Here is David’s first blog of 2018 – exiting times . . .
Here he is with his new team (David is the tall one!)
First one of the year March 2017
It’s here again, the season, comes round fast after all those cold and wet winter rides, riding round miserable soaking just waiting to get home. But this winter I’ve managed to get a great coach onboard. Roy Holmes of Holmes cycling give him a follow on twitter and visit his website at http://www.holmescycling.co.uk whether amateur to professional he has the one package for you.
So with that it’s been a lot of new training types and rides, varying from tempo rides, to long efforts to prepare me for racing and it’s been a lot more interesting and enjoyable than just riding round for hours. Now it’s come to the racing I feel much better, stronger and faster and ready to race.
It’s been quite a pain applying for teams as many have folded and it’s a fight for places but last minute I’ve managed to get a place in the Cornish team of Saint Piran. A solid team with a good setup and a great plan for the future with helping young riders move up the ladder. I can’t wait to get racing with the team and be able to help and be helped in races rather than constantly working against 4/5 other riders. Give the team a follow on Instagram at Saint piran and on Facebook at Saint Piran cycling. So now it’s end of march I’ve only had one race. Which wasn’t really a race at Pimbo. At 4 degrees and pooring down rain the whole race it was safe to say I was completely frozen to the bone and the race actually got shortened due to the conditions. I went with all 3 attacks there was but nothing got more than a few seconds. As I’m no sprinter I attacked 2 laps to go and a few came across but yet again nothing could stick so for the sprint just finished in the bunch. The next race was Dolphinholme in which I entered on the line. I was 2nd reserve and got given my number and paid and told I could race. I was prepared, arrived 2 hours early and was up for the race because it suited me really well. Warmed up for 20 minutes or so and went to the rider briefing, where 2 minutes before the start of the race told I wasn’t able to race, which was ridiculous and the reserve 3 rider who was clearly behind me started the race, so I was pushed out the race for someone who arrived after me. Fair? I think not but didn’t let it get me down and moved on.
So my next race which I’m fully prepared and ready for is this Sunday 2nd of April and is Capernwray road race. 70 miles around a lumpy circuit which suits me. Can’t wait to get going. Just today my new race bike has arrived which is identical to my training bike so I can just hop on and away I go. Thanks to my coach Roy Holmes for helping me set the bike all up, glueing the tubs on, just helping me out all round can’t thank him enough.
So that’s it for now will keep you updated with small updates each week and an overall each month.
Thanks again to the Lewis Balyckyi trust fund for supporting me this season. Proud to be apart of it.
Thanks for reading
Hi everyone who reads, already nearly the end of the season! Felt like it had only just begun. That’s probably because we’re still waiting for summer. Again as the season is closing the racing also is to and with the British elite calendar over there are only races few and far between! So main event this month was the tli national road race championships. I used a couple of other races to help me gage my form for this, these included the north wales road race and Leicester castle classic.
Starting off with the north wales rr. It was a super windy day and a massive block head wind up and down one side of the circuit. It started off and 68 mile race began. A break instantly went up the road of around 8/9 riders but as the wind was high it didn’t get far. Attacks get coming and going around the 23 mile lap and half way round the second lap I attacked just after a small climb and 1 rider I knew from Belgium joined me and we created about a 1 minute gap on the bunch before the hard climb came. I kept to my own pace on the climb and a group of about 8 caught us both on the decent in which we stayed away for the rest of race not realising there were a few stragglers already ahead left from the first break of the day. After a lot of hard work 2 miles from the finish my legs give in and I slowly rolled over the line. I was gutted as I worked all day but knew I had some decent form ready for the Nationals.
