Sunday, 9 February 2014

New Year, New Team

Hi everyone


Here's my winter update.


After a great year experiencing a full season of racing and living in Spain, in 2014 my focus and goals are the races in the rest of Europe and the UK.

My new racing team KTM road-and-trail.com are based near Manchester. It's a newly formed top British team with lots of experienced riders and younger developing ones. KTM are our bike sponsors and shared backer through British based FLI distribution and road-and-trail.com is an online KTM bike seller. The team is also supported by Herbalife 24, Datatag, Continental, Kalas and Dulux. More sponsor info on my support page.

The team ethos and aims are to challenge in foreign stage races and classics in Europe which appealed to me as a rider. It has the ambition of being UCI continental. Follow the team on twitter @ktmroadandtrail.


Most of the team lined up in our new race kit, you can find out more about them here. (Photo from KTM Cycling.)
Training over the winter has been great. I have a personal coach for the first time and I have been making the most of the indoor Glasgow Velodrome each week through out the winter. The track sessions and racing there have been hard and fast and I am really enjoying it.


Training round my local roads like up Glen Fruin on the KTM winter bike.
In December, I was at a 10 day training camp in Gerona with the Scotland team. There was a big squad of guys there, a mixture of some of the top road, track and mtb riders from Scotland. We got some solid training hours in and I have found it has been great gaining the endurance from it earlier than I would normally. It's a nice region, Catalonia is, and a good mixture of terrain to train on.


900 metres on the summit of the Rocacorba climb. Steep 13 km climb. Stunning scenery over looking the town of Banyoles. 

The Scotland squad was joined by Garmin's David Millar for most of the camp which was awesome. (Photo by David Brandie)

Me and Gary Hand posing at the end of  our ride, just along the road from our digs. This is the KTM Revelator which we will be racing on.

In mid January for two weeks, I had my own team training camp in Calpe near Benidorm in Spain. It was good to meet all my new team mates and get to know them. A couple I already knew from Herbalife LLB and Endura development team a couple of years ago.


On the first week, we put in plenty of hours each day in with specific team efforts and also individual stuff. Unfortunately mid way through the camp I developed a knee cap injury. I then had to limit myself on the bike for the remaining days as I was agony pedalling. This was frustrating but I have good strength and fitness in me anyway.


Some of the team riding out of the coastal town of Denia on the flatter Costa Blanca roads.. (Photo by David Clarke)  

Getting ready to do some through and off efforts at Xabia. (Photo by Rob Adlard)


(Photo by David Clarke)

The Commonwealth Games RR in Glasgow is being held in August, I am working hard to earn my selection to race for Scotland. It would awesome to help Scotland win a medal in front of the big crowds in my home city.

My race calendar planning is still on going but so far it looking strong with some stage races in Austria, France and Ireland to look forward to so far.

The team kit and bikes look and feel brilliant. All the team are keen and looking strong and I am sure we will all have a great season racing.


Thanks for reading


Robbie

Follow my racing on twitter @robbiehassan

Calpe in Costa Blanca
(Photo by David Clarke
Cafe Stop at Guadalest. Really fast and fun descending roads here. (Photo by David Clarke)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Spanish Racing Wrap Up


Hi everyone

That's me back from racing in Spain for this year. It has been a great experience and have really enjoyed the hard racing there.


Attacking in the Oiarzun RR, the World tour San Sebastion Classic uses this climb in the final part of the race.

After my last blog, I had a great final couple of months racing in Spain with my team, Ibaigane Opel.

For most of August I was having two or three hard road races a week which was great for keeping good form. In meant life in Zeanuri flew by and it was my most enjoyable month of racing in Spain.

From July onwards, I was amazed at the difference a few weeks made as I was climbing and beating most of the strongest riders I have been racing against over the season and also getting into the crucial moves of the races. I was regularly in the top tens and came very close to the win many times.
In the race long break in the Lemioz RR, really fast climbs.


In particular, two big races I had were the Lenhendakari 3 day Challenge and the Vuelta Valencia which I competed in last season.

