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

Thursday, 30 June 2011

BMBS Round 4 Margam Park

Margam Park played host for round 4 of the BMBS and after two flat courses and a man made one it was time for an old school proper mtb course big ups and due to the days before weather slippery downs. The whole CNP - Orbea team was present with Roy deciding to break his semi xc retirement for an outing in Grand Vets.

The day before the weather was horrible and very reminiscent of last years mud fest but with forecast for the next day showing sun it was going to make the course conditions interesting and the team opted for continental x - kings which were perfect for the conditions.

The weather forecast was bang on and the early morning sun revealed the temperatures were going to be sky high come the mid day and afternoon races. In the relatively cooler morning race Cameron had possibly the worst start possible slipping a pedal and falling to the back of the youth pack. However a strong remained of the lap clawed his way back to 8th. By the end of the last lap gain a couple more places to cross the line in 6th.

As mid day approached the temperatures crept towards the mid twenties, eventually topping out at 28, both John and Oli were looking forward to the race for John maybe a little to much. As the elite race hit the first technical singletrack the bottle neck effect led to the field running. On mounting before the first techy shoot John made the critical error of being too keen to set off and maintain position before clipping in at least one pedal. With a front row view of the incident Oli then witness his CNP - Orbea team-mate take a heavy over the bars crash. Landing heavily on his knee John's race was in danger of being over before it started. Oli avoided John and some how his bike to finish the first lap strongly inside the top 20. The second lap went really well too picking off riders who were abandoning due to the heat moving into 14th but sadly for Oli the heat attacked his body too. Oli complain post race saying it felt like his body went into a safety mode purely based on staying cool and providing him zero power to his legs. Having virtually come to crawl Oli crossed the line in 22nd. Sadly for John his knee pain became to much and he abandoned after 2 laps.

Ride of the day went to Matt Sumpton once again. Having set the target of winning a round of BMBS at the beginning of the season he succeed in completing that goal. The course with it's climbing nature and along with the heat (Matt has always thrived in the heat) things just fell nicely into place to allow him to ride comfortably to his biggest win of his career. This despite finding it difficult on the slippery descents crashing at least once a lap. Matt is now fired up for the National Championships and the possibility of being selected for the World Championships.

Photo from the Orange Monkey - Cannondale website
In the afternoon race the temperature was at it's hottest and the team had for it's first time two riders represented. Roy almost equalled Matts success leading for the majority of the race until like Oli the heat got to him and on the last lap he faded back to 3rd. A brilliant result nevertheless and maybe enough of an encouragement for Roy to have a go for the Grand Vets national title come July. Darren having only just fully recovered from his spell of illness survived the heat as well as he could to finish 20th.

Sadly the support team was down to 50% for the weekend and we have no photos of the event. But thanks to Orange Monkey - Cannondale team we can provide a photo of Matt on the podium.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

BMBS Round 3 Wasing Park

After what seemed like forever almost 2months since Dalby it was time for round 3 of the British National Series held in the Wasing Park Estate. The course is fast in the dry and as the team found out this weekend still fast in the wet with very little in the way of technical obstacles (as at Dalby) the course is all about maintaining speed which brings about its own technical challenges especially when the heavens open. 
Practise on Saturday allowed riders to get to know the lefts and right but with the conditions very different on race day everybody started the race unsure on conditions. 
Cameron enters the feed zone
First up was CNP - Orbea youth rider Cameron and after a busy schedule of road racing between dalby and Wasing Cameron was looking forward to the race. A very quick opening lap put cameron into a good position inside the top ten after a slightly sketchy second he picked up the pace again on the last two laps to finish in 11th an improvement over Dalby but Cameron was disappointed showing is desire to get closer to be closer to the top 5. Maybe Margam with it's long climbs is a place it will all come together.
The CNP - Orbea easy up allowed rider to warm up in the dry

