Race Report – Eugene Cross Croft Circuit 23/1

Velo 29 Croft Circuit Race

Each Saturday I get the unrivalled pleasure of going onto Strava and seeing here everyone has been on their Saturday morning café ride. I usually get to do this whilst on the bus home having spent my Saturday morning at school.  However, once a half-term I do get to enjoy a long (regular length by a normal 17 year olds standards) weekend.  So to take advantage of my school holiday I went to go race at Croft Motor Circuit.

With the race being pan flat, in January, and a handicap race, I viewed the race as more of a smash fest, or a fitness test, than a race in which I had aspirations to win. The handicap system meant that 9 other 2nd cats and I would start 1 minute behind the 3rd cats and 2 minutes behind the 4th cats.  My group started off by working shockingly poorly together.  After the first 3 laps though a smooth chain gang had evolved which saw us make steady progress on the bunch.  It took 7 laps out of the 15 lap race for the 10 of us to catch the other 50 or so riders.

At this point I looked around and came to a similar conclusion to what I had assumed. If this comes down to a sprint I will get torn apart.  The group was made up of people who most likely spend all year sprinting around flat circuits.  The general feel of the group was that on a pan-flat non-technical course to attack was futile as this race was destined for a sprint finish. So after spending a lap in the group working my way to the front I attacked repetitively.  I attacked three times on the next lap, doing little more than stringing out the group each time.  Only at two laps to go did 5 of us get a considerable gap.   A strong variation of ability and fatigue meant that we did not work together very smoothly and we were swept up with about half a lap to go.

Coming into the final half a lap it seemed all my hard work to make an exciting race was wasted. Feeling tired from previous efforts I sat a little far back in the group.  Going through the chicane on the back straight a rider three in front of me whipped out.  Having braked sharply to avoid him I made an effort to get back involved but resigned to allow the heavies to fight it out in the headwind finish.

In conclusion, I have nothing to show for my activity throughout the race (other than data from my heart rate monitor on Training Peaks). But as always I feel satisfied with having tested my fitness and seeing how I felt after 3 months off from racing.  Only disappointment is that I’m unlikely to race again until March.  That and the fact that I still have Saturday school.

Well done Eugene – great to get a first outing under your belt and show off ‘team colours’!Eugene-Cross

SSLL Announce intention to form an Elite Womens Racing Team

 Here at SSLL Racing team we have been reviewing our seasons plans with our key sponsor, Selectrical Services Leeds Ltd and we have decided that we would like to extend the team for the 2016 season and create a women’s elite racing team….

We are looking to find the nucleus of the team from which we can build on in the future. The team is and will be predominantly Time Trial focussed and we’d be particularly keen to hear from racing time triallists.

A key part of the team ethos is to nurture & develop new talent and we are very keen to extend this to the women’s area and would be looking for junior riders showing potential within cycling who have a desire and commitment to maximise their potential.   We realise junior riders will have a broad racing focus and we will support all areas of their racing.

What will the team offer?

1: Funded state of the art BioRacer / NoPinz Race, training kit & leisurewear

2: Funded, personalised coaching from a coach of your choice or we will pair you with one

3: Substantial support towards the cost of the ‘right’ Giant Time Trial bike for you

4: Race expenses

5: Fully funded sports nutrition

6: Funded aero-dynamic testing via Aero-Coach

7: Access to a team car for key events

8: Support at key races & a strong support network from experienced and successful racers

 There is no such thing as a ‘free lunch’…. So what do we want form you?
  1.  Commitment to race for the team for a defined period
  2.  Commitment to race at key target races locally and nationally
  3.  Dedication to train, race and proactively support all our sponsors in a positive  manner
  4. Support in team run events – a 10m TT in September

We realise it’s close to the start of the season and that our ambitions are to move fast,  however we are keen to find the ‘right’ team members and will not compromise on our selection criteria.

Anyone interested please email a full racing CV to cyclemadandy@live.co.uk

We will review and be in touch to discuss  next steps.


Thank-you for your interest in SSLL racing Team and we look forward to racing & beating many of you this season !!!

A week in the life of a teenage cyclist..

A week in the life of a now EX-“party animal” teenage cyclist

A standard week for me is always busy fitting in everything from my studies and social life to training and recovery.

I’m normally up at 7am to get the bus to school. I get home at roughly 4, and then I’ve got training along with the large amount of work from school to cram in. Mock exams are approaching fast so there’s been some long days trying to get everything done, but hopefully it will all pay off come exam time, and racing!

As it’s my final year at school, that means everyone’s turning 18. So there’s been huge parties of hundreds of people almost every weekend. It’s been an enjoyable couple of months up till New Year, but its time for those 9pm bedtimes and early rises. My plans for my birthday are riding a TTT the day before and an elite road race the day after… couldn’t think of anything better!