The 3 day Challenge consisted of three individual road races around the Basque Country with an overall GC which I found myself fighting it out for. I felt strong and was lying 4th overall by the start of the final day. I came down with a cold and suffered through out the day but I survived and clung on to finish 6th overall.

The Vuelta Valencia was a 4 day Elite International race, with national squads from as far afield as Japan, Israel & Holland, as well as the best Spanish teams. It was an very tough race, average speeds of 27mph, long steep climbs with 17% ramps, rough roads, cross winds and the searing heat made it a wearing down process. I was really happy with my performance as I climbed well on the big mountainous stage 2 and managed to get 2nd overall GC in the U23 category.

I will go into the story in more detail in a future blog.
On the attack with 15km to go in the Geirnica RR, held on with a couple of others until  the Argentine team pulled us back with 1km and half to the line.


Sprint finish in the Escalante Road race in the region of Cantabria.

I want to thank everyone for the support and encouragement this year including my team, Ibaigane Opel. They have been very welcoming to me the past two years I have raced with them and the managers have been very kind and supportive as well. I would like to thank the Braveheart Fund for their support and to everyone who kindly donates. It has helped a big part to race abroad this season.

I'm glad I spent the year racing in Spain, I have learnt so much on and off the bike by committing myself abroad for the year. Learnt a lot more than I have any other year by far. It has gave me more experience, confidence and drive to give it my all next year.

Thanks for reading my blog this year and see you at the Braveheart ride and dinner if you are there!

Cheers

Robbie

More Pictures:


Winning the best team prize in Egiobar, first three across the line.

Large race long break in the Egoibar race, before we hit the last climb of the day.

Waiting at the start line

Egiobar

On the 2nd last climb in the Zegama race, 3rd day of the challenge, suffering with the cold but hung on for 6th overall GC.
The village of Zeanuri, at the foot of Mountains, where I lived for most of the season. Friendly community.

Local historic church, just up the hill

Team ride the day before the first stage of the Tour of Valencia


The first stage of the Vuelta Valencia started in the famous Valencia Moto GP racing circuit.

The team, the manager of the team Gartzi (left) and the president Juan Mari (right).


Blog also of the Braveheart Fund Website: http://www.braveheartfund.co.uk/DiaryPost.asp?id=1201

Friday, 2 August 2013

July Spanish Racing


Hi everyone

I returned to Spain after the British Champs and Beaumont GP (my blog here), to rejoin my team mates in Opel Ibaigane.

The weather here has been scorching all month, a 44 degree training ride the other day was an extreme. But the humidity in my races has been the biggest challenge, With the hot air from the south, the rivers and forests, the mixture can be an absolute killer, racing in it at times. Although now I feel I am acclimatising better.

Village roll out in the Antzuola U23 race

My first weeks were dodgy as a certain family member passed me on a stomach and kidney virus which meant I could barely eat for a whole week. I lost a bad few kilos and when I did feel better to race the next week end, it was a waste of time. The legs were so depleted I could barely ride 20 mins of the race. Difference a week makes when I felt strong doing the 90 mile Premier Calendar.

However, by mid July my appetite came back and I regained strength and my results picked up.

I was able to attack in the Soplana race which is a race I have done the past two years, and get 16th. I didn't quite have the strength for the steep uphill finish but it was a confidence booster that I could attack and climb into the lead groups.

On the attack in the Soplana RR

At the front of pack as the pace steps up in one of the many climbs in the Beasain Classic

Nearing the top of the last mountain climb of the Antzuola RR

High pace in the Soplana RR
My most recent race in Cos, Cantabria, the Trofeo Santiago, a Spanish federation elite race, proved that I am now reaching my best from of the season. I was 10th in a strong field of many top ex pros and strong teams.

I made it into a small select lead group as we climbed the second big mountain of the day reaching 700 metres (2,300ft). Team Lizarte were pressing on to get their man Dayer Quintana, younger brother of Movistar's Nairo, the win. The climbing was hot and long but the descents were just as challenging. Some of the most technical we have come across, sharp corners with plenty of mud and gravel thrown in. I got down them safely but a few of my team mates behind came off nasty down them.

