With British Summer time now locked in, its
goodbye to post 9am start times for us Testers, and a return to leaving home
while loved ones are still tucked up in bed. I recall a TT in Horsham a few
years back when during my warm up I found myself racing an owl. In truth I
didn't mind the early get away today, it meant I would be safely on my way
before my fellow City dwellers started storming towards the coast for bank
holiday fun and games.
Anyway, this course, the GS/196 was a new one on
me. When I mentioned it to James Stone of Brighton Excelsior (something of a
Guru on all things cycling as far as I am concerned) I got a laugh and a wry
smile. The main benefit of doing a 41 mile time trial is that it makes 25 mile
TT's feel shorter, and 'sporting' designation for this one told me I was not in
for a moral boosting fast time. Despite the sun, it was a chilly start, with
envious glances being cast towards those with the foresight to pack full finger
gloves and knee warmers.
Starting from Handcross it opens with a long
section with a fast downhill bias, building lots of baseless confidence. It
levels out, but while there a few sections where on can push a big gear and get
a nice rhythm this are the exception. Lots of short rises to stop you getting to
comfortable. But the real sting is in the tail, and the tail is about 8 miles
long and very stingy. As Dave Churchill of Bigfoot said, 'I was on hour pace
after 40km.' Erm yes. Because all that lovely fast descent at the start has to
be paid for with a long drag uphill into a headwind at the end. That chequered
flag just never seemed to what to appear and time ticked by.
I came in
with at 1.57.48, which I was pretty happy with as had been able to go the
distance without dropping off in the final 10 . Dave C wasn't thrilled with his
1.50.09, noting dryly that if he had done a personal best he'd have an excuse to
never come back. But as he as entered a lumpy little TT around Devil's Dyke on
Monday, I suspect he is made of sterner stuff.
The winner was the ever
marvellous Steve Dennis with a 1.37.12, an excellent performance on genuinely
testing sporting course. Have to say a big that you to Stuart Nisbett and his
team from Crawley Wheelers for putting on a fine event. It is a tricky course
and the marshalling was universally excellent.
Time trials on a decent day can be very rewarding, today was a very pleasant day, sunshine, fairly warm, and what seemed to be very little in the way of wind, hmmm I know what your thinking, he is
about to open the excuses log book and say there was a strange headwind all the way around the course , as you know
there are roundabouts on this course that need to be tackled approx 18 times! And yes it was a nagging crosswind that
Had the the fast fellas saying what a difficult morning it was, honestly! Anyway , it was my 1st flat 25 tt of the season
and getting back into the swing of pushing a big gear for 25 miles made my arse ache for the rest of the day!
Two old ports entered.
Ian Bashford........ 59:20
Dave Warne........ 59:29
Pete Tadros......... 51:54. Winner
In my way of dividing up the racing season, the Redmon 25 is the start of Time Trialing proper. January and Feb kicks things off with the Reliabilty Trials (that didn't really happen this year tbh), March is all about the sporting courses, Hardriders and the like.
Today was also the 3rd round of SEWTTS, with another strong field of women riders. They enjoyed the dubious pleasure of going off first. Rebecca Slack, the mastermind behind SEWTTS earned the Michael Fish award for optimistic and inaccurate weather forecasts, with an early tweet suggesting that the women riders would miss the rain. Hmmm, as I arrived the first salvo of women riders were on their way. Their grim faces, and the work my windscreen wipers were having to do, suggested that whatever she turns her hand to a glittering career in the met office doesn't await.
The course was a new one on me, and a change from previous years, the G25/46. On a first acquaintance I can't say I liked it much. But the combo of wet, nagging cross winds, and headwinds probably did not let me see it at its best. I was the only Old Port in this one. The other Testers either in deepest Kent or applying salvon to their cobbled parts in Flanders. It was a day to get through, and I managed a less than sparkling 1.08.09
For the Men, it was Conal Yates who I think came out on top, with a 54.44. At the start he was my minute man, at the end, my 15 minute man. With the outstanding rider of SEWTTS round 1, Natalie Cresswick a DNS, there was a well fought battle for the women's prize. However looked like Jasmijn Muller had good minute on the rest to finish with a 1.01.06 . Great rides by both the winners on a tough morning.
