Renner Custom Cyclocross Team

Gabby Day (Renner Custom – Raleigh), due to represent Great Britain at the cyclocross World Championships this Sunday will not be lining up in Koksijde.
Gabby has battled with a lung infection for the past week, which saw her as a non-starter for the last World Cup in Hoogerheide.  The infection has taken a toll on her breathing, leaving her without the form needed to represent Great Britain and Renner Custom – Raleigh.

“Making the hard decision to not race at the World Championships is not something that I took lightly. It was a very hard decision for me. I have built my whole season up to having a great race at worlds and so to not be able to be at my peak and suffer the effects of illness at this time is terrible. Koksijde is a great course for me and I was sure that I could have ridden to a top 10. To go to the biggest race of the year not at peak health and having not ridden my bike for 2 weeks is not an option”

Gabby is looking to rest up this week with an eye towards finishing the concluding races of the season with some strong results. She lies 5th overall in the GVA series, and is just a few points from 4th position overall. Day said, “I now need to focus on getting myself back to full health so that I can race the last few races in February”.

Gabby Day is currently ranked 19th in the UCI World Standings and finished 10th at the Koksijde World Cup in November on the same course as this weekend’s World Championships.

Gabby Day talks about illness at an unfortunate time in her racing season.  Her diary was originally published on her personal website.

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What can I say…I was really looking forward to the British Champs. My form was good, my confidence was high and I had stayed healthy for the whole season. Things were looking good. As good as they had ever been leading up to Nationals and worlds. I had a good feeling that I had a great chance to challenge for the win at nationals. But this did not go to plan at all.

 

I spent the week at home with my family which was really nice and relaxing. Unfortunately mid way through the week I started to get body aches and a slight unwell feeling, but I stayed on top of it by taking my vitamins and putting it to the back of my mind. I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of my race. I guess my body had other ideas, as I had a terrible race…a complete suffer fest of pain. Not the usual race pain. I had to dig so deep just to get through the race. I suffered terribly with my breathing, my lungs were on fire and it took everything just to get oxygen into my body. Sounds dramatic but not having full functioning lungs really hurts. I got a reasonable start but half way around the course I knew it was going to be hard to maintain staying in the front. Helen attacked and all I could do was watch her ride away…Nikki attacked and I could not respond and then Annie caught me. Riding on a wheel was not an option for me. I could give nothing but to just ride at my own slow level in a whole world of pain. I finished a very disappointed 4th. If it had not of been for the fact that I had my family out cheering for me and Gregg and Holly from Belgium helping me I would have stopped the race. But I never like to be a quitter.

I travelled back to Belgium a couple of hours after my race feeling unwell. I was definitely coming down with something. I had a very sore chest and a blocked nose. The next morning I felt like I had been beat up my whole body ached. My core was so sore from having to breathe so deep. So I rested up for the day and started to feel loads better.

The next morning Jeremy and I headed to Paris for a few days. It was perfect to get away and not think about racing and just enjoy doing touristy stuff. I had a lot of fun and was feeling lots better.

After a few easy days of riding the turbo it was time to get ready for Lievin world cup. I was looking forward to the race and hoping that I would be good to race hard and get myself a good result. Unfortunately I could only manage 1 ½ laps. My breathing was a disaster. I had so much pain in my chest and just had to stop. I did myself no favours starting the race really but I thought I would be ok. I visited the sports doctor on Monday and have since found out that I have a lung infection, so I am on a course of antibiotics. I have been feeling pretty rough over the last few days and have spent most of my days just resting up and drinking teas. Holly has been giving me some hydro-therapy treatment to try and help me feel better and to help get rid of this infection asap.

This is shit timing to get sick but I will try and stay positive and focus on worlds I have just under 2 weeks to get sorted. Koksijde is a good course for me and I have always had good results there so I really want to be on my game come the 29th.

 

Renner CX Note: What can we say, illness gets the best of us, and there’s always another year for Nationals. The important thing now is that Gabby still has time to recover in time for the big race… World Champs in Koksijde: A true ‘cross course, and one that Gabby races well at! So send some of those healing thoughts Gabby’s way!

It’s official, both Gabby Day and Craig will be representing their countries in the UCI World Cyclocross Championships later this month in Koksijde, Belgium. The announcements were more of a formality than anything for both riders.

British Cycling Press Release

Canadian Cycling Press Release

Craig and Gabby in Renner Custom CX Team Kit

Gabby has been riding consistently at the front of the biggest races this December and has seen the podium several times this season. She’s had a definitive step up in her ability and has seen the front of races several times this year. Her consistant riding has put her in 5th overall in the GVA series, only 4 points behind 4th.

