News & Features
VC10 is all set to take part in the fantastic Merida Brass Monkeys MTB Enduro Series, with round 1 taking place this weekend 24th November at Minley Manor. This successful race is run by Gorrick and The Army Cycling Union and offers a well organised friendly atmosphere with great courses over the 4 events in the series.
Round 1 SUNDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2013 @ MINLEY MANOR, Yateley, Hants. GU17 9UF
Round 2 SUNDAY 15 DECEMBER 2013 @ FRITH HILL, Deepcut, Hants. GU16 6SD
Round 3 SUNDAY 5 JANUARY 2014 @ ASH RANGES, Aldershot, Hants. GU12 5EU
Round 4 SUNDAY 26 JANUARY 2014 @ TUNNEL HILL, Mytchett, Hants. GU12 5RR
With potentially 6 or more VC10 riders competing in the different categories on offer and a field of over 500 riders it promises to be an exciting opening round on the 24th!
A race report for each round will be available following the event.
Love them or otherwise, one thing the French do brilliantly is organising cycling events, so 10 months ago I booked a hotel in Nice for our annual pilgrimage to the biggest race of them all the Tour de France.
What I didn’t know at the time was that our planned trip to watch the Stage 4 Team Time Trial around Nice and Stage 5 starting from nearby Cagnes-sur-Mer, would turn in to a bit more of an adventure than anticipated.
Just two months ago, ASO the Tour organisers, announced that not only would they be organising the usual Etape du Tour, which was long since over-subscribed, but now planned to run a Time Trial for amateurs on pretty much the same course the pros would be using a couple of days later. It would be open to individuals, or teams of 4, 5 or 6. Thinking we already had flights booked including bikes, and a hotel situated on TT route arranged, it seemed a golden opportunity not to be missed. An entry was made that day and after a couple of days pontificating, Sarah thought that she might as well give it a go too. We were going to be accompanied by Ken Powell so after a bit more deliberation he also decided it had to be done.
Having not done a time trial since September 2011 and with only a few weeks to get ready, it was obvious that I was not going to set the world alight over the 24.5km course, but to give me the best possible chance I set upon making a few changes to my bike. It was not practical to take the TT bike as the plan was to also ride in the mountains, so the best option was to add some clip-ons and do a few miles to get used to them.
Finally with bikes and kit packed, it was time to head off to Nice and fortunately Sleezyjet kindly didn’t break or lose anything on the way. On arriving at the hotel, it was immediately obvious that it was perfect – one of the cheapest I could find, directly on the route, near to the airport and with an owner who didn’t mind us turning his reception area into a bike building and repair centre.
The perfect place to watch a TTT
Saturday morning we awoke blue sky, bright sunshine, 25 degrees and a beautiful view from the hotel balcony of Palm trees and the Mediterranean. We rode down the famous Promenade des Anglais to check where competitor signing on was located within the Tour Village, before heading off to do a recce of the course. Obviously with the roads still open to traffic, the course was pretty busy, but despite riding down a four lane stretch past the airport there was never any sign of any antagonistic driving which I would expect in the U.K. if I was allowed to ride around the equivalent M25!
Turning inland, the route headed over a long flyover, which as the word suggests meant a gear change or two, before turning right again to start the narrower ‘hilly’ section up to the village of Sainte Isidore after the 10km point. Here there would be an intermediate timing point just after a short cobbled section, before turning back towards Nice with a loop around the brand new Allianz football stadium.
Another slight rise over the flyover and a dual carriageway section through a short tunnel then preceded the final 6km thrash along the newly resurfaced Promenade des Anglais to the finish – it was obvious that it would be a fast course if the wind decided to be kind to us.
With the recce behind us, it was time to sign on and collect numbers, timing chip, rucksack, bottle, jersey and cap – all for the princely entry fee sum of 29 Euros (£24.50). Curiously despite our three entries all having been submitted individually at different times, we had been given successive start numbers with Ken at 157, Sarah 158 and me at 159 – all with an assembly area due time of 08.00 on Sunday morning.
