Finsbury Park CC ’25’ 16/8/15

It was back to the F1B/25 for this event, a week after the Beds Road CC ’25’. David and I travelled over together  – he was off a little earlier than I was. It was a really rather nice morning – not too warm, but with only the gentlest of northerly breezes to trouble us.

I’d had to take both wheel off to fit in the van, and after David had ridden over to start, I thought I’d better shift into a more responsible gear. At this point my bike made an awfully loud twang, and I lost all cable tension to the rear mech. I had a quick look (as best I could without my reading specs), and figured out that the washer that, with the allen key bolt, secures the cable to the rear mech had broken. I quickly borrowed a 5mm Allen key from another rider and bodged a repair. After all if it didn’t work, what was the worst that could happen? Riding the event in 57×12, that’s what! Fortunately the gears behaved themselves for the race although the indexing wasn’t great.

I had a good race in many ways – clear runs through all the roundabouts – though while I was keeping a decent pace most of the time I did find my concentration lapsing at times. I felt pretty good and as I passed the Sandy roundabout I had hopes of a finishing with a 56. Inevitably the strange telescoping of time in time trials started happening – while time crawls while you’re out on the course, it seems to accelerate as you near the finish! I eventually squeaked a 56, recording 56:59. Still, it was an improvement on last week’s 57:22.

The other mechanical mishap was the tyre on the van that went flat on the way home. David and I displayed questionable skills while replacing the wheel. We felt kind of exposed on a sliproad on the Bedford bypass with fast traffic whizzing by. Still, we got sorted eventually!

Results to follow

Stoke Hammond ’10’ 12/8/15

This was rather a nice and warm evening with only a gentle breeze to disturb the riders tonight. I was out riding my Cervelo P3 newly fitted with Powertap P1 power meter pedals – I wanted to road test the bike before taking it to France next week for a holiday (in which I’d be practicing 2-up technique with Gerry), and at the end of September (when I’ll be racing the Duo Normand with Gerry).

Unfortunately I was floundering a bit, and rarely felt good, I finished well down the field and was  third NBRC rider behind Andy and David, who both did fine rides on the evening. Whether this was just down to me having an off day, or not feeling too comfortable of the P3 is moot. Suffice it to say that my dismay at my performance was somewhat allayed by being pleased at other good NBRC performances! The other high point was witnessing the Equipe Velo boys trying to stuff their numbers into their NoPinz number pockets.

Jez Honour won the event, setting a new course record of 21:04.

Results at the NBRC website.

Bedfordshire Road CC Charity ’25’ 9/8/15

We had a really rather nice morning for the Befordshire Road CC Charity ’25’. This was particularly welcome after a couple of frankly rather soggy and cold events. The sun was shining, and there was only a gentle (but rising) head wind to the turn, and a fast trip back.

The North Bucks fielded three riders at this event – it was nice to have a bit of company from the NBRC at the HQ! I was the last of three to start, and had a decent run to the turn, though I did get delayed at the Sandy roundabout. I made it to the turn in about 30 minutes.

As usual, the return leg was a bit quicker, assisted by the gentle tail wind. I got delayed once again at the Biggleswade North RAB, but was able to fly through the Sandy roundabout in good style! My speed picked up for the last 5 miles, and I think I came past Tempsford looking OK!

I finished with 57:22. David P. finished in 1:00:03 (frustratingly close to getting under the hour), while Andy W. punctured at 15 miles. I think he was rescued and brought back to the HQ – he was certainly there when I finished.

 

