives just round the corner from the start line, and got proceedings underway just after 10am.

Harry Radcliffe at the start with Steven Madeley

The first 15 miles to the turn at Talbot Green were raced at speeds of up to and over 40mph with the tailwind, and a group of 6 riders including 3 from UK Youth broke clear, and were never caught. The seven ascents of Llangeinor mountain further fragmented and depleted the field. At the finish, Gruff Lewis (UK Youth) sprinted clear of Brendan Sullivan (Cardiff Ajax) to take the title, with Niklas Gustavsson (UK Youth) coming third.

Club President Norman James with the podium finishers

In the juniors, Dan Pearson (Port Talbot Wheelers) is the new Welsh champion, with Matthew Haase and Matthew Thompson both of Cardiff JIF completeing the podium line-up.

Junior podium

Race Report now available from our own Rob Powell, race organiser

Photos here - happy to provide copies to any cycling clubs or to riders pictured - e-mail

More Photos courtesy of Alexandra

Message board

 

Older reports

Marvellous Scenes

picture

Rob Powell solos to victory

Well, it's taken a while, but Rob P's first victory of the season was highly impressive. In today's 3rd Cat JIF lungcloser at Llandow, billed by some as the unofficial 3rd Cat criterium championships of South Wales, the sometime VR pin-up boy broke clear in a two man break on the first lap, quickly establishing a 30 second lead on the chasing pack. After 20 minutes it had become a one man breakaway. Rob J looked one of the strongest riders in the bunch, and did a great team-mate's job in frustrating the chase. The much vaunted JIF train never really left the station, and only Mark Stacey (Port Talbot Wheelers) tried to bridge the gap, and although at one stage he'd opened 10 seconds on the main group, he never got inside 18 seconds of Rob. Mr Powell settled into TT mode and ground out the remaining laps without ever taking his foot off the gas. His only wobble came meters from the line when he tried his outstretched arm victory salute, only to then try and do up his zip to display the club logo (Ognnore Valley) in it's full glory, resulting in an alarming wobble that had the crowd gasping. But he crossed the line safely well clear of the bunch.

picture

Just look at that smile as he crosses the line.

Congratulations to Rob J also - he came in 3rd, which earns him enough points to get a 2nd Cat license - so a season of pain ahead for him, and one less fast boy for the 3/4s to worry about.

picture

Rob Jones earns a well deserved 2nd Cat license after a fantastic season. Not content, he also rode the 2/3/4 race immediately after this one!

More pictures here

Welsh Vets Road Race (Sept 19th)

OVW represented by Chris M, Jase Jones, me and Ruby Ellis.

Grey and drizzly at the start, and a bit of a westerly wind, but rain eased off as the race got underway. Opening loop down to Mitchell Troy and then back along the A40 towards Raglan, then 3 laps of Raglan to Usk, back via the Gwehelog climb, and the finish on the slope up to the tractor place.

Ruby found the pace hard going - unsurprising for her first ever road race, and I didn't see her after the start. Hope she'll post to let is know how she found it. The 3 old boys settled in, and we all rode well if unspectacularly. There was one break which looked like it might succed (at least to my inexperienced eye) which formed late on Lap 1 I think, but it was reeled in by the middle of the last lap. My tactic of riding to the front of the bunch to lead through Usk and up the first part of the climb (so as not to be dropped) worked well on the first two laps, but was undone on the last lap when the lead car showed the black flag to stop the race and give a group bollocking for riders crossing double white lines. Sadly, this rather removed the advantage I'd worked for towards the front of the bunch as the whole peleton came together (with predictably a few riders from the back somehow squeezing up to the front. This meant I didn't have pole position when it was most vital - the last lap climb. Wrong side of split, then worked liked a trojan to get back to the bunch (dragging quite a few others behind me, none of whom, save for one Abergavenny rider, came round to the front to give me a rest. Caught the bunch at Raglan just in time for the final 'sprint' up the finishing hill, and had nothing left. All three of us finished in the bunch - Chris M first of us in, about 10 riders and 15 seconds ahead of me - and Jason (I think) was just behind me. Winner was Gerry Bowditch, don't know about women's race.