Numbers on, ready to go
As expected, Sunday dawned bright sunny and hot with a NE wind which was stronger than the day before but which would hopefully not affect things too much. We arrived in plenty of time to see that the organisers had set up a pre race warm up area with exercise bikes provided – as groups of riders were let through from the assembly area to the warm up area, we could jump on a machine if we so wished. I chose to just do a few more stretches before being called to line up on the ramp.
Riders were to be released at 20 second intervals, so Ken was first up, and as his time clicked down and his start beeps ticked away, Sarah was ushered along behind for her start and I climbed on to the ramp. Sarah departed and I took my place in front of my holding man, clipped in and waited for the final beep – rolling down the ramp and straight onto the bars for a ride out along the spectator lined Promenade.
My minute man, well 20 second man, came past me after about 2km and promptly sat directly in front of me on the line I wanted, but because of the no drafting rule I had to veer off to the side. I had just passed Sarah and then had Ken in my sights – as both number 160 and I flew past he shouted some encouragement. I kept with 160 until the slight gradient of the flyover at 6.5km, where the flyweight whippet French bloke left me.
The next section was straight into the NE headwind which I knew would also be against us up the hill into the village, so I kept as far right as I could to gain any possible shelter from the buildings. At every junction and driveway, there were marshals or spectators and on swinging through the 90 degree left bend into the village, the numbers increased to watch us over the cobbled section.
The timing chip beeped as I crossed the mid way timing mat, which meant I was now heading back to town, but first had to negotiate the tricky tight section left and hairpin right – I didn’t even notice the massive new stadium as I was totally engrossed in what I was doing.
Back over the flyover my legs were starting to hurt, so I think I floundered a bit on the hill, but soon it was the last uphill bend on to the Prom. It was then just six little kilometres to go, along one of the best pieces of cycling tarmac imaginable, on closed roads – the Med on my right, the city on my left and I’m on the same stage that the best riders in the world will be competing on in a couple of days time. Every pedestrian crossing and junction was manned by officials, many shouting encouragement and loads of spectators wanting to see what was happening – competing doesn’t get any better than this.
I was determined to use the biggest gear I had for the final kilometre, as there was a sprint timing prize for the last 1000 metres, but try as hard as I could, as soon as I went under the flame rouge kite my legs were not going to get into that gear however much I tried, so I stuck with the best I could for about 40km/h as I crossed the line.
A rider approaches the finish line
Not having done any TTs for so long, I was hoping for under 45 minutes and would have been delighted with 40, so I must be pleased with 39.04. You always wonder where you could have gone faster, but to be honest I don’t really think I could – those 5 seconds separating me from a 38 were bloody annoying though!
As I delved into the water, oranges, apricots etc which were lined up on huge tables at the finish in true French sportive fashion, I waited for the others to cross the line – first Sarah, then Ken.
Our finish details were as follows:
Richard 39.04 37.32km/h 202nd o/a 34th in class
Sarah 43.13 33.74km/h 372nd o/a 11th in class
Ken 45.11 32.27km/h 419th o/a 101st in class
The winner of the individual TT was a French Pro Rider, Geoffroy Lequatre – 30.04 48.49km/h
The 3 Amigos, after the ride
As with every other French cycling event I’ve done, the organisation and atmosphere were truly amazing and it’s a difficult choice to make between this and the Duo Normand, but if I had to choose just one competitive event to do next year, it would have to be this one.
The organisers say they will run it again even though the TDF may not be visiting, so if anyone fancies a brilliant few days away, keep an eye open for the date in 2014 – you won’t regret going.
Evening League Results can be found here:
Two weeks of reports in this post.
Tri kicks off with Karl’s fantastic 2nd place in the National Championship.
Going into the event I had confidence in my ability on the bike (as most of you will testify) my run speed has been pretty much there or there about’s but, my swim… oh… dear… god!!!
Looking at the start list on the way up I saw a familiar name, Scott Neyedli, a former Ironman pro and winner of the IMUK in 2007 setting a new course record. This guy is the real deal and I knew to beat him I would need my A game.
For those that have seen my facebook you’ll know I came 2nd, which I’m superbly proud of and bitterly disappointed in equal measure.
The full report will be posted on tri247.com tomorrow and I’ll post the link here first for a sneak preview.
