Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Planet X N2A Build

After weeks of waiting for the delivery date which kept being put back again and again, fianlly my new Planet X N2A Carbon Road frame and fork arrived. After riding there very poplular Nanolight Highmodulud for the past year, I have been looking for to trying what is deemed there new aero frame.

First impressions of the frame are, wow that pretty light considering the frame, fork, headset and aero seat post cost a grand total of £799.99. Its comes it at just under 1kg, 987g to be precise. The bottom barcket junction and head tube junction are super beefy and with the BB being BB30 i should expect it to be pretty stiff. I really like the little extenstion behind the botton headset bearing to aid the air flow from the fork in to the frame. The brake cables are internal and the decals look vey swish.

My only concern at this point is that the smart matt black finish looks extremely easy to scratch so will have to be careful during the build. Keep posted for build upates once i have finished racing tis weekend.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Just Like Buses

What I am referring to with this title is Team RPC's Maiden Win, you wait and wait and then all of sudden two come along at once! This was just the case on Sunday (22/4) when two RPC riders scored 2 individual wins in 2 races in 2 different countries, well England and Wales at least!

First up was the race which I (Dan Bill) competed in along with the vastly experienced Adrian Bird, The 3rd round of the ever popular west midlands RR League, The Gerry Hughes Memorial RR. This 65 mile pan flat, sprinters dream of a road race is also Adrian's home event as its hosted by his original club, Worcester St Johns CC. This race is known for its flat out speeds and also for longest, hardest and most exposed finish in British cycling. This 1km long, dead straight, slightly up hill piece of road has seen some crazy sprint finished over the years with riders darting round the far side of on coming cars and the bunch spreads across the road. Its a dodgy one but its always exciting.

After finished 2nd to Michael Thellwell in 2011 after the pair broke away from the field with just over a lap to go, Adrian has been determined to do his club proud and win the event. This year however would prove harder than ever given the huge amount of talent and the step up in performance that the WMRRL has experienced this year. A windy day saw 80 riders take to the start and at the drop of the flag a small group went on the offensive and managed to pull out a good 1 minute 30 seconds or so after being added by an incident which saw one of the motorbike out riders crash and cause huge confusion in the bunch.

The speed of the race was very up and down with a few moves going but getting dragged back I managed to get in to a good 10 rider move at one point which I thought might stay away but we ended up getting dragged back on the Start/Finish straight. With 2 laps to go the whole bunch split as a big move went of the front containing around 15-20 riders, I was on the wrong side of it but Adrian wasn't which was the main thing. My job now became a game of messing up the chase and following any other moves and hope that Adrian could bring home the bacon.

Back with Adrian, the group had quickly whittled away at the lead of the original leaders but soon it was clear that their chase group was to big and the work rate began to disintegrate. Adrian decided to go it alone and attacked to bridge up to the leading group who were now only up the road. After taking a few other with him the gap was soon closed and with 5 miles to go and doubt about his sprinting ability, Ade decided to go it alone and attacked again taking no one else with him. He managed to hold a 10-15 second gap over the chaser as he battled the head wind on the final straight to take the win at his home event in the best possible way; Solo with arms in the air. Fantastic.

A few minutes later, my group turned on to the straight and after much tostling and jostling, I somehow managed to win the bunch sprint out of my group! A huge congratulations to Adrian for a fine win which marks his first of many I'm sure of that.

Adrian Win on Video

Mean While In Wales......

Brothers Tony and Mike Kiss travelled to south wales to compete in the Leg Stretches RR, a race which holds good memories for Tony having won the 3/4 race last year. This year Tony contested the Elite Road Race but good memories terned to bad ones as a puncture struck and ended his race prematurely. This will only fire tony up even more for when the team competes in the Totnes-Vire 2 Day Stage Race next weekend, keep posted for a full report and Helmet Cam Footage!!!!

Mike had the task of keeping the 3/4 win in the family as this is the race he would be racing given that he is still a 3rd cat at the minute due to having a few years out. If he could get in the points for this race then he would turn that licence in to a 2nd cat one so there was some pressure on the start line.

Mike showed his true class and also some flashes of his old profession self as he attacked every other rider in the race and rode away on his own with 10 miles of headwind left until the finish. After an amazing effort, Mike was rewarded with his first win of the year and already the 2nd for for RPC. What a phenomenal ride.

So overall, not a bad weekend, we will just have to wait and see what next weekend brings. Watch this space.

