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Sodbury Sportive

An early start for the Apache Brave Racing team saw them take a 2 hour drive down to the beautiful area of the south Cotswold's to take on the challenge of the Sodbury Sportive, a hilly 65 mile cycle ride through the beauty that the Cotswold is renowned for. The weather was perfect, clear sky's, little wind and a warming temperature for the start, an easy level first few miles saw the riders keep together along small country lanes and through farmers fields.  After several miles the hills approached, rising up ahead the summit covered with trees, a sign appeared "steep hill ahead", and it wasn't wrong. After pushing an easy 20 mph on the flats the first hill put the brakes on slowing right down to below 10 mph with a challenging 20 degree climb, pushing hard down on the pedals and swaying the bike side to side battling the steepness of each degree, it was a full on 1 mile push to the top, thankfully a short decent to help recovery before the next hill.  After battling through the hilly tree lined lanes the roads leveled off which allowed the burning legs to recover a little and the lungs to grab some much need oxygen. A long 10 mile down hill section was a welcome relief and allowed the riders to view the picturesque area of the Sodbury Sportive route. Two feed stations allowed the riders to refuel with much needed energy bars and to refill the water bottles before the final couple of hill challenges, with the legs now loosing the will to live the steep hills were not showing any mercy, a quick squirt of a caffeine gel down the throat gave our riders that extra push over the hills and to the finish line where a welcome hot meal and a fantastic trophy awaited our riders. A superb sportive and beautiful countryside made for a great day, now all we needed was a sports massage when we arrived back in to Coventry.

Sky Ride Coventry

A great free fun event run by Sky to the encourage cycling in Coventry saw the Apache Brave Racing club cycle around the iconic Coventry ring road. The team gathered at the start near the council house where over 7000 other cyclist had lined up to begin their own journey around the old town before traveling through the redeveloped Far Gosford area which can now boast many restaurants and bars from around the world. After passing through Coventry University building the route lead back out on to the Coventry ring road, the inner circle being closed off the motor traffic allowed cyclist to safely ride along trouble free, two lanes allowed the slower riders to keep out of the way of any faster and more advanced cyclist. There was no set distance to the ride just a great chance to cycle along and enjoy the ride and meet fellow cyclists.  The club agreed to meet at a set time back in the main square where they could chat about the ride over a coffee and cake. The weather was perfect and it was a great chance to get miles under the legs in a safe traffic free ride.
Apache Brave Racing

Stratford Tempest Sportive

Wiggle are renowned for putting on great sportive rides, well stock feed stations along with challenging routes; the Stratford Tempest Sportive didn't disappoint. Our riders at Apache Brave Racing took on the shorter of the three routes on offer a 65 mile rolling hilly route. 65 miles might not seem difficult at the mid season stage but, add strong head winds and it becomes a battle of strength, power and mind challenging endurance.

Right from the start line saw challenging hills that quickly split riders apart with the stronger cyclists pushing out of their seat reaching for the top of the first hill. It set the pattern for the rest of the ride. Hill after hill saw the riders battle against peaks and wind, there never seemed to be any recovery as the wind made the riders push to keep the pace up on the down sections of the route. 30 mile in saw the first and most welcomed feed station, a good selection of gels and protein bars were on offer, a quick grab and then back on the saddle straight on to another hill. The weather had warmed up with the clouds trying to break up to allow the sun to shine, but the wind stayed.

The pace of our riders was still good with our lead rider Steve Ingram pushing over 20 mph for most of the ride. 45 miles in to the sportive saw the final feed station, a smaller selection on offer but the right nutritional selection, a quick refill of the water bottles and a caffeine protein bar and on our way for the final leg to the finish.

A few steeper and longer hills was catching many riders out slowing the pace and breaking any group of cyclist up. Apache Brave Racing rider Richard Watson was now powering to the finish, having balanced his nutritional needs out over the race and a caffeine shot to focus the mind with 10 miles to go he was able to quicken his pace and push toward the finish line and end his ride strong, Steve crossed the line first followed shortly by Richard, Franco and Dina. All team riders agreed it was a challenging ride but a most enjoyable day.

It's Race Night at Rockingham

It's Thursday night in early July at Rockingham Race circuit, the clouds have turned grey and the temperature has dropped a few degrees, but it didn't dampen the atmosphere for the cyclist. 50 riders took to the start line and with a quick briefing from the race marshal the riders set off round Rockingham.  A quick start from the riders saw speeds reach 32mph, it was a tough battle for our Apache Brave Racing rider Steve Ingram to keep with the leading pack early on but, once in his flow Steve found his pace and settled in the middle of the pack.

After the first 6 miles the pack steadily averaged high 20 mph enabling the pack to become smaller and more compact while dropping the weaker riders out the back. This pace didn't cause Steve any concern as he used his experience  and knowledge to place himself within a good position in the leading pack and conserving energy for the finish ahead.

With each lap that went by weaker riders found the pace to much, even though the speed had dropped to mid 20mph thanks to the skies opening up and giving a few quick rain showers, but it was still to much for some riders. Steve Ingram found the pace tough but still well within his abilities and averaging over 300 Watts of power per lap still held good position in the leading pack.