To all of my VC10 team mates that competed over the weekend, well done. I look forward to reading your reports.
Steve Middleton reports on his multisport adventures
Dorney SuperSprint and Grendon Sprint – May 2013
(a late report because I flew out to Mallorca the same day as the Grendon Sprint).
I’ve been training since February for the M-dot Ironman 70.3 in the UK, but decided to do a couple of short distance triathlons to get an idea of what it’s all about.
The Dorney Supersprint was a 400m swim/21.2km bike/5km run and my first ever triathlon and evidently a lot of other people’s first one too. The swim was a bit daunting because it was my first mass-start open water race and my fourth ever open water swim. I struggled to get into it and sighting was a problem… I managed 8:07, which was a terrible time compared to my pool swim times, but reasonable given the circumstances. T1 was uneventful, but I remembered feeling quite giddy for a few minutes afterwards! Nevertheless, I completed the four laps of bike route in 37:12, which was an average of 34.2kph for the 21.2km very flat bike course. It was quite windy and the headwind was quite tough on the morale and legs. The moment I got off the bike, my calves cramped up and I struggled badly to put trainers on and compose myself for the run. I spent a few seconds stretching and set off for the run which was, again, flat and out and back twice on a path next to the lake.
Overall though, it was a great experience and I’m glad I did this for my first tri. My run is very slow by all standards, so I knew I wouldn’t do very well, but I came 93/433 and 22/76 in my age group, which wasn’t bad for a first attempt. The bike leg was the best: I had the 10th best time in my age group.
The Grendon Sprint (750m/23km/5.2km) was a different beast altogether. Being a European Qualifier, it was full of proper athletes with proper bikes who clearly had some experience! I saw quite a few people wearing GB trisuits. The lake was very cold (12 degrees) and took some time to get used to. However, I got into a rhythm early on and for the first time, actually enjoyed the swim and completed the 750m in 15:50 which was consistent at least! T1 was fine with no giddiness this time and having recce’d the bike course the week before with Mark and Suzy, I was confident of getting a good time on the bike. Soon into it, I regretted having done the Dorney Supersprint the day before. My legs were empty. Strava showed that my average power was down between 50-100w. Anyway, I completed the bike course in 41:57 which was 21/43 in my age group. T2 was fine with no cramp this time but the run was awful It was on a gravelly, narrow path with little of interest apart from what seemed like hundred of people overtaking me (as usual). Overall, I came 29th out of 43 in my age group, which was a little disappointing, but ok.
So now I have some targets to beat next year – shouldn’t be too hard!!
Suzy reports from the Team Tri at Blenheim
This is the third weekend in a row of a pretty intense block of racing. On
Saturday I took part in the Blenheim Triathlon as part of a relay team.
Cathy Cavender, the coach of the VC10 swim club now called Progress Swim,
was our swimmer. I was the cyclist. And Mary Twitchett, my rowing coach
from Cambridge and super duper athlete extraordinare (and 2nd claim VC10
member) was our runner. The setting was absoultely spectacular, with
transition being right in the centre courtyard of the palace. The rest of
the course was around the estate tracks and roads.
Cathy started in the swim with around 230 others in the team relay race.
Unsuprisingly, she likened it to trying to swim in a giant washing machine
and got her goggles knocked off in the first few strokes. She recovered
well from this however, and swam an amazing time of 14.30 (which included
a not insignificant run afterwards up to transition) being the 7th or 8th women out of the water. She had to remove her timing chip from her ankle
and hand it to myself to ‘tag’ me.
I grabbed by bike and ran out of transition and onto the bike. The course was 3 laps of a mostly single track width road through the estate,
including one section every lap where i had to get off the bike, run for 10 meters and then get back on the bike (due to an accident with the
bridge at a crossing point that morning). This was extremely irritating. I got held up a fair amount by a lot of slow cyclists on the course, but
then this was a ‘triathlon for all’ type event so there was a huge range of abilities out there. I rode as agressively as I dared without putting
myself in danger of being shunted off the bike by an inexperienced swervy cyclist. I returned to transition as first women back passed the timing
chip to Mary.