Craig’s season to has gone well with a win at UCI Beacon cross (the only by any Canadian so far this season). He will be be the lone elite representative of Canada at worlds.

Congratulations to both Gabby and Craig on your selection!

A couple of more articles on their selection:

– PedalMag.com – Canada’s Cyclocross Worlds Selection

– CanadianCyclist.com - CCA Announces Small Team for Cross Worlds

– PodiumInsight.com - Four To Represent Canada At Cross Worlds

– CyclingNews.com – Canada and Swiss Select Worlds Teams

– CyclingMagazine.ca - Craig Richey looks ahead to World CX championships

– VeloNation.com - Great Britain announces team for cyclocross World Championships

– CyclingNews.com - British team selected for ‘cross Worlds

– GlobalSportinColour.com - BRITISH CYCLING ANNOUNCES GB TEAM FOR UCI CYCLO-CROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

– RoadCyclingUK.com - Great Britain squad announced for cyclo-cross world championships

– VeloUK.net - GB TEAM FOR UCI CYCLO-CROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

– CyclingWeekly.co.uk - British team for cyclo-cross Worlds announced

– UKcyclesport.com – GB’s Worlds Cross Team

 

 

 

Craig Richey talks about his second Christmas in Belgium spent racing “the Holy Week of  ‘Cross”.  His diary was originally published on his personal website.

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This was my second Christmas in Belgium and it my circles here there is no question that cyclocross racing has the lead roll during the holiday time of year not Santa. The cyclocross race promoters in Belgium take full advantage of general population being on holidays and cram in as many races as possible over this short period of time. This is generally known as the Holy Week of Cross but has grown to the point that it is essentially now two weeks of racing consisting of two world cups and seven other major professional races.

Most racers pick and choose a little since racing competitively at all nine races is pretty much impossible. I went with a schedule of six races which still created a two week muddy whirlwind. This whirlwind started off with the Namur World Cup on December 18th.

I had never raced at Namur before and everyone said it was a brutal course with huge climbs, sketchy descents and lots of running. This was a pretty accurate description. A couple of the descents had really steep drop ins with huge ruts. The only way to ride these was to grit your teeth, let go of the brakes and just hold on. Pretty fun in my opinion but there is no way course features like this would fly in North America. The race itself didn’t go that well, I was likely still fatigued from my hard training camp in Mallorca and the course showed me no mercy.

The Diegem Superprestige was next up on December 23rd. It is a urban night race in Brussels and was one of my favorite races last year. This year had an equally electric atmosphere and we essentially raced through a drunken dance party. I rode reasonably well and for the first time since pneumonia in early November I felt that I could put out some power push. Things fell apart on the last couple laps with a series of crashes but I managed to make the lead lap and got to finish the race without being lapped or pulled. A cross race is typically about ten laps and now with the 80% rule which means you can be pulled once you are around four minutes behind the leader simple getting to finish a race against the worlds best is pretty tough. This was the first time I had managed to finish on the lead lap in Belgium.

At the Chainstay we celebrated Christmas on December 24th. It is hard being away from friends and family over the holidays but everyone staying at the house is in the same boat and we made the best of it with a nice dinner and gift exchange.

The Zolder World Cup was on the 26th and I was confident I could make the top 50 and pick up 300 euros prize money. I spent most of the race riding with my house mate Jeremy Durrin and the Japanese national champ which all the belgian fans called Sushi. I felt pretty good but just wasn’t going fast enough and we finished just outside the top 50.

After Zolder the Christmas race block became a muddy blur. With races on weird days of the week like Tuesday and Wednesday I lost all sense of what day it was. It was either a race day or a bike maintenance day. The ice and snow from last year was replaced with unseasonably warm and weather making the courses very muddy. On race day each of my bikes were typically pressure washed around ten times. This works great for getting the surface mud off but it drives dirty water and grit into every moving part. My “rest days” were typically spent doing laundry and working on bikes. Everything from bearing and cable replacement to new bar tape.

Having so many cyclocross races in such a short period of time does create a unique opportunity to experiment. I wanted to get good results at the World Cups, which I failed to do, and all the other races I was racing for fun and experience so I didn’t care much about the end result. I had been struggling with my starts so at Bredene I went super hard off the gun and was in the top ten after the first corner. I get gotten ridden through by twenty five people but it showed me that I could start well. I also managed to make the lead lap at Bredene which was encouraging. At GP. Sven Nys I tried varying my pace during the lap, resting on the easy sections and really pushing hard when it made a big difference. This strategy actually worked pretty well and I finished 29th which got me in the money and was my first top 30 this season in Europe. I think I learned a fair amount from the Holy Week of Cross and now the focus is World Championships at the end of the month.