A smaller field of Old Ports pinned numbers to their backs this weekend in the pursuit of honour and glory for the club in time trials and Sportives.
SCCU 10 Sporting Time Trial - G10/46
Dave Churchill...................00:25:24 (Riding for Bigfoot CC)
SCCU 25 Sporting Time Trial - G25/44
Here's the write up
Both races where won by Elliot Porter of Rapha Condor (00:21:28 & 00:53: 50) who seems to be one to watch for the future.
Cycling Weekly Spring Cyclone Sportive
Epic Distance (88 Miles)
David Phillips ...............05:37:44 (Silver)
Dave Tyler....................05:42:26 (Silver)
Standard Distance (61 Miles)
Another packed weekend of racing for the Old Ports who were active in BC road races and the SCCU Don Glover Memorial Sporting Time Trial
SCCU Don Glover Memorial Sporting TT
Dave Warne ..........................00:59:32
Dave Churchill.......................00:59:12 (Riding for Bigfoot CC)
Race Report Here
Preston Park Circuit Race #2
Race Report Here
SERRL 3rd/4th Cat Road Race 23/3 - Brenchley Circuit
Race Report Here
Plenty of racing action this weekend for Old Ports. This is the round up and links to any write ups in the forum.
Farnborough & Camberley CC Time Trial
10 miles H10/8
Read Dave's write up here
East Sussex Hard Riders Sporting Time Trial
15 miles GS/895
Read John's write up here
PMR Toachim House Time Trial
25 Miles Q25/50
Preston Park Criterium - BC Cat 4
Read Iain's write up here
... there is room for considerable improvement.
Having hopefully put winter behind us, today was the first chance to open our Time Trialling account for 2014. Most of us had rocked up to the Redhill a couple of weeks back only for that to be cancelled due to ice.
In a month or so the fast courses on A roads will start opening up but this is the part of the season when the Sporting Time Trial holds sway. The course for today earned its 'Hardriders' sobriquet. A 22.6 mile loop starting near Handcross' it sets out its stall early with a half mile climb straight from the start. Nice.
For today's event the field was full of members of time trialling's royal family, the Yates' including the legend that is Sean Yates.
There were four members of the Old Ports lined up for this baby. Sadly Peter Gray had to pull out with a knee injury, apparently caused by over zealous intervals on the turbo trainer. So it was left to Ian Bashford, Dave Warne and myself. A cold damp morning, Bashers cold damp expression when I pulled up told me all I needed to know about his frame of mind. But signed on there would be no turning back.
It all started ok, I had set my sights low for this loosener. As Bash and I agreed this was a course for Warnie, quick on the climbs and fearless on the descents. The rain held off but there was a fair breeze taking the edge off the downhill bias of the first half.
I last rode this event in 2009, and had largely forgotten it, so I the pleasure of rediscovery. It was after 8 miles I noticed that I was feeling a bit lob sided. At first I dismissed it as some product of the cross wind. But when I look down the gear changer was at a very odd angle. My right tri bar had come loose. I thought about stopping to fix it. At that point I decided to crack on and ride on the tops, but I couldn't leave it alone because I needed to change gear. The bar was getting looser and looser, rattling away until at about 17 miles there was nothing for it but to stop and set about it will my allen key. It only cost me a couple of minutes but I kind of lost heart and limped home in what was a personal worst time of 1.15.32, narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon.
While I doubt Bash and Dave exactly enjoyed it they had a more profitable morning. Bash using his power to weight ratio to good effect on the downhill sections to romp home with a respectable 1.7.23. However the king of the castle was Dave with an excellent 1.4.22. Needless to say the Ports were not about to trouble the team prize.
The overall winner, was one of the Yates. Conall Yates to the win with an incredible 52.22. But nearly has impressive, Jesse Yates riding as a Junior completed the event inside an hour.
So, it was a start, not the one I hoped for but a start all the same. Next week I will get another, slighty larger helping at the East Surrey Hardriders.