Mary’s run started with a fairly brutal run out of transition and over a steep brige to cross the bike course. She ran the 5.4km course at a pace
of around 4.12min/km, which is really excellent. Cathy and I joined her on the finishing stright to run through the line together.
We were the fastest womens team by 4 minutes, and actually 7th team overall including mens teams so we were really pleased with that. Smiles
David Smith’s report on the Chiltern 100.
I opted for the Medio option of 70 miles (and 1700m climbing) as I didnt want to ruin myself just before my annual long weekend in the Alps. Due to a change of HQ instead of wandering across the road to sign on and start I actually had to cycle 4km. I can only assume the start process had gone smoothly as when I was ready to go there were few other riders about so off I went.
I had decided to treat this as a training exercise rather than chase a time and think this turned out to be a good idea as I ended up doing the ride solo. Last year I had been new to the area and to the event and Whiteleaf caught me by surprise completely. I had never ridden it before last year and had no idea what to expect. This year, having ridden it many times, I thought I was better prepared but when I got to the steep section my legs rapidly went from feeling ok to feeling far from ok. I ground my way to the top and thought I would be ok from there but the same thing happened on Wardrobes.
I think I found my legs at that point and from then on I started to reel in a lot of the riders who had gone past me on the two climbs. The feed stop was excellent, well stocked with sandwiches, energy bars, gels, fruit etc. From there it was head down and push on to the finish. The first half of the ride is definitely the hardest and once the major climbs were out of the way I got stronger as it went on and was happy with my overall time of 4hr 41.
All in all a good event, decent weather and not to far to travel.
Feeling good for the Alps this weekend!
Some superb rides in 100 mile TT’s and Suzy takes part in the National 25 Mile TT.
I did a small race this weekend. Compared to Karl, it was nothing. Compared to stuff I’ve done on the past, it was nothing.
Bedford Roads CC 10 was a strange little event on a strange little course and set my mind back to the seventies. It would have been great to have a been a ‘road-bike only’ event to complete the trip back in time.
Normally, events on the F15/10 at Brogborough, this side of Bedford on the old A421, sequester themselves at the Marston Forest Centre – a swish reclaimed heritage site once a massive clay production pit and now interesting wetlands and educational/cafe/shop. Today, though, we were next door, at the old working men’s club, stinking of ancient, worn-in tobacco and dozing on a dark red, curtains-always-closed mourning morning after the glory days before. I arrived early. Changed and ready, it was off to the start 4 miles away, and a lesson.
On arrival at the wind-frozen, gale-blasted hilltop start, it was immediately apparent that something was missing – an event.
The lesson? Read the bloody start sheet. I’d arrived early, yes, but half an hour early for my kick-off. Right. An opportunity for an enhanced warm up. Down the start hill I thundered, noticing quickly that the wind off the lake was kicking the front wheel around alarmingly. (Note to self – eat pie. Get heavier. Be safer). Out onto the flat single carriageway and down, down through the gears into what appeared to be a wall headwind. “Don’t panic! Just keep an eye on power output and don’t overdo it. You know how to do this now”.
Realising I’d brought no drink, I rode back to “Arthur Scargill Mansion” and downed a gel and a gargleblaster and it was off back to the start, now worrying slightly that I’d be late.
As always, just when there’s simply not enough time for a widdle, one HAS to go for a widdle, and tucking myself away dripping and damp I was in the unnervingly shakey hands of the pusher offerer and three, two, one AWAY!
It had got windier. Head-windier. A wall of gigantic air molecules, arms locked together and scrummaging straight into my face with determination in their thews and hate in their eyes, hurled me backwards almost as fast as my teams of fibres and neurons and erythrocytes could battle forward. Every tiny bump in the road became a passo, a col, a vast alpine ascent. Luckily, I was wearing my special climbing socks and plugged uglily to the 5.4 mile turn in 13 minutes. I turned at the small roundabout and prepared for the god-like fist in the back; the jet fighter’s steam catapult of meteorological advantage I had so sufferingly accrued.
Oh yes, OH YES!!! Oh. No.
Tough crosswind all the way back. Bugger.
