I did my first middle distance triathlon and here is a bit about it. Ade.
After 4 years of dedicated volunteering for the club, Jamie Adams has decided to hand over the baton of Club Chair to current Vice Chair Adrian Wilson.
Jamie remains a keen member of the club and hopes to see many other members out on two wheels or over a slice of cake.
Adrian is embracing the challenge of being involved further in the running of the club. Adrian has been involved in the club for 3 years as a coach and six months as Vice Chair. Adrian brings a background in marketing & technology and has been involved in delivery of sports coaching for 17 years. Adrian will to use his experience in these fields to build the clubs profile in the local and wider areas and build on the successes of his predecessor.
The committee would like to take this opportunity to thank Jamie for all his hard work during his tenure. Elections for a permanent chair will be held at the AGM in the spring along with the other committee roles.
The next committee meeting will be held in around three months’ time. Taw Velo Members are reminded that they are welcome to attend the committee meetings as non-voting participants should they desire. Should you wish to attend please let one of the Committee know when the next Committee meeting is announced.
Good weather played a big part in Sunday's cyclo-cross event at West Buckland School. After a few days of rain the sun came out and dried the grounds around the school, allowing for a fast but soft course.
My name is George Armstrong. I have had a great cyclo-cross season 2015-16. I am the junior champion for the south west. This is my 2nd season doing cyclo-cross, in my heart I am a mountain biker but love the different disciplines to improve my fitness and training.
13 riders from Taw Velo made their way to Ilton on Saturday morning to take part in the 1st Chard Wheelers Youth Stage Race. Clubs and riders from around the South West area had a day of grueling challenges. The overall event had over 70 riders taking part, with Taw Velo's latest recruit Morgan Wilson age 6 being the youngest rider there.
Today, 28th May, George Armstrong attended the regional school of racing (RSR) for road at the Maindy Centre in Cardiff. The RSR is open to all youth riders in their second year of B category so we're mainly ages 14-16.
Newnham Park, Plymouth was the venue for the second round of the National MTB Cross-country Series that took place on the weekend of 18th and 19th April.
The Taw Velo Cycling Club youth team aimed high at Sundays Tesco's race. The squad, fuelled by the morning's Easter eggs, put on a sterling performance and managed to secure four places on the podium.
The storms from earlier in the day had started to clear away as riders arrived for the opening round of the North Devon Wheelers Tour of Tesco Youth Series on Sunday, 29th March.
Riders from the South West ventured up to Sherwood Forest to compete in the first round of the National MTB Cross-country Series competition hosted by British Cycling. The event, held over the weekend, was attend by over 600 riders from across the UK representing both local clubs and even national teams from Portugal, Holland and Belgium.
The course run over 5 kilometres was mainly flat with some tight section in the trees, meaning riders would have to choose carefully when to overtake. The weather played a big part in the race as continuous rain meant the track became muddier and riders had a difficult time remaining up right and keeping warm. George Armstrong from Taw Velo Bike It lined up with over 60 riders in the Youth race. Covering 4 laps, George found himself in the same race as the National Champion, Daniel Tulett of Specialized Racing, who dominated the race straight from the start. The tough conditions challenged all the skills of riders and George finished a respectable 38 overall out of 64 starters.
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Fellow rider Gabriel Cox from Certini pushed himself to the max and finished 23 overall. Southfork had 2 riders in the longer 5 lap race, reduced from 6 due to the appalling weather conditions. Over a 100 riders lined up in the Elite, Junior and Expert male categories, 88 riders started in the Expert race with Southfork being represented by Matthew Loake and Edward Worthington. Both riders has a tough race battling through the large volume of riders. The course became slippy with mud being thrown up from other riders wheels this meant seeing was also becoming a challenge. Both riders made excellent progress through the field with Edward finishing 23rd and Matthew 30th.
The next round of the National MTB Cross-country Series heads to Plymouth for a 3-day event, starting on Friday 17th April with a moonlit race.
Sunday, 8th March witnessed the final round of the Soggy Bottom XC Series and thus treated riders to a very wet and muddy course. After a few days of rain and a cold spell, the final race series started with the under 13s race. Problems for the young riders started straight from the off, with a pile up on the first corner, meaning that some of the potential hopefuls had a much harder task of moving up the leader board. Young riders Chuck Harmer, Malo Montepetit-Lebrun and Ethan Jones made effective use of the crash and managed to create a strong lead. All three riders rode very aggressively for the 20 minute race, managing to lap some of the younger riders. Eventually Malo was able to take the win, just ahead of Ethan (2nd) and Chuck (3rd). Fellow Taw Velo riders Ben Rowell (6th), Charlie Tompkins (7th) and Edward Armstrong (11th) could not regain the ground lost from the start. The under 13s team was able to secure 3 of the top 5 places in the overall series with Chuck 3rd, Ben 4th and Edward 5th. Charlie finished 8th in the overall race series.