Results

Position Rider No Title Name Club Time
1 60 Mr Matt Sinclair Lutterworth Cycle Centre Racing Team 00:52:27
2 10 Mr Luke Hattersley St Ives CC 00:52:43
3 40 Mr Ross Clarke TMG Horizon Cycling Team 00:52:44
4 20 Mr Carl Whitwell St Ives CC 00:54:02
5 17 Mr William Wallace CC London 00:55:28
6 30 Mr Paul Tomkins Lutterworth Cycle Centre Racing Team 00:56:29
7 57 Mr Gavin Ashfield Hitchin Nomads CC 00:57:03
8 5 Mr Jon Friend Bedfordshire Road CC 00:57:13
9 25 Mr Richard Tully Elite Cycling 00:57:21
10 41 Dr Robert Saunders North Bucks RC 00:57:22
11 26 Mr Michael Naulls Velo Club Venta 00:57:49
12 31 Mr Richard Hutt Harp RC 00:57:55
13 32 Mr Jason Stuart CC Ashwell 00:58:01
14 12 Mr Iain Boardman Dulwich Paragon CC 00:58:04
15 24 Mr John Mitcalf Bedfordshire Road CC 00:58:06
16 56 Mr Steve Torley Team Milton Keynes 00:58:07
17 35 Mr Ian Markham Chronos RT 00:58:32
18 43 Mr Keith Stockwell Welwyn Whs 00:58:34
19 27 Mr Chris Ford High Wycombe CC 00:58:43
20 55 Mr Nicholas Pitt Chronos RT 00:58:43
21 52 Mr Tom Sykes Ely & District CC 00:58:47
22 36 Mr Nick Hickman Hitchin Nomads CC 00:59:04
23 11 Mr Julian Pegg Hitchin Nomads CC 00:59:07
24 15 Mr Alan Crane Chronos RT 00:59:15
25 37 Mr Mark Greenhow St Neots CC 00:59:30
26 8 Mr David Price North Bucks RC 01:00:03
27 6 Mr Richard Moule Bossard Whs 01:00:07
28 13 Mr Paul French Bedfordshire Road CC 01:00:10
29 34 Mr Stephen Butterworth St Ives CC 01:00:19
30 42 Mr Phillip Jenkins Bedfordshire Road CC 01:00:37
31 51 Mr Mark Gray Bedfordshire Road CC 01:00:38
32 53 Mr Neil Allonby Icknield RC 01:00:48
33 9 Mr Graham Pepperdine Verulam CC 01:01:02
34 54 Mr Andrew Martin LBRCC 01:01:19
35 38 Mr David Cook Bedfordshire Road CC 01:01:42
36 16 Mr Anthony Newland Bossard Whs 01:02:43
37 49 Mrs Dena Ford High Wycombe CC 01:02:45
38 44 Mr Steve Jones Hemel Hempstead CC 01:02:50
39 59 Mr James Spence Hitchin Nomads CC 01:02:58
40 58 Mr Mick Case Bedfordshire Road CC 01:03:23
41 14 Mr Peter Anstey Welwyn Whs 01:06:15
42 47 Mrs Berenice Curtis St Ives CC 01:07:30
43 7 Mr David Rogers Hemel Hempstead CC 01:07:34
44 39 Mr Trevor Parish A5 Rangers 01:08:18
45 19 Mr Bernard Lamb Hemel Hempstead CC (Trike entry) 01:08:25
46 29 Mr Trevor Watson Bossard Whs 01:09:23
47 48 Miss Esther Hamill Stevenage CC 01:09:50
48 50 Miss Joanna Spragg Bossard Whs 01:10:04
49 45 Miss Kay Burgess Kings Lynn CC 01:10:39
50 46 Miss Aimee Canham Plomesgate CC 01:10:50
22 Mr Andy Wickham North Bucks RC DNF Pun
18 Mr Matt Donovan Bedfordshire Road CC DNS Apol
21 Mr Neal Cannell Bedfordshire Road CC DNS Apol
23 Mr John Watson Hitchin Nomads CC DNS Apol
28 Mr Daniel Sibley Bedfordshire Road CC DNS
33 Mr Nigel Smith Southborough & Dist. Whs DNS

Stagsden ’10’ 29/7/15

This event, as well as contributing to the NBRC club time trial league, was also the NBRC Championship ’10’. Accordingly I was pretty keen to ride. I ignored comments from work colleagues that rain was forecast, and rode up to Stagsden without a rain jacket, which turned out to be a bad move.

On the road up to Astwood, a startlingly heavy rain shower came over, so heavy that at times I could barely see where I was going. This had the effect of completely soaking me (and others riding to the event), so I was shaking with cold by the time I signed on. A second shower while we were ‘warming up’ meant most of us were shivering when lined up at the start.

For the first mile or so, my legs just felt cold and heavy but soon I warmed up and felt quite good. The Stagsden course is quite strongly undulating, and after an initial burst of speed, there’s a bit of a drag up to Astwood. From there, speed picks up until the rise to Chicheley. The roads were initially very wet, with some rather large pools of standing water, but dry at the turn. As usual on this course, the return leg was quite a bit quicker. I was unable to judge how well I was going relative to the others, and just put in as much effort as I felt able to.

In the end, I took second place with 23:17, 10 seconds behind Richard Golding, but first NBRC rider. I was really quite pleased with this evening’s ride. Overall, we had a good turnout of NBRC riders on the evening.

