Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Season 2013..Over & Out!

Hanging out in Hollywood! 

So its been a few months since my last blog posting but now a week into my off-season its time to put some words together and sign off on this 2013 season. Having stepped on the plane to the USA way back on February 4th and now already in November its been a busy 9 months. 5 months in USA to start with + 4 months between USA/Belgium/UK = a lot of km's covered in those 9 months..by plane, car, boat and ofcourse by bike!
Many km's covered in 2013!

Winning in the USA!

The official stats: 3 wins, 4 additional podium placings and 2nd & 4th place finishes on overall classifications, amongst others. Add to this the hard work on and off the bike for the team and sponsors and it dosn't paint a bad picture at all. Then add to this all the new people ive met along the way, all the places visited and all the stories that have come out of season 2013 and it will certainly occupy a chapter or two when I finally get round to writing that book.
Lots of new places visited in 2013..
..and lots of Stars & Stripes along the way!

So whats actually been happening since my last blog posting!? Well the answer to that is quite a lot and far too much to write about in this review. But in brief more time in the USA included some more nice performances including another podium, 4th place overall finish at the Green Mountain Stage Race and another nice team performance in Bucks County Criterium the day before flying back to Europe rounding things off nicely across the pond. There was some in-season summer time at home with my family (which made a nice change) with a race or two included and a nice run of Pro Kermesses in Belgium, including some nice breakaway action which ofcourse was a delight having spent so much of these last years there.
New & Familiar Places!

And so for a few thanks. Too many people to mention everyone by name (for fear of forgetting someone) so i'll keep it fairly brief..but thank you all regardless! To all at Team SmartStop Mountain Khakis..managers, staff, teammates, sponsors et al..thanks for welcoming me into the team this past year! The Dave Rayner Fund for your continued support in 2013..greatly appreciated as always (please check out http://www.daveraynerfund.com/ ) To my coach Luc Wante for once again keeping me in shape..even from across the pond! To Blair Morgan & Paligap for yet again continued support in the form of Cycleops Powertap. And ofcourse to all my family (especially my Mum, Dad and Brother) & friends (new, old and everyone in between) for your great support throughout the year..in the UK, Belgium, USA and wherever else..truly thank you!

Thanks y'all!

So the bikes are away and the bags unpacked. Time to recharge the batteries before the path to 2014 begins. That's it for now..until next time!

That's a wrap on Season 2013!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Winning in Winston & Returning to Europe!

Nighttime fun!

Once again its been a hectic month or two and so too much to write about in a single blog post. I really should start writing a book! So I am going to keep this fairly short and sweet focusing on another victory added to season 2013 and a return to Europe after 5 months away!

Winning in Winston! 

So it was decided I would make a return to Europe to coincide with National Championship weekend towards the end of June. The weekend before however would see another important race in the home city of Team Smartstop P/B Mountain Khakis, Winston-Salem. In its inaugural version and with pending UCI status for next year the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic would be important anyway. Throw in the fact that it was in the home city of the team and the importance multiplied greatly! After strong showings in the criterium the night before myself, Chris Uberti and Curtis Winsor were in the main break of the day early into the road/circuit race. Having felt so strong the night before and on the day itself, I was certainly in race winning mood. With our main rival team also having 3 riders in the breakaway it was clearly going to be a big showdown in the closing stages. Im glad to say I got the better of that showdown, after covering an attack from our rivals inside 2 laps to go, I then managed to go clear and ride solo the final 12km to the finish. Race long breakaway and solo to the line....not the first time thats happened ;-) Teammate Chris Uberti then made it an even better day by making it a 1-2 for Team Smartstop P/B Mountain Khakis! Sounds so simple lol Clearly it wasn't but right from the get go I was in one of those moods where I truly felt it was going to be a winning day....and so it proved!

Winston-Salem Cycling Classic Success! 