 

Renner CX Note: Having raced Canadian National Championships way back in November, Craig was one of the lucky few to gain some well deserved time off from racing. We are looking forward to seeing how all that experimenting and having fun at Bredene and Baal will play out for the upcoming World Cups and World Championships in less than three weeks time!

Gabby Day talks about the busy month of December and ‘Cross-mas, in her lead up to this weekends British National Championships.  Her diary was originally published on her personal website.

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It sure has been a very busy month of racing. The month of December or ‘Cross-Mas is always a crazy month. 8 races in 15 days. It is a tough period and it has been really important to rest and recover between each race. I have really enjoyed this block of racing and have had some really great result’s which has kept my confidence high leading up to the National championships.

 

The first race that kick started the ‘cross-mas campaign was Superprestige Diegem. A new race for me as it is the first year that Diegem has had a women’s race. The new rule of every C1 race having to have a women’s race has meant new racing opportunities for me. Diegem is a night race for the men, but for the women as is typical with all superprestige races the women race first even before juniors…that is how special we are! So the race started at the later time of 3.30pm. I loved the course, lots of road sections, some climbing, sand and some techy sections and mud. My race went great…better than I expected I finished 4th and was not far of 3rd. It was my best placing in a C1 race so I was excited and looking forward to the rest of the races. (Renner CX Note: This was her best placing in a C1 in Belgium; her 2nd best C1 placing next to Nommay)

After 2 days recovery and easy riding and a tasty Christmas eve meal with everyone at the Chainstay it was time for World Cup no.5 at Zolder race track. A course; that is not one of favourites. Mainly due to the fact that I have never seemed to have a good result for one reason or another. However this year that changed and I finally got myself a better result…I finished 15th, which I was happy with. I crashed hard on one of the main steep descents just when I was about to get on the back of the big group going for 7th…frustrating but that’s racing. The more frustrating thing is that when I crashed I hit my face and loosened one of my teeth, not a good thing to happen.

 

Now for the real intense block of day on day off for a week…The week started with GVA Loenhout my favourite race. I really like the circuit, it races well in any condition and I have always had a good day at this race. This year was no exception I had a strong race and was up in the front group all the way until the last half of the lap. It is a good feeling to be up in the lead and able to hold the wheel and take the lead in places where you feel stronger or technically good. I finished 6th, last of the front group but content that my form is there and I am riding at a good level.

 

 

So after a day of recovery riding, bike cleaning and a pre race massage I was ready to race another new race for me Fidea Cross Leuven. A completely new venue for everyone. I was really looking forward to having another good race and racing on a new circuit, however after pre riding the circuit I was highly uninspired and lacking motivation. The course was certainly not to my liking…but enough said on that! I also had the problem of very sore bruised muscles in my legs, even after a good warm up and a Holly massage the day before my legs were still terribly painful, so I knew the race was going to hurt extra! 6th position found me again after a reasonably good race.

 

Baal GVA ended the December block and was the first race of January and 2012. I was hoping to have a good race as I am in the top 6 of the GVA overall series, so it is important for me to have good GVA races. Baal was another new race for me; the first time that there has been a women’s race. I had heard a lot about this race so was looking forward to racing it.

In a few words the course is: Very muddy, technical and tough.  And guess where I finished…?? 6th AGAIN! It’s becoming a habit. It wasn’t long ago that 8th became my habit. At least I am on the up again, so hopefully better results will become a habit! Race wise everything went great I was racing in the front group going for the win and I was feeling strong. It was just unfortunate that I crashed on the main technical slippery descent losing my chain in the process and losing contention with the group. I spent the last 2 laps on my own.

“Anything is possible it’s all about that one day and getting everything right on that one day.”

So that concludes my 2011 racing block…I am now back in the UK getting ready for the National champs which are on Sunday in Ipswich. I am feeling positive and confident coming into the race, racing has been going well and my form is on the up. Anything is possible it’s all about that one day and getting everything right on that one day. Maybe I will have my day on Sunday maybe it will be a Gabby day but we shall see…!!

 

Happy New Year to everyone and a BIG thankyou to everyone that has helped me over 2011…all my great sponsors and all the people that have helped and believed in me along the way, you know who you are! So here’s to a successful and healthy 2012.

 

Renner CX Note: It’s been a great block of racing with very strong and consistent results for Gabby. Good luck to Gabby at Nationals this weekend, it is set up for one very exciting race!

That’s a Wrap!

January 2nd, 2012

Well that’s a wrap… for ‘cross-mas anyways!
It’s been 8 days of racing over 15 loooong days (or 10 races in 22 days if you include Scheldecross and Overijse), and boy are we glad it’s over.
But just for kicks let’s relive the crazy-ness to get you up to speed just in case you slept through it all.