The under 10s race was also dominated by Taw Velo youth riders. Louis Garnsworthy, who was also caught up in the fall at the first corner, was able to secure 3rd place in the Under 10s boys race, along with Fin Mead in 5th place. Overall standings, despite the wet weather, allowed Louis to remain at the top position in the series, with Fin coming in 3rd. Max Standen, who was away racing at the Manchester arena on the weekend, managed 9th overall in the series. The under 10s girls race was once again was won by Ellen Garnsworthy. After a tough battle with new rider Alisha Mccartney, Ellen was able to stay ahead of her and secure 1st place for the overall series win as well.
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The morning's rain meant that the youth race, which also included Elite, Expert, Juvenile and Sport categories, would test both endurance and skill of the riders. Approx. 90 riders set off from under starters orders, all heading for the first corner and a very tricky climb up a very slippery ascent. Luke Eggor and Matt Loake from Southfork Racing both managed an excellent start and were able to demonstrate their skill over some very tricky descents, which tested even the most experienced riders. Although there was no river crossings in the 2.7 mile course, the mud and standing water made sure that all riders were very wet and muddy throughout the race. The sport male category was won by Tom Holland from Westcoast MTB, Southfork riders who also finished the race included Ed Welsh (11th).
The youth race, which involved two and a half laps of the main circuit, also had a challenge for the title position. Gabriel Cox from Certini rode very strong during the race and was able to challenge some of the Elite male riders for the top placings. Overall series win was held by Gabriel, George Armstrong from Taw Velo was able to secure 3rd place on the day, which meant overall he would be 2nd in the series.
Next up was the large field consisting of Grand Vet, Vet and Fun categories. The course was now very slippy in places and the steep descents made harder with exposed tree roots, could only mean that falling off would become part of the course. Riders who managed to sprint into the first corner would be able to take advantage of having less traffic to get through and loss of traction due to volume of riders. Southfork Racing’s MTB team was able to secure a lead on the first lap and the possibility of an overall series win for the North Devon team. The terrain now very muddy, meant that the easier B-line routes were just as difficult as the harder A-line routes. Tired legs along with faces covered in mud made the whole race harder. The sun managed to shine in the afternoon, however this was too late and the whole course was one big muddy track, which sapped a riders energy very quickly. The fun race was won by Lee Mason with Taw Velo’s Nick Rowell managing 6th on the day. Southfork Racing’s Pete Dawe got 2nd place on the day, ensuring 1st place in the overall series with Nick Butler 4th (3rd overall) ad Sean Cannock 19th. Taw Velo rider Darren Armstrong secured his highest placing of the series so far with 12th place and Graham Garnsworthy also managed his highest placing coming in at 17th.
The next event for the North Devon riders will be round 1 of the British Cycling MTB Cross-Country Series in Nottingham on the 28th and 29th March before returning to the Newnham track on the 18th and 19th April for round 2.
The sun shone on the Plymouth Life Centre which held the final round of the South West Cyclo-cross series on Sunday, 18th January. This final round witnessed more than 120 riders take on the gruelling course which had been set up by the University of Plymouth Cycling Team. The previous weeks rain provided a very slippy course which was only made harder by hair pin bends, off camber climbs and sticky mud, meaning riders had to pick up their bikes and run or stop to unclog jammed wheels.
Max Standen performed exceptionally well in the U8s, with determination straight from the starter's whistle, he managed to create a lead of more than 30 seconds on the first lap. Max was keen to make sure he kept the pressure on and increased his advantage on each lap, securing first place during the 5 lap race and finishing nearly 2 mins ahead of second place rider Oliver Robins.
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The U10s and U12s started with riders being gridded for the final race, meaning both Edward Armstrong and Ellen Garnsworthy secured a place on the front row. Making a break from the start, Edward charged for the lead into the first corner, before tackling a very tricky downhill decent into a hair pin bend. Sam Medlyn from One and All Cycling and Leon Dawes from Pilgrim flyers took advantage of the situation to ensure the lead positions. Ellen Garnsworthy gave a good fight to secure her lead in the female U10s category. The 6 lap race was eventually won by Sam Medlyn with Edward coming in 3rd place. Ellen secured first place in her fight for the U10s girls title.