Jase and I really enjoyed the race, not sure about Chris. Jase and Chris certainly looked comfortable throughout, and the pace wasn't too bad. Given my recent lack of form I was happy, but I could have done with a race like this every couple of weeks to keep me fitter. Like my TT last week, pleased under the circumstances, but I know with better preparation I could have done a lot better. Top ten next year!

Fat Boab

WASP 25th Edition

Congratulations to Ben Simmons, winner of today's race, and to Anna Fischer who won the women's race (I think, having gone through my photos, that she finished ahead of Sharon Laws).

And Rob Jones wins the Mogg Trophy for being the first Oggie home.

Ben Simmons leading the way on Lap 1

Good field, good conditions and well organised by Rob Powell, his family and lots of OVW volunteers. Thanks also to WNEG and CSAG marshalls.

Mens race:

1st Ben Simmons (Wiggle)

2nd Richard Seymour (Cardiff Ajax)

3rd Jason White (Bristol South RC)

4th James Dobbin (Arctic Premier)

5th Hatthew Haase (VC St Raphael)

Womens race (unconfirmed):

1st Anna Fischer (Maxgear RT)

2nd Sharon Laws (Cervelo Test Team)

3rd Angharad Mason (Cardiff JIF)

Photos here

Race report on Welsh Cycling (by Fat Boab!) - didn't get a byline though:(

La Classica d'Equipe VR

Would appear Rob P (and family) did much of the organising for this one in the end - very good job and very enjoyable event thanks Rob. Starting at Resolven - 3 laps around a well known TT circuit comprising A465 and the parallel B road, then onto Glynneath and finally finishing on a hill. All in the rain and drizzle of course!



In the race for OVW was Allan, Jase and myself. Best I've seen both Jase and Allan race upto now, but then I haven't raced with either since early season. Allan was towards the front of the group from start to finish looking very strong. Jase was up and down the group, more like myself, but enjoyed his 1st ever role in a breakaway on the dual carriageway section of the last lap. Only a big effort from PTW/ VR Davey reeled Jase and his comrads in before the final long climb. I wasn't really in the mood for racing having travelled back from hols much of the previous day and spent a week away from the bike. So I was in it more because I had paid to be and to get some fitness back. I happily sat at the back of the group for the 1st few laps, watching little breaks form and escape from the peleton whilst feeling a little guilty about it. But then last lap felt strong so joined Allan (and then Jase too) at the front of the peleton for. Allan usefully then briefed me on the finishing climb which lifted my spirits somewhat being a lot longer than I'd assumed.... It was a 2 mile climb up from Glynneath towards Severn Sisters on a good surface at a steady gradient. My kind of climb (like a short version of the bwlch). The 3 of us started the climb at the front of the main group and all finished well up there. Only 1 of the main group got to the line ahead of me but unfortunately the breakway group was I think 7 riders; so our efforts was at a race within a race. In the end there were over 50 riders in the race so concerns over numbers didn't materialise. I hope this one happens again next year as everyone I spoke to enjoyed it (especially Allan and Jase) - made for exciting racing.

Rob Jones

George Geaves RR

Chris and me wore yellow and black in the Gerge Greaves Cat 2/3/4 yesterday. Great conditions, although a significant Westerly breeze which made it essential to be in the bunch on the A48 section, and also made it very fast on the Wick section.
Everyone seemed very twitchy in the neutralised zone - all trying to be near the front, and there were plenty of little attacks of twos and threes on the first lap which didn't come to much. The pace pushed up through Death Valley on Lap 1, and a few were dropped at this point, and by St Brides there was almost a split in the field, but everything came back together by Wick. Chris M was going well despite the 12hr last weekend, although he said he wasn't feeling strong. I managed to get better positioning in the bunch this time, and made sure I was near or on the front for descents so I wouldn't get dropped on the climbs. This was working well and I was feeling pretty good until I punctured at the top of Crack Hill on lap 2. Disappointing, as I felt I was going well, and certainly felt I could stay with the bunch until the finish (easy to say that now of course, as it was never put to the test Wink).
Cycled back to Llandow for the finish. There were two clear of the bunch by about 10-15 seconds, and Richie Harris won out in the sprint. Chris M rolled in with the bunch, as did Graham Howell riding for Forza.
Quite a few Oggies out in support - notably Callum Barnes who I think could be tempted back into Road Racing in the near future.
Good experience for me as always.

photo

The descent into Cowbridge - 'All crap climbers to the front of the bunch please'. Photo courtesy of Del Delaronde de la JIF.

