Stoke Hammond ’10’ 29/6/16

This blog’s been a bit quiet lately – I missed a couple of club events due to weather and having visitors, rode the Stony course twice (the the NBRC website for those), and missed the cut for a couple of time trials over on the E2. Last night’s time trial on the Stoke Hammond course was relocated from the Stagsden course due to traffic lights (which also affect the Astwood course) – there’s no indication when these lights will be removed. This, together with the ongoing work on the Brogborough course means that we are down to two regular courses.

Anyway, this evening’s event was forecast to be wet and windy. As it turned out, it was a bit windy for comfort, but the rain held off until the event was over. Only five riders turned out. I found my front trispoke a bit of a handful, and was off the tribars for a most of the outbound section on the dual carriageway. However, the return leg was pretty quick and not too twitchy aside from one very alarming buffet from the gusty wind.

I was second equal (with Andy), and first on vets standard with 23:58. Not too bad for the conditions. Full results at the NBRC site.

I’m looking forward to my upcoming cycle tour, once again in the Outer Hebrides, I feel I need a break from work pressures and I’m running out of steam for the training and racing!

Stoke Hammond ’10’  11/5/16

There was rain forecast for this day, but nothing prepared us for the scale of the late afternoon downpour! Fortunately the rain had long stopped by the time we assembled for this evening’s club event, which had been relocated from the scheduled course to the Stoke Hammond course due to roadworks. The prospect of splashing through water seemed to have put off some riders, so we had a reduced field of 6.

In the end, it was warm and fairly sunny, but with two huge puddles to negotiate (one at the final RAB and the other just before the finish) each occupying a whole lane in each case, I think we were all a little apprehensive.

I set off and immediately found it hard going, though I’m not sure why. This feeling to riding through treacle continued all the way to the second RAB, but once out on the main dual carriageway, I felt much better. On the return leg, I was just catching Darren at the penultimate RAB when I got a bit stuck behind half a dozen or so cars. This was frustrating as Darren got through OK, leaving me grumping behind!

Once I got going again, I set off down the hill towards the first puddle. I negotiated this fine, but there was a fair bit of light tooting from cars behind me, though I I’m not sure why and it didn’t sound particularly aggressive! The second puddle was not problem at all, and I almost got back to Darren before the finish.

I finished in 22:49, for second place and 1st on veteran standard (results at the NBRC website). Here’s a photo gallery of all six riders, taken by Claire Stanton from two locations.

Annoyingly I punctured just before getting home.

Norlond ’50’ 8/5/16

This event was held on the F1B/50, and was my first ’50’ for a few years. It was also a lovely morning, though a bit chilly at the start – it was enough for me to put arm warmers on, though I later regretted that as conditions warmed up during the race.

I’m pretty familiar with the course, so no surprises there. I didn’t have too much in the way of problems at roundabout, just one or two slight delays. I was caught for 3 minutes by #40 shortly after the first turn (about a quarter of the way through), but I later saw him wheeling his bike with a front wheel puncture.

I had my minute man in my sights for much of the race. He seemed to be connected by a long piece of elastic – he was far better at picking lines through roundabouts, as every time we traversed one, he pulled away from me a little.

I reckon I paced this event quite well, and it was only over the last couple of miles that I felt myself to be flagging. In the end, I was placed 16th, with 1:57:25.

Here’s a picture, courtesy of Davey Jones

At the first turn...
At the first turn…

Astwood ’10’ 4/5/16

At last, we had a splendid sunny and war evening, and 29 riders turned out, including several new members! Not too much to report (particularly since I am posting this several days after the event!), but I recall feeling pretty good. We reverted to the old start/finish in Astwood since the BikeBus was closed on this evening, which meant the finish line was back to being at the top of the climb into Astwood.

Full results at the NBRC website, here are the top five placings – look how close the timings were in the top 3!

Pos No Name Club Time Cat Vets Std .+ / – Vets Std
1 24 Richard Golding Equipe Velo 23.08 V47 26.32 .+ 3.24 3
2 27 Tim Bailey NBRC 23.11 V49 26.41 .+ 3.30 2
3 6 Robert Saunders NBRC 23.20 V56 27.14 .+ 3.54 1
4 22 Jason Lee TeamMK 23.57 V47 26.32 .+ 2.35 5
5 9 Trevor Hook TeamMK 24.06 V58 27.26 .+ 3.20 4

Photo gallery from Claire Stanton. 

Cambridge CC ’10’ 30/4/16

This event was on the F2D/10, and had a full field, with 17 women and two mixed tandems. The women all started as a block near the start of the event. NBRC had three riders on the startsheet: David Price and Debbie Vanner had also entered, though David DNS’d due to a bad cold. I went over with Katja, who was to start some 77 minutes before me.

It was a bit breezy with a stiff breeze that made the outbound leg much quicker than the return. To add insult to injury, the middle of the field were caught in a nasty rain squall with significantly tougher wind. I could barely steer the bike while warming up. Fortunately the A428 has decently high embankments either side which offer some shelter. I had a clear run through, particularly at the turn, which is really quite good – you can see it on the Garmin trace. The only traffic issues were right after the start – you head west on the old A428 and turn sharp left at the roundabout to go down the sliproad to the A428. There was a learner driver being quite cautious, with a lorry and another car behind them. I don’t suppose it caused too much delay, but it always feels like it does. And no doubt the learner driver was being a bit anxious about all the TT bikes wobbling around. Continue reading

Stony ‘11.4’ 13/4/16

After the unpleasant conditions for last week’s time trial on the Astwood course, and the ensuing white knuckle ride home, I was a little apprehensive about this evening’s event. It’s a bit of a hike to ride out to Stony from work and then back home, and the forecast showers didn’t enthuse me. In the end, it was a delightful warm spring evening, sunny and with only a light breeze.

