Team MK 25 14/9/14

The organiser of this event had a bit of a torrid time. The original course was an interesting one, seemingly two and a half laps of the Astwood circuit (as features frequently in this blog). Sadly, roadworks on that course necessitated a course switch to a course based on the Brogborough course*. There was also a second event, a 10 mile one. I had entered because the Astwood course would be good preparation for the upcoming Duo Normand, so I was disappointed in this turn of events. It also meant that the startsheet was the longest and most complicated I can recall, seeing as it was prepared with both courses in mind, and had to describe the route to and from each course from the HQ (Cranfield Village Hall). It ran to an alarming 15 pages!

The revised 25 mile course started at the usual 10 start at the top of Brogborough hill. It proceeded across the Marston Moretaine roundabout to the Wootton RAB (the 10 mile turn), then we were routed over the flyover to a loop running through Wootton to the Marston Moretaine RAB, back to the far turn, another loop through Wootton, back to the far turn, then returning via the Marston Moretaine RAB to finish down the quaintly named Sheeptick lane.

Actually, this was less complicated than it sounds, but I found the loop section quite tough due to a pretty rough and potholed surface. The second time round was a bit easier. Overall, the rising wind was a bit annoying, and only helped in the last 5 miles or so. Also there were about 15 roundabout passages, and on quite a few of these I got held up!

In the end, I finished in 1:00:15. Not too great, but still it was a race!

*Annoyingly, about an hour after we were notified of the course change, the lights were taken away!

Pos Actual VTTA Std Plus/Minus Std Pos No Title Name Club Age
* 1 56:49 1:08:13 11:24 * 1 10 Mr Dave Dent Wightlink/Offshore RT 51
* 2 57:39 20 Mr Steve Wright Didcot Phoenix CC 31
* 3 59:38 5 Mr Cameron Foster Club Corley Cycles 21
* 4 1:00:02 1:09:34 09:31 * 2 17 Mr Trevor Hook Team Milton Keynes 57
* 5 1:00:15 1:08:52 08:37 * 3 16 Dr Robert Saunders North Bucks RC 54
* 6 1:00:21 18 Mr Alistair Gurney Cycling Club Hackney 31
* 7 1:01:18 1:07:03 05:45 * 4 25 Mr Alan Crane Chronos RT 45
* 8 1:02:18 1:07:38 05:20 * 6 11 Mr Anthony Newland Bossard Whs 48
* 9 1:02:53 1:07:38 04:45 * 8 7 Mr Tim Butt Banbury Star CC 48
* 10 1:03:25 1:08:52 05:27 * 5 2 Mr Roger Foster Club Corley Cycles 54
* 11 1:04:43 1:09:34 04:50 * 7 12 Mr Andrew Smith Team Milton Keynes 57
* 12 1:08:37 1:06:25 -2:11 * 8 24 Mr John Deal Rugby Velo 42
* 13 1:09:39 13 Mr Kamran Ezel Southgate CC 31
* 14 1:10:16 9 Miss Sian Edwards (W) Kettering Amateur CC 25
* 15 1:12:19 1:09:05 -3:14 * 9 8 Mr Trevor Watson Bossard Whs 55
* 16 1:12:26 4 Mr Christopher Wayman Bicester Millennium CC 31
* 17 1:16:56 1:13:37 -3:19 * 10 14 Mr John Hassall Bossard Whs 69



Stagsden 10 13/9/14

symbol_03This was the last time trial in the North Bucks TT series (the remaining event is the Hill Clib championship). Three North Bucks riders turned up, to be joined by three others, who must have detected our crestfallen faces! Still, there was a race to be ridden.

The Stagsden course is quite interesting, with significant undulations that can be quite disruptive to the riders’ rhythm variably depending on the wind direction. This morning, there was pretty much no wind, and the only issues were the drags up to Astwood and Chicheley, which affected both legs equally.

I just tried to buckle down and go as hard as I could. I finished in 23:17 to take second place behind Richard Wood. Mind you, the three non-NBRC riders were on road bikes!



