At the start of the Season (1st March), team riders Chris Andrews and Alex Welburn took to the start-line of the Run and Ride Winter Classic at Cannock Chase. Both riders were keen to test their early season form and felt that the event would provide the perfect opportunity. Having battled away for much of the race in some challenging conditions and on a testing course, the two came away with the top podium positions. Here is Chris and Alex’s individual reports from the event.
Alex Welburn – 1st Elite Male – As this Winter Classic event was so early in the Season, I felt it would provide a really good opportunity to judge my form. I also wanted to use the event as a preparation for the first round of the National XC Series, which was a few weeks away. Being early March, the weather was cold and wet and just as we were called to the start, the heavens also opened!
I got a good start, quickly made my way to the front and then set my own pace, attacking on the climbs and cruising on the descents. The course conditions rapidly deteriorated and on the 2nd lap I came sliding off and lost my advantage of around 25 seconds. It was then left down to fellow team rider Chris and I to race together. We both pushed each other along for the remaining laps and then ended with a sprint finish, which I took the win by a slim length.
Chris Andrews – 2nd Elite Male – After a long Winter of preparing for the MTB season, I decided some racing was needed to enable me to check out my form and get back into the swing of race day mode. I entered a very well run local event, The Cannock Chase Winter Classic. It utilises many of Cannock Chase’s natural single track, which makes for fast and competitive racing.
As we lined up on the start line the rain came. A perfectly dry course became very sloppy, but perfectly rideable. Myself and fellow team mate Alex Welburn were away in front for pretty much the whole race. Keeping our pace high. As we entered the arena for the final time, it was Alex who had the watts to spare and sprinted for the final corner taking the win by 10 seconds. I tried everything, but didn’t have that final burst which was needed. Well done to Alex! If I’m going to finish 2nd, then I’m happy to have a fellow TORQ Performance Athlete ahead of me.
Well done to both Alex and Chris on their excellent performances. We now look forward to seeing how they perform at the first round on the National XC Series in a few weeks time. As always a huge thank you to our team sponsors for their support.
Whyte Bikes – 29C Carbon Framesets
Schwalbe – Tyres and Tubeless Equipment
Exposure Lights – Advanced Lighting
USE – Carbon Finishing Kits
Dry Robe – Changing Robes
SR Suntour – Suspension Forks
Altura – Team Clothing
Limar – Ultra light Helmets
Lake – Race Shoes
Jagwire – Cables & Housing
Lezyne – Pumps, Saddlebags, Tools & Bottle Cages
Fenwick’s Bike – Bike Maintainance
Shimano – Drivetrain and Brakes
Sealskinz – Waterproof Socks, hats and overshoes
Tifosi – Eyewear
Raceware – Custom Mounts
Camelbak – Race Bottles
Odd Designs – Bike Racks
Stages – Power Meters
Hope Technology – Wheels