Welcome to the home of CNP - Orbea Racing

Welcome to the home of CNP - Orbea Racing

Throughout the 2012 season this site will provide up to date information, including which events we are competing in, race reports, riders blogs and any other team news

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Matt's Sherwood Story.

The first round of the NPS had been occupying my thoughts for some time. Apart from a few small races in the weeks leading up to it, I had no real way of knowing how good my form was, and as a result I was really nervous as to how I would perform. I’ve worked hard this winter, trying to analyse ways in which I can improve. I felt quite strong, but you never know until the gun goes off how well you’re actually going!

So Sherwood would be the first real test, and I wanted the result to be good! Practicing the course the day before, it was clear that it was going to be really fast. The conti race kings were the perfect tyres, and with that in mind I was confident I’d have an advantage come race day! I finished practice and made sure my nutrition was right, so had a decent meal (accompanied with CNP pro-recover!) so I could recover properly for the next day.

Race day dawned, and as soon as I got up I clicked onto auto pilot, following the routine I’ve developed over the last few seasons. It’s amazing how quickly time goes by leading up to race. I just had time to watch the morning races, and then it was all too quickly on the turbo and warming up ready for the fast start.

The field was the largest I’ve raced against and the start line looked quite impressive. The countdown to the start began, and as usual the last 15 seconds before the whistle seemed to go on forever! When the gun finally went off, it was a flat out sprint to the first bit of single track…and I managed to get the holeshot! A group of three of us broke away very quickly. Me, Grant and Ben all came through together on the first lap, but it soon came down to just me and Grant. After four laps at almost flat out pace I couldn’t shake Grant, nor could he drop me, and it became all too obvious it was going to come down to a sprint. To be honest I hadn’t really expected to be in contention by this point, and had no idea how I was going to handle the sprint. Unfortunately I think he sensed this, and nipped past me into the woods as we approached the finish. It became apparent that this cost me the race as there was no way past in the singletrack. I sprinted in 3 seconds down, the closest I’ve ever come to winning a national!

It was disappointing to lose by so little, but a quick analysis of the laps times shows I rode consistently, and at a pace that matched some of the elite riders, meaning that I can take only positives from this race, and can use the confidence gained from this to improve my training and continue to get faster as the season goes on!

One of my mates came along to support; he’s really into to photography and took some cracking pictures of the elite race. Here’s a picture of me during the race (note the awesome new kit, and the blingness of the orbea alma!)  http://www.flickr.com/photos/achara42/5565454259/in/set-72157626241895407/

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

John's view from Sherwood

After a not so good start stuck behind someone who forgot to move when the gun went, I found myself near the back of the field. Hitting the singletrack was reminicent of a World Cup with a staggering 70 odd riders, but I quickly started moving up through the slower riders. Myself and Nick Craig formed a duo but with my legs feeling great I was more interested in ragging it then sharing the work, with every rider ahead a carrot on a stick. Each rider we came to I just wanted to press on and keep the pace hard. Pacing was out the window but with the shorter race times and bad start I was looking to leave nothing in reserve, plus I was having loads of fun! Unfortunately by lap 5 the duracell bunny was starting to go flat, Nick sensing my spring and technical was getting loose attacked and the other riders in the group which I had previously caught, slowly pulled away. The gap behind was strong however and I finished a painful final lap, 33rd.

Not a position I am pleased with but a race performance which I certainly am. The legs felt amazing but I am more pleased by how much I have improved technically. Leading Nick, whom I have always considered one of the best technically, through the twisty challenging singletrack of Sherwood and not feeling like I am slowing him down, has given me a big confidence boost. I was able to hold other his and others wheels through the course without loosing ground and at times even feeling held up. I may have blown up but that was simply my overzealousness overpowering tactics. I am slightly annoyed I don't have a position to show for how I felt and can't help but wonder what would have been if I had had that all important Sherwood start I wanted and been able to ride more sensibly but it is only the first race of many and hopefully I can show it later in the season. 

So, a winter of working on power and technical skill seems to have worked. Now I need to gain a gutsy, ruthlessness to hold my position at the start. What does that involve? Going out on a Saturday night in Bristol?

Monday, 28 March 2011

BMBS Round 1

The British Mountain Bike Series kick off last weekend at Sherwood Pines Forest and 4 out of the six CNP - Orbea riders were in action.

Sadly for Cameron he attended but his stitched gashes in his knee (obtained at SXC r.d.1) were too deep for him to be able to race. Fingers crossed they are all healed by Dalby in 3 weeks time.

Junior rider Matt Sumpton stole the show using his new found flat power and impeccable bike handling skills to stick with Grant Ferguson and challenge him to a sprint finish after 1hr 12 min of racing. Unfortunately Grant's experience got the better of Matt and in the closing metres and the British Cycling supported rider got the better of him. 

To put Matt's rate of improvement in context on a similar course 12 month's ago he finished Minutes down on Grant. 

In the biggest Elite field of the past 15 years of 68 riders John Whittington rode strongly after a poor start moving steadily upwards each lap. John eager to push after a slow start dug a little too deep and towards the end it caught up with him dropping him down a couple of places back to more than respectable 33rd place. 

Oli's race was over almost quickly as it started breaking his chain 100metres into the race a slightly slow chain replacement meant Oli then raced by himself for the next 1hr 45mins trying not to interfere with the expert and Junior races that he was now in the middle of. The team all hope Oli's run of bad luck will end and he slowly get back to were he use to be. 

In the Masters category Darren fought hard and rode what he described as his best Sherwood Pines performance finishing a decent 24th on a course parcour that doesn't suit Darren strengths. 

More in depth rider views to follow.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

1st Win and another 2nd place

CNP - Orbea got it's first win of the season thanks too an emphatic win by Matt Sumpton at round 1 of the Midlands XC series. First race nerves and worries were put to bed with his first win by over 5mins! Matt is now looking forward to Sherwood this weekend.

Cameron Balfour had an eventful but fruitful start to the season finishing second at round one of the Scottish series. This despite crashing hard enough to have to go to hospital after the race, a brave and fine performance.

Elite rider Oli Holmes got his race season off and running finishing a lonely 8th at round one of MXC. Problems started for Oli on assembly of his bike out of the car when he found a badly sticking piston on his bike was causing the wheel to hardly rotate. (it had been fine the day before) It led to 5-6 stops to try and improve the situation but in the end it was just as bad at the finish as at the start. Better luck next race Oli it's all good training. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

First Race of the Season First Podium

John Whittington rode strongly at last weekend's British Universities Student championships finishing a close second place. John fought hard for the victory but alas it wasn't to be and John had to settle for the silver medal for the second time (his first came in 2008 finishing behind our Oli Holmes).

The form John showed has given him the confidence to go to BMBS Sherwood knowing he is in good form.

For those that like crash video's there aren't much better than this inlcuding John being taken out from an out of control student (2min 15).  Heckling of this sort can only ever be found at the BUCS XC   

BUCS 2011 X.C Carnage! from Joe Bowman on Vimeo.

Cameron also rode brilliantly at the Innerleithen XC TT finishing first in the Junior category.

Next up Cannock Chase and the first round of the MXC for Matt and Oli and the first round of SXC for Cameron.