Well, what a very civilised time to start a race. Three pm to be precise on the first day of spring with mild temperatures and just a little headwind down the back straight.
Seventy starters wasn't so civilised. A field this large can be read as a lot of adrenaline and nerves on the tarmac. Staying near the front would be critical to avoid the inevitable crash and carnage that was expected.
The first couple of laps were very nervy but Plan 'A' kept me out of harm's way. A London Dynamo rider made a break from the off and set himself up with a thirty second break.
A lack of concentration on the bottom 180 degree bend caused me to clip a pedal on the tarmac (if you've ever wondered what it feels like doing this it's like being woken up by having a bucket of icy water thrown over you). However, managed to survive that little incident to battle on. Kept moving forward and managed to get in a break with four other riders which saw us gain about 20 seconds on the following pack of twenty riders but no all of my follow escapees seemed committed to the break and the escape was limited to four laps at most.
There was the inevitable build up to the bell before the fizz went out of it as the bunch kept their powder dry for the bunch sprint and I found myself at the front of the peloton on the final lap, right where I didn't want to be.
I came around the final bend in about fifth place and survived the furore of a bit of wheel touching before lighting the touch paper but simply going to soon. Lost three places in the sprint to come in ninth overall. The London Dynamo chap stuck the break, chapeau.
A damp morning greeted myself, Iain H, John Gough and Alex LeBicycle on the Kent Cyclopark for the final installement of the SERRL winter crit series. A blustery sou-westerly rapidly dried out the tarmac but would bring other problems during the course of events. Close to eighty riders kicked off proceedings in the usual handicap format but with equal amounts in each cat. (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th) no one was expecting the 4ths to stay away for long.
And then we were off. The crosswind was not much off of gale force occasionally pushing riders off of line by a couple of feet at at time. Th circuit runs north west to south east and a wind out of the south-west pretty much causes issues for 80% of the circuit. So it was inevitable that the groups where split to shreds within a few laps. I managed to stay away in a small bunch until lapped by two 1st cat riders. Then I was reduced to a group of three and then two before succumbing to a bunch of 2nd cats and then with two laps to go a large bunch of 3rd cats swallowed the two of us up.
Kevin Wolff.................+ 1:15 (31st)
Alex Le Bicycle.............+ 1:41 (33rd)
Iain Hawthorn..............+ 3:43 (61st)
John Gough.................+ 4:47 (65th)
Winner was Alex Paton of Pedal Heaven RT (2nd Cat)
6 Old Ports started the HOA on a cold but sunny morning. The brightness of the day disguised a black ice fest which deterred the very early starters many of whom came to grief on the slippery slopes. The early Old Ports Northern John and Luke Cutler witnessed enough come to grief to cause them to retire to a cafe at Lullingstone and do a safer ride when the temperature improved.
Julian, Mig, Pete, and myself started just after 9am and immediately became aware of the carnage as we passed many riders who had come to grief. Gingerly favouring our rear brakes we descended down the steep North Downs slope toward Brasted. Just after crossing Pilgrims way my back wheel slid and tried to join my front one as I had wandered to the shady side of the road and hit a lurking black ice sheet. Letting go of the rear brake lever saved a nasty encounter with tarmac. Soon after, by Brasted Church, we came to jam of cyclists walking to avoid the slippery bends.
We persisted over Toys Hill and witnessed many riders coming back down the hill having thought better of the steep descent on the other side. Very cautiously we descended, taking care to choose the sunny side where we could. The temperature at the lower levels was higher and the risk of ice quickly cleared and we could enjoy the ride and increase the pace. Pete was going very well and I managed to stay near to him until the first old stop where we got separated. Julian and Mig also pressed on, Mig delayed by a puncture and Julian, hampered by an ill timed turbo session on Saturday, found his Mojo at a low ebb.