So winning in Winston came on the Sunday and come the Monday I was boarding planes from Charlotte to New York and then onto London! What a way to end that part of the season and to return to the UK with another win in the bag. Unfortunately fortunes changed by the following weekend with the National Championships being a write-off due to sickness. Having spent the days leading up to it in bed zapped of energy, suddenly the good feelings of the weekend before had disappeared. I started because "you never know" but I soon realised that being on a bike was not where my body should have been at that time. A trip to the doctor, some anti-biotics and some rest has seen the body return to its good state again...still in UK...cue go to Wales for some British Cycling Premier Calendar action. The good feelings were back! Unfortunately an untimely flat tyre and being left with a long chase was the ultimate undoing on this occasion. I eventually made it back into the race after coming across Flavio Zappi further along the course who made quick work of getting me through the "normal traffic" back up to the race (thanks Flavio!). Unfortunately the rest of the race ultimately became just a good training day, but result aside the way I felt bodes well for the rest of the season ahead. Back in England, I just had my first spill of the year. Hitting some diesel dropping on a bend, luckily it wasn't on the faster section of the descent! A few more war wounds added to the collection but luckily nothing too serious.
Hanging out in Wales!

First spill of 2013!

For now this blog posting comes from England. Where exactly the next one will come from is not yet known. Its been great to spend some of summer-time at home with my family and I even spent my birthday in England this year which is the first time I can say that for a while. Ofcourse ive also made a return to Belgium in this time and after 6 months away it was certainly great to be back to the place where so many of my previous blog posts have come from!

Back to Belgium! 

Once again please support 'The Dave Rayner Fund'! Support them to support us cyclists racing in foreign lands: (http://www.daveraynerfund.com/ - Twitter: @DaveRaynerFund - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDaveRaynerFund)


Until next time....

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Season 2013 Up and Running....

Checking out a piece of Route 66 in California....home of SmartStop Self Storage!

So its been a long time since my last blog posting way back at the end of February. Though I was looking to keep the posts coming frequent, the simple fact of the matter is ive been in a pretty uninspired writing mood over the past months. As reported in that previous post, I got struck down with an illness soon after arriving in the US. Though I was getting back on the bike as I wrote that post, just ahead of training camp and the start of the season, things have just not been right since. Something im not going to dwell on for long, but the effects of the illness itself and training missed in that month were multiplied as the season got underway. Quite simply I just felt extremely out of sorts. When im going to a bike race and not enjoying it there must be something wrong! Certainly not the way I intended my 2013 season to start with Team Smartstop Pro Cycling P/B Mountain Khakis. However im happy to report there have been much better sensations on the bike in these last weeks, suggesting the turning point on this season. Sometimes in these situations you just have to let the body do its thing and have a little faith.

Its not all been Hollywood glamour so far this season!

Nothing too much to shout about in those opening races for me personally so i'll give you the highlights show, recapping more recent events. Mid April saw my first podium of the year at the Dilworth Criterium. A dominating ride by teammate Nate Ward saw him take the win from a two man breakaway. I was to get ahead of the peloton in the closing stages to take 3rd. It was a good team performance and a sign of what was to come in the coming weeks. Before I get to that, sandwiched between was the Foothills Road Race in Alabama, which saw top 10 placings for myself and teammate Travis Livermon. A bit of a game of cat and mouse at the end, which on another day could have produced another outcome. But ofcourse thats cycling sometimes.

Team Smartstop Pro Cycling P/B Mountain Khakis 2013!

And to most recently and im happy to report that aswell as another podium, I was also to take my first win of the season and secure second on overall at the 'Heart of Carolina Omnium'. A three day Omnium (basically a stage race but decided on points for placings on each stage rather than time) comprising of two criteriums and one road race. And so it turned out to be quite the successful weekend for myself and my four teammates in the race. It was nice to actually look forward to racing once again.  A clear sign that the body was coming around. Across the weekend we raced well as a team and throw in the fun that we had in doing so, success was never going to be far away for Team Smartstop Pro Cycling P/B Mountain Khakis.

Jon Hamblen....Winner!

And so it proved! Teammate Jon Hamblen taking the win in the 'Adam Little Memorial Criterium' solo from the breakaway, backed up by another strong ride by Chris Monteleone in 3rd. Pat Raines and Nate Ward also secured top 10 placings in the finale.

The 'Asheboro in Motion Criterium' on the second day was about helping Jon keep the overall lead aswell as securing our dominance as a whole on the overall Omnium. That we did and in fact the only thing we didnt quite do that day was win the bike race. 2nd for Jon, 3rd for myself and 4th for Nate securing our dominance on the overall Omnium.