Name Club



Vets Std

.+ / -

Vets Std

1 4 Richard Wood Arbis/Colbert 23.11


2 3 Robert Saunders NBRC 23.17



.+ 3.47

3 5 James Fox CCLuton 23.26


4 2 Dave Price NBRC 24.18



.+ 2.09

5 1 Andy Wickham NBRC 24.43



.+ 1.35

6 6 Rob Fletcher Arbis/Colbert 25.08



.+ 1.05


As usual, we’re indebted to Steph, Tony and Bryan for ensuring the event could happen.


VTTA Championship 25 24/8/14

symbol_03This event was a re-run of the VTTA men’s ’25’ championship originally run earlier in the season. the event had to be abandoned due to extraordinarily heavy rain mid-way through the event. Talking to riders, it sounds like conditions hd been truly foul with standing water many inches deep in places.  For some reason, the rescheduled event was being held as a morning event – most E2/25 races are afternoon events. This brought with it transport issues. I travelled over with Katja, leaving at about 5am. I thought it prudent to set the alarm on my watch, but unfortunately messed up the watch’s setting, so I was woken at 4am, but French time. I found myself awake an hour earlier than I needed to be. Oh well.

It was a pretty cold morning, around 8 degrees when we started, and there was a rising wind from the west. Westerly winds aren’t usually the best thing for events on the E2/25, so while I remained a bit optimistic about the event, I wasn’t really sure how it would go. The E2/25 isn’t a course I ride terribly frequently. It uses major dual carriageways, the A14 and the A11, but actually feels pretty safe because there aren’t many slip roads, and the roads are pretty wide.

I confess to not warming up well – this was mostly due to the fact it was so cold. However, I shot down the slip road onto the A14 and find myself going well at about 29mph. Alas, this wasn’t to last as I soon found myself exposed to the breeze. I felt really pretty awful on the outward leg, with my speed dropping each time the road sloped gently up. Bearing in mind the undulations on the course are not exactly steep, this was rather disappointing, and I began to worry about the outcome. By the time I reached the turn, I was feeling quite despondent. I’d tried dropping my gears to find a higher cadence, but each time I did this, my speed fell further so I kept the gears high.

At the E2/25 turn. Photo: Davey Jones
At the E2/25 turn. Photo: Davey Jones

At the turn, I spotted Davey Jones out there photographing riders – I think he was sat in a position to grab photos as riders approached the slip road back down to the dual carriageway.

The return leg was (thankfully) quite a bit quicker, as the wind was assisting us. I found myself clocking along at more than 30mph at times. Sadly this didn’t compensate for the toughness of the outbound leg, and I finished with 56:40. This was good enough for 30th place out of 118 finishers on actual time, though as I’m not a VTTA member, no result on standard for me!

I think it says something about my late season build up of form that I was disappointed with 56:40, back in May this would have seemed an unlikely performance. Perhaps this is a good sign!

Stoke Hammond 10 13/8/14

symbol_03As the season moves on, we reached the penultimate evening event in the NBRC time trial series with another event on the Stoke Hammond bypass course. A field of 16 riders turned out on a slightly blustery evening of sunny spells and pleasant temperatures. Not too bad for the ride, though I expected a head wind up to the DC section (and I was concerned that my Hed Stinger 90 might be slightly twitchy).

The start was less affected by the windy conditions, at least until after the second roundabout, when the road rises towards the DC section. I kept the effort up, only to be forced to a sudden tub-scraping skid of a stop by a car overtaking me just before the roundabout and stopping! Up to speed again, on the DC, and I could see riders in front of me, getting closer. I was feeling pretty good. Couldn’t read my Garmin other than speed, so I had no idea what HR I was on, as as for recent events was riding mostly on feel.

Once round the turn, I could see a pall of very dark cloud ahead of me and I was getting increasingly concerned that I’d get soaked. Again. Fortunately, the raing didn’t approach very quickly, and I had the opportunity to storm down to the finish, with a wind-assisted run along the false flat to the line.

I can in with 22:54 for second place, which I was quite pleased with. I was also first on vet standard.

Sadly, the rainstorm got us just as Tony arrived with the results, and I had a very wet ride home!