The rest of the day saw all Old Ports separated and riding their own furrows over 'The Wall' of Kidds Hill and the Ashdown Forest. Having been in the small ring for so long my bike 'forgot' how to get back to the big ring so the freewheeling descent to Groombridge came as a welcome rest. Turning left at the bottom of Groombride Hill the course climbed steeply in to unfamiliar territory to me and I soon found myself alone on the road having missed one of the unmarshalled route signs. Suffice it to say I did a long and very undulating meander to regain the course on Ide Hill. After this only Star Hill and a few miles to the Finish where I found Pete who had waiting around for about half an hour for my return. After a little while Mig arrived and some banter ensued while we quaffed coffee and wolfed some pasta. Julian meanwhile was having a 'grovelly' day and did not return before we left for home.
It was a an eventful day.
Kev Wolff & I entered the Cat 4 Surrey League Road Race at the Longcross
Test Track this morning.
The Longcross Test Track is the old MoD Circuit
in Chertsey, a 2 mile closed road loop through pine forest. Possessed of a long
finishing straight and assorted corners and a sharp climb, the forecast
conditions of extreme wind was clearly something going to impact on the
After a detour to get to the circuit itself, including us actually
getting out of the car to move a tree (!), we made it in good time to sign on
and warm up. A field of 60 was deftly handled by London Dynamo. We were
surprised to find that the course had been re-routed (avoiding the corners &
climb due to much debris having been blown from the trees), instead taking a
slightly longer path but without any serious technical parts. It was therefore
pan flat and the wind would be the most serious challenge as the main run to the
finish was about half a mile into what was really a storm-force, and very
The pace was varied, with no-one really seeking to
take up any serious effort into the headwind - choosing to save energy for the
latter part of the race when pace would rise towards the final laps, or
attempting a breakaway if you could get 3 to 4 willing accomplices to work
Lap 3 saw a huge crash in the peloton (we were ahead of the
incident and unaffected); the next lap avoiding the ambulance & riders
limping back with arms in slings. Time to put that out of your mind.
both featured strongly towards the front in the early stages (I was quite
obviously benefitting from no hills!) and the pace averaging around 22 mph.
Unfortunately, 14 miles in picked up a stick in my rear cassette and was unable
to remove it whilst on the bike - even with a brave Dulwich Paragon rider
reaching down and trying to pull it out whilst we were moving! Having stopped to
remove the offending item, the lead group had gone and my attempt to chase was
in vain - solo into the wind was utter torture. No laps out were permitted with
mechanicals & feeling most upset about the experience, I withdrew - I was
feeling terrific and really thought I was in a perfect race for me.
continued to fight for OP honours, staying close to the front of the lead
peloton and covering breakaway attempts by a tactical Kingston Wheelers trio,
with the same Dulwich Paragon rider thrown in for good measure. The breakaways
failed to stick in the wind, so the final let set up for a sprint finish. Kev
tried his 'standard' move of going for an all-out attack from a long way out,
but the bunch was moving too fast to make it stick.
A VERY creditable 7th
for Kev, and 3 BC points towards his 3rd Cat Licence for 2014. A fairly decent
training ride for me, one I will regret though as having that twig stop my race
is most annoying!
Onto the SERRL Winter Series Round 4 at the Cyclopark
Sunday saw the third round in the SERRL Winter Series, the venue as ever being
my nemesis circuit - once again the Kent Cyclopark in Gravesend.
weather forecast set for rain and wind, I sort of expected the worst. Which is
exactly what I got.
After a decent warm up, during which I was quite
pleased to see the wind was southerly (giving some support out of the first
tightening right-hander, rather than hitting you squarely head-on), I thought
luck may hold the rain at bay. Legs felt good, heart rate lifting nicely and
confidence rising.. I thought maybe this ride will be better than the last
So after one final sort out of the race numbers and timing
transponder...the rain came, forcefully supported by gales and many worried
faces appearing in the assembled riders, not to say shivering bodies. The
Commissaire announced it was the largest field assembled so far.
large group of Cat 3's (chasing the outnumbered) Cat 4's, and with only one
minute apart, the chase was evidently going to be on - at which point the pace
would likely shred the field unless you had balls, and lungs, of steel. And
that's what happened - the peloton exploded with wet corners seemingly only
holding the pace down a little, some willing to place more confidence in their
rubber than others.
