After a season that seems to have flown by, the middle of August brought us the last National XC event of 2014, Round 5 of the British XC Series. Held on a newly crafted course, at the renowned Cannock Chase Trails in the Midlands. This event was the crescendo to the UK’s premier mountain bike race series for 2014.
Taking to the start line in the Men’s elite race we had Alex Welburn, Chris Andrews and Lee Westwood with Jo Clay and Ruby Miller in the Elite Womens’ race. Unfortunately for the team, round 5 saw many of the riders sidelined by illness and injury, including Carla Haines, Ed McParland and John Hopkinson.
Here is a report of how the race went from each of the individual riders’ own perspectives.
Alex Welburn – 10th Elite. “The race course at Cannock chase is pretty much my back garden. Most of my training takes place here, so I was more than delighted to be racing the National Series on home turf. In the run up to the race, I had been regularly riding the course, so had a lot of my lines dialled in nicely. From the gun, I had a poor start, as the guy in front of me missed his pedals, which left me a lot of work to do during the first lap. After working my way up to 10th in the field, I settled into a good pace. I then started to suffer a bit of cramp, so tried not to go over the top on the climbs, as they were short power climbs.
On the climbs, I worked hard to preserve my energy and then make back any time I had lost on the descents. As I rolled across the line after my 6th lap, I finished in 10th place, meaning I was in the UCI points. This has been my best result to date, and even better it was done on home soil, so I had lots of cheers from the locals.”
Jon Pybus – 16th Elite. “I got to the venue at Cannock after a long drive back from the French Alps the night before, and after only 2 hours of sleep! The course was great fun to ride, with a neat rock garden which I bounced my way down, (trying not to fall off) every lap (Ed. John is a rider renowned for his lack of finesse). A few tweaks to try & a setup courtesy of Schwalbe’s on sight support and I was all ready for Sunday.”
“A good night’s sleep & a bit of a spin on my race bike (to get warmed up) and I felt much better. I was gridded in 29th on the 4th row and got a good start, riding comfortably in the top 10 out of the start field. I was in a comfortable position for the first lap, until I went down the rock garden and my rear tyre burped out some air and it went a bit squidgy. I rode on it for a bit, sticking with Nick Craig and Alex, I decided to use the Lezyne Co2 to give it some gas, but it went to uber hard. In this instance, I could safely say that more was better than less, though it did make for an uncomfortable ride! After the first lap, I came through in 12th position and remained there for the following laps. Going into the last 2 laps, fatigue from the drive started to set in and I eventually rolled over the line in 16th place. All things considered, I was pretty happy with the result.”
Chris Andrews – 20th Elite. “Round 5 of the British XC Series was almost a home round. Well give or take 40 odd miles. From the gun, the race was flat out and I managed to work my way into the top 15 & hoped to move further forward. Unfortunately, due to working night shifts, I had been unable to train much over the last few weeks and the lack of training and sleep began to show. I therefore fell back to 20th position. All things considered, I was satisfied with this result and look forward to our next team event coming up this weekend, TORQ 12:12.”
Lee Westwood – 27th Elite. “After a challenging season at the National Series, I found myself lined up towards the back of the field for the final round at Cannock Chase. However, with a fun course and home support on my side, I was still feeling pretty positive. My race went pretty well, battling for large parts with Dan Booth (Hope Factory Racing) until he just slipped away from me on the second to last lap. I finished in 27th & moved nearly half way through the field from my original gridding. Thanks again everyone for the cheers on course it made for a pretty special race!”
Ruby Miller – 14th Elite. “It was my birthday, I was camping and It was an amazing national course all the ingredients for a good weekend! I was super chuffed about nailing all the A lines every lap. It was just unfortunate that during the race, I didn’t have the form I was hoping for.”
Jo Clay – unfortunately sustained a mechanical after 3 laps, which ruled her out of the race.
As a domestic team, all of our riders balance busy working lives with training and racing, but they are all motivated to perform at the highest level, even when up against some of the top riders from the UK and around the World. 2014 has seen many of the riders achieve their career best results, which as a team we have been immensely proud of. After 5 rounds of racing, the overall final positioning of the team riders concluded as.
Chris Andrews – 21st (All 5 Rounds)
John Hopkinson – 5th (3 Rounds)
Jon Pybus 26th – (4 Rounds)
Alex Welburn – 27th (4 Rounds)
Ed McParland – 51st (2 Rounds)
Lee Westwood – 53rd (2 Rounds)
Ben Price – 63rd (2 rounds)
Jo Clay – 18th (3 Rounds)
Ruby Miller 21st – (3 Rounds)
Carla Haines 34th – (1 Round)
Thank you to Andy Whitehouse of – http://andyw39.smugmug.com/ for the excellent images in this report.
Next up for the team, is one of the highlights of the year, TORQ In Your Sleep, the team’s very own 12hour endurance race.
As always, a big thank you to all the team sponsors. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do: