May 13, 2011

Another busy week of hard racing for Durham Uni – AURA Cycles has lead to some more excellent results for the team. It has also been great to see 10 different riders racing this week, a clear indication of the strength in depth and the progression the club has made this season.

Will Haynes and Andy Miles were again in action down at Croft on Tuesday evening for the TLI pursuit series. A tough race saw both Durham riders in the thick of the action and on the offensive, however with a strong field of riders nothing was getting away. The results were decided in a bunch sprint after a few hectic laps of jockeying for position. Both Haynes and Miles missed out on the top ten but were happy nonetheless with a strong showing and some solid race speed in the legs.

Sam Walsh joined Miles and Haynes for the TLI Newburn Crits on Thursday evening in Newcastle, again run as a 40 lap points race. The Durham riders were well marked throughout after Will’s victory the previous week, and a break never looked likely to succeed. Instead, it was left to the powerful sprinters to mop up the majority of the points, although consistent riding by Haynes saw him pick up a few minor placings throughout the race. Some strong teamwork also contributed to Will bagging the final sprint after a good leadout by Walsh and Miles. A great team performance that saw Haynes finish the race in 4th place, only a single point off 3rd.

On Saturday, the North-East Criterium League returned to Hetton, with a 30mins 4th cat race followed by the 3rd/4th cats. Representing Durham in the first race were Kat Broadbent, Matt Leake, Rory Macleod and Matt Parry. Leake was unlucky to puncture early on, whilst Kat had a solid ride to hang with the bunch for most of the race. In a brilliant sprint up the finishing straight the remaining Durham riders narrowly missed out on the win and had to settle for 2nd (Rory) and 3rd (Matt), two very good results.

Alex Clayton, Pete Hudson, Matt Leake and Andy Miles were racing the 3rd cat race, with all riders keen to get some more points on the board. Durham were attacking from the off, before Miles managed to get away about half way through with Mike Bell of MTS. After working well together for a few laps, Andy then attacked again and soloed to a well deserved victory. Great teamwork from behind saw Clayton, Hudson and Leake blocking any dangerous counter-moves. Pete was unlucky to puncture towards the end of the race, whilst Alex (6th) and Matt (8th) bagged top-ten results in the final sprint.

A strong Durham team competed in the prestigious Ballantyne Memorial Trophy Road Race on Sunday, a very tough 3rd/4th cat race around Northumberland. Attracting some of the top 3rd cat riders from the North-East and Scotland a hard race was on the cards. The four Durham riders racing were Rich Abraham, Alex Clayton, Nathan Edwards and Andy Miles. Edwards suffered a nasty crash early on but thankfully sustained no serious injuries, and worked well in a small group to the finish. Miles rode an aggressive race throughout, initially in an early break bought back at half way, and then in a solo effort to bridge up to the leading break. Unfortunately he didn’t quite make it across and was joined by a select group on the final climb of the day, which included Clayton. This group worked well together to the end, finishing about 1.30mins behind the leading trio. Miles claimed a respectable 5th whilst Clayton came home 13th on the same time. Abraham rode a good race to stay with the peloton until the last few climbs and eventually rolled home about 5mins down.

This week will see riders in action at Croft, Newburn and then a return to Northumberland for a tough Reg. A road race on Sunday. The Durham Uni – AURA Cycles riders will hope to build on this successful week and pick up some more good results.

RoadAndy MilesNo Comments
April 05, 2011

Well, after months of injuring myself and getting ill, I finally managed to compete in my first race today! May well have jumped in at the deep end a bit though! Having browsed the upcoming Easter races in an and around Yorkshire, and having narrowly missed out on a reserve slot in a race last week- I managed to get a ride at the Pete Gannon Memorial Road Race, at Ledston, near Leeds. This bad boy was a National A. open road race, Cat. 2/3/4, over 55 miles of a hilly course. Knew I was in for a kicking when all the 5 grand bikes and riders in bigger teams (Herbalife Wheelbase etc) started turning up! Never the less I had a good crack at it. Did well for the first few laps (of 12), staying up in and around the front 15 (Will Haynes taught me that one) and jockeying for position with the big lads. Even took a turn on the front on the 4th lap when everyone slowed down for a bit (apparently most of them had team mates in the breaks- I had no mates!). My little stint on the front was probably a bad idea, though I didn’t exactly rag it. The major climb of the road circuit was a long winding drag up to the start finish line and I was holding my own on this each time round. However, just after said climb, there was a long exposed flat- this is where the powerhouses kept pushing the pace and attacking, it was also where the big crosswinds were lurking. Starting the 6th lap, just over the crest of the climb, I lost the wheel of the guy in front of me as they all kicked to keep up with an attack, and I wasn’t positioned well (probably in the last 5 of the main bunch). A gap grew, the few lads behind me managed to sprint past and get back on, but I wasn’t big / strong enough to push that pace on my own into the crosswinds and I quickly lost touch (balls!). Well, it’s alright when you’re in the bunch getting pulled along but on your own and into the wind you’ve got no chance of getting back on at that pace- I knew this. The gap grew and I said good bye to the peloton. At this point I’d managed to keep with the rest of them for just over an hour, with an average of 23.3mph- my fastest yet, so I was pretty cool with that. I decided to soldier on, like any good Northerner would, and I wanted to complete my first race. I rode the next hour and a half on my own, and got lapped by all the rest of the field (an 8 man lead break, couple of 3/4 man breaks and the main bunch) by the 10th/11th lap. I brought home the lantern rouge in 2 hours 32 minutes, at an average of just over 21mph- my fastest 2 and a half hour ride to date- so I’m well happy! Also, when I got back to the race headquarters- found out from the race commisaire that a heap of other people found the going tough today- 19 people failed to complete the race! Such a high attrition rate only serves to make me happier, by my reckoning that means I came roughly 41st out of 60. Sick! Sam Walsh (3/04/2011).

RoadSam WalshNo Comments
February 28, 2011

Billed as a season opener, it was always going to a hard race. Add in the fact that it was open to all categories, had a £500 prize fund and was raced on the pan flat, windy Croft Motor Racing Circuit and you’ve got yourself a really hard race.

A team of 5 Durham University – AURA Cycles riders (Andy Miles, Nathan Edwards, Richard Abraham, Matthew Leake & Pete Hudson) took to the circuit for the race, with Abraham, Leake & Hudson starting first with the 4th cats, and Miles & Edwards 1.5 minutes later with the 3rd cats.

With a cash prime being offered at the 6 lap point the 3rd cat group quickly set to work chasing the first group down. During the first couple of laps the gap stayed relatively steady until a group of about 5, including Andy and myself (Nathan), upped the pace, at one point gaining a gap on the bunch, bringing the front group back within 3.5 laps.

At this point my legs started itching for the prime, and at the end of lap 5 I soft pedalled off the front to chase down a guy whom I thought was going for a long one for the prime, as it turns out he’d gone a lap early, but it left me in a good place in the bunch to prepare for the prime. At the beginning of the last corner, a guy made a move which I immediately closed down, causing him to give up and also leaving me on the front of the bunch with nobody wanting to come round. As it was I jumped a second too late to grab the wheel of the guy who won the prime and had to settle for 3rd. Still, I won my entrance money back! After this, my race was over, I didn’t recover from my effort quick enough to hold on and rode the rest of the race in small groups or alone. Not long later Pete and then Rich joined me in doing so.

Andy & Matt rode well to stay in the main bunch but didn’t have much hope of holding on when the scratch group came through. They both finished strong in the main group.

RoadNathan Edwards1 Comment