OLD PORTLIANS CYCLING CLUB
Awaiting the TDF Peloton on Mont Ventoux, July 2013
Kev Wolff at the Southwater turn on the G25/45 Course
Paul Cloudsdale on the London Surrey 100
Iain Hawthorn on the Kwaremont - Tour of Flanders Sportif
Julian and Michael take on the wind during a two-up TT on the Q10/24 course at the Isle of Grain
Reconnoitring the Duo Normand Course - Normandy
Dave Warne , Steve Avery, Peter Gray - Tour of Flanders Sportive
Interclub TT with South East Road Club - Polhill Circuit
Iain Hawthorn charges for the line at the Track Championships
Northern Jon pays homage to Tom on Mont Ventoux
Old Portlians Cheer on Wiggo in the Hell of the North - Paris to Roubaix
John Mulvaney and Andy Green lead a cohort of Old Ports on Campolongo Pass
Iain Hawthorn leading the peloton
OPCC End to End ride
Paul Cloudsdale at the bottom of Star Hill
John Mulvaney and Peter Gray cross the finish line in the Duo Normande
OLD PORTLIANS CYCLING CLUB

We are a friendly and long established cycling club based in South London between Croydon, Surrey and Bromley, Kent. Find out more here

Come and ride with us. A good way to get to know the club is to come out on one of our weekend bike rides typically through the lanes of Kent and Surrey. We actively encourage new riders and those returning to cycling who would like to ride with an organised group where the emphasis is on friendship.

On Saturdays we have our 'Social' ride for riders of all abilities. To give you some expecations the average speed on a Saturday is around 12-14 mph and always includes a cafe stop for refreshments, butties and banter with a ride distance of around 25-30 miles. On Sundays we go a little further (50 - 60 miles) and a touch faster, expect an average between 15-16mph, but nobody gets left behind. See the relevant pages for the planned club rides and meeting point.

THIS WEEK IN THE FORUM...
TOPICLATEST POST SNIPPETADDED
Track Championship Result 2015.Glad you enjoyed the day Michael and sorry about t....
[evergreen]
7th Jul, 21:38
Club kitJulian if any by Chance are spare (race Jerseys) I....
[hugh]
4th Jul, 18:36
Club Ride sun 5thCancelled ?? In my day we would ride a 50mile time....
[evergreen]
3rd Jul, 19:54
Race Report - LVRC Regional Crit Champs, 28th JuneBrilliant! I used to really enjoy LVRC, they've a....
[jonnigrant]
3rd Jul, 09:40
Pru Ride London 100...The Old Ports race team will catch you up. Julian....
[julianrh]
3rd Jul, 17:28
SOCIALLY SPEAKING...
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FORTHCOMING EVENTS

09 July, 19:00

Summer TT Series 2015
Signing on from 19:00 First rider off @ 19:30

Crowhurst Road Race circuit.

Race HQ:
Crowhurst Village Hall
Crowhurst Lane
Crowhurst
Lingfield
RH7 6LR
The start is on the road opposite the entrance to the HQ car park. There is a £4 signing on fee. It is traditional, after the race, for some members to retire to a local hostelry for refreshment and sustenance.

[ Click for more details ]


11 July, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


12 July, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


16 July, 19:00

Summer TT Series 2015
Signing on from 19:00 First rider off @ 19:30

Crowhurst Road Race circuit.

Race HQ:
Crowhurst Village Hall
Crowhurst Lane
Crowhurst
Lingfield
RH7 6LR
The start is on the road opposite the entrance to the HQ car park. There is a £4 signing on fee. It is traditional, after the race, for some members to retire to a local hostelry for refreshment and sustenance.

[ Click for more details ]


18 July, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


19 July, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


23 July, 19:00

Summer TT Series 2015
Signing on from 19:00 First rider off @ 19:30

Crowhurst Road Race circuit.

Race HQ:
Crowhurst Village Hall
Crowhurst Lane
Crowhurst
Lingfield
RH7 6LR
The start is on the road opposite the entrance to the HQ car park. There is a £4 signing on fee. It is traditional, after the race, for some members to retire to a local hostelry for refreshment and sustenance.

[ Click for more details ]


25 July, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


26 July, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


30 July, 19:00

Summer TT Series 2015
Signing on from 19:00 First rider off @ 19:30

Crowhurst Road Race circuit.

Race HQ:
Crowhurst Village Hall
Crowhurst Lane
Crowhurst
Lingfield
RH7 6LR
The start is on the road opposite the entrance to the HQ car park. There is a £4 signing on fee. It is traditional, after the race, for some members to retire to a local hostelry for refreshment and sustenance.

[ Click for more details ]


01 August, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


02 August, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


06 August, 19:00

Summer TT Series 2015
Signing on from 19:00 First rider off @ 19:30

Crowhurst Road Race circuit.

Race HQ:
Crowhurst Village Hall
Crowhurst Lane
Crowhurst
Lingfield
RH7 6LR
The start is on the road opposite the entrance to the HQ car park. There is a £4 signing on fee. It is traditional, after the race, for some members to retire to a local hostelry for refreshment and sustenance.

[ Click for more details ]


08 August, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


09 August, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


13 August, 19:00

Summer TT Series 2015
Signing on from 19:00 First rider off @ 19:30

Crowhurst Road Race circuit.

Race HQ:
Crowhurst Village Hall
Crowhurst Lane
Crowhurst
Lingfield
RH7 6LR
The start is on the road opposite the entrance to the HQ car park. There is a £4 signing on fee. It is traditional, after the race, for some members to retire to a local hostelry for refreshment and sustenance.

[ Click for more details ]


15 August, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


16 August, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


20 August, 19:00

Summer TT Series 2015
Signing on from 19:00 First rider off @ 19:30

Crowhurst Road Race circuit.

Race HQ:
Crowhurst Village Hall
Crowhurst Lane
Crowhurst
Lingfield
RH7 6LR
The start is on the road opposite the entrance to the HQ car park. There is a £4 signing on fee. It is traditional, after the race, for some members to retire to a local hostelry for refreshment and sustenance.

[ Click for more details ]


22 August, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


23 August, 06:00

Club 25 Mile TT Championship
Club 25 mile Time Trial Championship organised by the BEC on the G25/54 course

Enter online here: [ Click for more details ]


23 August, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


29 August, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


30 August, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


05 September, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


06 September, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


12 September, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


13 September, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


19 September, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


20 September, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


26 September, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


27 September, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


03 October, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


04 October, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


10 October, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


11 October, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


17 October, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


18 October, 09:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


19 October, 20:00

Old Ports Club Night
A social meeting for Old Portlians CC Members. We meet in the clubroom of the Blackheath Harriers at 56 Bourne Way Hayes.