The final few laps were within sight now and many of the riders had started to battle for position, a few elbows and shoulder barges between riders had started to occur to help open up space. The leading pack of riders were now a compact group, the speed had increased as the final lap started. Riders were looking for any opening to make a break for the line, Steve moved to the outer edge of the group while still gaining the benefit of drafting from leading riders, he was just waiting for the right time. The final bend approached and a couple of riders touched wheels, within a split of a second several riders were down on the tarmac splitting the leading pack, the riders still on their bikes took their chance and sprinted for the line, Steve powered his bike hard and managed to overtake several riders to finish in an amazing 7th place out of over 50 riders and grab some valuable British Cycling points, his first of the season. Well done Steve
Steve Ingram Cyclist

Tour of Cambridgeshire (Gran Fondo)

Half way through the Apache Brave Racing season saw the team take on the challenge of the Tour of Cambridgeshire (TOC); an 84 mile fully closed off road race and sportive event, TOC also happens to be a world qualifier for those that achieve a finish in the top 25% so there was a little more to fight for on the day.

TOC had over 7000 riders taking part so just to get out of the start gates was a challenge enough but once out on the road rider were quickly able to get up to speed. We start can see riders averaging mid 20pmh even though the first 30 miles are hilly. The hills help to separate many of the weaker riders and a flow soon starts to help riders of similar speed group together. The first 20 miles saw many crashes and the ambulances made for a stop start  beginning for some of the team hampering their times and speed.

With longer rides and at the quick pace that had developed it was vital that the team took on valuable nutrition with the aid of gels, protein bars plus energy drinks, there were feed station along the route if needed but it was important that the team had food and drink at hand as a rider could easily burn off 4,500 calories on such races.

Once past the hilly section and a good 39 miles in to the race saw the riders hit the flat lands of the fens, a welcome release you would think, but the fens of Cambridgeshire take no prisoners, yes they are flat but they also come with strong winds and no shelter from they either.  It was important to stay with a group enabling the riders to draft and take some relief from the harsh winds. The fens section would last a good 35 miles and you just preyed for the hills to return.

A welcome sight is the first village at around 65 miles; you know that's the end of the fens and wind, with just a few steep hills to conquer before the first is in sight.  A final steep hill bring the riders back out on the main roads and a familiar sight of the starting point, the Peterborough show ground is now within reach for the riders, a quick turn round the final roundabout and the riders are on the final straight to the finish and across the finish line.

A great event and a challenging course, the highlight of the team was lead rider and road racer Steve Ingram grabbing a time of less than 4 hours which qualified Steve for the World Champs later in the year.

Squires and Spires Sportive 2016

The Apache Brave Racing Team took on the challenge of the Squires and Spires Sportive on May 8th. A brutal 51 mile hilly route. Their was no rest bite during the ride with hill after hill and in what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far.

It was a fast start for some as the pace of the main group pushed a speedy 28mph, thankfully the hills slowed the pace down and broke up the riders to leave just small groups of around 5 to 8 riders. After a hilly first 5 miles the pace settled down to an easy 16 mph and continued at this pace towards Daventry which was the main turning point for the 51 mile route.

The temperature was now rising  to a 26 degree heat which meant hydration was an important factor for the ride, thankfully we had packed some good quality carb full water bottles and some tasty protein bars for the journey. The feed station was a welcome break for some, being able to refill the water bottles and grabbing a quick bite to eat before setting off to the finish line.

A few quick descents where riders hit over 40 mph were quickly followed by steep hills; it was just a matter of pushing hard to the finish, battling each hill with the support of all the other riders on route and grabbing the well deserved medal at the finish line. It was the toughest sportive of the year so far, with all the Apache Brave Racing team riders feeling battered and tired, a sports massage and recovery drinks are well and truly needed.

Santini Cotswold Spring Classic

March saw the first outing from Apache Brave Racing at the Santini Cotswold Spring Classic sportive ride, with some of our riders taking on a 55km route along stunning Cotswold countryside. Although the weather forecast looked horrendous and the drive down from Coventry entailed battling through snow and heavy rain once the riders reached the start line there was a break in the clouds and the sun shined for the rest of the ride.

The route started with a quick down hill before hitting the first of several climbs which quickly broke up the pack of riders, although the sportive was not a race, more of a fun run type of event, it didn't stop Apache Brave Racing leading the pack and eventually breaking away from the main riders.

There was some strong winds across the open countryside and the roads had many hazards from the storm the night before including a 10 inch deep ford that caught many riders out. The route included a small feed station with 10 miles to go to the finish, it was a welcome break and allowed all Apache Brave Racing riders to regather and have a quick chat, biscuit, refilll the water bottles and head to the finish. The ride back from the feed station included several hills and strong head winds which made for a slow return back to HQ.

Once back to HQ a medal, hot pasta meal, coffee and a Easter eggs awaited us which were a welcome reward for a very enjoyable day. It was a great start to Apache Brave Racing season 2016. We are all now in need of a well earned sports massage treatment when we get back to Coventry.
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