Fat Boab

 

LVRC Road Race

Wish I could have ridden this one - Jase Jones did, and provided surely the two best reports of the season:

Day 1
I probably need to set the scene - I saw the post that Rob P placed on the forum about the LVRC (League of Veteren Racing Cyclists) South Wales 2-Day Stage Race which included a 3.5M Individual Time Trial followed by a 48M Road Race (Day 1) and then a 60M Road Race the following day (Day 2). I looked at the LVRC website and saw a very very old fella on a bike looking like he was in lots of pain - so I thought "this is just my type of race - lots of old fellas !" - so I entered. 

I arrived at the HQ (TRW Resolven) nice and early as I was off at 11:31.  When I arrived it was like something out of the TdeF - there where guys on "rollers" and "turbo trainers" everywhere and you couldn't move for "shaven legs", "deep rim wheels" and very expensive carbon bikes - I don't know what I was expecting, but if I'm honest, it would have been closer to varicose veins and bikes with bread baskets - It didn't take long to realise that these guys took their racing seriously ! 

I decided to go for a for a bit of a "warm-up" along the 3M TT route and caught up with one of the "old fella's" who was doing the same - we got chatting and he enlightend me that the guys on the "LVRC Circuit" took their racing very seriously.  He himslef had been racing for years and had travelled up from Kent to do the race - he had spent the majority of his "racing career" as a Cat 1 - Oh, and he was 69 !

Anyway, I was in "Group A" (40 - 45 year olds) and started the 3.5M TT at 11:31.  The route was the old Neath backroad which I now know quite well as I was dragged around it last Thurs night during the 4Up-TTT by Rob J, Allan A and Mark A. We started at 1-min intervals between each rider and all I could think about was a set of "deep rim" wheels "breezing" past me with a 70-year old "old fella" perched on top of them. Fortunately, no-one passed me, and I finished in a time of around 8:40 - Not fast and I don't know where exactly the time put me but I do know it was no-where near the top end of my Group - I blame the TT last Thurs ! 

2-hrs to kill before the road race and the HQ was amass with Energy Bars, Turbo trainers and Rollers - I decided to go to the McDonalds just down the road and treat myself to a nice burger, milk shake and Mcflurry - probably not the best form of "carbo boosting" - Incidently, if you get the chance, try the new Mars Milk Shake - it's awesome and only available for a limited period.

1400 and we were off - Group A, B and C (40 - 55 year olds (made up of about 30 riders) - the route was from the Resloven roundabout, left onto the Neath back road to Aberdulais, left along the A465 dual carriageway back to the Relsoven roundabout and then around again 4 more times for a distance of 48M. The "older guys" Groups D, E, F, G (55 - 70 !) did 3 laps and started 10 mins later. 

The pace on the first lap was quite comfortable with a couple of guys trying to get away but they were never given more than a few hundred metres before the pace was lifted to reel them in. An Abergavenny rider (Steve Thomas (Cat 2)) made a break on the second lap and he was out on his own on the dual carriageway for quite some time before he was reeled back in - the pace at this stage had started to get quite quick or at least it was for me (averaging 26 Mph). On the Neath back road on the second lap 3 guys set off in a break and managed to get a good 200m from the peleton - they never seemed to get any further away but by the same token the peleton never really tried or couldn't reel them in. On the dual carriageway the break was away - never to be seen again.  The fourth lap, and what I thought was the last lap, was quick and there was a good bit of "through and off" - the problem was that there was only about 5 of us doing all of the work - naively I did a lot of the work on the front myself and I was on the front for almost all of the back road - I wasn't really that bothered because it was the last lap (or at least I thought it was) and my aim was to finish with the main group which was achievable.