24 October, 10:15

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


25 October, 08:00

Sunday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, Coney Hall, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 09:30 for a ride of 50 to 60 miles. This ride is more energetic than Saturday and depends to a great extent on the riders who take part. It is not a fixed route although it generally runs through the lanes of Kent and Surrey borders.

Optional cafe stop en route with average speed likely to be 15-16 MPH.

[ Click for more details ]


14 November, 09:30

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


16 November, 19:00

Old Ports Club Night
A social meeting for Old Portlians CC Members. We meet in the clubroom of the Blackheath Harriers at 56 Bourne Way Hayes.


05 December, 09:30

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]


21 December, 19:00

Old Ports Club Night
A social meeting for Old Portlians CC Members. We meet in the clubroom of the Blackheath Harriers at 56 Bourne Way Hayes.


26 December, 09:30

Saturday Club Ride
Meet at the roundabout at the bottom of Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham, BR4 9BB at 10:15 to 10:30am for a leisurely ride of about 30 miles with cafe stop en route.

Average speed is likely to be 12-14 mph.

Ride open to members and non-members.

Web page: [ Click for more details ]



RACE RESULTS & NEWS

Open 25M TT Photos
02 June

Grab a cuppa and get ready to wade through the action shots from our Open 25Mile Time Trial from 31st May

Link to image gallery

Thanks to Paul Cloudsdale for snapping in the rain.


Kev

LVRC Crit - Dunton Test Track
21 May
Ford's test track at Dunton is the strangest Criterium circuit I've raced on for the very reason is that it doesn't seem to have any corners. Closed Circuit events are normally strewn with 90 degree bends but the two loops at either end of the parallel straights are so bezier in form that you don't even have to lean into them to turn the machine. The added factor to the 'strange' feeling is that the corners are banked, having seen plenty of track events, this was my first time of riding up and down one of them.

A large field of around 50 took to the starting line for the hour and three laps with both categories mixed together (40+ and 60+) with Messrs' Wolff and Hawthorn the OPCC contingent. Among the ex-pros was Mick Bath and Bob Downs, both still able to bring the pain to the peloton with surging attacks and would be well marked. ColourTech fielded a large team and looked like they had a plan.

First lap in the break went and so did I, our small numbers managed to put a 100 yards into the pack and the discipline of 'through-and-off' seemed to be communicated by telepathy and so it began. It then stopped as soon as it started as some members of the breakaway decided it was too early (f**k knows why then made an effort to create a break in the first place) and refused to come through. This seemed to be the default behaviour for the first twenty minutes and as quickly as the gap was made, disorganisation was rife and the pack bridged the gap.

Thirty something minutes in and first Bob Downs gave an almighty kick and a few of us surged behind him, again, no one was willing to come around and so he sat up and back came the pack. Then on the eastern ramp Mick B. made a go for glory and I covered the break with a few companions but there wasn't enough speed to break the elastic.

The Dunton track makes it quite easy to go through the field, simply because no one want's to ride high on the berms, so if you're happy on top of the world then you can go from the back of the peloton to the front with just a simple kick. Sliding to the back after a couple of laps this was my next tactic and after fifty minutes had passed and I went up the ramp and high on the berm. Making good progress towards the front when a rider came past on my inside and I grabbed his wheel.

We were away, making a gap of a few yards being slingshot down the ramp onto the long back straight. I came through, surged forward and then was on my own as he sat up! What the hell, here we go, solo effort. Managed to get around the southern end putting two hundred yards into the pack. Got onto the straight and they lost sight of me. No way in the world could I sustain that intensity for the next fifteen minutes so dropped down into TT mode. In the end managed to stay away for just over a lap when a few bridged across but, yet again, no commitment to try and work together. Looked like it would be settled with a bunch sprint.

Two laps to go and there is an OPCC jersey at the front and it wasn't mine. Iain had a plan. Time for one last death or glory attempt and up the bank and around the pack I go trying to bridge across to a small group. Taking the bell the legs were screaming and there is no way I can bridge that final twenty feet, past me comes the pack again. One final surge to get into a position for place in the sprint but I'm now boxed in with no daylight in front.

No idea where I came in the overall placing but it was so much fun I don't really care.

Next LVRC race at Dunton is on June 4th.
Kev


LVRC Crit - Velopark
17 May

Last Sunday saw the second visit in 2015 to the road circuit next to the London Velodrome. The event was split EFGH at 10:00 a.m and ABCD at 11:15.

This was Dave Phillips first ever road race, after throwing himself into his TT efforts this year. A great place to kick off your bunch riding as the circuit is is a sweeping & well thought out series of rises & descents that present no major technical difficulty - albeit a large field needs fairly high levels of concentration & attacking if you want to move through and sit at the front.

Dave entered the EFGH race and no doubt will give his own account, but the ABCD Group was about 80 strong and contained...you guessed in...Antony Wallace. But also (whose name I can't remember...surname was Rowe) an ex-national sprint champion wearing a jersey with 'The Terminator' on it. All good exciting stuff. Dave Churchill also donned an OP jersey, showing grit & determination having TT'd the afternoon before.

The pace seemed fairly intense from the off, I didn't sense anyone being dropped but wasn't looking behind too much - focus on your line, stay in and get out of corners early being the order of the morning. Antony Wallace had gone, Terminator Rowe hanging around the back. Suspiciously.

There's not a lot more to report, apart from learning not to stay on the inside (the drift backwards taking it's toll, not to say praying you don't end up on the grass - as did Dave once). Dave managed to nudge his way to the front at about 30 minutes & I sat on his wheel (forgetting to tell him I was there). When I did happen to shout it at him, we dug in and tried to get away - but to no avail, his effort from the previous day still showing & not enough of a gap for me to take over an make it stick. It must have look good though.

I managed to fight my way forward with two laps to go and get closer to the front, the bunch sprint coming off the top left-hander with some reasonable gaps and I sense my legs were holding out. Unfortunately a gap then closed right in front of me and saw me something like 20th (may have only been 15th anyway). The Terminator went through every single gap he saw - left to right & back and must have been top 10 or so. Chapeau to him, that takes a load of experience that I seem to lack - but it's coming and I am pleased me strength & overall ability is still progressing. 25.5mph was the average speed, so faster than 2 week's ago's 24.3 mph.

Dave I think was towards the back, a good training morning for him.

Onwards to Ford Basildon on the 21st May - vehicle test track circuit with the usual LVRC Essex Mobsters.

Iain Hawthorn

Full Gas Crit 3/4 Cat - Kent Cyclopark
07 May
Just when you thought you were beginning to understand road racing another lesson presents itself in the form of a right good kickin'.