On the first climb mid way through the Cos Elite race in Cantabria

The final big climb, Quintana and the leaders full gas

Flat out trying to get bridge back up to them, really warm!

On the final climb of the day, our small group disintegrated and everyone had to go their own pace.

The race started at 4pm in the afternoon, the hottest time of the day, but it got cooler as race and the terrain got tougher so you were still needing lots of bottles. The team cars were miles back behind groups of riders but luckily the commisaires gave us a few small bottles of water to keep us going. Over the top and on the descent I was with three other riders and the leading few were just up the road.

We had a short run in back into the finish in Cos however it felt like it had kept dragging on and on. There was a big chase group gathering behind so I had to press on.

Two of the elite riders broke clear and I beat the other rider in the sprint to claim a top ten. Much better result and shows good progression. Looking forward to the next race!

More pics of the Cos race here.

I will be racing here for the next two months. There is a lot of good races on at this time of year, sometimes three in a week. I also have the four day Vuelta Valencia in early September which will be good.

Thanks for reading

Robbie

More pictures:



On the attack in Soplana

Flat circuits before hitting the mountains in the Cos race

Start in Soplana

Waiting to Start in Soplana

Soplana

Soplana
Hurting in a Hill time trial in Altzo


Training, highest mountain in the Basque Country in the distance

Back living in the village of Zeanuri

Traveling back from a race

Unpacking at team HQ in Igorre

British Championships and June

Hi everyone

My big races for over the past two months have been the British Elite & U23 Road Championships in Glasgow, the Beaumont GP Premier and then I rejoined my Spanish team mates of Opel Ibaigane to contest the mountain races of northern Spain. (Next blog for that here)


Setting off at the start

 After completing the 8 day Ras at the end of May (my blog here) I stayed in Scotland to recover and focus my training on my next goal, the British Champs in Glasgow.

Entering this years champs was a bit of unknown for me form wise. Also since the city centre circuit was very much different to what I had been used to racing in Spain, I tried to suit my training towards its short sharp accelerating nature. Having a chest infection and my allergies killing me at the time meant I felt terrible in a couple of Scottish races before it. It was good catching up and seeing friendly faces in them though. Luckily it rained over the weekend which helped me big time.


At the start line in Glasgow Green

It was great that such an important event was only 15 miles from my house and I was able to ride a traffic dodging recon of it...

A front line start made it a bit easier when the race went full pelt half a lap later. As expected, the world tour men turned the gas on and it didn't take long for riders to lose the wheel and gaps to appear.

Short but steep incline of Montrose Street


The world tour men ride away
When Cavendish, Millar and Team Sky rode away, the peleton slowed and more attacks started to get clear.

On the fourth time round through Glasgow Green, I felt strong and I attacked and rode half a lap myself till a group of 6 or 7 joined me. I wished I had gone earlier but my confidence in my ability was low and I didn't want to blow up by attacking earlier like I did the previous two years I have done the British.

But I was feeling good and pressed on with my group for most of the remainder of the race.



I attacked the peleton and rode in one of the chase groups for the rest of the race


I was still fighting it out for an U23 medal. However in the latter part of the race, my legs were cramping prematurely, a sign I hadn't fully got over my allergies and the medal slipped away.

I managed 25th, one of the last few to get a place as the world tour guys blitzed the race. Proper inspirational seeing their power and ability.


David Millar 

I really liked the course on day. Surprisingly it suited me well. It’s tough, the corners and hills meant there was not much time to recover and was a wearing down process. The support through out the circuit was immense and hearing the home crowd each lap was amazing.



A week later I did the Beaumont GP, I felt stronger and fitter. I attacked many times and made the front split over the Ryals, the main climb of the day, but the UCI teams’ control over the race meant it eventually stayed together to finish in a downhill bunch gallop where I finished 19th.

Two days later I left for Spain, here's blog for that... 

Thanks for reading

Robbie