Results (at the NBRC website)

VTTA ’25’ Championship 26/7/15

When I heard the 2015 VTTA Championship was to be held of the famous ‘cheatie’ course in South Wales in July 2015, I was obviously interested. Not only was this an opportunity to ride on what may well be the fastest ‘25’ course in the country, but it would be an opportunity to visit ‘Grumpy’ Art Vanderlay (aka Gerry) in the summer, with the attendant good weather not usually seen when I usually race 2-up in March.

Oh, how well-laid plans fail. The drive over on Friday was horrid, with masses of traffic, really bad weather and it took 6 hours. Saturday was some kind or compensation – we had nice weather for a jaunt out to the Welsh National Botanic Gardens followed by watching the Alpe d’Huez stage of the Tour de France.

Unfortunately the weather for the R25/3L on Sunday morning was completely awful. In the end Gerry decided not to ride, and of 150 on the start sheet (plus reserves), only 57 finished the event. It was very windy – 22mph plus 35mph gusts –  but also very wet and cold. Quite ridiculous for an event in the last weekend in July.

Gerry, having decided not to ride, kindly took me round for a second recce of Neath Bank before returning me to the start. Somewhat dubiously I rode to the start. Off I went, and almost immediately got blown so suddenly I felt my bike was moving sideways. Composing myself after that burst of adrenalin, I carried on across the industrial estate roundabout. I managed to miss the subtle left pointing arrow at the next roundabout and almost didn’t make the turn onto the A465 (there wasn’t a marshal).

Then it was on to the famous Neath Bank. I have to confess I took this cautiously, maxing at about 43mph. But I thought this was sensible. The rid out to the next turn was reasonably quick. I saw Gerry on the roadside trying to take a picture with his phone. Fortunately I’m quite familiar with the turn, as the Port Talbot Wheelers’ 2-up event turns there – it’s quite a confusing turn, and there was a multitude of signage but only a single marshal.

We’d expected the wind to provide a bit of assistance after the Aberdulais turn. Sadly, this turned out not to be the case, and I had a bit of a grind to the finish with a nagging headwind for most of it.

I finished with 56:15 (+12:50), and I was reasonably happy with that, given the conditions.

We then dashed back to get cleaned up and drive out to our favourite local restaurant, Y Polyn, for a slap up feed that pretty much made me soporific for the rest of the day!

Result at the VTTA website.

 

Brogborough ’10’ 22/7/15

After the Norlond ‘10’ a week and a half earlier, I was optimistic that I’d have a good ride in this evening club event, especially since the conditions were really rather good! Unfortunately, an encounter with a car at the mid-way Marston Moretaine roundabout delayed me a bit, and left me in a state of disarray!

I really struggled during this event and finished with 22:27. Even taking the incident at the roundabout into account, I didn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders!

Still, I had high hopes for the weekend’s VTTA ‘25’ Championship.

Results at the NBRC website.

Stony ‘11.4’ 15/7/15

We had a nice evening for this event, in contrast to my ride to work on the P5 through pretty damp conditions. I also picked up a flint that penetrated my front tyre. I booted the tyre while at work, and got it reasonably inflated before riding out to Stony Stratford for the evening’s time trial. I arrived to find quite a few riders lined up to sign on – in total we had 15 riders.

I found the outbound leg tough as usual – but I thought my speed was even slower than usual, especially on the climb to Nash. Anyway, once through Nash, things picked up a little, and certainly after the turn I felt pretty good. It was a bit irritating therefore to be stopped by a car backing out of a drive and then sitting stationary in the road. I passed this car (the driver said something to me as I passed, but I couldn’t catch it) and quickly got up to speed.

I roared down the hill to Beachampton at a pretty good lick, before coping with the turns, rough surfaces and generally draggy sections of the course and finishing. I ended up with 27:11, to take the win this evening. I was left wondering if I’d have sneaked a long 26 had I not been delayed by that car!

Results (at the NBRC website)

 

Norlond ’10’ F15/10 11/7/15

This open ’10’ was on the by now familiar F15/10 Brogborough course. I rode out to the HQ in the Marston Social Club in plenty of time. I was planning on wearing one of my skinsuits modified with a NoPinz number pocket, so I took the skinsuit in a backpack along with my aerohat. It was quite clear on the ride out that the time trial would be affected by a headwind on the return leg (and, of course, would benefit from a tailwind on the way out).

