Time to get on your bike?
Ever thought of road racing? Any serving soldier is welcome to attend a race provided they have undertaken race training from the Army Cycling Union by a qualified British cycling coach. Novice racers race in the C league, usually progressing to other leagues over time.
Safe to race?
Being bike fit is only the start of road racing. Travelling at speeds of up to 35mph means you need to know that everyone is racing safely and risks are not being taken. There are lines to take (and not take) when riding in a large group, along with race etiquette which keeps cyclists safe.
Try before you buy
Bikes can be expensive to buy; indeed as with so many sports, there’s no limit as to what you might spend. A bike isn’t the only thing you’ll need, to buy to race safely. A helmet is a must of course but suitable clothing and shoes are pretty essential too.
From time to time we offer you the chance to buy Corps cycling kit. Expect to budget for around £1200+ of expenditure including a first racing bike. The good news though is that most regiments have road bikes you can sign out to use, before commiting to buying your own bike.
Keeping it legal
To race legally you will need a road race bike. Road race bikes have drop handle bars and do not have areo/tri bars fitted.
Helmets are not just compulsory but as any cyclists will tell you, if you are training or racing, a helmet is not classed as an accessory, it is quite simply life-saving equipment.
Pedals on the bikes come in all shapes and sizes. These are connected to special shoes which ‘clip’ you onto the bike.
And the lycra look!
Tight fitting lycra is more than a cyclists homage to fashion, it reduces wind drag and allows the rider maximum comfort when on the bike.
First bike? Try second hand
Buying a second hand bike from someone who is upgrading, or seeking a second hand bike from your local bike shop (stating your budget) is often a good, cheaper way to get a quality bike.
The lycra look – more than a fashion statement
Royal Signals Cycling and Road Racing
Army cycling road race round one was held at Wattisham airfield. Hosted by the Army Air Corps it is the first of a series of races for The Corps. Twenty five cyclists, male and female from all ranks, took to the roads. Not only did they have a great day but they also had the delights all four seasons in each of the three races throughout the day.
There were commendable performances across the teams including Smoothie 7th in the A league, Vanessa 4th in the ladies race and Col Jim 3rd in the B league. We now aim to build on the race camp and the successes at Wattisham to make a good season great.
The season runs from April through to October (with a break in the summer). There are approximately 12 races with each Corps hosting a race.
The host Corps chooses the course and sets everything up. Expect a challenge – anything from racing on airfields to the Olympic circuit in London.
If you have an OIC road cycling in your unit, you should discuss specific training programs and further ride-outs with them. If not, get in touch via the ‘Contact us’ form below and we’ll see what we can do to help.
For those with star quality
Warning road racing can be seriously addictive!
Once you have raced there’s a good chance you’ll ‘get the bug’. To progress you need to race in the C league, win enough points to promote to the B and then the A league. At that stage you could be selected for stardom – as an Army development rider.
All racers aspire to be selected for the team, very few are. Only the best of the best are able to compete at this level but if you’ve got what it takes…Being selected for the squad means you will not only be racing nationally for The Army but you’ll be competing at a semi professional level too!
And for those who simply enjoy the ride…
The races support all abilities. Being good helps, but being keen is the key. After the first session all will promote to the B league. Importantly and something not always obvious to non-riders, cycling is a team sport.
Not all cyclists stay on the racing circuit, some choose to move into triathlon. Indeed Corps Triathlete WO2 Jay Jennings was a road racer but now puts his cycling, running and swimming talents to the test by competing as a national triathlete.
ACRRS Rd2 Race #Proudtowearblue
Eleven units compete in fast race conditions
Wednesday 3rd May saw 21 members of the Corps Road Race Cycling Team descend on RMAS for round two of the race series. 11 units from across the Corps were represented in fast race conditions. The Corps team performed well on a fast-paced race. We have identified a few minor technical areas to work on but, with a strong focus on group skills amongst the peloton and points on the board, the season’s start is promising. We look forward to the next race mid May.
The C League team worked well from the off with Cpl Si Mackay & Sig Sean Ireland hanging on in the fragmented packs that they found themselves in after a very fast-paced, neutralised lap. Two laps into the race saw SSgt Oli Tuite suffer a mechanical fault but having managed to speedily sort he returned to the peloton in good fashion. There were some strong break-offs at the front with our racers holding their own throughout. Sadly we just missed out on the points.
New addition secures podium place
Eleven B League riders started their race well placed in the top third of the peloton, out of the wind, working together. Brig JJ Cole was able to put in his first race of the season today, and happily worked alongside S/Sgt Ash Jackson in the middle of the pack, ensuring domestique duties were covered across the peloton, working hard for the other riders of the team. Cpl Dave Backhouse was unfortunate to be taken out of the race by another rider early on and forced to retire.
Lap three saw a sudden break, headed up by a strong RAPTC rider, who was aptly chased down by SSgt Rob McEwan. He stayed with the rider for a couple of laps before returning to the peloton to regroup ready for the big push on the final lap. Sitting fifth wheel was a new addition to the team, 2Lt Pete Warner. As the race progressed, the pace increased and the peloton began to thin. We held on to our key positions just off the front. As the final lap came in to view, the teams started to shake out and drive forward with great gusto, REME managed to get to the front of the pack and lead-out but burned themselves out too quickly. 2Lt Pete Warner jumped on the opportunity, and in his first race for the Corps secured a commendable 3rd place. SSgt Rob McEwan secured 11th and, as the peloton was so tight as it passed over the finish line, we may have more points to follow.
