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Team Cystic Fibrosis 65 Roses Spring Classic

It doesn’t matter if your winter cycling days have been confined to watching re-runs of Le Tour on DVD or you're a hard man that’s put in 300 miles a week since November, it's that time of year when the Northern Classic start to capture the imagination of us all. These early season, one-day events are an opportunity to test form, as the riders punish themselves in pursuit of glory. Pushing their bodies into relentless headwinds they navigate twisty rural lanes on appalling riding surfaces such as Roubaix's famed cobbles.

The Long and Winding Road

This excites the hero in all of us so, when I was given the opportunity to ride the Team Cystic Fibrosis, 65 Roses Spring Classic in Barnsley I jumped at the chance. Described by the event promoters as being ran "in the spirit of the Paris-Roubaix” the event has been designed to recreate the exhilaration, excitement and pain of these classic events, but in Gods own county and home of Planet X Bikes… Yorkshire.

Team Cystic Fibrosis is well established within the Yorkshire cycling fraternity, they have a great racing team and have been putting on well organised, safe cycling events for a few years so, I knew the setup would be sound. It's not down to chance that the events main sponsor Planet X Bikes have also put a racing bike under me for the 2015 Road Race Season, I was there because I knew these two factors would make for a great day.

And Planet X always do great goodie bags.

The weather in the morning was reasonable, as I made my way to join the long cue of riders waiting to be started it was a cool 4 degrees and slightly overcast but true to the winter classics, it was windy.

I looked at the first group of riders in the pen, it was the Team CF boys, they looked ready to hit the road with a bit of clout and as the horn sounded they got on their way… I cannot confirm this for sure, but I am pretty sure the guys got stuck in and chain-ganged their way around, riding together and taking at least some of the wind for one another. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t going to be quick enough to ride up to them, but “when in Rome”…

When it was my turn to be released I quickly settled into a steady pace, after making my way through the town I soon found myself on some bone-shaking, shoulder wrecking roads. The road surfaces were hell in places, like gravel tracks and farmers lanes they didn’t disappoint. I took it steady holding a steady 230 watts for most of the ride… But the wind kept coming.

Like the proverbial drain it sucked my energy until I was reduced to 200 Watts on the flat. I hit the last feed station confused and typically focused on getting out on the road again, but I had spent the ride drifting and not concentrating so took a right from the feed station (the sign said long) and not left. It took me two miles to realise I had made a mistake but never mind, I thought and I turned around and made my way back to the feed station and started the last leg of the ride.

It got lumpy towards the end and it started to rain. I really started to feel it in my legs but all you can do in that situation is keep tapping away… Riding solo for 3.5 hours is tiring, the segments the organisers had put in went passed with little impact on me as my focus was on survival.

Finally with the end in sight I smiled my “nice one” smile and rolled into the auditorium and onto the running track (think Paris-Roubaix again) to end the race.

James hits the track

All in all the day was brilliant, I had a chance to test out the new Planet X RT-90 properly and really enjoyed the ride. The bike handled extremely well in the harsh conditions and on the rougher sections of road, but it climbed well and felt stiff in power out but soft in ride. I am really looking forward to getting some races in on this now.

Finally - Even though I work at Planet X I still took a goody bag… The moral of the story is – you can never have too many cycling hats.

Stats - 
69.2mi Distance
18.7 MPH Average Speed
31.8MPH Max Speed
3:42:26 Moving Time
2,356ft Elevation
221 Watts Average Power
927 Max Power
145 Average Heart Rate
Remember you can now sign up for the 65 Roses Holme Moss Classic Sportive on September 13th. The price is just £25 or £35 on the day and the money goes towards a very worthy cause.

11 March 2015