Still. At least the finish was at the foot of the hill. Still had to climb it, though, to get the urine soaked warm up top out of the time keepers car. He won’t notice the damp patch on the rear seat, but his dog might.
But………. Personal best power output at an average 318 watts. I’ve done a 20.38 at 304w, so it bodes well. Or am I just not very streamlined?
Andy’s TT adventure Part 2
Stop the Clock…………………..I wanna get off !!!
Last Sunday saw me ride the Hounslow 100, I have failed to complete this course a number of times in the past and was determined not to let it best me. I have stopped at 88 miles with cramp, Broken a front spoke, punctured, double punctured not at the same time.
So this time the pressure was on to complete it, That was a primary aim, With that two team mates were in the same event and they thought we had a good chance of our team 100 record falling, although their target times were 4:30 each so the third rider would need a short 4:14. It was voted I was that rider so I had a 4:10 schedule in mind, with 4:15 as my fall back plan. As luck would have it the other two finished in 4:18 and 4:20.
I rode with winter tubs on the bike to reduce puncture risks, took a can of puncture repair with me, two sets of spare wheels with the support team, bike checked and so with everything I could think of to avoid a DNF in place I was ready.
Ready it seems to DNF! In checking everything I forgot to do up the pre tension plate on the rear disc, this meant it came undone (slowly) and so the disc moved sideways on the axle, only when I got back home did I find this out, 10mm of travel away from the drive side, brake gap 4mm. I was riding on a constant av power theory, so while I was sticking to this I noticed my av speed dropping, I knew the wind was picking up but I also knew to increase av power by 5 watts would cause a massive issue in the closing miles, I was unable whilst riding to realise it was a mechanical issue. I could hear the rear mech chain noise getting worse but thought that was the new gear cable stretching (Di2 is on route, I’ve had enough of poor gear changes). At about 50-55 miles it was clear from the stats (I won’t bore you) something was wrong, I sat up and coasted back to support team with a DNF at 60 miles, Some gutted team mates not to get the team record, Me top of that list as I’m in the team 10,25 & 50 records.
2/6/2013 Stop the Clock…………………..Full House !!!
So another Sunday and another 100, This time the F1/100 – A course which I do like in the shorter distances, the 100 has a nasty last 15 miles.
In the past I have set myself aims that I know I should achieve and have done with relative ease, That avoids disappointment. Those coming back to cycling know what they have done in the past, for me this is a learning curve and I have amazed myself at what has been possible, Never knowing what might come next – Better, Plateau or Tail off ?
My aim this year was set high, a sub 4 hour 100 mile TT, although many people gave encouragement I do feel it’s very easy to say “You’ll do that” if you don’t have to do it yourself. I appreciate and I do give others the same vocal support.
So, I had to face up to actually working out how to do this, Previous ‘Good’ rides have just happened not planned. This meant in this event I had to plan and go for it from the off, Past experience gave me a number of 25 and 50 times which meant that I knew I could be on schedule at those distances, Reality is 50 is only half way to the goal and within my available body energy supply – (I carried no nutrition/Liquid on my 25,30 or 50′s)
I had the following priorities, Each of which if missed would fall to the next option.
3:59:59 target time.
4:01:27 current club record – Slow up if missed
4:18:50 current PB
If missed all of those, coast to finish and find somewhere to cry! and as is customary throw bike in a hedge!
At the back end of the field the wind picks up, and as predicted it did, this meant with tail wind I was about 1 minute up on schedule, head wind back on schedule – That was perfect, not too much effort with the tail assist and not over effort with the head wind drag. I was on a disciplined steady and consistent 25 mph target based on constant power over entire event (maybe I need to re evaluate that for any future event), At 60 miles I hit a mental battle that seems to be when my body tells me it would like to stop, at 75 miles I tell myself is only a 25 to go, at 85 on this course you leave the main (nice) tarmac and start the final ‘circuit’ which you complete 1.5 times. This has in the past seen the speed drop into single figures! first lap and I manage 21-27mph in places, the 4hr target will need the wind to cease, lap 2 and I’m trying to hold on into the head wind, the final turn and about 1.5 miles to go with a welcome tail wind, as hard as you think you are trying the body just does not want to play this game any more, and seems to shut down items you don’t need – I can’t taste the lactic acid in my mouth, I can’t smell the lactic acid in my nose, I can’t hear the lactic acid pumping in my blood and the eyes decide now is a good time to blur my vision! Although I think I can see lactic acid !!!