A small field of mostly Cat 3's took to the start line last night numbering not more than 30 in total with equal numbers in the E/1/2 race which started 60 seconds prior. This was the first of the summer series organised by Full Gas racing who are hosting a Thursday night summer league at Kent Cyclopark, the main league starts on 21st May and runs through the end of August.

Scenario: Small field containing four riders from San Fairy Ann, at least six riders from BowlPhish Bontrager Racing, various others and one nieve Old Ports rider. Team tactics came into play from the gun, the modus operandi being that two riders from the above would break leaving the pack to chase them down while they rested in the peloton. Upon the catch the rested duo would counter attack and around we went again. This went on for a number of laps, any gaps appearing were fatal and I had to go around and bridge the gap several times as splits appeared. I managed to hang on for forty five minutes until the decisive break went and the surge was too much for my legs when the pack tried to hunt down the escapee. The aforementioned gentlemen from 4T velo soloed to a very impressive victory, ultimately putting half a lap into the bunch.

To sum up, 'a f***ing brutal night out'.

One side note was that the E/1/2/3 never gained any ground on the 3/4 group, such was the intensity of the racing.

Here end'th the lesson for today: Keep moving forward, keep moving forward, keep moving forward OTHERWISE YOU'LL GO BACKWARDS.

Kev


Old Ports Kit - Superior jersey
06 May
Just a note from Julian that the superior road jersey is now £82.80 including vat. Contact Julian via the forum to make orders.
Kev


LVRC Crit - Velopark
03 May

Photo Album

First race in my new club colours, first road race since a mishap with a collarbone, first race at the new Velopark, what could possibly go wrong. Oh, it's raining, proper rain and the track is very wet. Lined up at the front for the start with Iain, the race starts, I struggle to get clipped in and I am off the back immediately. Chase back on, mess up a corner and off the back again. Chase back on again, get bumped by another rider and off the back again. Get to the back of the bunch again, relax and the rider in front lets a gap open, I look up to see Iain safely tucked in the bunch and getting further away. A big sprint down the finish straight gets me back to the bunch, past the bunch and off the front heading towards the eventual winning break of five just up the road. My legs then remembered the previous day's TT and I drifted back to the chasing group and Iain. We both had attempts to get into solo or small breakaways but never managed to escape for more than a couple of laps and we placed about 5th and 10th in the sprint for the placings not taken by the break. The circuit at Velopark is excellent, twisty without being technical, even in the wet all the corners can be taken at race speed. A good day out and looking forward to the next one.



Dave Churchill

Addiscombe 25 - G25/54
26 April
Sometimes the gods are with you , sometimes they will toss you around like a leaf in a stream. April on this course looked like a decent bet. In the past I have enjoyed some fine fast mornings at this time of year, but this morning was not amongst them. There was a decent clutch of Ports and Portlie friends on the start sheet, but the early starts and threat of puddles took an early toll, with a slew of DNS's. I would like to say that of those who made the effort there was some kind of reward, and there was, but only of that masochistic kind. It was dark, wet, windy and cold.

Cloudie had the earliest start, armed with new Canyon TT weapon, that seemed to have been designed by the team behind the stealth bomber. Sadly the guys who designed the visor on his Kask helmet clearly were not thinking about the British spring. Half way round, it steamed up and he was forced to stop and remove the thing so he would have some idea which direction he was going. As he said, he was going to chuck the thing, until he remembered it cost £60 quid.

Having done lots of sporting events I had been looking forward to seeing how I would go on a more typical TT course. I had done this one a couple of times at the back end of 2014 so was interested Ito see where I was. Visor or no visor I could see pretty little, let alone what my Garmin had to say, so I pretty much did the event on feel. With the amount of paint on the roads, some of the roundabouts were a wee bit sketchy, and this course does love a RBT.

Dave Churchill's verdict was this was a new course for him and not one he was eager to be reacquainted with anytime soon. But we did bask in the self appreciating glow of knowing that we had done it, unlike those that thought better of it.

On th upside Addiscombe did a fantastic job with the marshalling, and the Hall in Warham was tip top. So nice I was reluctant to leave and race. None of us were gagging to hang around so not sure who took the prizes but for the record, I did a 1.04.14, Cloudie lost a minute with his visor and came in with a 1.05.14 and Dave Churchill hoped his a Garmin was wrong, but it wasn't. Even so he got a cracking 1.01.13 which given the conditions was a damn good ride.
Onwards
Andy Green


4T+ Criteriums - Kent Cyclo Park
18 April
Well I'd like to give you the long narrative about my first 3rd cat race but as it was over by the first corner and it would be hard to make an epic out of it.

So the short of it is: first corner three people crashed in front of me leaving little option but to steer onto the grass. By the time I got back onto tarmac the pack was disappearing off into the distance. There was a howling cross wind that made my bridging effort's of little consequence and all that was left was to spend the next hour slowly picking off the back markers who had been blown out the back.
It was a day the cross-winds ripped the pack to pieces and spat the weak out the back, Mr Anthony Wallis proved that he was human and not a machine as the elements pegged back his normal modus operandi of riding off of the front from the gun to half way through when he broke free with another rider. The howling north-easterly won it's war of attrition and Mr Wallis was outsprinted into second place.

If you think my story is a tale of misery then spare a thought for the 4th cat race which was the following billing and included our own Iain Hawthorn. Three riders crashed on the start-line without turning a single pedal stroke but Iain managed to get away unscathed.

Ho hum that's bike racing.

Kev


Roubaix
16 April

Try everything once, said Lord Beeching, except incest and folk dancing. To which I would add – the Roubaix sportive.


It was cold and drizzling as the Old Ports headed out of our hotel in Tourcoing to the Roubaix Velodrome and the start point. Once there we delayed as first one, then another Old Port decided to go shopping - gloves, rain jacket, cap - and Iain decided to check his bike over. Then over the timing mat and off.
Our little peloton picked up pace as we headed out of the beautiful old town of Roubaix and into open countryside. Flat fields on either side and passing small groups of riders who latched onto our train before being dropped.


The pace increased and I clung on.

'Sit in the pack' said Steve, 'you'll be all right.'

A delay to take a drink, a mis-judgement on a corner and I was 5 yards behind, then 10, then 20.

'I'll catch up'I thought and sprinted. The pace increased and I fell behind again.
What fucking pack?


No more sprinting for me. I watched the Old Ports red train as it gradually faded into the distance and settled into my own rhythm.


The wind ambushed you from the fields and the rain was thin, malnourished, never weighty but it soaked through. I foreswore rain covers for my shoes and soon regretted my failure to go shopping with the others.


Nothing prepares you for the Arenberg trench. You've watched 'A Sunday in Hell' and read about it, you've searched You Tube and heard about it, you watched the pros and their little recce films but that all only hints at the horror. These aren't cobbles, they're boulders, crags, granite outcrops, sharp edged stones to weigh down dead bodies, jagged and sharp with massive gaps between, big enough to swallow riders whole. The dirt down one side has been ploughed up by farmers to prevent riders cheating and the pre-race barriers line the other side forcing you onto the rocks like Odysseus. 