The novice race was up next which also included the Youth categories. Becky Cornwell was favorite to win the ladies novice section, however stiff competition from fellow team mates Katie Standen and Caroline Armstrong, meant she would need to go hard straight from the start. Briony Goldsmith from CSSH was able to push her way through the field and challenge Becky for the lead, however Becky was too strong and managed to hold onto first place all the way round. Fellow team mates Katie managed 4th place in her first ever race along with Caroline, in only her second event, securing 5th.
The youth race was fast straight from the start, initial lead was held by Gabriel Cox followed closely by Max Hindes. However at the first road crossing both riders took a wrong turn, allowing Max to gain an advantage on Gabriel. Gabriel and George Armstrong both pushed each other to the limit to try and catch Max, but where unsuccessful in the their efforts and had to settle for 2nd and 3rd places.
The main event had over 90 riders competing in the hour-long race. The course now resembling more of a mud bath rather than a grass field. This now meant carrying the bike and running was a main feature of the race, as riding was almost impossible due to lack of traction from the back wheel. Bike changes and a strong pit crew now made the difference between winning and losing. The first place teams were changing bikes every 2 laps so that brakes and wheels did not get clogged up with the sticky mud. Taw Velo's Darren Armstrong suffered a puncture on the first lap, meaning a bike change was required. Due to the hard efforts of his pit team (Edward and George) allowed him to change back to his original bike once the puncture had been fixed and secured 17th place in the vets category. Graham Garnsworthy managed a respectable 26th in the senior race. The race finally over, after an hour of running and riding through thick mud was won by Seniors Dextor Hurlock, Vets James Bovey, Lucy Allen for the women's and Charlie Mcfadzean for the Juniors.
Sunday, 11th January saw riders from North Devon heading down to Plymouth for Round 1 of the Soggy Bottom XC Series at Newnham Park. In total over 170 riders took part in a number of different races and lengths during the course of the day. The mountain bike course was a mixture of steep descents covered with tree routes, boulders and at one point a cold water crossing. It ran across farm land and natural obstacles, the course was designed to test the riders abilities and endurance in race conditions.
Taw Velo had an excellent turn out for both the adult and youth section of the club with a variety of ages from the under 8s through to the Grand Vets.
The morning started with the under 13s and 10s race, run over a shorter course length and duration of 20 mins involved around 30 riders. Taw Velo's Ben Rowell, competing in his first race, made a charge for the first ascent to put him in second place. Holding out for the duration, Ben could not quite match the speed of first place rider Seth Owen and ended up,settling for second place, followed by Chuck Harmer in 4th and Edward Armstrong 5th. Ellen Garnsworthy managed to get 2nd place in the under 10s girls section of the race. Fin Mead also in his first race had a spectacular off, whilst descending through the tree line, managed to jump back on his bike and get a respectable 5th place in the under 10s boys category.
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Max Standen made an impressive start to his first mountain bike race in the under 8s category. He lead straight from the start and managed to open up a gap of more a minute on his first lap to nearest rival. Due to his determination an addition lap had to be added to ensure that the full duration of the race would be run. In the end his efforts were rewarded with a first place finish.
The next race was now over the full course length and involve all obstacles, descents and a gruelling long climb over a 1.5 kilometre distance, consisting of both tarmac, gravel road and grass. A number of different categories including, fun, youth, sport male, elite and juvenile meant 92 competitors lined up for the start of the race. Jack Hewlett representing sport male managed an impressive 3rd place during the one and a half-hour long race. In the Youth male category, George Armstrong fought a tough battle along side Gabriel Cox from Certini and challenged him for 1st place. In the end Gabriel managed to hold out and retain 1st with George taking second place.
The next race to start was Grand Vet and Vet male and included 66 riders. Taw Velo had a good team covering each category and achieved some good places. Darren Armstrong managed 19th, Graham Garnsworthy 35th in the Vet section, Sean Hewlett 8th in the Grand vet. Pete Dawe from Southfork racing achieved 1st place in the event. Simon Harmer suffered a mechanical problem during the first lap in a challenge to be first across the bridge. Deterioration of the course meant the the challenging down hill sections were littered with twisty and slippery tree roots. This meant riders had to be aware of the obstacles when trying to over take other riders and back markers.
Sunday, 4th January was round 13 of the South West Cyclo-cross series, which was held at the Plymouth City Motopark. The testing track which involved a number of natural obstacles such as mud, table tops and a cork screw ensured that riders endurance and technical skills where tested to the limit. Young riders Louis Garnsworthy and Max Standen battled for pole position straight from the start in the under 8s race. Max managed to hold the lead for a lap, before Louis managed to get past him. The pair had a strong lead over a group of 14 riders and finished over 30 secs ahead of 3rd place rider, Ben Goldsmith (CSSH). Max found the task more challenging when he got stuck behind a group of riders in the corkscrew.