For the most part, I couldn't see a great deal with
fogged up glasses and water stinging the eyes. All you could really do is try
and follow the wheel in front and hope for grip, which was excellent all things
considered, some of the corners really weren't for braking in these conditions.
Getting out of the corners was either wind assisted, or total torture, every one
was a sprint to try and get the speed back up.
With about 3 laps to go,
two riders came up behind out of the dreaded first right-hander and I moved left
to let them pass. The riders decided to split either side of me - a strange
move, particularly when not in a sprint - which meant I didn't see the chap on
my left shoulder, seeing us lean on each other and me go down. Expecting other
riders to pile into me, I curled up and waited for impact - but nothing
happened, I was alone. The other guy stayed upright and had gone.
minute or two of waiting for the pain to subside, I thought that I could finish
and off I went - nothing broken, nor skin missing as far as I could
That was one amazing race really, a total test of skills and nerve.
Photos taken on the day (Digi Dave on Facebook) bear out the many grimaces and
fact that there was no real bunch - just riders digging in and taking the
Bloody marvellous, onto the MOD Circuit at Chertsey on the
following last weeks club dinner and prize presentation, for the record here is the list of trophy winners and runners up for 2013.
Well done to all! I am holding a few of the trophies awarded and plaques so will try to get these to you guys in the coming weeks if we meet up.
Maybe at the AGM (when the date is set). I am holding the trophy for John Gough (Novices award) and Hugh Pelling (consolation 25 award on handicap).
Plaques for Hugh and Julian Hutchings (endeavour award) and also for NIgel Waterfall, Mike Fowler, (for first 100 mile sportive completed).
The full list is set out below - thanks to Bashers and Dave Mercer for passing this on and Dave for organising the engraving etc - important that we have a record for posterity!
Special mention to Bashers, Dave Warne and Kevin Wolff for such strong performances again this year - and including personal bests. Dave and Bash were also right up there in the Southern Counties BAR.
Speaking for myself as an enforced bystander the past 2 years, I have to say I have been greatly impressed by the consistently great results and , as important the great turnouts by the Old Ports at events including sportives and trips such as the Duo Normand where we were probably one of the largest UK club represented. And it is great to see a bunch of Old Ports competing in road races again. Brilliant stuff. I know Don Wake would have been very proud to see that the club he joined in 1946 is in such good health when he sadly handed over the baton in 2013. I know we are a relatively small club but we punch above our weight and always have done.
I also am pleased to see the efforts of Iain Hawthorn recognised as clubman of the year as he has been the driving force (quite literally!) in organising trips such as the Duo and next year the Tour of Flanders. Thanks also go to Andy Green as Club Secretary and the rest of the committee and event organisers for keeping us on track.
All that remains is to thank you all for keeping the Old Ports going as we go into 2014.
I wish you all a great Christmas and a happy, safe and successful 2014.
Evening TT Series:
Winner: Dave Warne
Runner Up: Steve Avery
Open 10 Time Trial:
Winner: Kevin Wolff: 22min 01sec
Runner Up: Dave Warne: 22min 05sec
Open 25 Time Trial:
Winner: Kevin Wolff: 59min 10sec
Runner Up: Dave Warne: 59min 42sec
Open 50 Time Trial:
Winner: Kevin Wolff: 2hr 07min 59sec
Runner Up: Ian Bashford: 2hr 10min 11sec
Open 100 Time Trial:
Winner: Dave Warne: 4hr 40min 04sec
Runner Up: Ian Bashford: 4hr 45min 22sec
12 Hour Time Trial:
Winner@ Gary Blunt: 202.297 miles
Winner: Ian Bashford
10 of 22min 30sec
25 of 56min 41sec
50 of 2hr 02min 02sec
VETS Plus of 39min 02sec
Runner Up: Dave Warne
10 of 22min 05sec
25 of 57min 44sec
50 of 2hr 03min 14sec
VETS Plus of 37min 12sec
Senior BAR & Club Champion:
Winner: Ian Bashford
25 @ 26.463mph
Runner Up: Dave Warne
25 @ 25.982mph
50 @ 24.344mph
100 @ 21.423mph
Clubwoman of the Year: Sally Avery
Clubman of the Year: Iain Hawthorn
Riders Rider: Dave Warne
Endeavour Award: Julian Hutchings
Bay Lodge Challenge Cup: Michael Howe: For his meanderings!