'Enough to shake the fillings from your teeth' goes the old saying but this is worse. It shakes the dye from your hair, the dirt from beneath your finger-nails, the paint gradually flakes from your bike frame, zips come undone, the zero tablets in your bottle froth and boil over. Your instinct is to slow down –

'if I go quick I shall fall and break a collar-bone, a neck, a leg' (yes, it happened) - but you can't steer a line and hope to pick your way through the gaps, so counter intuitively you must go faster and harder and try and glide over the cobbles and trust your bike to find its way. And it works. I even pass a few riders who haven't learned the skill. Eventually it is over and I slump over the bars and wait for my tingling fingers and shaking hands to calm down.


The Arenberg is first and by far the worst but the road goes ever on and there are many more cobbled sections to traverse.


I stop at all 3 feed stops and gulp down honey cake and waffles and grab a plastic cup of energy drink. I need to pee and stand at the open pissoir but the flow is weak and painful.


The passing groups go too quick for me but the individual riders tend to be slower than me and the fat man striding along on his wooden bicycle (whom we had seen in Flanders last year) is even slower than me, so for virtually the whole ride I am alone and pushing against the wind, no minimum wage domestiques to shelter me, no Sky cannon fodder to shield my aching limbs.


After 60 miles I have had enough. My legs ache, my face has set into a rictus grin, teeth barred and screaming 'merde' at the sheep and the mountain bikers.
A lady of a certain age sashays past and spots my Old Ports jersey.
'Is that a UK club?'she asks.
'Yes'I grunt, panting.
'Are you enjoying it?'
'No.'
She rides away.


There are 18 cobbled sections on the 139 km route and the Arenberg is the worst. After that, nothing is as bad although the Carrefour de l'Arbe seems to go on forever.
'Ride on the crown'is the advice but in some places this is only a few inches wide, falling away to steep, rocky slopes on either side. On some sections there is a narrow dirt track between the cobbles and the grass but this can be more tricky – previous riders have worn deep and sudden ruts and here also is where the flints and debris collects and most punctures happen.


An organised group of about 30 mountain bikers rumble past me – they are identically dressed in black and red tops marked 'Flandrien'– they crowd the cobbles and steal my line. I shout feebly after them but am ignored. A little way on, one goes flying and lands in a ditch, trapped and unable to unclip, wheels spinning and nose bloodied and I am glad.


The rain comes and goes and there are times when I remove my rain jacket and a pale sun briefly shines.


The last 20 miles seem to take forever. I am exhausted but can't give up, although I saw one rider waiting at a bus stop, his grimy tearful face and worn out bike and race number proclaims his failure to complete.


The last couple of miles to the velodrome takes about 20 minutes. Not tiredness – in sight of the finish straight my energy returns – but the traffic is like heading to Ikea on a Saturday afternoon. It is raining heavily now and riders weave in and out of the traffic, dicing with trucks and the Saturday shoppers.


I turn into the velodrome (some riders misjudge the slippery bend and choose this final moment to crash) and scan the stands for a group of cheering Old Ports. Nothing. The rain plashes on the cinder track and a thin film of dirty water coats the banking. Many have finished with me and there is no space or stomach for a sprint finish. The timer pings on the finish line and the few spectators rise to acknowledge our dishevelled group. I've done it.


The exit gate is packed. Medals are being placed around necks by damp podium girls but there is a queue so I grab a medal and drape it around my own neck, like Henry and his crown. I have no change of clothes and so miss the iconic showers.


The rest of the Old Ports have long since returned to the hotel but I am tired and can't remember the route. Luckily I spot John and we meet up and find the way.
It is late afternoon and the rain is heavy now and Roubaix is cold. The route is very slightly uphill and seems to go on forever.


Eventually we reach the hotel and stumble upstairs. We emerge from the lift to be greeted by a scrubbed and tubbed Andy and Iain – his bloodied knee tells of his exploits.


'Steve beat me by a wheel length.'he says.


Itakes me 20 minutes to get undressed and I fall into the bath to soak and dream of cobbles.


Would I do it again?


Hell (of the north) yes!


Join me.


Julian


PS Back home I load my Strava data and find that I have beaten Iain over the Arenberg trench.
'Ave it!


Julian Hutchings

Paris Roubaix - time fo reflect
14 April
At least when you get to the top of a mountain, no matter how much it hurt you get a view and a descent. The true cobbled Classic is a far nastier beast. Ten of us rocked up at the velodrome on Friday. Nine to sign on and our glorious DS from SERC Mike. Things started well even before the sign on with Dave C getting sling off the track but not before registering a cheeky segment.

Having ride RVV a few years back I had some idea of the gruesome nature of bike meets cobble. But this turned into something else entirely. Even before we lined out the rain was falling and the wind blowing. I was a deep soaking rain that found its way through the layers to the core. At the start Steve Avery hoisted the red pennant. 'We'll ride as a club to the Arenberg.' There would be no quarter given. It was wet and windy and you didn't want to get dropped from the group, to be fighting on your own in these conditions would be a dog.

Northern Jon was force by medical advice to take the short route. Shortly before the Arenberg the bunch jammed on the anchors forcing our road Captain, Iain Hawthorn into a curb and some naughty roadrash. But he bounced back quicke enough. The. We hit the trench.

The Arenberg is a place of legend and pain and as we turned onto those cruel rain slick cobbles 50 yards ahead was a pile of bodies who had misjudged the teeth on this beast. It was a dreadful str of road to ride, jarring and brutal with an never reducing threat of a nasty crash. One could take the track by the side, but at that stage in the day we were taking it on the chin. The best thing about getting over the Arenberg, nothing is as nasty again. Maybe.
After that first hideous taste of cobbles they keep coming. Never as bad bad, but little could ever be as bad on a bike. One learns to hate the self gratifiers on MTBs who buzz past on the worst bit the. Sit up on the road. W**kers. It's a road event?!
But you keep going and however tough it is there was an esprit de corps amongst those touching it out.
The secures shredded the OPCC group and Paul C worked together as they counted down. Things got dryer but no less windy. After the infamous Carrefour de l'arbre we stripped off our dirty rain jackets to enter the Velodrome together in our colours. Fantastic. Steve, Iain, Dave C and Pete were waiting with DS Mike.

Jon was safely back at the Ranch, and FJ and Julien came in a little while later. All safely home mission accomplished. Ride ride, chase, sprint, lager, lager, nightclub.
Thanks to all who drove, Iain, Julien, and Dave C. Big thanks to Iain for making it happen. Next day we got a nice recovery ride and the chance to see the pros hurt. And they did. There are no peaks, no sweeping descents just the joy of when the pain stops and the road does not hate you anymore.