On the "final" climb my legs died and I thought I'd heard the "Bells of St Peter" but unfortunately it wasn't it was the time keeper indicating one lap to go - I almost fell off my bike ! My morale took a hiding as I genuinely thought we had finished - I subsequently went backwards and was dropped from the main bunch by about 50m - which was far too much to get "back on" along the fast dual carriageway section. I carried on, passed a couple of stragglers, and met up with another guy - we worked together and came in about 50 secs to a minute down on the main bunch I think. 

Day 2
Day 2 involved a 62M Road Race which was basically 4 laps of yesterday's circuit with an extra dual carriageway part added on.

I arrived at the TRW HQ to the same site as yesterday - "Turbo Trainers", "Rollers" and yesterday results promulgated for all to see - some good and not so good news for me. Good in that my TT result was the 13th fastest overall - which I was quite surprised at but definitely pleased with as I didn't have a gucci bike or wheels and I hadn't shaved my legs (and don't intend to - I just wouldn’t get away with it !). Bad news in that where I thought that I had only "lost" a minute on the main bunch during yesterday's escapade I had in fact "lost" 3 1/2 minutes - extremely disappointing.  The overall leader was Peter Georgi (Cat 1 - Epic Cycles).

My aim for today was to do nothing but sit at the back of the bunch and hope that I could "hang in" and finish with them 62M later.  We were off at 11:00 and just before the start Rob P turned up to offer me some words of encouragement which was greatly appreciated (thanks Rob). Strangely, one of the other riders also came up to me before the start of the race and apologised to me for not doing any work on the front during yesterdays stage - which I thought was odd -  but it did make me feel better about being "dropped".

We were off - the pace, like yesterday, was comfortable on the first lap. A Jiff rider (there where quite a few in the race) shot off and established a break of about 100m and kept it going all along the back road and along the dual carriageway which seemed quite windy today - he kept looking back as if he wanted the bunch to catch him as he was suffering out there on his own and it felt as if the main bunch deliberately let him stay out there to suffer ! A few other guys tried to get off the front but they never lasted very long before being reeled back in.  I sat on the back of the bunch and had a really comfortable ride for the first 3 laps and felt quite good.  On the fourth lap the pace lifted and a couple of guys shot out the back, fortunately it wasn't me this time.  The pace was kept consistently high throughout the lap and on the last climb on the Neath back road Peter Georgi and a couple of others fighting for the overall GC tried to make a break for it - they got about 50m from the main bunch and were motoring. I don't know why or what was going through my head at the time but I decided to try and catch them and absolutely hammered myself to get onto the back of Peter Georgi's wheel - which I managed to do. I was then hoping that they would go for it and I could hang onto their wheels all the way to the end. However, in my efforts to get onto their break I had managed to drag some of the main bunch as well - so the breakaway was doomed. The rest of the lap was fast, I think deliberately so to stop people trying to get away.  On the Neath back road for the last time it felt extremely fast (35Mph) on the speedo and I got myself into the front 3 or 4. With 1Km to go I was feeling good and we were absolutely flying - I was second behind a Jif rider who started to tire.  I tried to move out but there was nowhere to go as the other riders were starting to make their moves and weren't giving up any space.  I was a bit boxed in and lost a lot of momentum and I also probably tried too hard too far out but I did manage enough momentum to keep going to finish with the main bunch - which is what I wanted to achieve. 

With regards to GC results - If I hadn't had had such a fiasco yesterday I think I would have come around 13th - my position from the TT. However, I did have a fiasco yesterday so I came near the bottom end of those that finished in my Cat - but I wasn't that bloke that has to hold that red lantern. 

Overall the 2-Day Stage race was really enjoyable, hard work and a fantastic experience.  I would highly recommend it to anyone the wrong side of 40 and I definitely intend to do it again next year - I think the TT is the key and as such there would be a few OVW in with a good shout of the overall GC in their Cat !

Jase Jones

Full GC results

Although I have not seen action shots, an intrepid photographer did get a shot of Jase's legs, shown below.