The out bound leg was pretty good, marred by my usual selection of too high a gear in the climb to Nash – when will I ever learn? This was despite my change from 57/46 rings to 53/39! I spotted Claire Stanton taking photos on the course (they are here).  Once round the turn, I had a pretty clear run back. Unfortunately, I did get a bit held up by an excessively cautious 4×4 driver (such things do exist, it would seem) who was driving along behind Nathan. This was a bit annoying, as I was at that point gaining on Andy, who’d managed to get past Nathan.

Anyway that soon resolved itself after the driver plucked up the courage to pass Nathan. I finished in 27:31 for fourth place, and in 1st place on veteran standard. Full results at the NBRC website.

Bedfordshire Road CC ’25’ 10/4/16

This event was my first solo ’25’ of 2016, and was run on the F1B/25. I was anxiously looking at the weather forecast, but I was caught out by the hard frost on the morning!

The North Bucks had four riders in this event, including new member Debbie. I travelled over to Tempsford with David, who took this photo showing the frost on the grass:

Frost at Tempsford
Frost at Tempsford

So my warmup consisted mostly of trying not to get too cold! Nevertheless, my full finger gloves weren’t sufficient to prevent my fingers from feeling severely cold by the time I reached the start lines. Fortunately, within a mile or so I was quite warm! As usual, the outbound leg of the F1B/25 was quite hard, even though there was only the slightest of head winds. I got through all the roundabouts without holdups and reached the turn in a little under 30 minutes.

Davey Jones was at the slip road back up to the A1 taking pictures. The return leg was very much quicker, though I did get stopped at the penultimate roundabout. I finished in 57:32 (9th place). Andy  and David recorded 59:30 and 1:0:13 respectively, while Debbie won the ladies competition with 1:08:42.

Astwood ’10’ 6/4/16

Rather a pleasant if somewhat blustery evening for the ride up to the Bike Bus for our first evening event of 2016. It was fully subscribed at 20 riders. Unfortunately, the wind continued to strengthen, so those of us with trispokes and very deep rimmed front wheels found the first half of the race rather difficult. I didn’t really use the aero bars until after Chicheley.

Once through Chicheley, my speed went up considerably, but not enough to avoid being caught for 2 minutes at the halfway point by eventual winner Graham Knight (Equipe Velo). I finished in 25:34 for 7th place (1st on vets standard)

If conditions for the race were bad, I was rather shocked by the white knuckle ride home in the dark as strengthening winds and lashing rain threatened to throw me off the road. Horrid.

Full results at the NBRC website. There’s a gallery of photos taken by Claire Stanton.

Icknield RC 30k sporting course TT 3/4/16

This event has seen a variety of courses over the years I’ve been riding it, and this year was no exception. Faced with a succession of roadworks, the organiser worked hard to keep the event running, to the extent that we received details of three course modifications in the days leading up to the event. It’s to the organiser’s particular credit that not only did the event go ahead, but the replacement course was excellent, and very well marshalled.

I’d ridden out to the event, so was quite cold and shivering by the time I lined up at the start, but by the time I’d passed through Cheddington I was nicely warm. I stayed in the big ring through the climb to Mentmore and back down the other side (pretty poor road surface on the descent) and through Mentmore crossroads, where I barely had to slow, such was the marshalling there. Then it was on up the long drag to Wing before turning left on the Aylesbury road to Wingrave crossroads. From there it was up into Wingrave, then a long fast descent dodging road imperfections and shooting through the Mentmore crossroads before turning sharp right after Ledburn.

The course then rose, gently at first then with a sharp steep section to Mentmore once again (I was thankful of the 39T ring at this point). From Mentmore we descended to the finish just a bit short of Cheddington crossroads.

I finished with 34:24 on a course that measured 13.78 miles on my Garmin. Until I see the full results, I’m not sure of my placing, or indeed who the eventual winner was.

SRAM eTap Aero

I’ve been something of a retro-Luddite when it comes to gear-shifting technology. Party this is because I had several 9 speed race wheels, and I wanted to maintain interchangeability between bikes, and (I am embarrassed to admit) I found it difficult to figure out which parts I’d need to buy to set up a TT bike with Shimano Di2.
Enter SRAM’s new electronic gear system, eTap. For road bikes, this is a pretty straightforward system. Each brake lever has one gear change switch, and it operates the derailleurs wirelessly. Satellite shifting switches (the ‘’blips”) allow shifting from the top of the bars or clip-on aero bars. The right hand control shifts the rear mech up, the left control down. Pressing both controls at the same time changes the front mech either down or up, depending on which position the mech is currently in.

This spring, SRAM released the eTap Aero, intended for use on TT and triathlon bikes. I decided it was time to (a) get modern, and (b) get 11 speed. So I set my Wiggle profile to email me when the eTap aero was available. Ages later, I got an email saying it was in stock. I popped over to the Wiggle website to find four sets were available. I ordered one, along with an 11-speed Dura-Ace cassette and an 11-speed SRAM chain. Continue reading