Great weekend, and already I think I might be up for another go. Maybe.
Andy Green


Paris - Roubaix Sportive
12 April

Our very own Iain Hawthorn quoted in cycling weekly's blog on Paris - Roubaix

Cycling Weekly Blog


Kev

LVRC - Spring Crits
05 April
Yesterday was the last in a short series of 4 LVRC Spring Crits at the lower circuit of Hog Hill, very easily reachable from Junction 29 of the M25, after a quiet drive and stop for a coffee on the way.

With a very agreeable start time of 10:00 a.m for one hour + 5 laps, many of the usual faces appeared with a few guys I hadn't seen since last year - specifically two chaps I remember we're pretty much always contesting the sprints in the finish or at least always in a breakaway. Mental note #1 taken. Antony Wallis (ex-Pro, wins everything) was in attendance, adorned in his orange skinsuit. Mental note #2 taken. There had been no recent rain and the air fairly still, the best conditions for a while.

I was very much looking forward to the race, despite pretty horrible legs on a 50m training ride Friday (after having spent the week in Glasgow and not stretching once), they felt a little better on spin with Andy on Saturday. I was hoping the feelings of strength & overall fitness were going to be real that I'd started to sense over the last few weeks.

Warm up wasn't too bad, a large Cherry Caffeinated Gel consumed and half a bottle of caffeinated drink downed to provide the final boost, with the group forming up on the line dead on 10:00 a.m & Commissaires instructions clearly to not be stupid. There must have been 50-60 ABCD riders signed on, and about 20-odd EFGH setting of moments after. Antony Wallis was right on the start line, on the inside. "FFS" I thought, "are we really going to watch him ride off into the distance AGAIN?"

With no wind, fast riders and a big field there was nothing to think about apart from utter concentration and avoid mistakes.

BANG! It shot off like bonkers and the peloton immediately formed a long line - front to back must have been 100 yards at times and my god, getting out of corners was never more important not to say holding the wheel in front of you. As you came out of the last tight left hand corner, three bollards had been placed over a crack in the tarmac on the outside of the final long left-hander (about 100 yards after the corner) that takes you straight to the finish. Mental Note #3.

After one lap...Antony Wallis had a gap but the peloton's speed was set to be high and I sensed that he wasn't going to get away with it easily this time - but he was clearly trying. This is better I thought, more like it. After 20 minutes we'd pegged him to about 1/3rd of a lap and I suspected he was going to ease up. Actually, to his enormous credit, he didn't - churning & churning a huge gear.

The peloton caught & passed the EFGH group 3 times overall. I remember looking at my Garmin at 20 minutes & working out we were averaging 24-25 mph more or less - even with the new slow left-hand cut through corner, the pace remained very quick and only minor relief gained in the longer corners where you could ease on the pedalling. There was a crash on the long left-hander where the bollards are at about 30 minutes, one guy going down heavily but was up and walking OK after the medics car got to him.

I was feeling great overall, finding opportunity to move up through the pack and take turns on the front, even bridging over/chasing a couple of guys down at about 40 minutes. After one hour I was still in the front main group (the pace had shed a few and we were down to probably 25/30), riding well and tactically feeling fairly aware of the other guys - I found a wheel I wanted with two laps to go and decided to sit on it (the Genco rider from 3 weeks ago). The two fast guys from last year were up there as well. This is good I thought, good racecraft Hawthorn...stay aware, hold your position and wait.

Into the final tight left-hander, I emerged on a big gear and stayed slightly to the right, expecting the front riders to more or less take the inside line into the long left-hander. They did and a gap opened in front of me on the right hand edge...I moved to 8/10th & bloody hell I thought, make the most of this, stay cool and keep with the pace and go fairly long in the sprint following the two fast guys if I could - I haven't got outright strength in a sprint but can hold a relatively decent speed (I think) longer than some.

However, Mental Note #3 had completely deserted me and immediately I realised my gap was a result of the bollards...which my only move was to dive onto the bloody grass to a very large shout of "F*CK IT", thinking that any hole in the grass was going to see me fly over the bars. For a split second I actually thought I'd keep the speed up and hop back onto the tarmac, but all speed had gone.

After the Velofait cornering error two weeks ago, then this, I was sick as a pig - I had put myself in a terrific position (forgetting the bollards of course) with a sense that I was heading for top 10. I'm not entirely sure Antony Wallis actually gained an entire lap in the end (never really noticed him again) but chapeau to him, he deserved his win and the peloton give it everything.

Speed was 24.3mph average, Heart Rate averaged 172 and peaked at 185 just as I hit the grass. The strength & fitness now does appear to be in there, so more flat crits & circuits are the focus for me after Paris-Roubaix this weekend.

I would be fab to have any other OP's joining the LVRC and getting into this, it took me a year of being flung off the back but it all seems to have added up. With a decent start time and bunch of guys that know how to race, it's great fun.

Onto the Cyclopark for a Cat 4 Circuit Race on the 18th April.
Iain Hawthorn


Race Report - Velofait Circuit Race
22 March

I entered my first Cat 4 race this season having faired pretty well over the last two Sundays with the LVRC & my confidence was reasonably high - the event was at the South of England Showground in Ardingly. Velofait appear to be some brand new club, apart from a twitter account and the race appearing on riderHQ.com you wouldn't know they exist.

The showground was being used for the very first time and, as far as I could tell, this was Velofait's first race. They included an E/1/2/3/4 women's race at 10:30 with a Cat 2/3 at midday. The Cat 4 group was about 40 strong, off at 9:00 a.m (for one hour + five laps) after a very friendly sign on and nice clear briefing from two BC commissaires. The circuit consisted of 5 90 degree left handers with one 90 degree right hander, a little gravel here and there but otherwise no other risks (but you can imagine it has tractors & cows on it at times). Marshalls were on corners and stacks of hay bales covering lamp-posts, fences etc in corners. All very good, apart from no-one really knew where the toilets were but we worked it out.

The wind was going to be a factor, not to say the 90 degree corners - as taking the right line in & out was going to be critical given the bunching and concertina effect that only Cat 4's manage to create chaos in. I decided that one or two of the peloton would probably think like me, so getting towards the front and sitting in seemed the right strategy - having to deal with riders coming up your left & right at the same time didn't seem too attractive, let alone trying to avoid chasing back on each time.

I managed to work my way fairly comfortably into a front position, rotating with a handful of guys but never drifting back more than about 10th. I did a fairly good share of the work on the front, even chasing a lone breakaway down - a young chap from Evans Cycles that was feeling sprightly. My plan developed around watching not only the guy from Evans, but two more - a Kingston Phoenix rider and one in an 'Ale' kit (pronounced Allez). All four of us hung around the front and seemed to be finding life agreeable - one or two from Crawley Wheelers came up, a guy from Bangor University, but the wind overall was neutralising any thoughts of a serious breakaway attempt.

