16/05/18

Season update: George Skinner

Created by Michelle Arthurs Brennan at 2018-05-16 09:01:58

Development rider George Skinner fills us in on his season so far...

I started the year in a very similar way to last year, training in Calpe. I spent 16 days out there over the New Year, the first week by myself then the second in a shared villa with Josh Copley, Sam Henning, George Clark and Charles Page.

After a few days of recovery I had my first physiological testing with TrainSharp in almost 10 months. The signs for the season were good with numbers being up across the board. The new training zones would be put to good use as the racing season approached.

My first few races of the season were all cancelled as snow and the “Beast from the East” swept across the country. This meant a lot of indoor training in the gym up at Loughborough University. Luckily, a trip to Mallorca with the Loughborough Students Cycling Club (LSCC) came around quickly and I was soon back in shorts and a jersey topping up the tan I’d worked so hard on in Calpe.

The first week of the trip was spent with LSCC riding some big kilometres and doing some Strava bashing. Most notably clocking a 31.07 on Sa Calobra riding at 353w, a massive power PB. I’ll have to go back soon to break the famous 30 minute barrier.

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Being in Spain for a month in the first four months of the year set a good foundation but little time to actual race. Now for the racing;

08.04.2018 – Surrey league Seale RR – Third

My first race was an attritional affair with riders going out the back instead of off the front. It was also my first ride with new development rider Jack Wyllie. We rode a strong race taking it in turns to try and get in a move but it came down to a bunch kick up the finishing hill.

I came around the slippery bottom corner fourth wheel and came across the line in third with Jack in eighth. A promising start to the season.

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10.04.2018 – Thruxton – Second

Two days after the surrey league road race I went to Thruxton Motor circuit. I was feeling strong and confident after Sunday’s race.

With three laps to go I jumped off the front of the bunch bridging to one rider that was off the front. We worked well together for a lap and a half before his legs popped. I then continued solo for half a lap before 3 bridged over to me for the last lap.

We came to the bottom of the hill with 500m to go and I attacked as the other riders looked at each other. With 50m to the line someone sprinted round me having been dragged up to me by a rider from another team. Not the result I had hoped for but one I was still happy with.

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14-15.04.2018 – Totnes Vire 2-Day – 40th

My first ever multi-day race, and a Nat B at that. My first Nat B of the season replacing the cancelled Les Ingman.

The opening stage was a TT up Haytor, I finished mid pack not quite hitting the power I had hoped to put out but I caught my minute man so it wasn’t all bad.

The second stage was a circuit race, unfortunately for me I was caught behind a crash, myself and two others chasing the main bunch for 30 minutes in order to reduce time lost. We were caught with about 15 minutes to go and I ended up losing a further six minutes on GC due to this.

The third and final stage was a rolling 110km road race. The road surface was good but the weather was not. A few sudden downpours drenched the peloton but I was determined to finish having travelled down to Devon. I ended up finishing 20th on stage avoiding a largish crash with 1km to go. Again, not the result I had hoped for but a really good experience.

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22.04.2018 – Stockbridge Down Road Race – 43rd

My second Nat B of the season. A very hot day with temperatures in the twenties, a stark contrast to Totnes Vire.

Coming down from Loughborough I went to drive the circuit to have a look at the main climb. A two minute bash leading into a few kilometres of drag before hitting a descent.

I punctured on the rollers adding to the pre race stress and forcing me to the back of the neutralised roll out. From this position I struggled to settle into the bunch, feeling like I was just hanging on all the way around. With two laps to go someone dropped the wheel in front of them on the drag after the main climb and a group of 15 (including me) was chopped off the back of the peloton never to be seen again. A lesson in positioning was learnt.

29.04.2018 – BUCs Road Race – 20th

My first ride for Loughborough University (and my first as the new road captain). We had sent a strong team of three with myself and Rob Rogers on team duties riding for ex-pro Tristan Robbins.

On a hilly circuit I rode a hard first hour (325w NP) in order to try and get in a break so the other two could relax a little. No break went but the bunch was whittled down greatly. About 1h30m into the race Tristan turned it on and a large group (including Rob) went up the road leaving me rolling around with an armchair ride in a depleted bunch.

Tristan finished 2nd, Rob 12th and I came in for 20th winning the bunch kick and sneaking in my first national point. I also set a new personal speed record hitting 93km/h.

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Between the BUCs and Surrey league races I changed the frame on my bike, down a size in order to improve comfort over long distances. This was achieved in one evening, swapping over all of the components from the original bike onto a brand new frame.

The Di2 was easy to install, the only issues were the bottom bracket not seating squarely and having to cut both the seatpost and fork to fit, stressful as getting it wrong could have been expensive!

05-07.05.2018 – Surrey league May 3-Day – 22nd

From start to finish it was just not my weekend. On the first stage, I rode a perfect race up to the point in which I punctured with 20km to go. After waiting almost 4 minutes for neutral service to arrive I completed the stage by myself losing 8 minutes on GC, infuriating!

Stage 2 was on a circuit I had ridden last season, where I suffered a broken spoke on lap 3. No broken spokes this year but people were going out the back at a rate of knots with punctures, the road surface was shocking. Paranoid after the previous day I thought my rear had punctured, I stopped to check but I hadn’t actually punctured leaving me with a few kilometres of chasing to get back to the bunch. It was another attritional circuit; again I rode an aggressive race but in a lapse on concentration I missed the move. Coming in 16th on stage and losing more time on GC.

Stage 3 was carried out on the Lingfield circuit, the number of riders was down as people had decided not to turn up leaving mainly the GC contenders. This meant that nothing was being let off the front with the biggest gap anyone achieving being 15 seconds. I was caught behind someone who unclipped in the final sprint crossing the line in 12th, just outside the points. Not my weekend, made even more annoying because my legs had felt so good before!

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12-13.05.2017 – Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers 2-Day – 4th in GC

Day one consisted of a 1.2km hill climb prologue followed by a 14km rolling time trial. Finally some luck! I won the opening prologue by 3.5 seconds with a time of 1m46s producing 570w. The 10 second bonus gave me a 13.5 second lead going into the TT.

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Having never ridden a proper TT before I was nervous, I went in with the mindset of riding some TT efforts in training. I came in third place with a time of 21m03s averaging 41km/h and 345w. Not the power I would have ridden at in training but I was trying to get as aero as possible on the road bike. This left me third on GC just 0.3secs behind second.

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Stage 3 was on the hilly Lulworth circuit. Three went off the front two laps into the ten lap race. They built up a lead of 1m30s taking all the primes on the way. A group of all the main contenders (except the race leader) then went off the front of the main bunch with two laps to go. Working well together the break’s gap began to tumble reaching 15 seconds on the final lap. I climbed up the finishing climb to take 6th on stage and 4th on the GC, with two in the break leap frogging us. My best racing of the season, hopefully with more like this to come.

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