Onto Sundays 'Denton Tour de Kale Road Race' and that was about three things 1) Helping Jon to secure the overall Omnium 2) Ofcourse trying to win the race 3) Try for all of us to move up a little bit more in the overall Omnium (after all there were a nice amount of $'s up for grabs!). It was one of those days where everything fell into place after another good team performance. Always in control of the race, we had riders in the right moves at the right times. Nothing more nothing less. Soon after bridging to the breakaway in a chase group, I wanted to test the breakaway out by making it a bit harder up front. After covering a move with around 35km to go I rolled off the front and into TT mode and the correct decision it proved to be soloing the remainder of the race for the win....happy days! This was backed up by Pat in 3rd, Chris in 4th and Nate 15th. The impact of this result was great for the overall Omnium too. Jon remained on top, I moved up to 2nd, Pat 3rd, Chris 4th and Nate 9th. A nice weekend indeed!

I love a breakaway....1st win of the season!

So there it is. There have certainly been ups and downs over these past months. Luckily the pathway on this US season is on its way upwards. The remainder of May is pretty low key, but this on the plus side allows some time to re-establish some routine in all aspects and prepare for June and the rest of the summer ahead. Thanks once again for all of your support over these last months, greatly appreciated as always! And on that note please remember to check out http://www.daveraynerfund.com/ (Twitter: @DaveRaynerFund / Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheDaveRaynerFund?fref=ts) who continue to support me and many riders racing abroad. The rest of the season awaits for me and my Team Smartstop Pro Cycling P/B Mountain Khakis teammates....until next time!

Season 2013 looking brighter again!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stateside blogging!

New Colours for 2013!

So this is my first blog post from across the pond aka stateside aka the USA. Despite everything tending to be bigger here in the US, I intend to keep my blog postings shorter and more frequent this year (well this is the plan!).

Its been a little over 3 weeks now since I took off from London Heathrow. A smooth flight to Philadelphia was followed by some airport time before another flight onto Greensboro, North Carolina. From there it was a short drive to Winston-Salem and the home town of Team SmartStop P/B Mountain Khakis. A longggg day but I had made it and I could begin to relax.
Philadelphia....home of Rocky!

A relaxing site in North Carolina!

After a very nice few days in good company and nice accommodation (thanks to Joe Carpisassi!), meeting new people, collecting new kit/equipment and generally trying to adjust a little to life in the US, it was time for the first little road trip of the year. Destination Athens, Georgia (and Phil Gaimon's crib...thanks Phil!) where I would be located for the next few weeks until returning to Winston-Salem for official team training camp/presentation. That time has come and so Thursday we make the trip back to Winston-Salem.

Gravel roads of Georgia!

Though I arrived safely and have been adjusting to US life the last couple of weeks here in Athens have been far from smooth. Struck down by illness my days have generally been spent on my bed rather than on my bike. However luckily I seem to be on the mend now. It was far from ideal timing and disturbances to training are never welcomed, but experience has taught me that rest and recovery are far more important during these times. My winter had been illness-free until this so good foundations for 2013 had been planted for the season ahead. This is just a slight setback and having experienced my fair share of setbacks in the past, I do not intend on letting it spoil the bigger picture!
Little Details!

And that bigger picture in 2013 is a season with Team SmartStop P/B Mountain Khakis. First time I am on a team from the USA, I have been very impressed since the second I touched down and was met at the airport in North Carolina. I look forward to what the season ahead will bring! This seems as good a time as any to mention some of our main team product sponsors that will be very much part of my life both on and off the bike this season:

Wilier Bikes (Zero 9 training/race bikes & Blade TT bike) with VP Pedals, SRAM components, Ritchey finishing kit, Reynolds wheels, Maxxis Tyres and San Marco Saddles. Lazer Helmets, Mavic Shoes, Tifosi sunglasses and Polar Bottle(s) covering the accessories whilst Champion System are covering the Kit. Mountain Khakis provide the casual/off the bike clothes and Keen the casual/off the bike shoes. Yes I am being well looked after!

Team Sponsors! 