The one hour came, the inevitable upping of the pace and riders you hadn't noticed drifting up and a larger-than-felt-comfortable group amassed at the head of the peloton. My strategy was to maintain position, staying fairly aggressively toward the front and get on the wheel of the Evans & Ale guys and not allow anyone into a gap. With two laps to go I was still in a good position but a Crawley Wheeler guy came up onto my outside shoulder into a tight left hander and I eased slightly - suicide, this then saw me drift back way out of position. God was I pissed off at this, managing to drag myself back into the top 5-10 with one lap left - but it took a heart rate of 180 again to do so.

In the final lap you basically need the right position & wheel, a little left in the tank, but I couldn't find the Evans or Ale man's wheel and was at my limit. I tried to stay in but was slipping - in the sprint I was 20 something and even more pissed off; both these guys were 2nd & 3rd (not sure who won). An average hear rate of 171 says it all, 180 on the last but one lap.

I chatted to the Ale & Kingston Phoenix chap after, all discovering that we had the same thoughts - we should have attempted a breakaway. If it was possible to be even MORE pissed off knowing this, I was.

ANYWAY, I haven't performed or finished in a Cat 4 like that before so I take a lot from it...no points unfortunately (I did fancy myself for one or two) but determination more than anything...onwards to more flat & technical crits or circuits.


Iain Hawthorn

DJP - So Far
22 March
As we are trying to encourage others and promote the club I thought I would submit my race reports so far.

On 8th February I took part in the Kingston Wheelers 14 mile TT on Course GS/292A in Ripley, Surrey. A bitterly cold morning and I probably shouldn't have competed as I was still recovering from a grade 1 groin strain following an off on the ice the previous week and a late night with friends the evening before comprising curry and beer that just wasn't the best prep. However, I took my road bike (Bianchi) and gave it a go. Crikey did I struggle! Two laps of a fairly hilly circuit, I had nothing in the legs and felt extremely fatigued and couldn't wait for it to be over. The result doesn't merit a mention but it wasn't very good and best forgotten. Conditions were not that great and probably a bit too early in the calendar for me to do again.

Following a TT bike fit at Cadence, Crystal Palace I took my new Starley JKST2 TT bike to Richmond Park on 3rd March for a test ride. The wind was blowing a gale and having never ridden a TT bike before I couldn't get to grips with it. Unstable in the wind, I was struggling to reach the gear changers on the tri bars that didn't help, the chain kept slipping off and the rear wheel was misaligned which I didn't realise until after about 10 miles. It was like riding with the brakes on! Dogged off I went home wondering what the hell I'd done and how I could admit to making a huge mistake. However, I took the bike into 'Le Bicycle' and Alex cut the tri bars down, fixed the mechanical issues and returned it to me for another test run. I took it along the Kent Gateway and it flew - I couldn't believe the difference.

On 7th March I took part in the VTTA (Kent Group) 10 mile TT at Harrietsham course Q10/22 - a straight out and back route from Harrietsham to Charing and return. 250ft of climbing and a course that I rode last year in my first TT but on my road bike. A slight problem prior to the off where my inner tube decided to push the front tyre off 5 minutes before my start time. I got lucky, let the tyre down, pushed the inner tube back in and cadged a pump from a passing cyclist. It was windy but the bike was brilliant. I managed to stay in the aero tuck position all the way and eclipsed my last years time by 2 mins 20 seconds and put down a new PB first time out of 25 mins 45 seconds beating my best time from last year by 19 seconds on quite a tough course. On age standard I finished 13th out of 35 so I was really pleased first time out this year on a new TT bike. Winner of the vets was Andrew Meilak from Velorefined.com Aerosmiths in a time of 22.04.

On 14th March I took part in the Farnborough & Camberley CC 10 mile TT - course H10/8 Bentley-by-pass in Hampshire. I wasn't expecting much as I'd been sick with a stomach bug all week but on the day I felt alright and I managed a time of 25 mins 14 seconds which gave me a new PB for the second week running beating my last years time on this course by 1 minute 2 seconds. Might have got below 25 mins but for a strong headwind on the return leg. So it is really looking promising for the later races. Next target is to get below 25 minutes for a 10 and hopefully below 24 before the end of the season.

I'm doing the the Cycling Weekly Surrey Cyclone Sportive next weekend in the Surrey Hills and then the following:-

3rd April - Crawley Wheelers 41 mile TT
11th April - West Kent RC 10 mile TT
25th April - East Sussex 10 mile TT
2nd May - Sussex CA 10 mile TT
10th May - Charlotteville 50 mile TT
23rd May - 25th May London to Bruges (via Calais) and the cobbled climbs of Oudenaarde
7th June - West London CA 25 mile TT
19th - 21st June The Peak District L'Eroica
Then more stuff - yet to be arranged! Oh! - also the Club Eastbourne weekend and London to Paris for the grand finish of the Tour along the Champs Elysee.

Nuff said!

Dave Phillips


SCCU Sporting 25 - Sheep, Sheep Everywhere
22 March
Interesting morning for the testing portlies at Robin Johnsons 'alternative' course for the SCCU 25. Full report to follow, but congrats to Dave Warne for taking his age group prize. I won't say which age group as he might hit me again, but it's safe to say it's younger than Bob Loader who took the 80-85 group.
Andy Green


Lee Valley track accreditation
19 March

A few weeks ago I started on the 4-stage track accreditation programme at Lee Valley Velodrome after trying a taster session (Christmas present from mother-in-law) and was hooked. Riding the (2012 Olympic) indoor track is a great experience (worth doing the first session just for that!) and the coaching is excellent and moves on swiftly so the 1 or 2 hour sessions fly by.

 They hire quality Condor track bikes along with the session so all you need is your usual cycle gear but only Look Keo cleats can be used (otherwise just use the pedals with clips). With the full accreditation you can then cycle at the other UK indoor velodromes in Derby, Manchester, Cardiff and Glasgow, so by taking just the final assessment at each you will be able to enter their track events. (Herne Hill Velodrome is currently working out the possibility of a similar arrangement).

It takes a while to complete all the stages as the session times and days might not be convenient to many, but if you are interested all the details are at

Lee Valley Track Link

But here is what’s involved:

Stage 1 gets you used to a fixed wheel track bike (no brakes) and the basic skills required to safely ride the velodrome track.