With sixth form comes a lot more free time than at school and my teachers are very supportive and helpful that i make the most of my free time, with extra after school classes for work, but also being able to have mornings and afternoons off to go out and train with the famous Iron Bridge Crew. 

So, here’s the past week of training that I’ve done, with some other details added in for good measure; 

Monday- Rest Day involves riding on rollers at high cadence with sprints at v/low resistance. I am also learning to drive and this is the day i have my lesson. 

Tuesday- 2×20 min efforts on TT bike on turbo at Z4. Now realising i made the most of the rest day relaxing, I’ve now got two days of homework to get done. This week i was up till around 11 before i finished and crawled into bed.

Wednesday- I finish school early and I’m out on the road for 3 hours. That’s Z2 for 2 hours with the last hour Z3 with some sprints at end.

Thursday- Starting school late means an even shorter lie in… why? oh yeah I’m up at 6:30 to do my VO2 max efforts on turbo, just giving myself enough time to stop my head spinning and ready to go get the bus. 

Friday- Now it’s got to the end of the week and its time for another rest day. No riding whatsoever. I get to see my very lovely girlfriend who is extremely supportive of all the training I do. She often cooks for me too. These past months it’s been late nights; going out to parties and town etc. It’s now all come to an end in the effort to reach race weight and form come race day.

Saturday- Big days training today, this week it was Bukden run, last week was 200km so its always a big day out on the bike. Bukden run is similar to the reliability rides that are fast approaching. Riding fast tempo it’s a solid workout. I had 70 mile, in a little over 3 hours, on clock before the cafe stop with 20 still to go. Towards the end of the ride i might reach the “pop-a-gel” stage, ill bolt down an OTE caffeine gel and ill be able to get in those last miles still going strong, rather than riding on empty which no-one enjoys. 

Sunday- i like to have a lie in on a Sunday to give me a decent amount of rest after yesterday’s antics. It’ll be another solid ride. This week was with a local pro Tommy Bustard, a good mate who’s helped me out a lot. It was tough with some big efforts on the way back but moral was high even if the temperatures weren’t.

After all my training sessions ill have my OTE protein shake, ill wake up feeling fresh and well recovered ready for the next days training.

So that’s it for the week, back on the rollers and the turbo and praying for better weather this weekend.

Also this weekend is the CTT awards dinner which luckily the whole team are able to get to; it’ll be great to see my team mates up getting their awards.


Lose the routine or forget the dream

For many years now I have been bubbled in the ‘old school’ category of a cyclist in regards to training – same pace , same sessions , same duration.

I guess it has done me ok in the past having achieved numerous National podiums and team wins.

My basic week of training through the winter months up until now consisted of ;

Mon – Steady 40 mins on turbo and some core work.

Tues- 1.5 hours @ tempo pace on the road.

Wed- 1 hour + @ tempo on turbo.

Thurs- Off

Fri- 30 mins  hard over geared effort on turbo.

Sat- 100 miles , same route every Sat @ tempo

Sun- 120-160 miles dead on my arse.

As I’m a vet with a wife (very understanding and lovely) , have 2 kids and a full time job like the rest of them it seems , it would take me until Thursday to actually recover from this routine just in time to slaughter myself at the weekend again but hey I knew best!!

In my flat lined mind this obviously worked as I was beating my younger teammates  week in week out at all distances even though they seemed to favour shorter events.

As the years ticked by they started to get closer (although always easier to chase than be chased!) until over the last 2 seasons they had simply kicked my arse as well as many other testers too!

The excuse of them having faster bikes , 3 hours  more sleep or 1 less child may have been an external explanation but internally I was mature enough to realise I’m getting beaten by modern day technology and training methods paired with quality athletic riders.

I knew I could sensibly eliminate reasons such as age , job etc as we are all in the same boat plus these would only count as a minor percentage.

In 2015 I wallowed  in gloom and self pity as my teammates excelled every weekend but I was genuinely happy for them as we are all good mates , so good that a read of our Whatsapp conversations could be described as the latest version of The Inbetweeners!!!

I was aware they all trained with power meters and being coached by Bob Tobin and Matt Bottrill. Both have a sky high reputation for detail and results so it was likely they were a source of their success.

FTP, TSB, CTL , ATL , TSS I would hear them quoting after races and think WTF are you giving it? B&Q , S&M , BBC, C&A you mean??   As I was living in the dark ages I was obviously a standing joke to them but fair dos , I was!!