 

Etape de la Defonce

Reports fro all the riders in an eventful Etape here

Tour of Carmarthenshire

Four Oggies raced this annual event run by Bynea. Initially advertised as a Regional C (i.e. handicap), it turned out to be a Regional A (i.e. scratch) race. I was not alone in being caught out by this, but decided to race anyway, as I felt the 'hanging on' experience would be good for the forthcoming Etape de la Defonse.

Conditions were excellent - warm and sunny, light to moderate Easterly breeze, dry. Delayed start due to a late arriving JIF rider, but at around 10.45 we were zipping through the streets - okay street - of Llandovery in a 4 mile neutralised zone. Turning right at Llanwrda it was difficult to see the commisaires flag being taken into the car signifying the start of the racing, but it was easy to tell that it had occured, as the pace suddenly leapt up from quick to stupidly fast - and there it stayed for a long time.

The first climb was a long drag taken very quickly, and a substantial number of riders dropped of the back, but the four Oggies looking good. Fast descent, then the second long climb just before Lampeter. The second cats, and first ringers (of whom there were a few), really stretched the field out here, with Rob Powell and Rob Jones among them. Before I knew what was happening, a split had developed with about 20 riders in the front and 14 in the rear. Although guilty of concntrating too hard on the wheel immediately in front, and therefore missing the danger signs of the split, in reality, I would have been unable to live with the front group, at least on the climb. Chris Matthews and Fat Boab found themselves on the wrong side of the split. There was then a fast descent down to Lampeter, and a catch was still possible, but enough of a gap had opened to allow the race convoy and some public vehicles in, and we were slowed up considerably. Those of us at the rear of this group were at the greatest disadvantage. I hung back not wanting to copy some of the kamikaze overtaking of cars going on ahead and risking a DQ, and hoped that the race car would note my public spirited display and pace me back to the bunch. No such luck, and I was suddenly in no man's land, and feeling pretty depressed. I was around 25 - 30 seconds down on the second bunch at the worst point, and had nobody to help, so I just buried myself, and after about 5 miles I finally made contact with the bunch. I was particularly pleased to see Chris M in this group, as I knew I would get some encouragemnet, and I always seem to ride more strongly when he's around. Another couple of miles off the back, and I wouldn't have finished the race.

Meanwhile up among the leading group, the pace was easing down a bit, partly induced by the relentless roller-coaster road from Lampeter to Carmarthen. The descents were harem-scarem by the sounds of it. There were several breakaways, but Rob Powell played a key role in closing them all down, in a deliberate strategy aimed at producing a bunch sprint in which it was anticipated Rob Jones would be able to compete. Sure enough, Rob J had just enough left after suffering through the mercifully flat last 15 miles to get right up amongst it, coming in 4th in a very tightly contested finish. Easy to forget that Rob started this season as a fourth cat who nobody outside of OVW had heard of, but I suspect he is starting to have some attention paid now, and this won't be the last time we see him in the mix. Second cat status this season is a distinct possibility if he can get enough races. Rob Powell rolled in with the bunch after sacrificing his own chances, although he's not known for his love of sprinting.

The second group had worked well together, and maintained avery high pace, and at one stage one of the Abergavenny riders tried to convince us we could catch the main bunch, although I'm not sure many had faith in this vision. It took me ages to recover from my stint in no man's land, but I did evetually, and was able to contribute to through and off until about 15 miles from home. I then had to resign myself to sitting on, despite Chris Matthews best efforts to get me back in the groove. Chris had been trojan-like for the duration, despite having to ride the whole race in his big ring because of a mechanical. At the finish, I made sure I stayed at the very back of this bunch to acknowledge my inability to work the whole way round, and I noticed one of the Forza riders (number 4) do the same - although I thought he had worked hard. Chris commented that a few other riders didn't respect this bit of etiquette though. To any of the strong riders who happen to read this report, I'd like to extend thanks, and apologies.

I don't have the official results yet, but will post them as soon as I do.