Pos No Name Club Time Cat Vets Std .+ / - Vets Std
1 15 Richard Golding 22.21 V45 26.23 .+ 4.02 2
2 10 Robert Saunders NBRC 22.54 V54 27.04 .+ 4.10 1
3 2 Ant Newland Bossard Wheelers CC 23.17 V48 26.36 .+ 3.19 4
4 5 Trevor Hook TeamMK 23.19 V56 27.14 .+ 3.55 3
5 13 Jason Lee TeamMK 23.26 V45 26.23 .+ 2.57 6
6 6 Graham Line NBRC 23.51 V49 26.41 .+ 2.50 7
7 12 James Barlow Leighton Buzzard Roads CC 23.55 Sen.
8 4 Andy Smith TeamMK 24.07 V57 27.20 .+ 3.13 5
9 9 Andy Burnett BTC 24.13 V51 26.50 .+ 2.37 8
10 14 Andy Wickham NBRC 24.22 V44 26.18 .+ 1.56 10
11 11 Andrew Martin Leighton Buzzard Roads CC 26.01 V43 26.13 .+ 0.12 13
12 3 Trevor Watson Bossard Wheelers CC 26.03 V55 27.09 .+ 1.06 .= 11
13 1 Clive Faine TeamMK 26.13 V68 28.42 .+ 2.29 9
14 7 Paul Woodham Bossard Wheelers CC 26.53 V63 27.59 .+ 1.06 .= 11
15 16 Luke Daniells NBRC 27.47 V41 26.04 .- 1.43 14
16 8 Neil Boddington NBRC 28.10 Sen.
Time Keepers:- Steph Cousins & Tony “Desperado” Farmborough NBRC
Pusher Off:- Bryan Scarborough NBRC

Stagsden 10 30/7/14 (NBRC Championship)

symbol_01Another glorious evening brought out 15 riders, including six North Bucks members, to this event on the Stagsden course. There was only a gentle breeze which, while it did make the outward leg a bit harder than the return, was rather nice as it was bearing the summery scent of wheat harvesting from the the nearby fields. OK, poetic bit over, how did the race go?

The Stagsden course is never as fast as one might expect, mostly because it’s quite undulating. Indeed, the opening part involves a nasty drag up to Astwood. I was off as number 13 (it’s a good job I’m not superstitious), so I had to opportunity to catch a few riders, and to see how others looked on the return leg as I approached the turn. Unfortunately, I felt like I was riding through treacle, and the sight of other riders flying back from the turn didn’t serve to increase my optimism! Still, sense prevailed and I kept up the effort. The explanation, of course, was that the return leg has several significant descents which (though shallow) serve to give the rider a spell of 35+ mph riding. Oh, and I guess a slight tailwind can only have helped!

I crossed the line in something well over 23 minutes – I couldn’t really read the small numbers due to my sunglasses (and age-related myopia!) and I was initially at least rather disappointed. However, when I saw the results the following morning, I was quite pleased with my second place, together with my time relative to other riders. So maybe things are looking up for Team Grumpy

Stoke Hammond 10 23/7/14

symbol_03This was another warm and humid evening, with a rather noticable blustery wind. It wasn’t obvious where the wind might benefit the riders, and this wasn’t helped by conflicting comments from riders who’d been warming up on the course.

As it turned out, I found some assistance on the ride out to the dual carriageway section, but actually there was enough side wind to make my front wheel a bit twitchy at times. Once out on the dual carriageway, we were on the newly chipped road surface. Thankfully there were no loose chippings left, but the new surface was a little rough. On the other hand the potholes have gone!
The dual carriageway was a bit heavy going at times, due both to the new surface and the nagging wind, which was most definitely catching my front wheel. Round the turn, and I was going a fair bit faster.

After leaving the dual carriageway, I felt like I was losing it a bit: the breeze here was definitely a hindrance, especially on the false flat in the run-up to the finish. As I crossed the line, I stopped the timer on my Garmin and looked at the time. I couldn’t actually read it (blame age-related visual issues!). It also turned out I’d not stopped the clock anyway. My best guess was that I’d done a short 23.

Back at the meeting point, the riders congregated for the usual deconstruction of their efforts. No-one seemed particularly delighted with their expected times, and there were several of us around the 23 minute mark. Eventually the timekeepers returned clutching the clipboard. It turned out I’d won with 22:56 by a narrow margin!