Rhys Pilley – July Race Report

08/0818 – After a tough start to the season with 6 weeks off the bike due to a knee injury I finally made it back to Brittiany and to the start line of a French bike race this Sunday at Plessala, riding for CC Plancoet. The course consisted of 17 laps of a narrow and exposed 5.7km circuit, characterized by a long and exposed drag up to the finish. Having had very little racing this season I was unsure how my legs would hold up in a strong field of more than 110. The heat didn’t make life any easier with temperatures above 30 degrees making hydration crucial. The first few laps I tried to move up into the front half of the group, a lull in the action saw a rider try and bridge to the early break. I joined him and spent the next 2 laps working through with a group of 7. I should have known this was too early as we were reeled back in. I stayed near the head of affairs monitoring moves. At around the halfway point my early exploits began to catch up with me and I moved further back to shelter in the wheels. As we headed into the last few laps I was running low on fluids, the bell lap couldn’t come soon enough. A group of 4 up the road contested the win and the main peloton came to the line together, catching a larger escape group on the line. I managed to finish fairly well coming in 25th. All in all a successful day out with things to work on and lessons learnt.

15/08/08 – Another hot race for me in Brittany at Les Champs Geaux, with temperatures well into the 30s saw the organisers shorten the race to 14 laps of a 6km circuit , although I suspect it had something to do with the football. After burning too many matches early on last week I decided to not follow the early move and my luck would have it that this was the move of the day. 4 lpas in I found myself chasing in a group of 7, working well together the group swelled as we caught those dislodged from the front group. As the group grew people became less willing to work an the gap grew to the break to around 2 minutes. At this point a rider attacked and I followed and a gap was established, I was determined to get back to the front of race so pressed on, joined by 3 we began to work well as a group, however it soon became clear that only two of us were strong enough to contribute. We forged on and got to within a minute of the break, with two laps to go I could see the riders in my chase group were suffering so rode away from them picking up riders shelled from the break. It was frustrating day out stuck in no man’s land, “Chasse Patate” as the French would say.

22/08/18 – A double header with 2 races in as many days faced me this weekend. Firstly I was racing on a predominately flat circuit at Brehand on Saturday evening. The racing was fast from the start and a group of around 20 established themselves off the front. As the remaining 50 riders sat up I realised I had again missed the move and made a big effort to bridge. Taking a couple of others with me I made it across after 20 minutes chasing hard. With a team mate in the break with me we covered moves in the latter stages, he managed to get away and I followed any other moves, coming into the final corner I was too far back and despite a decent kick I could only manage 12th. The next day I was racing at Lantic on a brutal circuit with 2 steep climbs every lap, covering 27 laps. This was a course for me but I was unsure how my legs would respond after a hard race the day before. It was a cagey start as was the final round of a season long series with one team defending the leaders Jersey. I monitored the yellow Jersey as I hoped this would result in me getting in “the move”. I was in a number of early moves as a group of around 20 established themselves at the front of the race. I managed to pick up a prime and raced aggressively with surprisingly good legs. A group of 4 slipped away and contested the win followed by another few. I finished 8th after a strong sprint from the reduced front group, my best result so far and evidence of progression.

Thanks to CCC Jersey, the Jersey Sports Foundation and Pedal Power Jersey for their continued support.