Paul C's pix of the afternoon now showing in the gallery
Due to a particularly bad weather forecast for Sunday, the OPCC BBQ has had to be cancelled.
Lots of OPCC in action over the last few days. Individual accounts can be viewed by scrolling down but this weekends roll call of honour.
Dave Warne showing a superfandango performance up at Newmarket with a blistering time of 54:37 at an average of 27.46 MPH over a 25 course
Bash and Duvet in action on the G25/89 Maresfield parcour recording respectable times on a blustery day on my most favourite of courses.
Iain Hawthorn found himself off the front of a road race for a few laps and was obviously savouring the spot light of the solo breakaway until swept up unceremoniously by the pelaton just a few laps from the line.
But we reserve the biggest kudos for Andy Green and Say Leddington who took on the Raid Pyrenean and WON.
This mid-season performance monitoring event took place on course G25/89 on the A22.
2 riders from our club entered, Ian Bashford and Paul King (Bashers and Duvet in OPCC tongue). The course runs south from Maresfield to turn at the Boship RAB about 13 miles due south. It's a mix of narrow and quite broad single carriageway with a not too bad surface, mostly. The terrain rolls but nothing on it to stall you, if you are going OK enough to roll a gear or nick it down one and spin over the crest of the climbs and drags.
Yesterday was quite blowy and hard to tell exactly where it was in your favour, but leaving you under no illusions when it wasn't!! While certainly not a gale, the wind put Duvet in mind of some annoying bloke picking a fight with you by, jabbing, poking and pushing at you, constantly provoking you to push back, which of course Duvet and Bashers duly took pleasure in doing. Bashers was marginally more the pugilist yesterday, but Duvet still had a good dig!
The conditions were reflected in the winner's time which was a short 54.06 by Phil Allen (long 52s and 53s are the usual top times on this course and Peter Tadros has done a 51.02 I think). Behind him were 2 54s and then a bit of a gap to the rest of the field with middling 55s downwards (Christian Yates and Iain Brogden were mid to long 55s).
With that in mind Bashers time of 1.00.20 (16/59) and Duvet's time of 1.01.40 ( 27/59 ) were none too shabby. Quite respectable in fact and a good indicator of more good times to come from the both of them. Duvet's time was a course PB by 2 minutes. To be within 6 minutes of on form riders like Yates and Brogden in a 25 on a course and on a day like that, is a nice place to be at this point in anyone's season.
Next week, the 3 man OPCC TT circus (Bashers, Duvet and Warney 54) is performing down at Molash, near Canterbury, with another dose of single carriageway time racing and local rubbish course PB bagging (we hope).
This is a 25 mile tt that starts in Newmarket, heads south on the A14/A11 to Four Went Ways 12.8 miles then turn and retrace to Newmarket, good road surface, and loads of 70mph lorries to keep you company, no chance of relaxing on this road! It's scary! To say the least, but not a bad day weather wise, the wind was up but it was with me going south, and
not too tough coming back? I think the road is sheltered in places, but saying that I did feel strong and my legs stayed with me to the finish, I'm not going back to this course again this season, I had a couple of hairy moments with the lorries sounding there hooters and they passed me, hmmmm anyway other than that I enjoyed the moment of a new PB by over 3 minutes, and to finish less than one minute behind Lee Turner of Sigma Sport is good for the morale.
One old port entered.
Dave Warne........................54:37 ave speed ......27:4641 mph
Matt Smith.........................48:34.....................30:8853 mph
Another lovely evening welcomed us last night, both clubs struggled to put a full team out, SERC only had two riders out,
this was due to holidays so not really a fair contest as we had six riders on the start line, that aside we all took part and
a good time was had by all, next weeks return meeting with the SERC has been postponed for a couple of weeks due to
holidays so Les Humphrey will advise on a new date next week.
Thanks to Oz and Dave Mercer for doing the timing and pushing off duties, also the old ports team for making this an event.
Gary blunt..................37:18 ...........1
Paul Cloudsdale...........35:13 ...........2
Steve Avery ...............32:29............4
David Churchill ...........32:18............5 Bigfoot
Keith Lea ..................31:10. Addiscombe CC
Thursday evening saw my second visit to the wonderful Newchapel circuit, on a very warm and breezy evening, looking forward to another fast and challenging 30 mile handicap race. The race was put on by the 34 Nomads, so a couple of friendly faces of two ex OP's, Stuart Hourigan & Phil Watkins offered much encouragement for a good ride.