Things kind of changed though when Beldon , Ali Wareham and Jacko rode in perfect harmony and style to triumph in the National TTT. This result opened new pathways to progress and potentially put us on a level with other well funded teams.

With valued input from Jon Surtees and Richard High a new beginning was launched for 2016 with backing from Simon , Keith and Paul of SSLL. It was a presentation of support too good to be true but it is now a reality we are so grateful for.

Within this time we had built a rapport with Blake Pond of NoPinz who has come on board as an additional sponsor along with OTE nutrition who have continued their sponsorship from previous years gone by.

So fast forward to 2016. With SSLL’s support I am now in a position to spray paint my black fleece to white and join my ugly teammates in the power and numbers game as I am now too being coached by Bob and have several power meters!! Ok they’re still just numbers to me but I guess for now Bob just shouts a number and I try and hit it!

I must mention CycleSense in Tadcaster who  awarded us a fabulous deal with Giant Bikes so we all kind of resemble each other this year too.

The final bonus in all this is that my wife gets to see more of me although I think she is now seeking revenge as she disappears out the door when I get  in now, Maybe she preferred the old Joel after all?








Training Camps – Ready for the season.. Andy Jackson

I’m very lucky in that for the past 3 years my partner and I have owned an apartment in the beautiful, year round island in the sun of Tenerife.

We bought it almost on a whim… whilst on a family holiday I was doing one of my usual rather long training rides, about 6 hours…  My partner Helen got a little bored and decided to browse the local estate agents… before we knew it 10wks later we were proud owners of a bijou apartment that Helen did a great job converting to a 2 bed contemporary apartment.

This has been a training haven for me!

We try and get out every holiday we can, when time allows and for the last 3 years have made it at new year, April, July and October.  I find its a fantastic way to get some real quality training in on fab roads and in some great temperatures.

I use the weeks we have as mini ‘training camps’,  these are focussed weeks with a specific goal to over load and build my training ‘CTL’ (critical training load).

A typical week for me out here may look like:

Day 1   1.5hr spin off the plane, probably take in a climb to San Isidro or San Miguel and open up a bit

Day 2     3-4 hrs intervals, mixed in intensity and length depending on where we are in the season

Day 3      3 hrs z2 – probably cruise round the flat lands

Day 4     2-4hrs Hill intervals

Day 5      Off

Day 6      Long ride, probably up to the top and circuit back via Los Gigantos

Day 7      Easy 2 hrs pre-flight home 😦

The weather combined with some stunning roads and the opportunity for ‘pro spotting’ make it a perfect destination.

What I love is that there is something for everyone.. If you want you can climb – from our front door – for almost 36m to the cable car station at the top,  right outside the Parador Hotel used by the likes of Team Sky / Astana and many others.  You can choose from the ‘straight up’ route, via San Miguel and Vilaflor that I used when I ‘Everested’ Mt Tiede in 2014 (that’s ride the height of Everest in 1 ride… that’s 4.25x up!),   Strava – Everesting Mt Tiede Oct 2014

Or you can choose the more gradual, about 5% gradient climb from Grenadilla – this is my favourite and is my ‘test’ climb.  I will do FTP or sweet spot sessions on here – its great as I know exactly where I am in my form building.  Its about 13km and has lovely switchbacks, sheltered and exposed sections and some thing for everyone.

Alternatively you can head from Los Cristianos via Arona,  this is pretty steep around La Camella, but is a great climb… the reverse descent this way is AWESOME – the roads stretches out in a constant stream of hairpins and gradual bends – its truly a great descent… the Strava best time to descend is about 30mins from Boca Tauce at the top of the crater to Los Cristianos – near 38mph…!!!….  I’m just outside the top 10 on this – so far!!!

If you need or want a flat easy day then you can ride round Las Galletas / Palm Mar and Guargaucho… perfect as a recovery day.

If you are feeling particularly sadistic you could head round a ‘Tour of Tenerife’ – something I did in October 2015 (see strava Tour of Tenerife – Oct 2015 there is 3 hrs of ‘missing data here where I forgot to restart my Garmin!).

There are some great rides on the North of the island – and some bloomin’ steep stuff too… its where Chris Froome has one of his epic test climbs that (I think) is over 25%.

Or alternatively you can just sit by the beach, drink cocktails and enjoy the sun!

El Medano which is just 8km away has a fab bike shop Bikepoint- El Medano BikePoint that offers great value rentals on high quality bikes as well as repairs and purchases – yes I succumbed and bought my fab Tenerife bike from them last year… an ex-rental for a bargain price!


El Medano is also a world renowned Kite board location and has some fab chilled out beach side bars and restaurants

The weather here is great Weather Averages Tenerife.

Try it its worth it in so many ways.

Andy Jackson

Jan 2016