So the Nationals came and again was a tough rolling course that sapped your energy so any moves you made had to be useful. The race began and as usual attacks went from the gun and kept on going and getting pulled back for a good hour. Until one break went of about 6 riders and got over a minute. But the main threats were still in the bunch. I was looking at them and they just weren’t going to I attacked myself and they never followed but 2 other riders did, at first they didn’t do any work as they had team mates in the break but as they looked behind and saw the gap on the bunch was sizeable they began to work. We could the see the break just ahead but no matter how hard we pushed it didn’t seem to be getting any closer. It was the hardest 10-12 minutes ever and we eventually got on with one 15 mile lap to go. Going over the line one rider attacked and I tried to go with them but cramped up and waited until the bunch came again. I thought they would of wanted to chase but no one did. The final sprint was uphill and I knew what was coming. As we hit it small climb I cramped and cramped and cramped but somehow manage to hold onto to 4th with my legs completely solid. So I was happy with my performance.
With only one race left of the 4th of September I hope to finish the season on a high. This season has had its up and downs and I can tell you without the support of the Lewis balyckyi trust fund and the backing from my parents I wouldn’t have a bike to ride on. So Thanks again to them and hopefully I’ll be able to represent you again next season. Also with a new coach ready for the winter and goals set and planned for next year I hope it will be a big year for me and I can’t wait. Thanks for reading see you soon
So the last month has been hard financially after my bike and all my kit got destroyed in the crash, without the support from my parents, Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund, and my cycling friends I wouldn’t be back up and running now so thanks to them for the help.
After a mid season break to recharge and a new bike I was looking forward to race again. The first race back was Alan Goddard memorial in Shropshire. I got there feeling good and ready to start the 66 mile race. The course was pan flat and one team had over 10 riders so they just closed everything down, as the course was flat there really was no getting away no matter how many of us tried and it was down to a bunch sprint which doesn’t suit me, I averaged nearly 29mph though. After that was colne Grand Prix, I was ready and looking forward to this race, we all started dodging potholes and after about 8 laps I punctured, I’ve started to get used to the bad luck now and just waiting for the next thing to happen. After only 10 minutes racing Tuesday I decided to race Pimbo RR on the Thursday. After a couple of goes of getting away I finally left the bunch and road hard and was off the front extending the gap each lap, until the bunch started working together finally and closed me down with 15 minutes to go, nearly but not quite. Saturday I raced in Sheffield, warming up my legs felt worn out and I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy the race very much. The break went but my legs just said no so I saved what I could for the last lap and attacked the bunch and ended up staying away for 7th. It was okay I suppose but not what I wanted. Next few races really suit me and look to have some climbs in them so I am hoping to pull some good results off in those, maybe some good luck on my side who knows. Thanks for reading and again thanks for everyone who’s helped me get back up and running with out you there’s no way I would of been able to afford to start from scratch.
So this month was looking to be really promising as I had good form going into some big races which I had my eye set on. The first race of the month was the North West Road Race Championships, It was a super hot day and I felt good. James Gullen was the big name there and he was my target to follow. The first lap a couple of riders clipped off the front and stayed away for 2/3 laps, 2 laps in Gullen attacked and I went with him as well as a few other riders, we managed to get a gap but what was remaining of the bunch got back on, so the 3rd lap Gullen went again about 1 mile before the climb and again I went with him but this time it was the decisive move as we built up a lead of over 1m 30s. 5 laps in and I was feeling great, thinking of what to do on the penultimate lap, then the 5th time up the climb by body shut down instantly, I couldn’t see and could hardly turn the pedals, I had to stop. I was truly gutted as I felt fine one minute then something hit me the next, I’m putting this down to dehydration and something to learn from in the future. The week after was Pontefract GP, again which I was looking forward to as I’ve had good form. Big field started the race and the first couple of laps were hard. I was thinking this can’t carry on! The lap board was counting down and I was at the front all race, last 5 laps it started to rain which made it really slippy on the town centre bends! 1 lap To go and there was 8 of us left, all looking at each other, I hesitated whether to attack or not and I didn’t. I wish I did looking back, I managed to get 5th at the end and was quite disappointed. A solid weeks training after this to prepare for the National Road Race Championships.