Strangely the handicapping system decided four Cat 4 riders would be set off ahead of a second Cat 4 bunch, with the usual Cat 3 group ahead of the E/1/2's. I was in the four first Cat 4 riders, not quite sure how we would stay out with a bunch able to move so much quicker. Rather 'negatively', two of my four immediately sat up leaving me with an Oxted CC rider making a little headway through-and-off. One and a half laps in, I dropped him as he wasn't willing to dig in and basically make any effort to stay away.
So, in true OP style and sensing an opportunity of my life, I went for it and soloed as hard as I could - fortunately no slowing into corners was helpful and occasional shouts from the spectators added motivation to the pain. Unfortunately coming out of a corner on lap two, the lead car (driven by Stuart Hourigan) was forced to stop by a tractor turning left out of his farm and onto our side of the road. I was therefore also forced to stop, swear my head off, then get going again - at the point the Oxted guy rolled around the corner and once again decided he wouldn't two-up with me - so I set off on my solo effort, part two. Stuart did drop back a little to allow me some time to regain my time advantage, but he obviously wasn't able to provide me with any serious favours.
I think just before lap 5 I was swept up, so I was able to get some recovery in the peloton and sit in waiting for the final lap.
And what a final lap it was - I made the move of my life out of the first corner seeking a particular riders wheel (this guy finished 4th last time and mentioned his tactics to me in the car park). My strategy was to simply get on his wheel out of that corner and hang onto it, he was planning to 'go for it' just by a small bridge and cane it to the line. Just hang onto it, that's all I had to do.
I didn't. The best move of my life rapidly turned into the worst move of my life as the inside line slowed and I basically drifted onto the front of the peloton. Bugger, never EVER the place you want to be as everyone will sit in to store up energy for the sprint at the exact point I'm expending it. I tried switching off the racing line, back onto the racing line, back off it again...to try and force someone into coming past me. Did they hell - I was left to suffer.
So I tried to slow enough to get some recovery myself and then adopt my new friends strategy - go for it at the bridge. I went, promptly had my legs full up with lactic acid and the entire group swept past me and I finished at the back of the bunch. Heart Rate average was 179, peaking at 189 in the final dig, and average speed of 25.3 mph against the peloton average of 26 mph.
For 20 minutes I dreamt I would solo for a win and Cat 3. For 10 seconds I thought my time had come.
It will sometime soon...hopefully on the 10th July, when it's back to Newchapel if anyone would like to come...a great circuit!
Now available in the gallery Gallery by selecting '2014 Open 25' from the Album menu or click here to view directly.
Thanks to Paul 'Snapper' Cloudsdale for the camera work
G10/97, not my
favourite 10 course, it's on the A283 Steyning bypass. Steyning to the Shoreham
underpass roundabout, basically 5.35 miles in a south easterly direction and
4.65 miles back. An undulating course I think would be an apt description and
today a reasonably strong south easterly was blowing and to add to things to
think about a lot of standing water! It made for a challenging first 5 miles,
but with the hope of a tail wind coming back, you just dug in! However this did
not seem to materialise, well I didn't notice it anyway
Ian Bashford.................23min 56sec............Avg 25.07mph (
Pipped by a young 55 year old in my age category as well, so dipped out on my
bottle of plonk!!)
The winner was Pete Tadros, In Gear Quickvit in
21min 38sec, avg 27.74mph
Other rider of interest is Dave Churchill,
riding for Bigfoot Bikes ( 2nd claim OPCC ) with a time of 23min 59sec, avg
Well, my second TT and I knew a little of what to expect. Most of you will be
familiar with the course, no doubt, along the A31 Bentley-by-pass near Lower
Foyle in Hampshire. 195ft of climbing, so fairly level and straight up and down
the road. I still had tired legs from the previous weekend's 103 miler Castle
Ride and a bit stressed from the traffic jambs and tailbacks on the M25 on the
way but all I wanted was to better my time last time out and get below the
standard veteran 59 time - both achieved with a +0.36 for me with a time of
26.56. 1.09 better than my previous in West Kent. Not fast by most of the Old
Ports standards but an improvement for me. I'll have another go on Saturday at
the Bec CC 10 and see if I can make some more improvements.