Mike Solo Win on Video at around 3 minutes 20 secs

Monday, April 16, 2012

Start of Season Updates

Firstly let me apologise for the lack of updates to the blog over the past couple of weeks. With the new season getting underway its gone a bit hectic at my end end and have found myself with very little time to do much other than the necessaries and if i have had time then I have been using to sleep in order to recoup some energy. Anyway, the aim of this post is to update you with what's been going on during the first 2 months of racing and all of the other bits in between.
The first big story which took place back at the beginning of March was the official team launch, the day when all of us riders got together in our shiny new team kits on a very cold day and stood in a line in a very public place to have our pictures taken. Oh the glamour!! Although it was a bit hit and miss we did look the part and we got what we needed to get done and soon found our selves being mentioned on various cycling websites such as British Cycling and VeloUK, this finally made all the hard work worth while and made it all fell very official. Again a big thanks to the guys at Bio-Racer for doing such a great job with the kit, a massive thanks to VE Heath Clubs for there backing and support and also to our co sponsor, SubZeroBikes for there product support. Lets hope we can do you all proud.
With the first races of the season kicking of in early March, Mike Kiss was the first rider to give RPC there first Road Race Result with a 6th place in the last round of the Ludgershall Winter Series and then taking a fine 5th place in the Blackawton Road Race the very next day! Good Job Mike.

Mike then competed in the Pittards Trophy race down in Somerset on a cold miserable looking day. After putting in a strong showing and making lots of the breakaways Mike came away with another top 10 after finishing 9th and picking up some more points.
March the 18th marked the first team race of the year with 4 of us putting in an appearance at the Evesham Vale Elite Road Race which is a notoriously tough early season opener since it became an E/1/2 race 2 years ago. Myself (me being Dan!) Tony Kiss, Joe Page and Ade Bird all took the start on a very cold morning which had us all shivering and reaching for leg and arm warmers. as expected it was fast and an early break went up the road with almost all of the favourites including 5 riders from Cycle Premier. As expected, Cycle Premier took the win and most of the runner up positions whilst the rest of us set up the sprint for the crumbs that were left behind. After deciding that Tony was the strongest rider of the day, I set up to lead him out for the finish and after taking it up with about 500 to go I committed to powering down the out side of the bunch in order to drop Tony off with about 200 left. This was all going perfectly until it was time for tony to got for the sprint and some joker cut across his line taking his front wheel out along with most of the spokes. Not good but at least he stayed up and we all finished and gained some valuable experience for next year.
The next race on the agenda saw the same 4 of us tackle the first round of the West Midlands Road Race League, the Bill Jinks Memorial which was located not far from Coventry. We were all pretty shocked at how fast the race was for a second cat race and its clear that a lot of teams have picked up the pace coming in to this year. As with all early season road races, nobody wanted to let anything get away which made for a tough race. Ade managed to get in an early move which saw the rest of us patrol the front of the bunch in order to allow them to escape but the bunch were not having any of this as soon dragged it back. I managed to play a good team role and drag back a lot of moves and put in some seriously hard efforts in order to close down some gaps. In the end it pretty much finished in a bunch gallop up the final climb which I was lead out for with tony dragging us in to the final corner and Joe trying to set me up during the initial phase of the climb. This didn't quite go to plan as it all bunched up on the very narrow roads and Joe got squeezed out and so did I. In the end I had to go solo up the side of the pace and take the out side line of the last corner which was basically saw me on the grass and yet still only managed to get me a lonely 22nd place. Not the ideal start we had hoped to our campaign in this league but then its still early days.

Next up was a Crit at the Stourport track which again saw me, Tony, Joe and Ade take the start on another cold and dank day. This was an elite CritRatcliff took a solo win, Tony sprinted to an extremely impressive 9th with Ade coming in 11th. Tony’s result was even more impressive given that he hadn't even rode the course until the first lap of the race.
Back with our more southerly representative, Mike Kiss was raking up more impressive results with a stunning performance in the Bentor 2 Stage race in South Devon. After finishing 9th in the prologue and then 7th in the Road Race which followed, Mike managed 8th on GC which he did with no other team support due to all the rest having other commitments and Joe being out of action. Again, nice one Mike! I then races the Warwickshire RC 28 mile SPOCO TT on the 8th of April winning the Road Bike Classification and managing 20th overall, I really should do a TT on my Aero Bike One day to get a descent overall position!!!!!
Finally, the last up date comes for the weekend just gone where myself, Tony and Ade contested the second round of the West Midls League, the Stan Jones Road Race which was not far from Telford. On the way to this race Tony was expressing to me how he feels he needs to rain himself back in the first few miles and not go with the suicide breaks that go so early. So what did he do, he went after 1 mile in a group of 3!!!! Me and Ade worked the bunch over in order to slow the chase which allowed Tony’s break to gain 2 minutes by the 2nd lap of the 7 the race was help over.
Soon everyone began to get on top of it and began to chase hard. I tried to cover as many moves as possible but was not feeling great so was finishing harder than It should have. Race favourite James Ratcliff jumped from the bunch but was latched on to by our very own Adrian bird. The 2 of them managed to bridge the gap to Tony's trioi which was now a lot bigger and contained about 10 riders. They stayed away to the finish but with tony being in the break all day and Ade making a mammoth effort to bridge up, both there legs failed them in the print but they still claimed great finished with Tony in 7th and Ade coming in one place ahead in 6th. A truly stunning and courageous ride by both which saw them do the team very, very proud. Well Done Boys