Came the Thursday night and the elite Crit was on at Preston so I went down. Same old Crit story, just attack until you eventually get away. Well I never got away and it was the last lap and I was leaving nothing behind for the sprint, well apart from my bike. Came round the last bend sprinting at around 35mph when I had the biggest crash so far. There was a rider already down on the racing line but couldn’t move out of the way in time resulting in me and 2 others hitting him straight on, my bike was destroyed, frame snapped in 3 places, brand new group set 2 weeks old cracked, wheels cracked, the whole bike was a right off, I was okay luckily just some road rash, as were the others. So now I have no bike of my own and have been borrowing an emergency bike from a friend. Going to have to find a lot of money in the next couple of weeks to start from scratch and hopefully I’ll have a ride of my own back. Thanks again to the Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund, without these I wouldn’t have been able to even enter some races or buy equipment. It’s a massive help. Tonight is Otley GP, which is going to very hard especially using someone else’s bike but I’ll do my best. If anyone feels like donating me any equipment to help me get back up and running would me much appreciated.
Hi everyone thanks for reading. So this month has been mainly Crit racing as there didn’t seem to be much on the road.
The only road race I competed in this month was in Scotland, the John Gordon memorial. The circuit suited me as it was quite hilly and sapping so I was looking forward to it as well as the good weather that day. We rolled out onto the circuit for a few miles then the racing started with attacks coming from everywhere, mainly Planet X North Side as they had a full team, maybe more in the race! A small break formed of 5/6 riders but didn’t get more than 10 seconds and was soon pulled back on the first climb, at this point the race split and I was in the front group of about 30 riders, looked behind and it was over for anyone else, after the first climb, if ramped up again before a long fast decent where I decided just to sit on the back and have a rest, then somehow, going on a straight line in single file the guy in front of me went down heavily which then meant I went straight over the top of him, literally riding over him. That was the end of that one.
Then onto my local mid-week Crit at Litherland. I got into the break eventually when my gears started jumping, I coped with it at first but then they really started jumping so I changed my wheel to see if that would make any difference and got back on after a lap out, then as I sprinted out of the hairpin my knee smashed against the bars making me quite angry. 1 lap to go and I pulled out as I couldn’t put any pressure on the pedals. This meant it was time to buy some new parts, namely chainset, cassette and chain bought and fitted ready for the TLI National Crit champs the following weekend. Without the support of the Lewis Balyckyi Trust fund there would have been no way I could have afforded the kit I needed so again thanks to them it really makes a huge difference.
Onto the weekend, where the Crit champs where in north Wales. Plenty of attacks came but everyone wanted to win so everything was just brought back immediately. 2 laps to go Alex Harvey from NFTO attacked and I followed him, managed to work together and get a reasonable gap but we knew it would be close! 1 lap to go and the bunch was coming up quickly behind and we knew we were going to be caught but when? I carried on chewing the stem until half a lap to go when we were caught. Don’t get if you don’t try.
Last race of the month was down in St Albans in London, a long drive but was worth it in the end. The course was really technical with 14 corners over the 1km circuit; it was like a small Kermesse from Belgium. I know my cornering is quick so I was looking for it, it was a tight circuit but fully enjoyable and after no more than 400m I was in the break that stayed away. We worked to lap the rest of the field and 3 laps to go I attacked but never managed to get a gap more than 5/6 seconds, so I knew this was down to a sprint which I know is my weak point, from the last corner to the line was about 100m, I was sprinting for 3rd at this point which I managed to get – I was really happy with this as I had actually won a sprint!