Nope – It’s the finish flag, stop the clock!
4 hours zero minutes and 55 pesky little seconds.
(or 3:59:115 as I would like it known !!!)
Although main aim/target was missed that’s close enough for me to be very happy. Good news is that ride gives me a full house of fixed distance (Westerley) club records for the kilo, 10, 25, 30, 50 and 100.
Although VC10 is 2nd claim for me the support and encouragement I receive is both very motivational and appreciated, Thank you all for that – Special thanks to all those who have added personal support, You know who you are, I won’t list you in case I miss someone, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
Whilst my “happy hundred” on the F1 was fresh in my mind this weekend was the F1/50.
Another pre 4 am wake up, but looking out the window trees were swaying and low level bushes as well. This would be my first 50 of the season and I need two for my short distance (3×10, 3×25, 2×50). Otherwise back to bed it would have been.
The aim was to ride and finish, So I carried a tub puncture kit – not needed which was good.
I should have packed a mast and sail, hoisting it for each southbound leg. lap1 saw 24mph northbound 30mph south, lap2 21mph north 32 mph south and fatigue setting in from 30 miles – This might be my fault! no hydration and one gel, I need to give thought to this………….
What should have been the start of a glorious sunny day at 6:45am off slowly got colder and windier.
All riders experienced the same conditions and it seems many that rode the 100 the week prior recorded slower 50 times in this event vs their 50 split times last week. The course is slightly different for each 50 miles but in general weather conditions against us.
That said Pete Lawrence rode into 2nd place with 1:48:51, I finished in 1:57:51 and Steve Berry first in 1:47:19.
Last but not least Suzy rides in the National 25 Mile TT
On Sunday I rode in the National 25m TT up in the back of beyond somewhere near Boston in Lincolnshire.
The course, like the 10, was a sort of squarish course with some pretty tight corners and technical sections so was more of a sporting course in places. Having said that, there were some long straight sections also. The wind was blowing pretty hard the whole way, and on one 7 mile section the cross wind was so strong that just staying on the road was pretty hard, especially on the arms. I was a bit dissapointed with how I rode the middle section, and found my heart rate wasn’t really going too high.
Still, I managed 9th place which I was really pleased with, in and amongst women who ride for racing teams, so it gives me some markers on where I am compared with them. I know I can do better so just have to keep on racing.
Given how exhausted I was and how cold I always get after racing, I wasn’t hugely amused to be drug tested at the end of it all. I realise it’s necessary to do these things, however, sitting in a cold room in a cold school drinking litres of cold water to try and produce ‘a sample’ whilst a drug tested watched me wasn’t my idea of idea post-race fun. Violently shivered my way through an hour of this, made me actually look like I was having cold-turkey drug withdrawal symptoms !
Kev just get stronger and faster. Kev Holloway reports from the National Points Series
MTB National points series round 3 at Hopton woods in Shropshire, I’ve never been to that area of the country so was pleasantly surprised as I got close to the event to see traffic free roads and beautiful green rolling countryside.
I knew that Hopton Woods is more commonly used as a downhill competition course so knew it was going to be hilly it wasn’t until I met up with Pat, who was racing in the youth category, did I realise how hilly it was ” There is a big climb at the start… then it goes up some more… then it gets REALLY steep, do a short downhill then up again” is how he described it. So off to do my practice lap and realised he wasn’t kidding! after all that climbing there was obviously some serious descents the main one being 2 minutes of brain out steep, bumpy technical downhill course where many people ended up eating the dirt, including Pat who managed to get back on and finish in a good position
After a good warm up it was off to the start, gridded 13th again I was determined to better my position this time. The whistle blew and we were off, 50 metres of grassy uphill slope then it was straight into the lung busting climb, after 5 minutes of jostling for position 9 of us started pulling away, this group stayed together until the first bit of downhill where the group splintered with me in the second group. a few fire roads at the top of the course then it was the main descent, the 2 guys in front of me collided during a dodgy overtaking manoeuvre on a switchback, leaving me stuck behind until they untangled their bikes, it was only about 5 seconds but it seemed like an eternity and the front group were gone and out of sight and the following group had caught up!
