So my first National TT event was an experience! The bike ‘bling’, team crews, support vehicles, officials were all a bit overwhelming to say the least! I was so glad that my husband had lent me his disc wheel and aero helmet otherwise I might have turned around and gone home after pulling up in the carpark! However I pulled myself together and got on with it. The course was on the A4 from Hungerford to Newbury. We had a lovely 13mph cross wind and a little hill that noone told me about either! My internal goal I set myself was to try and get under 25.. I missed out by 15 seconds with a finish time of 25:15. However I didn’t come last and it was a great experience. There were some seriously fast ladies out there today.. the winning time being 20:45 so I was proud to be even on the same start list as them. With a bit more focused training and race strategy (ie.. not busting yourself in the first 10 minutes) I might try again next year.
Last Sunday I took on the L’Etape du tour which this year run from Albertville to Val Thorens. It is Stage 20 of this years Tour de France and it had been labelled as a “tough one”. Although it was only 135km in length there was 4,563m of climbing to negotiate, which included 3 categorised climbs.
First the 1st Cat “Cormet de Roselund” at 19km 1203m Then the 2nd cat “Cote de Longefoy” at 6km 457m and finishing with the HC, the “Montee de Val Thorens” at 35km 1840m
This is the first time I have ridden in the high mountains so I was a bit anxious about the ride and had asked for advice from a few of the guys. Andrew McAinshs advice of “ride the climbs full gas and attack the decents” was ignored.
I was staying in a hotel in Les Menuires which is 10km from the finish at Val Thorens. To get to the start I had to get up at 4am to take a shuttle bus down the mountain with a bunch of French cyclists to the start which for me was at 7.30am.
I rolled out of Albertville in perfect weather to much fanfare with Didi the devil jumping around the start line. I was taking it easy warming up nicely with 20km to the start of the Cormet de Roselund. However, as soon as you get out of Albertville you are climbing all the way to the start of the climb and had already about 500m climbing done by the time I reached the foot. Got onto the first climb and I find myself going really well, going past 100s of riders, beautiful scenery, no problems, took me 1 hour 26 minutes.
After a fast decent, I stopped at the feed station at the bottom of the climb in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, after a few km of up and down I was onto the second climb. By this time the temperature was rising and I didnt feel as “fresh” on this climb as the road went up, also I could tell riders around me were starting to struggle with a few riders stopping on the hairpins for a breather. But still, I had no issues went past 100s of riders, making good progress feeling quite happy with myself. Down the other side of the second climb was very technical descent with loads of switchbacks which took us down to the bottom of the last climb into Moutiers.
By the time I arrived in Moutiers the temperature was about 35 degrees and I was well aware I had already climbed around 3000m, but I was loving it. I stopped in the feed station in Moutiers and it was like war. Although it was all friendly it was a fight to get water/coke/food, people going through it like piranhas.
Onto the last climb, 35Km to go to the finish, feed station at halfway. And the bottom of this climb is steep and relentless and I start to see casualties, people lying at the side of the road, riders coming back down the hill. It is tough, riders getting off their bikes to get water from the mountain streams, stopping to cool down from spectators hose pipes, I’m in the bottom gear for about 10 km, progress is really slow and I’m just grinding it out.
The feed station at halfway couldn’t come quick enough, I stopped lay the bike on the ground and rest for about 10 minutes, I was cooked as was everyone else around me.
Back on the bike and it flattened out for a few kilometres up to Les Menuires and then it kicks up again for the final 10Km up to Val Thorens. By now I am seeing riders really struggling, people pushing their bikes, throwing up on the side of the road, one guy had keeled over and was lying in the road, ambulances were running around. I recall thinking to myself “im never doing this again this is crazy, I work in IT” but I knew I had broken the back of it at this point.
I finally make it to Val Thorens, the finish line was at the other side of town and just to add a little sting the last 500m is a gravel section that kicks up to about 15%.
It took me 2 hours 53 minutes to do the last climb with about 10 minutes at the feed station and about 7 hours total in the saddle.
It’s the toughest ride I have ever done. I read that around 12500 people started and 10134 finished, I finished 3216th place. The is event is very well organised and the people at the side of the road are genuinly enthusiastic. I really enjoyed it and very happy I did it, and I would do it again in a h eartbeat.
