One of the best events I rode last year was the 9 Up Team Time Trial around Silverstone GP circuit organised by Bicester Millennium CC, so I was very keen for us to do it again.
When we put the feelers out there was a great deal of interest from club members wanting to be part of the team, so many in fact that it was necessary to put forward two teams..... however some of these folk couldn't make the event in the end as it unfortunately clashed with the clubs Yorkshire Dales trip.
We eventually managed to put together two teams of 8.
I was given the responsibility of selecting the riders who would make up each team, and this proved to be a difficult job. I felt that it would be most important for the teams to be as equally matched as possible in riding style and ability. This is not easy to judge as a TTT is completely different to an individual time trial. The TTT effort is actually more like a road race where the pace is constantly changing and surging, plus you have to consider the numerous corners of Silverstone's full GP circuit. With this in mind I looked at using the riders who have been road racing and training together every week on the chain gang for one team and the other team to consist of riders who have been riding mainly time trials and club runs.
The ultimate aim was for as many riders as possible to manage to ride as much of the race together rather than having to ride out of their comfort zone and pulling out before the finish.... after all this event should be an enjoyable experience for everybody..... Enjoyable but painful of course
So.. Team A consisted of: Joe Finucane, Tom Stead (loaned to us from Nice Tri but soon to become an official member of SNCC), Dave Hennessey, Tom Dunkley, Kyle Chesterman, Simon Murphy, Sam McDonnald and myself.
Team B consisted of: Graeme Mulheron, Arron Bird, Gary Adnitt, Chris Green, Lee Houghton, Dave Wilson, Keith Barton and Gareth Smith.
We all arrived at 'The Wing' car park which was bustling with teams from all over the country. We were eventually (upon completion of the forms) given our numbers and allocated our garage where we can set up turbo trainers for warming up. Spirits were high and everybody was keen to get out on the iconic circuit.
Silverstone is one of the best known motor racing circuits in the world, used for all types of racing in including F1 Grand Prix, to ride on the circuit is really a unique experience. The track is wide and the corners are much tighter than you would first envisage, surprisingly the surface is not as smooth as you would expect. Another thing that you notice instantly is how windy it can be...and we had to do three laps.... this was going to be tough.
Team A were the 60th team to start. We lined up in the paddock and pushed off, first a rise to the track... and we were off. Working well straight off lap one went relatively smoothly, however we did take a few changes to get ourselves sorted out. We were not hanging around, we managed consistent lap times averaging over 27MPH with every rider pulling their weight. By lap two it was taking its toll and Sam McDonnald and Simon Murphy were dropped from the group, we persisted and continued to work well together. By lap three we were all giving it our all, Joe Finucane and Tom Stead riding particularly strong along the finishing straight. On the last time down the finishing straight Kyle Chesterman made a monster effort...sacrificing himself for the team... we are timed on the fifth rider across the line and we still had five of us left.
We managed an excellent time of 23:46 with an average speed of 27.4 MPH placing us 19th out of 80 teams.
Team B were the 61st team to start. The first lap went well for them, finding their rhythm and working well as a team. Unfortunately on the second lap Chris Green got a slow puncture making cornering difficult but he continued giving big efforts for the team for as long as he could but having to eventually pull out with a complete flat. On the second lap saw Dave and Graeme drop from the group having given their biggest efforts for the team early on. Remaining are fast TT man Keith Barton, Rouler's Gary Adnitt and Arron Bird, experienced road man Gareth Smith and Lee Houghton. The team came in at a very respectable time of 25:12 with an average speed well over 25MPH placing them 29th out of 80 teams.
For me the most important thing was to see all the guys at the finish buzzing with excitement, big smiley faces and stories of their experiences. Events like this is what we do all our hard training for. We didn't come back with any medals but we did come back with some experience at a riding team time trial. I think both teams should be proud of their results, which I think were both faster than last years Team SNCC's time. I have a feeling we will have more riders wanting to get involved in this next year and with the experience gained we'll have even better results.
I would like to thank on behalf of all the riders the support from the club which made riding this event possible.
- Simon Rinaldo