Back to the arena 1 lap down 2 to go, 9th position and back to the climb, to my surprise everyone in front started going backwards and by the top of the climb had worked my way into 4th place, with a place on the podium tantalisingly close me and the guy in third had a good race for the next lap and a half, with me finally losing out by 1 second to finish 4th my best national series position to date.
Bring on round 4 Margham park 7th July
Ian Murray raced in the same event.
Rd 3 National XC MTB Series – Hopton Woods:
With the Chiltern 100 starting a mere 1 minute pedal down the road from the house, I decide that this was far too convenient to fit family life around and instead opted for the 6hr round trip to Hopton Castle in Shropshire.
The trouble with long journey’s is that the mind games start a lot earlier – oh my calves feel a bit tight, maybe I need to drink more. STOP IT MURRAY! Only one thing for it turn up the tunes and have a good old sing along with yourself.
So after 3 hours of furious air drumming on the steering wheel I arrived in sunny Shropshire with bruised hands and slightly more arm fatigue than I had ever anticipated. The field where we were to park was firm and dry, a good indication that the trails would be in a similar state. A quick recce of the first ascent and descent confirmed as such – a fast day of racing ahead.
I bumped in to Skinny Pat and Kev H and had a quick chin wag about the course and what to expect – basic advice was don’t overdo it on the first 100m of the first climb as it gets progressively worse.
Basic Race plan – finish and have at least 1 person behind me – simple and not too ambitious, this is the National Series after all.
Start time arrives and we are gridded up based on points scored in previous rounds and “other” (cleanliness of bike, do you still have slight whiff of alcohol about you, etc) a quick glance round and I was already dangerously close to race plan. Clearly the organisers are not keen on go faster aero kit and hairy leg combo’s!
After the customary cavalry charge it was straight into the climb which I think I managed to enter in last position. “Is anyone going slower than me up this” was my first thought. Thankfully there was and I was back on track. What Kev and Skinny Pat failed to make crystal clear during our pre-race exchange (although Pat did try) was that this was in fact at least a 12 minute climb. I knew it was going to get worse, I picked up on that, just how bad it got I was not ready for (unlike Kev I didn’t manage to get a full practice lap in).
With the climb out the way a nice section of single track was presented which was quickly followed by another climb on fire road – straight back into Oxygen debt and the rider in front slowly pulling away, I realised today was not going to be a day of racing but a day of surviving.
The remainder of the lap was made up of single track descents followed by varying lengths of fire road accents before the final technical decent back into the start finish area. My pre-race recce of the descent (over the bars incident into a large pine tree narrowly avoided) had made me realise that you needed to give every centimetre of this section your full respect and concentration. Safely negotiated it was onto the second lap and into the climb. My target man was still in sight but within a few minutes I knew I would not catch him – my back was starting to ache and my head was blown. Midway through the climb I had to stop and take off the base layer I had on as I was cooking and finally managed to get a stretch into my back.
When you are going so slowly you have time to think and today needed a survival strategy – “pick up the caffeine drink at the end of this lap from the pit area, neck it during the lap to give you the boost to complete lap 4”.
Kev H was starting 3 minutes behind the Masters and I knew it was only a matter of time before I would see him pass by. As I started the climb on the 3rd lap I heard the announcer call out his name. He was clearly going well – you only got a mention if would were top 10. I looked round to see him chasing someone up the climb I shouted down the trail to give him some encouragement they both caught me in no time and were off – he was looking good.
Everything was going to plan – I had consumed most of the drink whilst pushing (yes pushing) the bike up the steep section towards the end of the climb and was finally reaping the rewards to the later stages of the lap as I was passing (yes passing) riders.
As I reached the pits at the start of lap 4, I could see Kev in the pits having completed his race. I discarded the empty and grabbed another to see me to the end. Helped on by some words of encouragement from Kev I set off – I was going to do this!