Last year I was told “you should enter the LVRC TT champs. The course would really suit you.” On the day of the race I was 39 years and 364 days old. So close to 40 but not old enough to enter.
Despite having never raced the course before this year felt like unfinished business. Training has been bit hit and miss the last few weeks as I have been away at the weekend so I considered myself well rested (look for the positive). The TT bike had a new front wheel and both wheels were now tubeless, thanks Gary at Unleashed cycles for some last minute help, so the bike was also prepped. Storm Hannah was coming though Saturday and the winds should have dropped for Raceday (Sunday). All looking good.
At the start line I was chatting to me 1 min man. He seemed a strong rider so if I could reel him in I knew I would be on for a good time. Rolling out of Napton there is a nice long, fast stretch of road an good tarmac. I could see my minute man and could get a sense of the gap.
Turning onto the Welsh Road the wind cam round to behind me but the road starts to climb. Gap appeared to be closing.
Climbing out of Priors Marston towards Hellidon I had closed around half of the gap and was feeling good about the ride. Through Catesby and on to the main road there were now 3 riders in sight. If they were all my age group (I knew at least 2 were) I must be having a good ride.
Past Skylark Cafe an through Lower Shuckborough, and with a little aero benefit I past all 3 riders to go. Just hold it together to Napton and climb Butt Hill.
The problem with TT is when you cross the line you have an idea of whether you rode a good ride for you but no idea of anyone else unless you passed them. I’ll have to wait for the awards!
“And in first place, from Kenilworth Wheelers, Paul Atkins is the 2019 40-44 LVRC national time trial champion!”
I also got joint fastest time. I guess you can say I had a good day!
The Club’s flagship event is on once again this year, courtesy of Chief (and most excellent) Organiser Steve Hesketh.
Hopefully, we will get two days of racing this year (one day snowed off in 2013) and the dates for your diaries (racers or helpers) are:
Saturday 29th March
Saturday 12th April
Details are now on the British Cycling website events calendar page, and you will see Steve has added a Women’s Only race in place of last year’s time trial. Hopefully this will attract more ladies to the events.
Keep your eyes on the Forum for more info as the dates draw near.
The Victoria Park Criteriums are due to take place on Saturday 4th and Saturday 18th April. As always these races can only take place if we have enough volunteers to help on each day. In order for me to judge how many people are prepared to help, I should be grateful if you would e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org saying if you are able to commit to either or both of the days and also expressing a preference for task allocation if you have one.
Can I also take this opportunity to remind Club members who intend to race that a completed entry form should be sent to me as soon as possible, together with fees (which will be refunded after the race on the assumption that we can cover our expenses through having enough riders take part) as there are no entries on the line.
Another great event – lots of help, good weather, good club results and only one crash ( two riders, both not too badly hurt, bikes damaged).
Our first rider of the day was â€˜Charlieâ€™ Hesketh in the U16 event. Charlie did really well in her first ever race, hanging onto the bunch for a long time then keeping with a smaller group â€“ she seemed really pleased with the fact that her computer had registered 28.4mph, but wasnâ€™t too pleased with her aching legs!
The 4ths races had Stephen Hopkins, Andy Webb, John Williams, Tom Blackmore, Dom. Harrison and Nick Bosworth taking part. In the first race Andy Webb took 2nd overall and two primes, John Williams took the other prime. In the second race they were definitely targeted riders, despite this Andy Webb finished 3rd overall and took all three primes!
In the 3rds races were new 3rd category rider Steve Allen, Neil Goodridge, Mac McGready, Lance Ravenhill and James Webster. Just to keep up the clubs clean sweep of primes James took the first and Steve Allen took the next two. Steve made a break from the bunch for about 10 laps, some good blocking by our riders failed to keep him away and with only a few laps to go Steve got swallowed up by the bunch.
The second race looked as if the clean sweep of primes would continue with Lance taking the first and James taking the second, a non club member got the third â€“ oh well, it would have been a little embarrassing to win them all. There were no top three placings for our riders in either event.
The Under 12s races were full again, lots of styles of riding and bikes.
Overall the three events have been a great success, marred only by the theft of a bike at the second event.
Having good numbers of helpers meant that the marshalls could have a break, the park was set up well in advance of the races and everyone could do their job well â€“ many thanks to everyone who helped over the three events (too many names to list).