Race 2 included the elite and Junior categories and after a stellar showing at the World Cups Matt Sumpton was keen to keep the pressure on Grant in hope for an elusive BMBS race win. After struggling to get to grips with course 12 months ago matt is a changed rider moving effortlessly during our practise through the meandering singletrack, where as before he would be constantly making small mistakes now he made it look easy. The weather did Matt no favours (likes it hot) neither did the delayed start, or being in the middle of exams but he settle into the race at the head of the race for the first 2 1/2 laps of the race but when the move came Matt was unable to respond and found himself being jumped by other riders other than Grant. His energy depleted Matt struggled around the remainder of the race to finish 4th 4mins down. Matt was very disappointed but shows his level this year when a bad day results in 4th.
A very muddy John
John's race went about as well as he could have hoped for having also dramatically improve his twisty singletrack skills in last 12months John is now is able to use his power to inflict pain on others rather than make up for his silly mistakes. The elite race started extremely fast as everyone new the bottle necking that would take place on the first section of singletrack. John started well to move inside the top twenty a few places above his start board a bit further back Oli had a descent start moving from 43rd on grip to inside top 30. As the race progressed John settle into his own pace and raced a lonely race just ahead of group but not quite catching the group ahead and finished 17th. Oli had the best half a race he's had all season  riding well feeling strong but then it exploded on lap four in state of cramp and dehydration he's still unsure why this happened but the remained of the race was similar to Matt just survival droppping like stone through the field to finish 31st losing 5mins to his race companion for the first half Ben Simmons who finished 24th.

By race 3 the rain was biblical and the course was very ripped up but not even this and recovering from a serious stomach illness was to stop Darren enjoying himself. His explosive power wasn't there but he was riding well technically allowing him to finish in 22nd. After another 2 weeks recovery Darren should be back up to 100% fit.  
So a tough weekend for the CNP - Orbea team who are all looking forward to the next race at Margam park.  

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Matt's report on April and May - world cups and more!

Not written much since Sherwood really, but it’s certainly been busy since then! With a little bit of a break in racing it seemed like a good time to report on what’s been going on. Following Sherwood all my efforts turned to Dalby NPS, a more technical track and one which would be a better indicator of my climbing and descending form. A few issues leading up to race day meant I wasn’t as confident as at Sherwood, but when the race started I seemed to be going well and relaxed into it a bit. It became another one on one battle with Grant, until I slipped a chain and lost a fair bit of time. I was still in contention until I found I had a slow puncture and stopped in the arena to inflate it. After this it was just damage limitation, and I rolled in for another second place finish, a little disappointing but a good result given the circumstances.
Given that it was my birthday a few days after Dalby, I took some time off the bike and went over to Snowdonia for a few days with some mates. It was a great way to get away from the stress of training for a bit. We climbed Snowdon, ate good food and drank beer, can’t think of a better reward for the early season success! When I got back though, I found one: an email saying I’d been selected to ride in the next two rounds of the world cup series in Dalby and Offenburg. This was exactly what I’d been working for, and it was the best feeling to finally make the step up to international level!
Those two weeks were pretty awesome. I got the train up to Malton and was picked up by the British Cycling team. After that it all felt very professional! We stayed in some really nice accommodation and were given everything we needed to get the most out of the weekend. On race day I was nervous, but eager to establish where I slotted in on the international scene. The race was the most exciting thing I’ve ever done, the support was great, and I just felt stronger and more relaxed as the race went on. I finished 12th, finishing on the same time as 11th having almost passed him in the finishing straight! The atmosphere in the camp afterwards was great as the other GB guys had all done really well, and we left feeling positive about Offenburg!
We flew out on Wednesday, and on Thursday we got to ride the course. I’d heard really great things about this course and was not disappointed. The track was awesome, there’s really nowhere like it (that I’ve ridden anyway)! It was more natural than a trail centre, but at the same time more technical and with more flow to it. Come race day I was hoping to improve on 12th, and had a good chance, being gridded 13th. Unfortunately I had a few problems during the race: on the start loop I got caught between a rider a post at the side on the track, and came through the start loop in 49th! I was up for the challenge though, and was confident I could work my way through the field like I did at Dalby. I felt really strong and did fight back to 15th on the third lap, but snapped my front mech, which bent the chain so I couldn’t pedal the bike at all. I still cant figure out how this happened (anyone snapped a FRONT mech off before?) but it meant I had a long run to the tech zone. I knew my race was over, but it was funny to be joined by a Belgian who had snapped his rear mech off, and we ended up having a sort of bizarre competition to see who could run to the tech zone the fastest ( turned out he was a much better runner and won by a mile!). By the time I got there I was way down, and we didn’t have the parts to fix the bike anyway. So it was DNF, but I felt really good out there and took a lot of positives away from the event!
Massive thank you to anybody who was there at Dalby, or indeed Offenburg, who supported me! My mates made the trip up from chesterfield which was really good of them (considering bike racing is fairly low down on their list of interests!) so a big thank you to them! Here are some photos Bell took watching from Dixon’s Hollow and Worry Gill http://www.flickr.com/photos/achara42/5746231765/in/set-72157626778518136/