We started things off on December 17th with GVA Trofee Essen, which now seems an eternity away.
Gabby talks more about it in her most recent blog post, but it was the first real mud course this season in Belgium. After a less than ideal start, Gabby picked her way up through the field to ride most of the first lap with eventual winner Marianne Vos and second place Sophie De Boer. After a few slip ups she lost contention with the lead group, but still managed a strong 7th.

The following day was the 5th World Cup in Naumur. On a course which Gabby would be happy to forget, and one which Craig had not yet raced. Last year Namur was Gabby’s first race where she had a terrible crash, which left her out cold for a few moments and with a broken pinky finger – not the worst of injuries, but one that nagged throughout most of her season. This year however the race took Kalmthout’s place as a World Cup course, which shifted it from it’s usual late (and generally dry) September spot to mid December. It was a completely different race from 2010 – not that the course changed so much, but the conditions did. 2010 saw the riders taking feeds through the pit, this year it was just for bike changes. The race featured lots of elevation changes, lots of mud, and even some snow showers at the start of the women’s race. Despite last years crash Gabby got around and finished a respectable 18th position, while Craig finished 57th in a very tough men’s field.

Less than a week later, was the fan favourite night race in Diegem. The women’s race was not so much a night race however, as typical for the Super Prestige Series they were first off. As of now Diegem is Gabby’s best result in Belgium this year with an excellent 4th position. Later that evening Craig rode to 42nd position finishing on the lead lap.

So that’s 3 out of 8 races, now we get into the really busy period of ‘cross-mas.
Of course we did manage to squeeze in a little bit of Christmas celebrations into the mix. We enjoyed a lovely Christmas Eve dinner with fellow Oudenaarde residents; ‘cross racer Margriet Kloppenburg and roadie James Spragg.

December 26th was World Cup #6 on the historic course at Heusden-Zolder. (Side note: we’ve been catching the new Canvas series Flandriens van het Veld, and saw some awesome coverage of the Zolder course from back in the 70′s… very cool!) It was a day full of typical rainy Belgian conditions, yet surprisingly mild. Despite it being a very challenging course, Gabby rode to 15th position, while Craig just missed out on the top 50 riding to 53rd position. For some time now Laurent Charras has been putting together some excellent highlight videos of the women’s world cup races. We highly recommend that you check out his video from Zolder, it really gives you a great sense of the emotion behind all the racing. Check it out here.

Next up was the GVA Azencross in Loenhout. It was a race full of crazy and drunk spectators, where empty plastic beer cups littered the already insanely muddy course, the winds were pretty intense too!
In the past it had been one of Gabby’s favourite courses of the season, and this year it didn’t disappoint. She rode to a very strong 6th place, where she began her newest trend of 6′s (in lieu of 8′s).
Still not quite feeling on it Craig suffered his way to 44th in a very large men’s field of 60+ riders.

 

The following day would make it two in a row for Craig with a C2 on the coast in Bredene. Because this was a smaller field Craig managed a 2nd row call up right behind Niels and Stybar! Craig finished in 36th position on the lead lap, and is starting to feel like his race legs are coming back.

After a day off from racing it was turn for Gabby to return to the mud with Fideacross Leuven while Craig took a day off. Gabby’s opinion of the course was pretty “meh” as the course left a lot to be desired especially compared to last year’s Fideacross Tervuren race… but at least the sun was out!
Despite her lack of enthusiasm for the course and sore legs, Gabby got on with it to ride to yet another 6th place.

That was the last race of 2011, so perhaps you are expecting a very exciting New Years Eve blow out right about now? But as many of you may have guessed New Years Eve is just like any other night to a cyclocross racer, as there is always racing the next day. This year our guys raced the GVA Trofee GP Sven Nys in Baal a totally new course for both Gabby and Craig.
This was probably the muddiest course so far this year, and as expected a very challenging course. Gabby rode to her third straight 6th after losing contact with the lead group as a result of a crash on the main descent. Craig rode to 29th position, his best result in Europe this season.

So there you have it 8 races in 15 days… whew! Now we can put our feet up and… wait there’s British Nationals next week, followed by two more World Cups, World Championships, followed by another 3 weeks of racing. So I guess we won’t be relaxing anytime soon, but at least there’s room for some recovery time!
We can’t finish without saying a huge thank you to all the great support who have been there helping us out at the start line and in the pits, you’ve all been wonderful! Also a huge thank you to our amazing sponsors for getting us through this busy period you guys have been great! So everyone show them some love and check out their sites Raleigh USA, Ritchey, Renner Custom, Kurt Kinetic, Challenge, Rock Tape.
Keep checking back for more on the upcoming races, we hope you all  had a wonderful holiday season!

 

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