And ofcourse a mention to my personal sponsors: The Dave Rayner Fund who continue to support me, Paligap (Cycleops) likewise and also to 'Beet It' for help in the nutrition department. All greatly appreciated! 
Evolution over the years & continued support over the years from Paligap/Cycleops!

So thats all thats really been going on so far. Given the big move, a pretty unadventurous first few weeks in the states mainly due to being bed bound. But thats all soon to change. Onto training camp now and then afterwards its time to get down to business...race time! Starting immediately after camp in the Carolina's, by mid March I will be West Coast bound...Tucson Arizona, San Dimas & Redlands California will keep me busy for the first month. Im sure there will be much to report! 

Will be on the open road a lot this year...on and off the bike!

Until next time....

Friday, February 1, 2013

Season 2013 and USA Calling....

The racing season rapidly approaches and for me in 2013 that will mean the USA! Those that know me and those that have followed my progression in the cycling world here on my blog will know how much that has involved Belgium. The Belgium chapter will continue I can assure you of that. However for season 2013 the USA beckons and a chance to try and make an impact on the American cycling scene and a chance to continue making my way in the sport.
And so to my new team for 2013, Team SmartStop P/B Mountain Khakis. A US Continental cycling team based in North Carolina. After success on the National Criterium Calendar (NCC) circuit in the US in 2012, the team will be looking to maintain this status as well as add to it with success on the National Road Calendar (NRC) circuit in 2013. I am looking forward to getting rolling with the new team and excited about what the new season will bring. You can ofcourse follow mine and the teams progress through Twitter (@dfpatten @TeamSmartStopMK), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/daniel.patten.161 http://www.facebook.com/SmartStopProCycling), Instagram (http://instagram.com/dfpatten/) and ofcourse here on my blog site (http://danielpatten.blogspot.co.uk/) and the teams website (http://teammk-smartstop.com/).
For now I am getting ready to make my move across the pond at the start of next week. I will have a few weeks to settle into US life in my 2013 base of Athens Georgia, before team training camp in North Carolina at the start of March. After this the racing begins...US style! A solid winter of training so far, it all bodes well for a great season ahead. My new team have been fantastic already in support of my move to them and I look forward to many great moments with them this season! A big thank you must also once again go to 'The Dave Rayner Fund' who will continue supporting me in the USA this year...your support is very much appreciated as always! Please check out and support The Dave Rayner Fund at http://www.daveraynerfund.com/
For my Belgium following, rest assured you will see me in my new colours on the roads of Belgium sometime this season whenever I find myself back in europe. To my family, friends and followers everywhere, as we head into season 2013 I thank you all again for your support. Team SmartStop P/B Mountain Khakis....heres to a successful 2013....lets go! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Season 2012...over and out!

My 2012 season began way back on the 19/02 and with my final race on the 14/10, it is finally time to relax, reflect and look ahead to the rest of 2012, 2013 and beyond!
There have been ups and there have been downs (expected as a cyclist) but the good times always outweigh the bad. All in all I took 3 wins this year, 1 overall classement win, and 3 further podium placings amongst other 10's. As always I lived up to my reputation of riding aggressively, attacking at every opportunity and helping to get the Soenens Construkt Glas colours out front in the bike race. As well as this I again got to show this year my selfless side as a cyclist, helping my fellow teammates all in the name of the team performance. All proving that satisfaction in this sport dosn't just simply come from winning alone, but giving 100% on the road!

In case you missed them, here are a couple of videos of breakaway action this year:

And so to some credits for 2012. Firstly I would like to thank everyone at Cycling Team Soenens Construkt Glas for your support this year. Its been a great year riding with and representing this team!

To my coach/trainer/therapist Luc Wante, who has been the one responsible for my successes this year by again keeping my body in great working order week after week for the duration of the season. Also to Dr Piet Daneels for again getting me healthy during illness. Both of whom are helping me to continue progressing in the sport.

To the Dave Rayner Fund and the Grays Public Purposes and Recreational Charity for there financial support this year. I am so grateful for your support and you have made this year possible. And never taken for granted...I ofcourse continued racing hard from start to finish in the chase of prize money on the kermesse circuit!