“STOOOOOP! You!” shouted the man dressed in black who had just done his best star fish impression as he jumped out in front of me. “What?! Get out my way you mad man – it’s taken me 3 laps but I’m racing god damn it!” I thought. “You’re finished – you have been lapped out” pointing to a rather fresh looking gentleman receiving pats on the back and handshakes from supporters “that’s your leader, you’re not allowed to continue”
What made this situation worse was that during the whole exchange he was smiling as if he had been waiting all weekend for some poor b@stard to stop in their tracks – HUMILIATING!! He may as well have just held a sign up that said “You’re shit stop now”. I was gutted. Sporting evolution put firmly into practice –survival of the fittest and I didn’t quite make the grade.
With tail firmly between my legs I retreated to the pits to find out how Kev had placed – the answer, really well! I knew he was running well but had no idea he had been in a fight for a podium spot, Kev finished 4th. Next time I’ll shout in Glaswegian accent and a little louder to scare him into going faster . Great ride from Kev!!
Next round somewhere in Wales on 7th July, entry to which is TBD.
Nick and Will aka Batman and Robin ride in another TrailQuest.
Nick Calkin and Will Dixon teamed up again for the Midland Trailquests event at Priors Marston, Warrickshire.
The course was typical Midland countryside with rolling fields and quiet lanes linking the off road routes. The team decided on a clockwise route to try and pick up most of the 32 checkpoints within the 3.5 hour time limit.
Setting off just before 1030 the ride was fairly straight forward for the first half, but as time passed it was clear the gated, grassy bridleways were seriously affecting average speed and a change of route would be needed. As the pair reached the NE corner of the map they cut down a fast looking road picking up controls to either side. Unfortunately, this road had some long draggy climbs straight into a headwind, which further sapped time and energy.
With only 30 minutes left a further route adjustment was needed, missing out some high scoring checkpoints in the SW corner. This route involved a climb over a hill for 30 points then a sprint back through another 10 pointer.
Finishing dead on 3.5 hours for a third place overall with 435 points and no penalties leaves Nick and Will in 3rd place in the league.
Next on the calendar, this Sunday, is the MTQ championships, a 5 hour event starting in Ashby Folville, Leicestershire.
VC10 Club TT Series
Three years ago VC10 designed a new course on the A41 at Tring with the help of the F District Cycling Time Trial Committee.
The course was named the F11/10. After just a few events we realised the course was going to be fast and produce many personal bests.
In 2013 VC10 will be running 11 Club Events on the course and two Open Events. As per last year 1st and 2nd claim members will be able to pre sign on via the VC10 forum and book ride times up to 5pm on the day before the event.
The Club/Open event calendar dates are:
|Tuesday 1st January 2013||10.30||F11/10||10||40||Y|
|Monday1st April 2013||12.00||F11/10||10||60||Y|
|Monday6th May 2013||14.00||F11/10||10||150||Open|
|Tuesday14th May 2013||19.30||F11/10||10||45||Y|
|Tuesday21st May 2013||19.30||F11/10||10||50||Y|
|Tuesday4th June 2013||19.30||F11/10||10||55||Y|
|Tuesday11th June 2013||19.30||F11/10||10||60||Y|
|Tuesday18th June 2013||19.30||F11/10||10||60||Y|
|Tuesday2nd July 2013||19.30||F11/10||10||55||Y|
|Tuesday9th July 2013||19.30||F11/10||10||55||Y|
|Tuesday16th July 2013||19.30||F11/10||10||55||Y|
|Tuesday23rd July 2013||19.30||F11/10||10||50||Y|
|Tuesday30th July 2013||19.30||F11/10||10||45||Y|
|Monday26th August 2013||14.00||F11/10||10||40||Open|
|Wednesday 1st January 2014||10.30||F11/10||10||40||Y|
Open Events run by VC10 are:
Monday 6th May 2013 VTTA 10 mile TT
Monday 26th August 2013 VC10 Charity Event 10 Mile TT
Details of these events plus the Hemel Hempstead Open 10, The Bossard Wheelers Open 10 and two VTTA week day events will appear in the CTT Handbook.