While those members brave enough to take on the 100 mile club run would have been getting limbered up and loading up on carbs for the long day in the saddle ahead I was loading up the bike and setting off for the Evans cycles Hatfield sportive. Of course had I known the club would be doing its 100 miler on this day my club loyalty would have taken precedence and I would have been driving down to the Market Square instead but while trawling the net for possible local sportives I could do later in the year and dreaming of the balmy weather that would surely be here come mid-May, this one caught my eye and was subsequently booked back in early January.
After reading Phil Laycocks’ great write up of the Wiggle Newmarket Spring Saddle Sportive and the saga of the punctures, I thought I’d give a quick summary of last Sunday’s Bike Events Cambridge 100/50 charity Sportive.
What a contrast to my Newmarket sportive of two weeks ago.
The weather was much the same, perhaps a little warmer once the sun rose but it was still a chilly 2 degrees when we set off. Bike Events are an event organiser not unlike UK cycling or Wiggle but it’s all a little bit more laid back.
Steve Hughes from Nicetri (soon to be a CC member) and I set off on our TT bikes in the first group at 7am and other than a tandem which took off at a serious pace we led the leading group up to Downham market collecting a group of drafters on our back wheel who were more than happy to let us lead the way.
I decided to ride on my Cervelo P3 TT bike as I needed to see whether I could manage the TT position for 6/7 hours, and with no wind forecast, I put my Planet-X 101 and 82 mm wheels on, both with tubular tyres. The bike is very fast on the straight with these wheels and hums nicely.
Despite the fact that it was still -1C when I left home and approx 2C when the ride started it did warm up nicely as the day developed and was a beautiful day for cycling, with hardly any wind to worry about as well. I set off in the first group at 8am sharp and stayed with the leading riders for the first 20 miles or so.
The Maidstone standard distance duathlon (run, bike, run) was my very first race which I did in March 2012. The report is on the Members' Exploits page here, and despite a long drive and poor weather I really enjoyed that race and finished 15th overall in a time of 2 hrs 17 mins 38 sec and 5th in my age group (45-49). This year I was determined to go back and improve, and though I felt in myself that I had made improvements, I still felt the pressure to prove it because racing does not lie.
The race followed the same format as last year, starting with a 9.5km (6 mile) run, then a 42km bike (26 mile TT) and then a 3.5km (2.1mile) uphill run to the finish, so at least this time I knew what to expect.
"One can find so many pains when the rain is falling", Steinbeck.
It was not East of Eden in the East of England on Saturday, as Cambridgeshire awoke to grim weather. The BBC were reporting southerly winds of over 20mph in the early part of the day, with heavy rain also forecast. We had been warned, however, that this was not a day for excuses, and there was a strong turnout from St Neots CC at Huntingdon Racecourse for the Wiggle No Excuses event, with members meeting near the registration area shortly after 8am.
Richard and Chris won the Kings Cliff 2 up Time Trial - 13 miles in an excellent time 29:25. Tom Stead and Darren Preston finished fourth overall. This is an excellent result for the guys and the club, and big congratulations to them. Here is what Richard wrote about the event on the forum:
The course was 2 x 6.5 mile laps (total distance 13 miles) with a fair sized climb in the middle to be done twice. I partnered Chris Ritchie and Tom Stead partnered Darren Preston, me and Chris were second from last off and pushed really well on the first lap over the climb and into lap 2. With a good second lap I knew we were in with a shout and with a VERY hard effort up the last climb to the finish (which cost Chris his entire breakfast at the top) and despite not being the fastest entrants on paper we won convincingly in 29.25 (which is well under the hour pace on a wet/cold sporting course) with the next team in at 30.37 so first St Neots win of the year!
Tom and Daz also placed very well in fourth with a time of 32.54, so smiles and cake all round! I'll be posting a 10 mile 2 up race coming up soon so sort out a partner if you're interested, and look on the forum for more information.
Mark Bottomley suggested that the Club should consider participating in the Beds Road CC Reliabilty rides on 3rd and 17th February. For many this was a first, as Reliability Rides are not signposted nor is there any support on the route. It is just an opportunity to stretch your legs (either at your own pace or to try to hang on to a fast group) and to get some valuable training miles under your belt for the new season.
We met at the Beds CC Clubhouse in Cardington (what a great asset to have) to sign on and pay our modest entry fee, and then it was off. There were 118 riders altogether on Sunday and it was the perfect day for a ride into new territory for many of us.
New club member, Ian Turner rode a wonderful 59:48 to finish second overall at the Ely Hardriders 25 mile TT, last Sunday, 10th February, in atrocious weather conditions. It was mixed fortunes though, for another St Neots CC fast man, Richard Hancock, who took a wrong turning at 22 miles and DNF'd. Read his race report below:
Eleven is a number that had me smiling to myself as I signed the start list for the Ely Hardriders 25 mile Time Trial on a wet, cold and windy Sunday morning with my son Ben in tow. Why? Because its 10 more team mates than I had the last time I rode this course 10 years or so ago for St Neots Cycling Club.
Back then I had placed 2nd and 3rd in two consecutive years, with a best time of 59.22 I think. So I knew what a tough early season race it could be, and now 10 years older and not a full time tester any more, I knew it would be hard to beat that.
As all the various St Neots CC members turned up it became evident that the conditions had done little to dampen their enthusiasm and after a chat and a bit of banter, we all set about getting ready and warmed up. I wished everyone good luck and set about my own warm up. I felt pretty good and armed with a new front wheel and revised bike position felt optimistic; as the timekeeper counted me down I pushed off hard and was away.
On the 28th November, Mark Colmer, David Lindsay, Gareth Smith, Ade Taverna and I went up to the Brewery tap for the first Greater Peterborough Evening of Cycling. The event was organised by Rapha Condor Cycling Club and aimed to bring together the various clubs from the Greater Peterborough area. As well as us St Neots boys, Bourne Wheelers, Spalding CC, Fenland Clarion, St Ives CC, Peterborough CC and Fenland Clarion were also represented, so it was a great opportunity for us to network and discuss various issues with the other clubs.