To other individual sponsors and helpers who supported me in one way or another with equipment/products. This includes Blair Morgan and Paligap for continued support with 'Cycleops' Power equipment. To Allen Bridge who helped me out with 'CNP' nutritional products and to James White Drinks for support towards 'Beet It' products.

To Martin Williamson and Ed Hood at VeloVeritas (www.veloveritas.co.uk) for continuing to support me in my cycling career and continuing to publish my blog posts on there website.
And finally (last but not least!) to all my family and friends for the continued support. So many people to mention by name, but ofcourse my parents and brother and everyone else that has followed, been part of and/or supported me this year. Im sure you know who you are...it means everything!
And so time to put the feet up for a bit...the future awaits! Until next time...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Was only a matter of time....

Time again for an update as this 2012 season in Belgium continues. Yet again the consistency has continued but also now I can happily say that consistency has been rewarded with some wins. Victories have been near all year but found myself just missing out. However with 3 wins and 1 overall classement win in 2 weeks, I have finally been able to enjoy that sweet feeling of success again. It was simply about keeping the faith knowing that it was only a matter of time before the persistence paid off.

And so to these wins, the first of which came in the town of Wambeek-Ternat here in Belgium. Also a place I was victorious in 2011. Yet again we would be faced with 13 climbs of the cobbled berg and without doubt the hottest weekend of the year....cue strong-mans race! Eventually the race would come down to 5 of us left at the front. Going over the top of the cobbled berg with 2 laps (around 15km to go) I saw I had a little gap and instinctively took a chance. With the race and the weather taking its toll on everyone it felt like it could be the right move to play. And so I was right. I quickly established a nice lead over my other breakaway companions and as it happened it was a lead that only continued to grow. Hitting the berg for the final time I continued to ride strongly and I knew once over the top that it should be mine. Still when you have been waiting for a win all year there was no chance I was slowing up. Thankfully nothing was standing in the way of victory for me that day. I took the solo victory, 54 seconds ahead of the chasers and could enjoy that moment that I had been waiting for all season!

This race is actually part of a 2 day classement and so I returned on the second day for yet again another 13 climbs of the cobbled berg in pursuit of the overall classement. Clearly heavily watched I soon realised that the best form of defense was actually to attack. And so I got away alone and made the break come to me. Again with the conditions this race was never over and so I had to keep doing a lot of riding to ensure we stayed out front and importantly for me ahead of the other classement contenders. In the last laps this was especially the case when some of the other breakaway riders were thinking more about individual victory. Though I came to close to winning again (placing 4th) the thoughts of the individual win had to take a bit of a back seat to ensure I won the overall. And that I did. Another successful weekend in Wambeek-Ternat which coupled with the results also there in 2011 meant I had 2 overall classements, 2 race wins, 2 further top 5’s, 2nd berg classement x3 and some additional primies for good measure. Just for reference I also placed 7th there back in 2010. Safe to say I like this town!

The timing was great as the following weekend would see me having a slightly different weekend racing on the Island of Jersey. Having visited there in 2009 I finally made my return this year. Cycling is very popular on the island and continues to grow. This weekend of racing is certainly evidence of that. Over for 3 races (time trial, criterium and road race) I ended up walking away with 2 more wins. I was to take victory in the time trial and road race and barring a crash in the criterium I was still in contention for the win there also. I was to finish 6th in the crtierium, but 2 out of 3 is not bad! Along with the racing I got to have a nice (extended) weekend on the Island of Jersey. Was made to feel very welcome by a good group of friends who I had not seen in a few years, got to have a good catch up, see how cycling is growing on the island and got to see more of the island itself. I also got to see ‘Big Maggys’ coffee shop, something that was just a concept being thought of back in 2009...now its a reality and some hours were certainly spent in there over the weekend. I left Jersey on my 650km road trip back to Oudenaarde satisfied after a very enjoyable weekend. Thanks to everyone there that made me feel so welcome!

And so to the rest of the year. There is still 5-6 weeks remaining of the season and with the condition still good im looking forward to what it will bring. The first win of the season is always the hardest and now that is taken care of, along with the further successes that followed, im looking forward to continuing to finish this season off in style! 

Until next time....