WOW! What a few weeks it’s been…

July 16, 2014

After Isaac’s fantastic result at round 3 of the British Cycling XC Series on 15th June the team’s moral was sky high heading into the busy month of July.

On the 28th June the team pointed the Vivaro van north to Shropshire for a busy weekend of training ahead of July’s important events. On Saturday we met up with our Scott UK at Hopton Woods for a few laps on the 2014 National XC Champs course. For Isaac and Sam this extra day on the course could give them the extra confidence on race day that’s needed to win the Under 23 Champs jersey. The course had changed a lot from previous years and will make for great racing.

On Sunday the team rode the Scott MTB Marathon which started in Church Stretton. I’d forgotten just how great these events are, there’s not many events in the UK where you ride around one big lap, so much more fun than riding the same 10km lap over and over again. There were plenty of quick riders on the start line and all were at the front as we were led out of town behind the pace car. Once de-neutralised the red, white and black colours of Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team were lining out the field and led over the top of the first climb and down the following descent. Grins all around as we ripped along the narrow trails.

On the next technical loose rocky climb the group that had formed completely split leaving Sam, Nick Craig and myself riding at the front. It was the 3 of us at the front for the next 2 hours with me yo-yoing off the back on the longer climbs with Sam putting the hurt on the rest of us! One or two other riders weren’t far behind and would occasionally catch. Eventually I was gapped leaving Sam and Nick out front. Sam’s cross country endurance ran out as the pair headed towards Eastridge and I could see a gap open between the 2 on the climb into the forest. I caught Sam mid way through the fantastic trails in Eastridge forest.

I stopped at the next feed to fill up my USN bottle and find out the gap to Nick, he was long gone. I finished the event 2nd fastest. Sam rode a gutsy and impressive ride eventually finishing 4th fastest. The fastest 4 in the marathon distance, the fastest 50km finisher and fastest 25km finisher all on Scott bikes!

 

On the 6th July Tim took part in the MB Race in Megeve, France. Here’s how he got on. “With a 6am start it was a very early alarm call, but watching the sun rise over Mont Blanc was incredible. The race gives you the option of 70, 100 or the full 140km with 7000m of climbing! This is great as it gives you the option to stop if things go wrong or if the weather turns bad which is quite possible in the high mountains.

The start was relatively sedate which was good for me as I was in the second pen with 200 riders in front of me, a bit of frantic weaving and I joined the front group just before the first climb began. I stuck with the front group feeling good. On the first descent things got a bit interesting. Twisty, rooty singletrack through thick forest. With the sun barely above the horizon it was pretty dark and the group split as riders made mistakes or just simply got lost in the dark! I chased as we headed up again. There were a couple of very steep hike a bikes in the forests but the epic descents more than made up for them, mostly singletrack with plenty of roots and drop offs. Just before the 70k mark we rode along the top of a huge ridge with amazing views over Mont Blanc, had to remind myself I was in a race!

With many riders turning off at 70k it was a bit quieter after. This section was my favourite, one huge climb, not too steep which seemed to rise to the sky! I felt great up here and picked up a couple of places. The descent was amazing, really steep, all the way back down! My brakes were getting a lot of use, too much it turned out as at the bottom I was running really low on pads! I had to take a bit easier on the descent to the 100k mark, easier said than done- this was fast fireroad at the top and I hit 46mph on the GPS, the occasional drainage ditch to jump just added to the excitement! The bottom bit was super technical with lots of really steep drop offs and I picked up another two places.

With very little front brake left I had to call it a day at 100k, I was disappointed not to be able to do the full 140 as I was still feeling great, but I won the 100k race both in my age group and overall so I was pretty pleased with that! An absolutely epic race, ill definitely be back for another go!

 

On the 13th July the team raced the 4th round of the British Cycling XC Sherwood in Sherwood Pines Nottingham. Here’s Isaacs thoughts on the event,

“We arrived Saturday so had plenty of time to practice, I did 3 laps and was loving the course, nice and twisty with some flat out sections. Sat eve we stayed in accommodation above a bar which wasn’t ideal with music blaring until midnight. Sunday morning came with some black clouds and spits of rain, after some heavy rain Sat evening the course was a little damper than Saturday’s races.

“I was gridded 12th but motivated to beat my number. I sat in the top 10 for the first lap or 2 and then moved up. My group ended up catching the front riders and I stayed with them leading the race at times until 1 and a half laps to go when top World Cup Under 23 rider Grant Ferguson put the hammer down and split the group to bits. I was sitting in 5th place during the last lap until I saw Ian Field chasing me down and gaining on me. I buried myself but couldn’t quite hold on for the podium. Ended up 6th and 3rd Brit!”

A sensational ride by Isaac beating several international riders, full time professionals and an Olympian! In just his first year as an elite athlete this result once again highlights the potential of this young rider.

 

Next weekend (20th July) the riders head to Hopton Woods in Shropshire for National Cross Country Championships where Sam and Isaac will be racing for the Under 23 title.

Thanks to our fantastic sponsors for their continued support.

Follow the team on facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mountain-Trax-Vauxhall-Motors-Cycling- T eam/330790256947713

 

Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team Rider Roster.

Ben Thomas, Isaac Pucci, Sam Stean, Tim Dunford

 

Words… Ben Thomas

 

 

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