As winter weather closes in and December is on the horizon the cyclocross season is in full swing. The British Cycling Central Cyclocross League (CCXL) is BCC’s local league with 15 rounds of races on Saturdays or Sundays all within 1 hours drive of Berkhamsted.
The club has five regular racers and welcome more to join in these events. Some of the people racing cross are there to improve bike handling and keep fitness levels up, just being on the start line is a win. Others are more competitive and are moving up the placings.
There are specific cyclocross bikes but a mountain bike is fine with many riders using them in the races. So far this year the events have been mainly dry but a little mud never hurts. It’s a great way to keep fitness going over the winter and the events always have a great atmosphere. The races are split into age categories, and gridded based on past performance so riders are competing with similar ability riders. There is a regular bunch of spectators that always give lots of encouragement.
Niamh and Mervyn Dempsey are regular competitors, both have been cyclo cross fans for years. Their escapades were sidelined recently with the arrival of son Ralph but both Niamh and Merv are back in the swing of racing.
Following is a race report penned by Niamh from the 17th November 2018 race:
‘Corley cycles hosted round 9 of the central CX season at MK bowl on Saturday. New club secretary Jez Kidd, Jonny Gray and Merv and Niamh Dempsey took on the steep climbs and descents with baby Ralph posing as a keen spectator (soon to be world champion).
Out of a female field of 44 people Niamh came 19th. The boys had a huge field of 93 high level riders. Merv finished an impressive 38th with Johnny putting in an great ride finishing 79th! Jez had his strongest finish yet coming 84th’
Lee and Tommy dipped their toes into a Duathlon event (2 mile Run, 10 mile Cycle, 1 mile run) at Hillingdon on 11th November 2018 and this is their story…
Having done a few duathlons, triathlons and did I mention an Ironman in the past, I thought I’d encourage a few of the purely cycle related athletes of the club to join me in an end of season multi-sport blow out at Hillingdon!
It was a short duathlon, 2 mile run, 10 mile ride finished by a 1 mile run. Mr Wong was the only one that stepped up, having already told me he ran the Manchester marathon in the past, (that in fact wasn’t classed as a marathon as it was 200m short, still a sore point). Other members I asked rolled their eyes at the running aspect, even though the distances were miniscule!
It was wet, windy and early come race morning. Tommy, despite having got lost on the way to the start, spilling a whole mug of coffee in the clubhouse, missing the race briefing, was fully prepared to lose his duathlon virginity. He rocked up with his ex-pro bike and was immediately seen as a threat!
We lined up at the start line for the start of the event, Tommy and I found ourselves stood right at the front. We looked around and we were surrounded by what can only be described as whippet-looking racing snakes doing vigorous warm ups. We subtly drifted to the back, shivering, and waiting for the start gun to sound.
The gun went off and so did the racing snakes, Tommy and I started our leisurely jog at the back but soon realised we were on to beat the 1 mile world record just trying to stay with the pack. The course itself is a closed 1 mile cycle circuit, fairly flat and not too technical, so was a case of counting laps, 2 laps for the first run, 10 laps on the bike, finished with an all-out lap run finish.
I made my way into T1 about 15 seconds ahead of Tommy. I stupidly had some crank/twist mechanism on my carbon cycle shoes so spent an age putting them on. Mr Wong slapped my rear as he entered transition, looking fresh and mischievous.
We both headed out on our 10 lap cycle at the same time proudly sporting the BCC Jersey. Fortunately, I had my strap ons on my Canyon Aeroad (my aerobars). I tucked up in the aero position and powered my way through the brutal head wind whilst noticing Tommy fighting the wind behind me. He’s not used to being so exposed being the expert draft master he is. I opened up a half lap lead by the end of the ride.
Starting the final 1 mile run was a strange experience. In my head and being “metricised” I didn’t see a mile as far, so started out full gas with lead like legs from the bike. When my HR soon went into the high 190’s I decided to reel it back in, conscious that the short distance sprinter Wong would relish a 1 mile lap. I told myself not to look back as I caught a flash of the other BCC jersey in my peripheral vision!
The sun was now beating down as I crossed the finish line. I turned to noticed Tommy rounding the corner only a handful of seconds behind! What a performance for his first multi-sport event and such a huge smile!
We both finished in the top half of the results table, which isn’t too bad seeing I’m 6ft 3in weighing 95kgs and run like a hippo. Tommy is the complete opposite, 5ft 3in weighing 30kgs looking like a graceful gazelle.
Tommy and I felt we needed to share the accomplishment on the club page to encourage multisport, we kindly asked the guy stood next to us to take the picture, but as we handed him the camera he got called up onto the podium to collect his first prize!
Typically us newbies asked the race winner to take our pic! Ha. He kindly returned to us after spraying his champagne to take our snap. How embarrassing?!
We both highly recommend Hillingdon as an entry level duathlon. It’s a closed circuit and there was a real mixed bag of athletes there from seasoned pro’s to complete newbie’s riding MTB’s. Tommy has the taste now. If I can get Tommy in the pool, he can join me at Ironman Barcelona next Oct!! 😊
Just a couple of words from me to add to Lee’s excellent write up, I have been gradually reintroducing myself back into running, mainly in preparation for being a bit more time-poor next year, so the Hillingdon Duathlon seemed like the perfect event to dip my toe in, literally.
Lee failed to tell me that drafting was not permitted until just before the start, which was a bit like telling Messi he can no longer kick the ball with his feet.