For Stage 2 you are coached to:

  • Ride consistently within 1 metre of the wheel in front Effectively control speed to manage space between each other without 'kicking back' or overlapping wheels
  • Display consistent and effective observation and communication at all times
  • Change effectively from the front to the back of a line of riders in a paceline
  • Ride confidently and safely in pairs above the blue line

Stage 3 sees you able to:

Ride consistently within 1/2 metre of the wheel in front ("on the wheel")

  • Change effectively from the front of a line of 16 riders on the black line, completing the entire change within 1 lap
  • Change in pairs effectively from the front of a group of riders above the blue line, completing the entire change within 1 lap
  • Effectively ride closely side by side in a ‘stack’ of five or six riders, changing from the bottom to the top at designated points

Stage 4 is the final accreditation taking 2 hours involving all the above. Once accredited, if you are a British Cycling member, you will receive the endorsement 'UK track accredited' on your membership and can then enter indoor velodrome track leagues or take part in Structured Quality Training sessions.


Michael Fowler

Turbo Time
19 March
The garage is gloomy, draughty and cold. Cobwebs embrace the corners and the wind blows leaves and dirt and twigs beneath the garage door. My bike sits there, clipped to the turbo, taunting me, a damp towel slung over the front wheel , facing the dirty brick wall. Dried pools of sweat spatter the floor and salt patches collect around the handlebars; little dried up tide pools where all of life begins.

I get in from work and hurry to get changed; if I delay too long the moment and the motivation is gone. My head band, wrist band and heart monitor strap are left on the radiator to dry out and warm up after yesterday’s exertions. I grab them and leave the warm house.

My saddle is warm and moulds to my shape; my shoes clip easily into the pedals. I switch on the music and Bruce Springsteen fills the chill room - Dream, baby, dream. I switch on the ipad and find a video on You Tube - a Tour stage or Paris Roubaix - the picture drifts in and out as the wifi struggles to connect. I start to pedal.

I increase the cadence and move through the gears, staring down at the iphone screen. Heart rate starts to climb, breathing becomes shorter. I change gear as sweat starts to flow. 10 minutes, 15, 20, cadence at 110, speed moves over 30mph, the music getting fainter under the noise of the turbo. The brake hoods and handlebar are slippery with sweat, my glasses slide down my nose, salty droplets sting my eyes.

It’s done. I ease off, slow down, stop. Unclip from the pedals, leave the garage and head into the welcoming warmth of the house. I upload the work-out to Strava and wait for the kudos and disbelieving comments.
Julian Hutchings


SCCU Hardriders Bletchingly - In it to win it
15 March
If there was a TT course you wanted to skip on a cold, wet, breezy morning, this is probably it. 21 miles of sharp climbs and sketchy descents on roads that have more than their share of gravel, holes and mud. But the Ports are made of stern stuff and the 4 who had entered all presented themselves, Dave W, Steve A, Say, and me. Plus our fellow traveller, Dave Churchill. Last year this event launched the SEWTT's series of women's TT events. This year the series is waiting till the warmer months to get going, but it was good to see a hardy contingent of women riders has entered all the same.

Say got the pleasure of going off number 13, and had no truck with superstition, no turning numbers upside down nonsense. Just got on with it. Dave was riding on an 0 number on a course that would normally showcase his talents to good effect. Once warmed up, I didn't feel too bad but much of the success on this course is around giving it everything on the climbs but also showing off large ones on the descents, and to be honest discretion was the better part of valour for me. Had high hopes for this after the ESHR last week, but that was another day, when spring was all around us. Today was a throwback to darker months. I came home with a short 1.05. Dave W was top Port with shortish 00, and Steve (with a dodgy chest) did a highly creditable 1.03.

Say on her Road bike plugged away for 1.22 and had the pleasure of catching her minute man (who by his own admission tried to jump on her wheel). Dave C put in a cracking ride given the conditions for a 59. Portlie friend Katie Crowe from Dulwich P continued her strong start to the campaign with a 1.04 and took second place overall for women. But the top guys are the top guys. Steve Dennis won on scratch with a 53, and took the Vets prize. Alice Lethbridge took the women's prize with an 00.

However, a number of the clubs were short of numbers for the team prize, with their members choosing the duvet rather than face the race of truth. So in a shoot out with Kingston Wheelers, OPCC walked off with the team prize. Photos were taken, hands shaken, none of has prepared a speech, but that's probably a good thing.

Its done, its over. On the SCCU sporting next weekend!
Andy Green


Race Report - LVRC Crit, Hog Hill (10th!)
15 March
This was my second race on consecutive Sundays, back at the lower circuit at Hog Hill (which is otherwise known as the Redbridge Cycling Centre) in Ilford, Essex. It was the first in a four series group of one hour + 5 lap crit-style races, looping around a 1.1km flat & fairly wide purpose built road circuit.

The weather forecast on Saturday was shocking with heavy rain forecast, but nothing was going to stop me - I quite like this event as it demands a good constant pace with sprinting out of corners - unlike the Gravesend Cyclopark that has lumps & sweeping descents that never seem to quite build to a rhythm that I find here. Hog Hill suits me a little better, so rain was never going to be a problem.

As I reported last week, before and after an LVRC race appears as a quite relaxed affair - it's just the bit in the middle that is fiercely contested by experienced riders who respect each other, but give no quarter. Sign on was only £10, your licence receives a small round coloured sticker for a reason I've never quite fathomed. There was no rain to speak of, just a damp road that started to dry in the wind after a warm up that showed legs weren't too bad.

I hadn't picked up on an alteration to the circuit over the winter - there was a tight left hander just after the start line that has now been replaced with a drag up to the finish line with a cut-through created with a steeper downhill left hander - it adds probably another 0.3km to the circuit, but nothing too challenging other than confidence as you sweep out and back down onto the circuit as it tightens slightly at the apex.

I think 40 riders or so signed on - including ex-GB rider Antony Wallis who rides off into the distance and everyone lets get on with it. He did it again. I missed it (I had a plan to get on his wheel and hang on for dear life), so the race was only left for second place at best. The peleton maintained a decent pace with a fair amount of caution in the new left hander - once the grip was confidently established you could get power out of the corner earlier and built it on the slight downhill & gain a little recovery as you sweep round a long right hander before a tight left hand turn took you back to the start line into a headwind.

I learned last year on this circuit that the better riders are able to get out of the corners a fraction of a second earlier than I realised - so I applied this methodology and stayed with the bunch for the entire hour. I even had a little dig with a Genco rider but we couldn't establish a gap and sat up, mentioning we'd try that again. He did anyway, I wasn't so sure. This momentary lapse in concentration saw us both drift back through the bunch and then having to fight to stay on - but we did and found ourselves recovered and back in the top 5 or so riders. There was the odd attack, but I supported the shut down in a similar fashion to mine & I decided to try and stay aware & alert for those momentary gaps in the wind that can catch you recovering just at the wrong time.