Warne there who was a little unlucky with the weather on his run - it hailed on
him at the roundabout but he achieved a time of 22.56 - 4 whole minutes in front
of me. Very well done Dave
Winner was Russell Hampton -
Team Athlonsport / Cloudnine Telecom with a time of 19.22
Southern Counties Cycling Union 10 miles TT on G10/57 17/5/14
Rusper Road Horsham, then goes A264/A2220 to turn at Broadfield roundabout near
Crawley 4.87miles, then back to finish between Rusper Rd roundabout and Great
Four Old Ports entered, Dave Warne, Ian Bashford, Andrew
Green and Paul King.
Sadly as the event started at 0630, so did Mr
workman, who began coning off all of the inside lane for 800metres of the A264
between Moorhead and Faygate roundabouts, in both directions!!!!
event was abandoned at rider number 42, however two of our four were off at
earlier times, numbers 5 and 16
Warne.....................23min 24sec...........avg 25.64mph
Bashford....................22min 39sec...........avg 26.49mph
as event abandoned!!
High Wycombe CC 25miles TT H25/2
This course is magic, it starts at the top of a hill on the A404,
you descend for a mile, then its undulating to the A4, turn west onto the A4,
single carriageway, more ups and downs to turn at Sonning junction roundabout
then back to finish at the bottom of the first descent. A quick course!!
beautiful sunny morning greeted three Old Ports, although a little chilly I
might add to the really early starters
Anyway results in order of
Ian Bashford...................56min 46sec................avg
Peter Gray.....................58min 52sec................avg
25.48mph. ( first time ever under the hour for a 25, bloody marvellous )
King.......................59min 02sec................avg 25.41mph ( first time
for 20 years to be under the hour, excellent )
To put our results into
perspective the winner Adam Topham, High Wycombe CC did a 48min 47sec, avg
30.75mph and a new course record.
It is such a shame that this course is to
be lost this year
Another race packed Sunday for the OPCC gang. Our Gladiators lined in several different disciplines and locations carrying the flag for the club. Here's the roll call of honour.
Addiscombe CC 25 Mile TT - G25/53
Read Andy's race report here Race Report
Iain Hawthorn wearing the red,black and white in Medway Velo Crits - Kent Cyclopark, unfortunatley unplaced due to a crash in a group in front.
David Phillips took on the challenge of the Wiggles upz and downz sportive covering over 100 miles and climbing nearly 6,000ft in the process
Jonathan Gough was on duty in Wales for the three counties road race.
Jonathan Grant was visiting Chaucer country putting in 65 miles around the Kentish countryside on the KM Cycle Challenge Sportive
Part of the De Ver training camp includes a short TT which goes up a Cat 4 climb, the stats for the hill does not justify just how hard you have to work. FJ went out in the morning to examine the course and reported back strong head\side winds all the way up, the wind strength being reported at 30MPH. FJ decided not to ride the course and took his family on site seeing excursion.
So it was left to Rosie, Pete, Sally and myself to represent the OPCC, this being Sally maiden TT she was suffering from the jitters at the start, Rosie being a more experience cyclist was ready for the off. Pete and myself talked about the best option (pushing a gear or high cadence), and that the road surface reminded us of the Flanders cobbles, we both agreed it was going to be painful.
Provisional Result 4th place Rosie, 5th place Sally (12 women entered) Steve 5th Pete 6th (20 Men entered) times to follow
Now off to the beach to rest and prepare for the next two days
OPCC team reporting back from Lanzorate
This course has everything! Bash and myself did this last year and promised
never to return! The start and HQ are in a tiny village named Kirdford, the 1st
five miles are up and down with shocking road surface, then there is a short
decent leading to what looks like a flat road which then turns into a 1.2 mile
accent of fox hill which has a killing 10 percent gradient in the last 200
metres! It's funny how you always seem to get a crowd of sick people waiting to
see you die at the top of the climb, the run in to the finish is more pleasing
with a 48 mph descent and smooth Tarmac all the way to the line.
Dave Warne 25:48
Ian Bashford. 26:39
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