Kings Cup Gravel Championships - Oillie Jones

Kings Cup Gravel Championships – Oillie Jones

After all the hype around the event last year, and with it being back in my home neck of the woods, the Kings Cup Gravel Championships was just something I had to get involved in!

I think maybe three years since I last raced a bike, so hopes of a result more than going and having a great time was off the cards, especially with a field as strong as it was in the senior mens race!

The bike was looking ready! Id set it up with the VeloElite carbon 350 gravel disc wheelset, light stiff and probably too fast for my legs, but I needed all the help I could get!

It was great seeing so many friendly faces as soon as we arrived, hanging out and chatting about how everyones summers had gone over a coffee is how all bike events should start. But then once the sighting laps started happening it all went serious really fast. Talk of the course, this section that section, stay right here, watch out for that. Then we were suddenly all lining up. A 150 rider wide line fighting for a gap in some barriers no wider than a single lane road. The whistle blew and all the racing instincts came back. I have to say for the first couple of km it was so much fun! People everywhere, elbows were out and the racing was on.

The front group were flying, I could just about see the dust cloud they were kicking up, but they were long gone. I settled into I think the third group on the road, then on the second lap bridges across to the second. But at almost an hour of racing, that was it for the legs. Out of the competing spots I just carried on riding and soaking in the atmosphere and the fun of the event. Riding for me, isn’t about smashing myself for 47th position. The race was up the road, and backing off made it more fun!
I rode the final few laps with my close buddy Chris, catching up about all the antics we’e been up to, how fun this off-road riding is and plans for the future.
I have to say at this point I was pretty broken. A couple hours of racing when you barely ride 5 or 6 hours every week is a lot!
We came round for our finishing lap, arms in the air and big smiles on our faces. We hadn’t won any races that day, but we both had a great time, and tested ourselves a little bit more than normal. For us, that’s a win!

Greeted by a beer shortly after the line, might have been the best beer I’ve ever had. And seeing my dad on the sidelines, something we’ve not done together for a very long time, made the whole experience that bit better. All round I have to say it was a great event, lovely people and a good vibe. Maybe I’ll come back next year a bit fitter, maybe ill come back and drink twice as many beers, but either way, bike riding and hanging out with friends is the best thing in the world!

I have to say a massive thank you to Tom & VeloElite for giving me the opportunity to ride such a great wheel set and give me every advantage in events like this! Here’s to many more! Thanks guys!