Presidents 2 Up TT: Alan Dock & Kevin Wolff: 17min 11sec
Presidents Hill Climb: Kevin Wolff
Presidents Downhill: Peter Gray
Combined Up & Down: Peter Gray & Kevin Wolff
Consolation Trophy: Hugh Pelling with a handicap of: 44min 24sec
Novices Trophy: Jonathon Gough
Endeavour Award: Julian Hutchings
Four club members also completed their 1st ever 100 mile sportives this year:
Back to Kent Cyclopark for event 2 of the winter series.
A field of 40 was met with broken clouds but the de-riguer westerly down the back straight that would, again, be a major factor in the tactics.
The SERRL Winter series races are handicap races and the second event saw a bit of a tweaking to the format. First off were 4th cats, 3rd cats 60 seconds later and then the big boys of Cat 2, 1 and Elite a minute after that. Theory being that you all end up as one race. Personally I don't think that it makes for an attacking race, but hey ho on with the fun.
Lining up in the forth cats alongside me where Iain Hawthorn and Jonathon Gough ready for fifteen laps of furious fun. (two of us suffering from an excess of festivity courtesy of Mr Shiraz and Miss Stella Artois).
From the off there seemed to be a certain apathy to the forth cats with little commitment to work together to stay away from the other cats and it was just after halfway through the race when we were joined by the 3rds, and a short while later the 2nds. Everyone now committed to a bunch sprint.
The bell tolled for the last lap and I made my way to front where the inevitable red mist came down and I launched an attack with just under a lap to go. Thought process at the time was:
1. I'm not going to be placed in a bunch sprint alongside a bunch of motivated Cat 2's
2. Fortune favours the brave.
3. I'm bored.
In summary, turned myself inside out and managed to put a hundred yards into the pack, making it stick until 30 yards from the line before being caught and passed.......bugger.
12th Kevin Wolff...............1:01:26 (15 laps)
39th Iain Hawthorn.............1:04:02 (14 laps)
43rd Jonathan Gough........1:05:26 (14 laps)
No points for OPCC riders today.
The winner was Matthew Hull , SFA Racing Team (cat 2)....1:01:23 (15 laps)
Handicap Criterium racing at the Kent Cyclopark where three Old Ports gamely lined up in the 4th cats section.
A little strange to say the least, a contrived handicap race with a staggered start: 2nd cats, 4th cats and then 3rd cats (in that order) to create a single, in theory, cavalry charge on the line of all the above.
Iain Hawthorn, Jonathon Gough and yours truly took to the stage on a sunny but blustery morning where the downward leg was a fight with the wind.
JG suffered the first 'rite of passage' on his crit debut, duly clipping a pedal before getting up close and personal with the tarmac. The Croupier put up a valiant effort, but unfortunately getting spat out the back on the southern most hairpin into a headwind that punished those all who lost a wheel.
The wind put pay to any breaks but the 4th cats managed to stay away to fight it out in a bunch sprint where yours truly hung on for grim death for a 6th place.
What a great event, so much razzmatazz and much jollity for spectators. Stella and my daughter Katherine enjoyed it immensely and took a few photos which i will share at some point. For me a first CX in many many years and and lot's of fun, like the "spiral of doom' and tricky muddy track descents as well as fast sections where tree root avoidance skills were paramount. On one of the climbs I was getting wheelspin in the mud even if i sat down urgh!.
I must say the regulars at this game can certainly get a wiggle on over muddy trails and squelchy grass and, I must say, the Elites are amazing bike riders. For my first attempt (in the 21st century that is) and lacking the skills of the regulars and their fitness, of course, I was cautious and used it as a learning experience. So my 82nd place out of 87 finishers and 20 odd DNFs was a fair result for my efforts.
Afterwards I had couple of Belgian beers and a Fishdog and chips