Allan Wardhaugh

I was unable to stay around to get the full race chat I'm afraid, or to do more than exchange a brief congratulatory handshake to Rob Jones - I was meeting up with Beth and the boys at Pembrey Sands. On playing football...'Dad, why are you running like an old man?'....'Dad, why do you keep falling asleep?'...and most wounding of all - 'Dad, you've got legs like a girl's'.

From a personal perspective, I took a lot of valuable experience away from this race, and I was chuffed to finish in a second group that contained some pretty well known good riders - although I freely acknowledge I only hung on for a lot of the time. Next target - to contribute fully to the work in a chasing group.

Additional reports here

Welsh National Road Race

Two reports first from Rob Jones who rode in club colours, second from Rob Powell, who rode for that pink team again, but has not completely disowned us yet.

Welsh Road Champs race took place today on the familiar Hardwick circuit used for the first Abergavenny Handicap Race earlier in the season - except with a further 2 laps added on making it an 80 mile race according to my computer (officially 75 miles). I was sadly the only OVW representative despite Graham and Rob P being in the race. 
I witnessed one of the worst crashes I've seen in my short career to date - on the fastest part of the course). Ended with a number of riders going down at speeds of upto 45mph. I saw one of the last to go down, by this time there were many things to hit. This poor chap I saw hit another bike in his path and was catupolted over his handlebars. I understand one of the riders broke a collarbone - I fear there may have been other injuries too. I must admit the noises of the bikes themselves coming to ground haunted me for the rest of the race.
Anyway that is about the main talking point for me - sat towards the back for most of the race and was just moving up the field on the last lap before we entered the dual carriageway for the last time..... then I saw Tony Howell...then I felt rim rather than tyre on road....then I put my arm up....then Tony passed me a bottle of water. More usefully he then realised my more pressing problem and produced a back wheel for which I was very grateful. So probably the most convenient puncture I'll ever have but there was no way in the world I was going to catch the group so  was time trialling the last 12 miles. I thought the race would be fast and it was - 27.5mph average and rising on my computer at the time of my puncture. Riding solo of course I managed to knock it down a fair bit by the time I got to the finish. So this was my first event ruined by a puncture but I did at least maintain my 100% record of completing road races entered. No idea who won by the way - it was too hot to hang around after and find out any more than how those I knew had got on.

Rob Jones

The riders that went down were Martyn Heritage-Owen, Gareth Pugh and Lowri Bunn. The latest I've heard is that Lowri is ok, Martyn has crushed L1 vertebra and a fractured seatbone (he's overnight in Nevill Hall hospital) and Gareth is having an operation on his shoulder which is dislocated and fractured (again overnight in hospital.) Contrary to reports that went round the bunch during the race, nobody hit the WNEG moto, but other that that it's probably best not to speculate what happened - things appear differently when you're zipping along at 45mph and trying to keep yourself out of it, and then Chinese whispers follow in the bunch.

Great day's racing apart from that. A few breakaways went early on in the day, including Neal Craig (Forza), Richie Raymond (Cwmcarn), Gareth McGuiness (Egni) and Steve Edwards (JIF). The most active rider in the bunch was pre-race favourite Dale Appleby (Raleigh) but he was initially heavily marked. Archie Malarczyk (Team AC/DC) another big favourite broke away and got up to the break, then eventually Appleby managed to snap the elastic and get across to form a strong break up front. Riders were dropped off the back of the break gradually, and eventually Appleby took off alone to solo to victory. Back in the bunch it was difficult to get a concerted chase organised despite some strong efforts from Hugh Wilson and James Lewis. Near the Hardwick turn Ben Simmons (Wiggle) jumped clear and managed to hold off the pursuit all the way along the A40 to come home in 6th. The bunch rolled in behind that with Hugh Wilson leading us in.

Rob Powell

 

Road Racing

For novices, read Rob Powell's excellent guide dealing with how to enter and compete in road races.

Rob Powell's Road Race Guide

Road Race Diary

Upcoming Races


Thursday 20th May President's Trophy Website
Monday 31st May Tour of Carmarthenshire Website
Sat/Sun June 12-13 Etape de la Defonse Website