Having got my number sorted in my skinsuit, I changed into it and set out for the start. I arrived, as usual, ridiculously early and after a quick circuit of Brogborough I decided to hang around at the start. The pusher-off was pretty good – using a single hand he very effectively held me upright and set me off well.

Off down the opening descent, and I quickly got up to a decent speed. The only awkward bit was when passing the underpass, I was buffeted by a gust of wind. That dealt with, I pressed on. I noticed a couple of people standing in a layby with what appeared to be a tripod, and assumed they were photographing riders. I tried to hold my stomach in so as not to look too corpulent. I held speeds of over 30mph for much of the way to the turn, slowing only to negotiate the Marston Moretaine roundabout, which can be a little tricky.

Unfortunately, once round the turn, things took a turn for the worse, with a nagging headwind. I tried dropping the gears and spinning but just found my speed falling, so racked back up the cassette and ground it out. Past the Marston Moretaine roundabout and I was just counting out the distance and trying to estimate when I’d get to the finish line. I passed the two ‘photographers’ and realised they were Tony and Lou (Tony had a nasty prang on Thursday and wound up in hospital with cracked ribs and pelvis – what I thought was a tripod was his crutches!).

I finished in 22:07, which is my fastest ride on the F15/10. I was pretty pleased with that! Back at the HQ, I had a nice chat with Tony and Lou before retiring for a cup of tea and a cake. Then I was off home.

Astwood ’20’ 8/7/15

This event was the club’s time trial championship, and as usual was held over two laps of the Astwood circuit. As for the other events on the course, we used the revised version that starts and finishes near the BikeBus cafe (and most recently modified to start further from houses).

The evening was pretty nice and warm, not so hot as it was for last week’s event. Unfortunately the wind seemed to get up rather a lot, which gave me some concerns. When I reached the signing on about half an hour before the start, I was surprised to find myself signing on as number 18 – clearly a good turnout! In fact we had 21 riders, at least one of whom was riding a time trial for the first time. As an aside, the North Bucks Road Club are planning a third “Come and try it” time trial in August, as this year we seem to have managed publicity more effectively!

Anyway, after indulging in a little banter with #15 (the first timer – talk of crashes etc didn’t seem to put him off!), I lined up and away I went. I’ve long felt that having the climb to Astwood fairly early in the course is better than having it at the end, and especially so in two lap events. I made a reasonably brisk start then settled onto the tri-bars. In fact on the evening I had very little of the expected twitchiness from the wind, event roaring down the descent prior to the climb to Astwood on the tri-bars. I took the climb quite conservatively, even dropping below 15mph. I got a little slowed by a 4×4 driver riding through Astwood, but that probably helped me recover from the climb.

There was something of a headwind out to Chicheley, but event that didn’t seem to bad, and I stayed in a good aero position all the way up the rise and through Chicheley to the turn. In fact I held the aero position throughout the event, only coming off the tri-bars for the sharpest turns. I came past the the finish line feeling pretty good, and also feeling confident. The second lap was pretty much the same as the first. Indeed, this was one of the more consistent two lap events I’ve ridden at Astwood.

I finished in 49:06 (my second fastest ride on this course I can find in my notes) to take 2nd place (1st place on veteran standard and the fastest NBRC first claim rider). The event was won by Richard Golding (Equipe Velo) with a fine 47:43. Then I retired to the BikeBus for a well-earned capuccino, which I drank sitting out on the decking. A very civilised way to organise a club time trial, I’d say!

Results (at the NBRC website)

Stoke Hammond ’10’ 1/7/15

The hottest day of the year saw 13 riders lining up for a club event on the Stoke Hammond course in very hot and humid conditions. It was actually around 37oC for the race! I arrived quite early, as Tony was setting out some signage and I ended up hanging about, beating off the horse flies that plagued us. In fact, as I write this a few days after the event, I’m suffering several itchy bites!

Anyway, that didn’t really dent my performance. What dented that was the stiff old headwind out on the dual carriageway, and particularly on the rise up to the turn roundabout. By the time I reached the dual carriageway section, my mouth had dried up and got rather gummy. This made things a bit worse than I’d have liked! It was, of course a consequence of removing my bottle cage after the debacle on the Brogborough course the other week.

I finished with a slightly disappointing 23:41, a few seconds behind winner Geoff Perry – but good enough for second place.

Results at the NBRC website

Race data at Garmin Connect