As the team take a short break Edd writes
As part of the inevitable end-of-season review process it has been a great pleasure to look back on many, many great moments from the year and it was really difficult to pick one particular highlight. The season started with some great pre-season training rides (Joe might disagree with this one…) which helped me get to know Jono and Elliot better and reinforced my long-held belief that I should never let Richard take me anywhere in a car and progressed, of course, into an incredible first road-race of the year which Elliot won and ensured Leisure Lakes hit the ground running.
The opportunity to ride the UCI 1.2 ranked Rutland Cicle classic was again a massive opportunity and experience for me and the team: it’s incredible how one event can cause such simultaneously elevated levels of dread and excitement, it’s like Christmas and your last day of exams rolled up together.
The second half of the season was fantastic too with a surprising – but very welcome – win for me in August and then the overwhelming success of September with Elliot clinching top spot in the east Midlands Road Race League together with his first cat licence and Leisure Lakes comfortably winning the team ranking.
Amongst all the success and shanter (of which there was much let me tell you…) the highlight for me was our own round of the East Midlands Road Race league held on the Six Hills circuit in June.
It has been said that cycling is a sport for individuals practised by teams. Whilst that is manifestly evident at professional level, at our lower level it can still seem like an exercise for the individual even when racing with people in the same colour jersey as you. We have tried to do it a little differently with Leisure Lakes this and tried to foster a genuine team ethos and esprit de corps and our race seemed a perfect distillation of that philosophy.
The race itself was well run as ever by the ruthlessly efficient, spreadsheet-loving, nail-biting managerial supremo Richard and we were so fortunate to have a number of willing volunteers to marshal the event owing in the large part to the favours called in by Andy Ramsdale: this is what happens when you are one of the nicest, enthusiastic guys around who never says no to anyone, you end up being owed by a lot of people. Andy of course contributed to the atmosphere in his own inimitable way, the only thing louder than the euro dance tunes blaring from his van were his own smutty jokes. It was great to have Andy Magnier with us again after his debut with us at Rutland; we decided that he might just be good enough to make the grade and we look forward to having him with us as a full-time member next year.
All of this would be enough to have made the event a great day in itself but then the results elevated the race to another level. We placed four of us in the top 15, Elliot and I made the top 10 and of course Joe took a fantastic win from a long three-man break. I honestly think I was happier for Joe after this result than after my own win later in the year, we have raced together for a couple of years now and whilst he may have come off worse from some of my grumpier moments on the odd winter ride (usually his fault for being late and/or half-wheeling me…) I know how hard he trains and how often he does some of the unseen donkey work for the team. Joe had a tough 2015 racing wise and so to see him take this win in such a commanding way was a real pleasure and testament to his development as a rider.
So what more could you ask for in a race, or a season highlight? Our own event, run on local roads, supported by a great local community, with a commanding team performance culminating in for one of our own riders. It was one of those days to look back on and think: yeh, it’s pretty good crack this cycling lark.