After the hour we saw six guys drift ahead, followed by two lone guys, I thought about chasing but sat in thinking I should save myself for the last couple of mental laps and that the attack would ultimately fade. The six-followed-by-two managed to keep an approximate 30/40 yard gap and our decent effort to chase never quite got there (closed > expanded > closed > expanded). The last lap saw two riders from the Eagle Road Club get on the front of my group and I sat fourth wheel, thinking I just needed to wait wait wait. First Eagle man peeled off, obviously trying to lead out his fellow team mate. I was third wheel, expecting the group to come firing past. The remaining Eagle man started to fade, drifted right and I found myself second wheel - still no bunch firing past. The moment of death or glory came so I went left and put over a bike length into my combatant.

I crossed the line 10th, not quite sure that I'd just finished ahead of a reasonable bunch and sprinted for it. I was unbelievable happy, feeling I should go and ask everybody if they just saw me come 10th. 10th I tell you. 10th.

Actually a couple of guys did come up and say well done, for the general 'having a dig' and beating them in the group sprint.

Damn that was good, my best ever finish actually and against guys that I struggled to sit with all last year. It counts for nothing, no BC points, but a massive confidence boost and hopefully the strength I've been looking for across the last 18 months might just now be going in.

Onto a BC Cat 4 Race in Sussex next Sunday, a new country estate circuit put on by a new club called Velofait. It's on riderHQ.com if anyone wants to come and have a crack with me, 9:00 a.m start.

Iain Hawthorn


Saturday Club Run
14 March
It was colder than Jeremy Clarkson's cold meat platter and there was an icy wind but that didn't stop 14 Old Ports gathering at Corks this morning. Bash, Lucky, Oz, Clive, Tom, Jo, Michael F, Julian, Vino, new member Ted on his first ride, Russ (not seen for awhile) Alan, Iain and Anthony (who was late). Heading up Jackass we were passed by a rider being paced behind a motorbike - the curse of Strava segments. Through Downe and out again, we followed the (new) usual route through Halstead and down Pol Hill, along the Filston rollers, through Shoreham, up Chelsfield Lane and re-grouped at High Elms cafe. It was busy inside so we sat outside and ate athlete's food and shivered. Soon it was time to go so it was up High Elms Road and back through Downe and home in time to watch Richie Porte fall off and Tony Gallopin gallop to a fine wet win on the Promenade des Anglais in Paris-Nice. The Saturday group is friendly and social and accommodates all levels of abilities - a fine introduction to the club for anyone thinking of joining us. See us next Saturday at 10.30 at the base of Corkscrew Hill in West Wickham.
Julian


Saturday club ride
10 March
The biggest turnout of the year so far saw 15 (count 'em) Old Ports join this the Saturday club ride (7th Mar) - Bash, Julian, Vino, Lucky, Michael F, Michael H, Alan, Clive, Tom, Jo, George, Sonny, Elliott, new man James and the return of Oz. We followed the usual Saturday route through Downe towards the Shampan. An altercation with a driver almost spoiled the mood (but didn't) and a puncture for Tom broke up the group a bit - but we soon got back together. Down Pol Hill and a race along the Filston rollers produced some throughing and offing led by Julian who was soon caught by Bash and the youth section. We all met up at Lullingstone to commandeer a table for the usual bacon butties. Back up Bodens, there was some confusion at the High Elms,North End road turn-off but everyone found their way eventually. Beautiful warm spring weather, the usual fabulous Kent countryside and a friendly group supporting each other showed off the best of the Old Ports. - all welcome. Julian
Julian Hutchings


Race Report - LVRC Circuit Race(SFACC, Cyclopark)
07 March

I entered my first race of the season on Saturday, back at the ubiquitous Cyclopark that holds many awful memories for me last year - wind, rain, crashes, the nemesis first tight right-hander up over the ridge into a force 9 gale etc etc. One hour plus 5 laps of deep joy that involves technical corners, lumpy little rises and what seems like an ever-present wind.

The event was hosted by the very professional San Fairy Ann CC, who also had a E/1/2 Race, Womens 3/4 race, Mens 3rds & 4ths all over the course of the same day. If you are going to put a series of road races in the calendar, holding them all in the same place on the same day makes utter sense. It was a warm day (16 degrees) and you always find with an LVRC race a chatty bunch of guys, nothing (appearing anyway) to be taken too seriously at the start. It doesn't appear to be taken too seriously at the end either - it's just the middle bit that obviously matters as the racing is strong and hotly contested across a very experienced bunch of racers.

My legs the day before were awful - Mrs H even massaged my legs Friday night, first time ever(!) with me applying muscle pain relief gel overnight to try and get them into some sort of condition for the morning. Lots of carb loading & fuilds intake, with fairly large quantities of caffeine in the morning to provide a little fortitude for the afternoon.

Warm up felt OK, the wind coming straight from the south - on the left side on the way down, right side on the way up. This was clearly going to impact the day, beyond creating a split in the peloton it can be hard to close even small gaps if you don't get out of corners well. I was in the AB group (40-49 age group) with the CD group one minute behind and then the EFHG group one minute behind that. The off was 12:00 and three guys shot off at a rate of knots and immediately the peloton left them to it - no-one willing to either chase or simply drive the bunch to limit the gap. To be honest I never saw these three guys again, apart from about 50 minutes later when 2 of them rolled past grinding out a big tempo & gear impervious to the wind.

At about 20 minutes a split formed in the bunch on the upward leg back to the start (the key moment when the wind behind is an opportunity) and I missed it - I was about 6 riders back and drove hard to try and close it (heart rate data shows it peaked at about that time) but the others just sat in and I couldn't gain any support to do anything about it, so after a few more laps of them sitting out there (only about 75/100 yards away), the fatigue was setting in. Amazingly, I only got caught by the CD riders at 46 minutes (these guys usually catch the AB's) and that made be feel pretty good. I couldn't sit in with the CD's too long and worked with a Dulwich Paragon guy & someone in a kit I'd never seen before to get to the finish.

Average Heart Rate was 171, average speed was 21.3 mph and my legs held up. No idea where I came, but I felt good and think I am in a better position than this time in 2014 - the winter miles have paid off and I know I will improve on the one hour races across the first half of 2015, with longer ones to come in the second half.

Onto Hog Hill on Sunday 15th March, for one hour + 5 laps of flat crit.

Iain Hawthorn

OPCC Reliability Trial
08 February
First set of pix now on Facebook  here
Kev


OPCC Reliability Trial
28 January

Our Reliability Trial GPS maps can be downloaded from the links below in either TCX or GPX format (we would suggest TCX)

100K http://ridewithgps.com/routes/852422
60K http://ridewithgps.com/routes/852449


See the following page for more details OPCC RT Web page


Kev Wolff