Solo rider secures points
As the only A League rider today, Lt Jason Mould worked hard within the group and pushed other riders to work hard too. Two small groups broke away from the main peloton and subsequently stayed away for the rest of the race. Jason worked well, even taking a turn on the front. As the final lap kicked in there was an uplift in pace resulting in Jason securing 18th place, adding valuable points to the Corps total.
Peleton rhythm provides valuable points
Our three ladies had a great ride, with Capt Nat Butler (11SR) pedalling strong in her first road race for two years. Partnering with LCpl Vanessa Royals, the pair found their rhythm in the peloton. Taking a share of the workload they positioned themselves favourably on the last lap, which resulted in Vanessa finishing 4th and Nat 5th. The third rider in the female league was LCpl Hannah Anderson who found herself on her own time trailing for much of the race. She did pick up a passenger for a short period but, as that individual was unwilling to work with together, Hannah left her by the wayside and headed off to secured a commendable 16th place, thus adding valuable points to the Corps total.
ACRRS Rd3 Race #ProudToWearBlue
May 17th Today saw members of the Corps Road Race Team, hosted by the Royal Artillery, at a rather damp Thorney Island, racing on a flat airfield circuit. A Corps Tri taking place on the same date event meant numbers were depleted but even the elements couldn’t dampen the spirits of Royal Signals’ racers.
C & B Leagues
The C League was a mixed field of experience and ability, leading to a drawn out fast paced field. Our two riders found themselves in the hurt locker together, pushing on where they could but importantly gaining more race experience. We just missed out on points as an Engineer rider broke free to win, shortly followed by the main pack.
Rotating through individual breakaways we realised this would end with a sprint finish
A strong group of Royal Signals’ riders raced in the B League – Rob McEwan, Andrew Jordan-White, Ozzy Osborne, Steve Brooks, Pete Warner and Ash Jackson; a good grouping with potential for a team break away. As the rain continued to pour the race began with a neutralisation lap; some riders immediately suffered punctures and mechanicals which highlighting that this would become yet another technical race. Having honed our tyre changing skills in round one, we were fully prepared for this. The first two laps were exceptionally fast, shaking the field, losing weaker riders. As a Corps we stayed together towards the front of the peloton, making a great effort to break away from the main peloton, with individual efforts to disrupt the field. The Gunners tried this tactic too but were less successful. As we rotated through individual breakaways we realised this would end with a sprint finish.
Punctures, overcooking corners and winning ways
With five laps to go, Ash suffered a puncture; having run 500m to fix it, followed by a quick bike swap and he rejoined the race, back into domestique drills in the peleton just in time for the increased tempo of the final four laps. Ozzy Osbourne made a bold move around the left hand side of the peloton, forming another break and tiring the field. This increased the pressure and saw people becoming more excitable and daring. A REME rider overcooked a corner, off-balanced himself and slid some 50m along the floor. Fortunately he managed not to take anyone else out but it did separate the field considerably with those in front seizing the opportunity to push for the line earlier than anticipated. This worked to our advantage further tiring the field for the final lap.
As the last lap bell rang JW put in a sterling effort, setting the pace, stretching the field into a long thin column and leading the peloton into the final few corners. As he slowed, JW was absorbed back into the pack. Another push happened in the final hairpin corners. The team set themselves into good positions and had to see where they exited the final corner. From here Pete managed to make a few more positions setting up into a sprint down the home straight. A long 300m/400m sprint saw him overtake the remaining contenders to bring home the win. Rob positioned well into 9th, JW with heavy legs into 12th and Ozzy into 15th.
The A League saw the welcome return of Chris Loynes fresh from the MTB Champsthe previous week. Also in attendance were Winfield Harvey and Neil Shelley.
With the rain pounding they shook themselves out along the peloton and settled into a steady rhythm. Chris paced himself in fifth wheel with PT Corps, REME and Engineers. Neil settled in the centre of the peloton and Harvs took up sandbagging duties in the rear. Much of the race was dominated by The Gunners who were out in force , but our riders placed themselves in prime positions to counter any attacks that were thrown in. Yet again there were a number of mechanicals including a puncture for Neil requiring a quick pit stop. Thanks to a front wheel donation from Ash, Neil quickly regained his place in the peloton.
The race rhythm settled into lots of small solo attacks with the final attack coming from our very own Quadzilla Loynes. As with all the other attacks he was reeled in within 500m, setting up for a sprint finish. Unfortunately for Harvs he punctured on the final half of the last lap and was unable to contend the sprint finish. Despite giving their all our A League riders were unfortunate to just miss out on the points positions.
A special mention and welcome from the Corps Road Race Team to Capt Jess Baxter, who attended her first race today gaining valuable race experience and points for the Corps. We look forward to seeing her at many more races.
Interested in racing?
Contact your regimental Officer in charge (OIC) for road cycling. If you don’t know who that is, speak with your gym staff.
Still not sure or have a general enquiry about cycling or sponsoring us?
Contact Maj Nick Purdy using the form below.