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The under 10s and under 12 race saw a field of 21 riders taking on a longer course with long stretch of mud and grass. Freddie Birchill from Certini made an impressive start managing to create a gap straight from the start, by the end of the second lap he had increased his lead by well over 30 seconds. Sam Medlyn and Leon Dawes both tried to regain ground on Freddie but could not reduce the gap during the 20 minute race. Taw Velo rider Edward Armstrong managed 6th place behind a strong team from the local club Pilgrim Flyers. Ellen Garnsworthy was able to hold on first place for the under 10s girls.
The under 14s and under 16s race also included the novice section for adults which meant around 20 riders took on the longer course, again with more obstacles included. The strong field of riders from Certini, Harry Birchill and Gabriel Cox tried to create a gap from the start, however Max Hinds (bike in motion) and George Armstrong (Taw Velo) kept the pressure on to make sure the race would be contested over distance and time. In the end the Plymouth team was too strong and managed to keep ahead, overall Harry managed 1st, Gabriel 2nd, Max 3rd and George 4th. Becky Cornwell from Taw Velo managed an impressive 1st in the women's novice section.
The main race held over the full course and lasting for an hour had 66 riders representing clubs from around the region. The track now in a poor state from the mornings races meant that thick mud would ensure a tough time for the adults. Graham Garnsworthy took the challenge of competing in the main race after winning several of the novice races. Now racing for an hour instead of 30 mins, meant that he had to work much harder for longer. His efforts were rewarded with a respectable 49th place overall.
The final race of the series will be held at Plymouth Central Park on Sunday, 18th January where Taw Velo will sending a team of riders and hopefully achieving a number of 1st places in the South West series. Full event details are available on the British Cycling and South West Cyclo-cross websites.
On Sunday, 14th December, Taw Velo riders made their way down to Falmouth Bike Park for round 11 of the South West Cyclo-cross league. The previous weeks rain made sure that riders where going to find the course very slippy and testing.
Louis Garnsworthy made an excellent start in the under 8s race on the shortened circuit. 8 riders set off from the start line, with Louis making a sprint straight off the starting line. Within a lap young Louis had taken a significant lead over the other riders. The course had a number of berms, rollers and steep off camber declines. Louis managed to remain in the lead for the full duration of the race and also lapped a number of riders.
Ellen Garnsworthy had a successful race in the under 10s and 12s race coming in first for the under 10s girls. In all 14 riders lined up on the start line for the 20 minute race, on a course that had now been extended to take on more twist and turns. Sam Medland from one and all racing made a very impressive break on the first lap and opened up a 30 second lead on second place Pilgrim Flyers rider. Edward Armstrong managed 5th in his age category.
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George Armstrong, aged 15, entered the under 16s race which included the adult novice category and used the full track for a 30 minute race. The course was more in line with a downhill type event, top half of the course included a long section of the Falmouth Bike Park downhill section. More riders meant the track was now starting to deteriorate and the grass was turning into a mud bath, which started to stick to everything and make the task harder. Local riders who generally ride the downhill section found the Cyclo-cross course much harder and the different skill set more of a challenge. George was determined not to let local talent affect his charge on the league title, so made for a break on the first lap. His gamble paying off as on the second lap his was over 30 seconds ahead of second place rider. By the end of the race George had opened up over a minute and half on the second place rider and lead Novice adult racer.
The main race was next with around 70 adults taking part in an hour long race. Previous racing and practice laps meant the course was mainly now a mixture of mud, leaves and grass meaning cornering was much trickier and meant riders had to test all their bike handling skills. The whole course was much different from any other Cyclo-cross course, events are normally run over relatively flat circuits with some obstacles thrown in, however this was more of a 50% downhill and 50% uphill. The course contained a mixture of off camber cornering and a steep descents which transverse across farm fields, once down the hill the task would then be to climb back to the top tackling the mud, high steps and other riders. Excessive mud caused mechanical problems for a large number of riders with damaged wheels, punctures or rear derailleur problems.
Taw Velo's Cyclo-cross team once again achieved excellent results; this time at the South of England Regional Championship on Sunday, 7th December. Stover school in Newton Abbott hosted the 2 day event and thus provided a very scenic background to the long and technically challenging course. The whole circuit circled the main house and grounds with some very steep and tree rooted paths.