The main team of organisers will be having a meeting about the races in the next couple of weeks, if any club member has any ideas, suggestions or comments, for discussion at the meeting, please email them to Val :-email@example.com
Found at start/finish area, girls Next grey coat with pink fleece inner age 3-4.
Only a few days to the last event, full fields in all categories with many entries returned.
The forecast has changed again today â€“ not for the good, we have got away with it the last two events so lets hope we do again!
Just a reminder about bike theft, as you are aware a competitors bike was stolen last event. If you are at the event please be aware of your personal belongings and watch out for others.
Also a complaint has been received from a resident in Archery Road about congestion, if arriving by car please be aware not to upset the locals.
This event we have 14 senior club riders in the 3rd and 4th category events and 1 rider â€˜Charlieâ€™ Hesketh in the U16 event â€“ come on, lots of support and results!
More offers of help would be good, the extra help we had last event made such a difference.
What a good event! Thanks to everyone who turned out to help, it makes it so much easier when there are so many of you to cover all the jobs.
Great results from our riders. Weather conditions much better than the last event and much better than forecast â€“ no rain! Mostly sunny – breezy but not the cold biting wind of two weeks ago.
Firstly the bad news â€“ one rider had his bike stolen from the races, it seems that a man rode in on a yellow Apollo road bike, dumped it and then went off with the Specialised (details on the website). What a shame that our bikes are not safe at an event, please be aware.
The event had full entries (40) in all categories apart from the U16 (one rider short) and the trikes (10 riding). Lots of entries were turned away for the other events and it looks as if the next event will be as busy with some categories full already.
The U12 races saw the usual mixture of ages and bikes, all trying their hardest and enjoying it, it was good to see local children, not connected to the club, riding â€“ they had read about the event, watched it last time and decided to have a go.
The U16 races saw more competition than last time with more riders fighting it out for the primes and top 3 places.
We had 6 riders in the 4th cat. races, the first race saw Andy Webb 2nd and Tom Blackmore 3rd, in the second event first time racer Steve Allen ( who only had his cycling shoes 3 weeks ago, having ridden for the last year in trainers) won the event with Andy Webb 3rd who also picked up a prime. John Williams and Dom. Harrison were always in close competition but just missed out and Steve Hopkins improved by keeping well in the bunch.
The trike race had two chicanes put into the course, the trike riders love the twists and turns and it is amazing how fast they corner. A small group took control of the race with Geoff Booker winning and Jeff Jones who had just ridden the 3rd cat. event coming 2nd.
More club success came in the 3rd cat. races. In the first race James Webster took two of the primes and Lance Ravenhill took the third. In the second event James took two more primes and Lance came 3rd overall. Mac could only ride the second race, he was not feeling his best. Mark Allen got round with the bunch.
An addition to the days events was a raffle organised by Geoff Layhe. A large (very) poster of Stuart Oâ€™Grady plus others was donated by Geoff, raffled at Â£1 per ticket by Andrea, raising Â£70 for the Marie Curie Cancer Charity â€“ later this year Geoff is doing a charity ride to raise more funds. Guess who won – Chris Steele!
Lets hope for another successful event on the 26th with good club results â€“ well done and many thanks to everyone.
Specilaised Allez Comp. red/white 52cm as in photo. Stolen from Victoria Park during the races 12.4.08. Thief dumped yellow Apollo road bike and took the Specialised.
Any information to Police or Val.
The Kenilworth Wheelers versus Leamington C&AC inter-club time trials are here again, and they start next week. There’s only six events, starting with a 5, then a 25 and four 10’s later in the year. Just turn up, sign on, get a number and your in. Full details of the dates and courses are on the Leamington’s website here. Points are awarded for the first ten men and first 10 women with every entrant gaining a point for their respective club. The winning club being the one with the most points after all six events. So lets see plenty of people there and hopefully we can win this year.
9th April (5 mile)
30th April (25 mile – men/10 mile – ladies)
15th May (10 mile)
10th July (10 mile)
31st July (10 mile)
20th August (10 mile)
As an added bonus it was agreed at the AGM that the Club will pay the entry fees for Club members entering the Inter-Club time trials this year. The entry fees would in fact be Â£2 per event this year so you will save Â£12 if you enter all the races! No excuses now!