Ridden and Written by Dan Bill
Every year on a weekend in May, the countries regions become a hive of cycling activity as each one holds their own Divisional Road Race Championships where winners are crowned and titles are defended or passed over to a new king. This year the Regional's fell on the 20th and Team RPC would be represented in two Championships; Tony Kiss, Dan Bill and Adrian Bird would contend the title for West Midlands Regional Road Race Champ and Mike Kiss would single handily take on the best in his Region to challenge for the South West Divisional Road Race Championships. Here's the low down on what happened on that Sunday in May.
West Midlands Regional Championships.
|Tony in the Elite break|
Having ridden the course many times before in both the Circuit of the Wrekin and this very same event last year, I knew exactly what to expect and where the decisive moves would be made. The bunch rolled out of the HQ at 9.30 after briefing and began the neutralized ascent of the 13% gradient of Hermitage Hill, the worst neutralized zone in the history of UK road racing! As soon as the flagged dropped to mark the start of 5 laps of the course resulting in a total race distance of 85 miles, Matt Gee and Metalek-Scott attacked along with Andy Tennant. I watched from the bunch hoping to god that this wouldn’t be how the whole race played out. My legs were not feeling good at all; in fact my whole body felt pretty rubbish. With my health issues I can wake up some mornings and feel great and other I can wake up and just feel terrible for no reason, looks like today was going to be one of those days!
|Dan struggling at the back on the climb!!|
|Dan working with the break after making the move |
with 1.5 laps to go.
With one and a half laps to go the bunch powered along the back straight down a small descent before slowing massively just as the road kicked up slightly, I was coming down the outside of the bunch as it slowed so was carrying loads of speed. As this happened a move went off the front made by Matt Clinton of Mike Vaughn’s Cycles and Kairan Frend of Node 4 Giordana. I carried my speed through and found myself off the front with a few others and so we just began to tap through not really thinking much of it. Before we knew it we had a gap and were joined by Russell Falder of Cycle Premier who incidentally I brought my wheels off a few months ago! So know the race looked like this; 2 rider off the front with about a minute over the chasing group of us 7 who had a gap of about 40 seconds over the bunch. We got our selves organised and drilled the through and off, keeping as tight and as tidy as we could. Matt and Kairen were drilling it up the road ahead and were soon 2.5 minutes head of us, the 7 of us were now 1.5 minutes clear of the bunch with only a lap remaining of the race.
Tony was doing a great job back in the bunch and sitting second wheel to Andy Tennant who was now doing all of the work. Thanks to him we managed to keep clear up to this point but we were all getting tired yet still had half a lap of long draggy head wind ridden straights ahead of us before the final climb. Soon we were told that the 2 leaders where almost 4 minutes ahead but we had lost time to the bunch and was now only just over 60 seconds ahead. Now I was nervous and worried about getting caught so I cracked another caffeine gel and tried my best to rally the troops and get back to constant through and off. Soon we were heading down the descent towards the final climb and as we turned on to the rough single track road I knew that our break consisted of quite a few big sprinter types so I though "Fuck it" and just attacked at the bottom of the climb. I had nothing left as it is a gave it my all to turn the gear over on the steepest part. As I Crested the top I could see that Russell and Dave Griffiths of Paramount were hot on my heels but behind them the others were quite a way back. As they caught me I stayed on the front and just drilled the pace as I knew I wouldn’t stand much chance in a sprint so this was the best options. They both started attacking which saw me drop off the pace, I kept digging and managed to get back on but as we came in to the closing 100m I had nothing left as they opened up the sprint so I rolled in head of the other to claim 5th place in the Regional champs which I was ecstatic about.
3 minutes and 55 seconds earlier, Kairen Frend took the top spot after riding away from Matt Clinton who took second spot and a well earned one at that. About 30 seconds after I crossed the line, the bunch came in and Tony managed about 10th in the sprint which saw him take 19th overall, Adrian was only 2 places further back in 21st. Today was a real team effort and RPC gained great exposure in today’s race with Tony out in front for 3 laps and myself out infront for the reamianing 2.
1 Kieran Frend (Node 4-Giordana)
2 Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles)
3 David Griffiths (Paramount CRT)
4 Russell Falder (Cycle Premier-Kovert)
5 Daniel Bill (Rapid Performance Coaching)
19 Tony Kiss (Rapid Performance Coaching)
21 Adrian Bird (Rapid Performance Coaching)
Meanwhile Down South......
Mike Kiss had no such team support for his race but despite that and despite an equally string field Mike managed a fantastic result. With an openeing lap of 55 miles before moving on to 4 laps of 7 miles, a strong group of 3 riders went clear on the very first climb of the race. They began putting serious time in to the bunch but Mike kept his cool and waited for the right moment. With 3 laps of the 7 mile circuit remaining, Mike attacked hard and spent the next lap out in front of the bunch on his own. Soon he was joined by a Mid Devon rider but as soon as they hit the next climb Mike ended up shelling him out the back because he was just to strong. Mike spent the next half a lap on his own again before being joined once again by the same Mid Devon rider and two others.
With only 1 lap remaining, Mike and his trio of campanions drilled it as hard as they could to keep clear of the bunch and see if they could bridge the gap to the leaders. With 1km remaining, Mike attacked again managing to unhinge one rider in there break away. He was then joined by the remaining 2 who worked to catch him but rather than sit up Mike just kept drilling it on the front in order to keep themselves clear of the bunch and any possible sprinters.
The first 3 places were contested the the original 3 break away riders who managed to stay clear all race. Mike, who had done pretty much all of the work for the last half of the race had nothing left in his legs for the sprint but still took an unpressidented 6th spot from this elite level field. Amazing result and clearly one of the strongest in the race.
Overall, this single weekend in May helped to cement RPC's ability as a team and we have once again proved our worth against some of the best riders in the country. Its only early days for this squad but already we have developed a CV of results which most, more established teams would be pleased with. Bring on next year!