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The cold crisp weather could not stop Louis Garnsworthy and Max Standen taking 1st and 2nd place for the top regional positions on the under 8s course. The pair led straight from the start, in a field of 17 from clubs representing the South of England, with both riders creating a gap of more than 30 seconds on the first lap. The pair worked together during the 3 lap race. George Dadswell, aged 5, also competed in the same event and found the long course very tiring. Edward Armstrong managed a respectable 7th in the under 12s race in a field of more than 20 riders and Ellen Garnsworthy taking 2nd place in the under 10s girls, making sure that her dominance in the girls category remains on target. George Armstrong achieved 4th in the tough under 16s race, with many of the riders from others parts of the South with some travelling from as far afield as the Cotswolds. The race became harder due to the wind increasing along with a spot of rain, making the course more slippery on very tight corners.
Becky Cornwell did not have as much luck in her first competitive race, venturing away from the novice category. Becky decided to race against more experienced riders, however due to very tricky ascent of the garden terrace, crashed heavy on the front wheel, meaning she had a long run back to the pits, to pick up the spare bike. During the course of the day, over 180 riders competed on the challenging course, as the day went on the mud became thicker and the corners very slippery and testing. The main race included vets, women and Juniors, over 130 riders took on the 40 min race, to determine who is the best in the South of England.
First was 'scooting' – with the left foot on the pedal as normal but pushing along with the other foot on the same left hand side of the bike. This manoeuvre came with promises that "you really won't fall over" from coach Darren Armstrong. This did turn out to be true but not without a few unclipping related close shaves!
Onto the grass next to link together dismounting, running, and getting back onto the bike. Keeping some speed whilst trying to remember in what order everything is meant to happen was a bit of a challenge but it did get easier with practice. We then got a feel for braking with some practice at stopping suddenly- finding the differences between front and rear braking and the importance of getting your body weight over the rear of the bike. A short slalom course tested our handling skills before some formation riding in the (fortunately empty) car park to get used to riding close to others. Being boxed in took some getting used to, especially when we swapped to riding in a row each using one hand. A long way to go towards Red Arrows precision, but it worked and it was clear that this skill is really valuable- for riding in groups on the road as well.
We then put everything into practice with a couple of laps of the grounds; sprinting uphill on long wet grass was tougher than it looked and tired the legs out just in time for a final bit of dismount and remount practice. We packed in a lot, stayed upright and had a good laugh along the way - a top Taw Velo training session!
Taw Velo Cycling Club had both a good turn out and good results at the Plymouth Cyclo-cross on Sunday, 23rd November. Six riders from the club made the journey down to compete on a very tough and demanding course that tested riders skills and endurance to the limit. The previous weeks rain meant that a water logged course brought on the mud (and lots of it!) making it even more slippery and gruelling. The riders had to endure off camber corners, trees and thick sticky mud which clogged gears and braking systems.
Louis Garnsworthy, in the under 8s race, bided his time and waited before attacking the first place rider at the end of the first lap. His determination to win allowed him to create a gap between himself and second place rider, Ben Goldsmith. Edward Armstrong managed to 5th place in the under 12s race. Tough competition from the local club, Pilgrim Flyers, meant that he had to work hard against their riders on home turf.
George Armstrong had a longer and more difficult battle in the youth race. Off camber hills and turns meant his bike handling skills and stamina were tested to the max. He managed to take second place in the 16s category, losing to Gabriel Cox of Certini. Novice winner, Graham Garnsworthy, had a tough course but managed to create a distinctive lead of over 30 seconds between the second place rider. Becky Cornwell, in only her second race of the season, secured 2nd place in the female novice section. Becky commented that just staying upright was her main priority over the difficult course!
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The main one hour race saw over 80 riders competing for first place. Initially a strong consortium from Mid-Devon Cycling Club led the race with Andrew Parker and Oscar Wiessier creating a gap in the main field. Clogged gears and sticky mud making the whole process harder, along with sharp hill climbs and tricky descents. All looked good for the South Devon club until Dextor Hurlock decided enough was enough and raced for first place. Coming from 5th place he charged his way through the field and continued on to lead the race for the last few laps. With mud clogging every part of his bike, Darren Armstrong finished the tough race in a very respectable 44th place overall and 20th place in the veterans category.
The next round will be the South of England Championship at Stover School, Newton Abbot on Saturday, 6th and Sunday, 7th December. A large turn out of over 100 riders will race in the various categories, so thrills and spills are expected. Full event details are available on the British Cycling and South West Cyclo-cross websites.