We're getting close to the end of term. Deadlines are looming, but there's plenty going on to distract you. Check out the latest trip announcements (some deadlines very soon), and more info about the Open TT.
Words by Charlie Ormerod
Curbar Gap was once again the location for the BUCS Hill Climb, a gruesome climb in the Peak District of 1.1 miles at 11.3%. With over 300 competitors, the day is split up into two halves, with the northern universities riding in the morning, before the southerners have a go in the afternoon. This allowed us to have a long lie-in and a good bulkfast before heading down to the start.
At the bottom of the climb, much of the talk was about the strong tailwind up the climb, and with rumours that the BUCS record had already been broken, the pressure was mounting on our riders. Fortunately, some of us, myself included, had decided that it would be far more fun to watch rather than suffer this masochistic event, (definitely no reflection on our fitness…), so we marched up the climb, cowbells and pans in hand, for some Tour-de-France-esque spectating.
First up was Kate, who stormed up the climb in under 8 minutes, taking a hugely impressive 12th place! As usual, Andrew was soon chasing after her, and showed his current good form by posting a 6:33, a time that would stand as fastest Bristol rider for some time. Not to be outdone, Georgie left it all on the road to set 7:49 and 8th place overall!
The forecast was rain and wind, even worse it was a side windthroughout!
However this did not stop our Bristol timetriallists making their way to Cumnor, yet another peculiar named place that these time trials frequent, in Oxfordshire on the out and back course of the H25/17. The strava kom was 54:28 before the event started, was this time to crumble?
The forecasts looked to be correct, the clouds teasing us with the always imminent possibility of rain, and a formidable side wind throughout. At least unlike the 10 mile TT the race wasn’t quite split into two such distinct halves, but instead a continuous struggle for speed. The courses profile did not seem too difficult, a descent for the first few miles, followed by a continuous gradual climb to the half-way point, to which caused a descent into the final few miles up to the finish. All riders seemed wary of the challenge that lay out ahead, for 25 miles all out is never going to be comfortable!
Our Bristol riders were only a minority compared to the huge teams that Loughborough and Cambridge bought, but were by no means uncountable for. Our start list went as follows, Judith at 11:36, Me (Ryan) at 13:01 and Ben Alexander at 13:32.
With Judith on the course I was starting to feel nervous, this was my first 25 miles in well over a year! Sight on Ben on his dad’s Argon 18 only worsened my worrying due to the free speed such a bike brings. I made it to the start line with only a minor warm up, down the road and back, next thing before I realise I am at the start line. I’m off and find myself flying rather easily, the trees are blocking the side wind for a rather more comfortable experience, with the odd break in the trees gusting me sideward into the road. ‘Surely the kom won’t still stand by the end of today?’ I’m thinking. I make the 12.5 mile halfway marker in 28:09, on begin my trek to the finish line. Catching sight of Ben on the way back spurred me to fight the pain of my screaming legs, to finish in a new 25 mile PB: 56:11, surprising myself.
Final results found myself in 17th and Ben 53rd, with the winner Harry Bulstode of Edinburgh finishing in a time of a truly ‘Cancellara’ like 52:05 and second to Edmund Bradbury in 52:20, Mr.Bultrode had well and truly taking the most important prize of them all, the Strava kom!.
A good days racing all round, but now the desire to race next year for even better results!
After a ‘long and arduous’ journey, from all the way from the other side of Cambridge, we arrived in the village of Stow-sum-Quy. Despite having been a local for a good 15 years, I still have no idea about how to pronounce the name of this place. Key? K-why? Not that it mattered, we were there to do one thing: cycle 10 miles as fast as we possibly could. The course was the E33/10, just North-East of Cambridge. The names of those who had conquered this stretch of road in years past rang around our head. Dowsett. Hutchinson. Pooley. In the art of the time trialing, we, for at least a short moment, would not simply emulate our heroes and heroines, no, we would bethem. The preparations were complete, the hair was off the legs, and the horses were waiting to be released from their starting houses.
A short warm up soon enough exposed the conditions: windy. True to its fenland setting, Eurus was out in force, meaning that the out and back course would be very distinctly split into a race of two halves: headwind out, tailwind back. This was advantageous for more than the simple reason of fatigue, as at the midpoint of the course between the start/finish and the roundabout a nauseating bridge appears. Outwards, it hits hard, a sudden rise to struggle up after completing the first two miles flat out. The ‘descent’ on the other side is hardly noticeable – a paltry false flat on which one must put in another effort to regain speed after the brutally short ascent. The tailwind made it inevitable that on the return stretch the riders would be able to storm along, akin to fair Siegfried up the Rhine.
The conditions proved tougher than expected to all three riders. Ryan, hooligan-esque, sped along in a van doing a course recce, shouting encouragement complete with wild arm gestures on his way. The ascent over the A14 proved to be as demoralizing as ever, and the exposure on the other side even worse. Upon approach to the roundabout, where the road surface worsens significantly, the bowl of courage that had been consumed for breakfast was regurgitated, and used to maximal effect for the second half. At the descent off the bridge for the final 2 miles, tunnel vision kicked in, and the request at the start that riders keep their heads up was gracefully ignored. Jens Voigt’s usual advice came to mind, and, soon enough, the pain was able to start subsiding.
After an anxious wait, the results came in. Ryan came an impressive 26th in a with 22:53, Chris, er, 64th with 26:02 (albeit a satisfying personal best), and Judith finished an incredible 11th in the closely run women’s race, with a time of 26:10 – even more impressive when this was her first time trial!
Thanks to Mat for organising.
(This was written on a mac, whilst the author was wearing small, round glasses, tight jeans, and was sittingin his local independent coffee shop. Apologies are offered to anyone who has ever written for Rouleur.)
Words by Chris Brasnett
Great to see so many club riders out at our TT on saturday, particularly those of you who have never competed before, I really hope you all enjoyed it and are encouraged to keep competing and improving your times. You can all compete in any of the CTT events which you can view on their website www.ctt.org.uk and try and improve your times. Some of us will defiantly be heading down to the Bristol South club events after Easter which are only a short hop away in either Aust or Chew Valley http://www.bristolsouthcc.co.uk/djk/Club_Events/classic_league.php
Anyway here are the rankings from club riders from Saturday
We are a large and eclectic club consisting of approximately one hundred and fifty riders who enjoy riding Road, Cross Country, Downhill, BMX, Street, Cyclo-Cross and Track.