Oli's report on the Cambrian 3 day Bike Fest

With a weekend to fill and not a huge amount of events to compete in, fellow CNP - Orbea team mate Darren Alexander and I decided to take part in the inaugural running of the Cambrian Bike fest by redkiteevents. A 3 day event based in Llanwtrd Wells, claimed to be the smallest town in Britain, 12miles from Builth Wells (home to the well established MTB Marathon series). Each day consisted of marathon style big loop with feed stations and on the whole was brilliantly signed all the way.

On arrival to the campsite it was clear to see that turn out was going to be very low whether it was the weather forecast, the fact that MTB marathon series has visited Llandovery just down the road the weekend before or people being unsure on taking part in a new event i'm not sure but it was the first headache but by no means the last for the organisers.

Having managed to set up the tent and easy up (sadly no Holmes team support this weekend) Darren arrived and we settled down for the evening ready for 1st day.

The weather closed in over night the rain wind started to howl, it was fowl but spirits were still good and by the time we had sign on it was time to depart. With the small numbers there was to be no timing or set start time and we eneded up setting off a good 10 mins behind. The course was short in distance only ~50km but with the weather the going was exceptionally slow the distance was therefore was spot on for the conditions.

The bike of choice for the weekend would be my Orbea Alma S team 29er and oh what a bike for these style events when your barreling down a descent you've never seen before you have no idea whats coming, having a bike that gives you so much front end grip is fantastic. Despite running summer tyres all weekend I never really struggled for grip it was just great fun to ride.
This grip was definitely needed across the slippery wet muddy singletrack that littered Day 1.

Day 2 was the big day 67km 2000m+ of climbing and a very strong 40kph westerly wind along with the rain made the conditions even worst than the first day. Having ridden together yeasterday Darren explain to me he would reduce his speed on day 2 to feel confident of not blowing before then end so I decided to forge on ahead up the long climbs and down the awesome steep rocky/rooty descents. After finally catching up all rides that were taking the designated short cuts I reach the head of the infamous doethie valley after a gruelling super steep climb from the first feed station. Sadly for me the valley wasn't to be the highlight of the event as I punctures 15mins down. I then realised I had forgotten my canister inflator and was forced to get a tube in. Overall the puncture took forever for what ever reason and 10-15mins later I was going again. Darren had passed me when I punctured so in my haste to catch him up I rode raggedly and punctured again 5mins later. After another relatively slow change I set about the challenge of catching Darren. After 1hr or so of chasing I found Darren who was fixing a puncture himself. We then got lost having missed an arrow and I was now cold fed up and suffering from the pace I had set earlier in the day. Once we rejoined the track it was all about getting to the finish and therefore time for a few CNP caffeine gels. On the second to last descent, which was a cracker down off the mountainside through the woods, at the bottom I had punctured for the 3rd time! Darren rolled down a small way behind having had a massive barrel rolling crash luckly him and the bike were okay and we were finally on our way. We finally arrived at the finished and both really needing the fantastic homemade cakes that were on offer at the end of each day.

Day 3 and the rain was pouring but the wind had dropped the legs were knackered but the route was great. The organisers kept the show running on the last day despite only about 6-10 people riding but Darren and I fully appreciated the effort they made to ensure the day wasn't cancelled. The organisers had to change the route due to the weather the day before but it still rode well. Taking in a few km of the local manmade trails along with some classic bridleways and long climbs. By the end the rain had stopped and sun started to come out and the hard 3 days had come to a end.

A big thumbs up to the organisers for keeping going despite all the problems they encountered for first timers they put on a great event. If they stick at it and iron out a few problems will have a fantastic event that should become a permeant fixture on the enduro calendar. The only thing it needs is for a few more of you to turned up and enjoy some true Epic mountain biking.

Well done to those involved in the redkitevents team thanks to team sponsors Orbea and CNP for providing the perfect bike and top quality nutrition to help us get through the event.