After this race my coach Ian Bibby give me a hard training block which was all week so no racing, getting ready for the regional championships next weekend. Providing nothing goes wrong I’ll be all ready for that and hoping to have a good ride. June is a big month on the calendar as the Nationals, regionals and elite Crits are all in this month so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into those! But without the help of the Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund half of these races wouldn’t be happening due to the travelling costs, entry fees, food etc. so thanks again for supporting me this season. Also with the addition of West Lancashire rehabilitation clinic giving me free weekly treatments is a massive bonus. They can be found on Facebook or Twitter and are available for sports massage and rehab 7 days a week
So April has been a bit more productive on a results point of view with me coming in the top 10 in every race but just not managing the take the win. With the help of the funding I have a new coach on board, probably heard of him, Ian Bibby, which I would not be able to afford without the funding. So there hasn’t been much road racing this month as there’s not much on the calendar, but a lot of Crits which are a major weak point for me but I seem to fair good in them, probably due to my strength. So the Crits I’ve done this month have had 3rd, 4th, 4th,5th and 9th, not amazing but I’m happy with my performance as I don’t just sit in the bunch – I always want to get away and attack, otherwise what’s the point in racing? Hahah basically the same happened in each race, attack and try and force and break, get brought back and repeat until it stays away! The first of the Lewis balyckyi Crits I got in every break which eventually stayed away with 3 of us and 4th joining where he forced me to go through then attacked me after the headwind – which wasn’t very nice of him! But that’s what happens in racing! The Noel Jones memorial road race was fun, it had 1 climb in it which basically I dominated riding away from the bunch every lap taking the Kom prizes and eventually forcing a 2 man break which me and another lad stayed away right until the end where we just couldn’t keep it going, even though we weren’t in the bunch the whole racing bar 2 got disqualified due to dangerous riding which I didn’t think was fair! The weekend later I raced stone wheelers RR where I came 5th after being in a windy break all day, even though I was the strongest rider on the day the sprint let me down as always in the end for 5th place! And the last race of the month was last night, at Preston, after 4 days off due to the horrific man flu I was happily back on the bike – not my strongest but still kept attacking and trying to force a break but got chased down each time! So the last Lap I decided to line it out in order to keep a front place to the sprint as I knew I’d be beaten in that. Which I did as I came 9th I think, which was okay after being ill and leading the whole last lap. So that’s it for this month and May looks to be better suited to me as there are more hilly road races which I’ll be in and coming closer and closer to the win, I’m sure it’ll come this month! Again thanks for the support, races wouldn’t be entered, new kit and coach wouldn’t be possible without it! I’ll see you next Thursday!
So the season had begun, my bike was ready with new equipment and kit thanks to Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund and the first race was here, my legs felt great and I couldn’t wait to get going. Eddie Soens, 50 miles round and round, I was active all race following every move with the key competition in knowing that one of those would stick. 7 moves later and still nothing was sticking, so I relaxed a little and recovered and before I knew it 5 men were up the road, a few more jumped across and that was the race over. No result but I was happy with how I was feeling.
The next race was new to me as it was an indoor criterium, The Rainbow Classic GP. I had no clue what I was in for until I arrived and saw the surface I was going to be racing on, with 80 psi in my tyres on the dry I was feeling nervous as there had already been six crashes with other riders while warming up! So I set off comfortable and we hit the first corner – 2 riders down!
I was hovering near the front slightly nervous going onto the 3rd lap when my front wheel went from under me and I was out of the race. Safe to say I complained at the safety of the course and was handed my race entry fee back!
Now I was looking forward to the next race which was the day after on the classic Pimbo circuit. This race I was very active, constantly attacking and going with the strong lads knowing we would get away, which we did multiple times and eventually being brought back for a bunch sprint for 5th.
From this point I knew I was fit and ready for the first big race of the season, The Chorley GP. I’d been training hard for this race knowing it suited my strengths well.
I arrived on the day and the weather looked grim, windy and the good old British rain, 116 miles was waiting ahead of me. We hit the first climb and I felt fine, comfortably sat in the bunch when I looked down and saw I had a puncture after 11 miles. I took my wheel out and waited for the support car, which seemed to be taking an age, in fact 4 minutes as there was an early crash in the race. I had 4m20 to catch on the pro’s which was never going to happen as I couldn’t even get a tow back! I was annoyed to say the least. But hey-ho another day another race, I am now looking forward to the Frank Morgan. To put it straight I punctured 9.79 miles in to be precise along with dozens of other riders.
That was my racing for March over, not happy but I know I feel strong. Again thanks for the support and for reading.