Despite this handicap, rain and the nasty headwind, I thoroughly enjoyed the well-organised event and keen to try some more multi-discipline events. I just need to borrow Janice’s armbands.
Big thanks to Lee for talking me through it and cheering me on at the end, it was a fun morning out and the Maccies breakfast afterwards was well earned.
Huge thanks to all the club members, friends and supporters who attended the clubs 2018 AGM ensuring a really enjoyable evening. Luckily the formalities were expertly despatched in a timely manner by the Committee and the clubs normal social activities (notably drinking and eating) weren’t disrupted for too long.
Chairman Michael Gower provided his last Chairman’s report which informed and entertained. He shared statistics, visuals, comic captions and satirical comment. Will his new role be as anchor man for ‘Have I Got News for You’?
Other members of the Committee added their reports confirming that the club is in ‘rude health’ after yet another busy and successful year.
Awards were presented, and this year’s winners are …
Club Supporters Award – Geoff Selley, The Kurth Quaich Award – Andy King and Best Club Rider Award – Sarah Warrington.
Thanks’ and tokens of gratitude were given to Executive Committee members and Consulting Group standing down. New faces joining the committee and old friends remaining in role were announced and accepted by the members.
Simon stood down as Secretary , Mike stood down as Sportive Officer and Ian stood down as Ride Coordinator.
The outgoing Chairman Michael Gower welcomed in the new Chairman Mike Plowman adorning him in the regalia befitting such an important position.
Mike, a founder member of BCC and the outgoing Sportive Officer thanked the outgoing Chairman and committee members for all their hard work and all that they have achieved before confirming his own commitment to his new role. He told the members how important their support and contribution had been to BCC success thus far and how important it would be for a successful future.
He emphasised his desire to work with the new Committee to ensure the Club remained; friendly, fun, challenging and inclusive, embracing the love of cycling at all levels, in a variety of disciplines.
For those unable to attend the new team is as follows:
Chairman – Mike Plowman
Treasurer – Chris Smith
Secretary – Jez Kidd
Social Coordinator – Heidi Dore
Ride Coordinator – Paul Molyneux
Membership and Kit Officer – Simon Pearce
Performance Officer – Paul Gardner
Sportive Officer – Mary Holden
Communications Coordinator – Tommy Wong
IT Officer – Trevor Hill
*Note* A full Committee structure will be published in the members section club documentation over the next few days.
We wish all club and perspective club members another successful year ahead.
Club members were spread across the globe during October while many were nearer home making the most of late summer sunshine.
Of the ‘off-shore’ riders…
Michael, Mike and Paul were enjoying the samples of Italy taking part in the Roma GrandFondo. Of note is that all three would also feature in the clubs AGM. Michael stood down as Chairman, Mike took the Chairman’s position and Paul won the ‘Broken Spoke Award’. Trevor had also planned the Roma Classic Bike ride but a very unfortunate road accident kept him at home. Watch the website for updates as Trev will be featured in a Channel 4 Air Ambulance Rescue series planned for winter 2018/19.
Miles and Rob competed in the Roc d’Azur 2018 Marathon in Fréjus, Southern France. A grueling 89 km mountain bike race over very rough terrain with 24,390 meters elevation.
As 2018 draws towards its latter months it’s a good time to reflect on what has been achieved by our club’s members. Summer is hanging on, just, much later than it has any right to, but even though the days are shorter, the temperatures are still way up above the seasonal norm, meaning it’s still possible to get out and enjoy fair weather riding. Having said that, the summer racing series have closed and we’re heading into the winter crit and cyclo cross season.
This season has seen more BCC members taking part in competitive events than ever before, with many outstanding results being achieved. Several members have dipped their toes in the waters of competitive cycling for the first time, while others have enjoyed their first taste of the (metaphorical) Champagne.
The club has hosted four main competitive events, across different disciplines, and entered no fewer than three teams in the 9-up team time trial at Silverstone, including our first ever nine-person women’s team. Both of the men’s teams improved on their previous times, while the women set an initial time as a benchmark to build on in the future. Aside from these club events, many members have raced on their own account, flying the BCC colours in crits, road races, triathlons, individual and team time trials and cyclo cross.
It seems that hardly a week goes by without large numbers of our club riders completing sportives, with mass participation in the Prudential Ride London 100, a good representation in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and one or two tackling the grueling Dragon Ride, Fred Whitton Challenge and the Maratona dles Dolomites, to name just a few. With a fine spread of club members taking on the Tour of Cambridgeshire – a qualifying round for the amateur world championships – five of their number qualified to represent Great Britain in Italy. We even have our own Ironman, and several who took on and conquered half ironman competitions. Apart from these organised events we’ve had the greatest ever number of our membership heading off to tackle tough rides in all manner of mountain ranges around the world. We have also claimed a new world record. Everyone, it seems, is getting more ambitious and pushing themselves harder and further than ever before. Pretty impressive for a club that’s only four years old.
The year started with the Harp Hilly 100, which BCC won for the fourth year in succession. 51 members braved the chills and hills to bring home the much-coveted shield again, much to the chagrin of other local clubs.
By April the weather hadn’t improved much, but nonetheless a good crop of club members took part in the Berkhamsted Triathlon. We had individual members competing as solo entrants and we also fielded several teams of three, with overall victory going to BCC’s team comprising Emily Hartwell (swim), Matt Buckle (bike) and Rob Chambers(run). The fastest cycle leg of the day went to our own Simon Pearce, who just pipped Matt Buckle’s time.
May saw us visit the London Olympic velodrome, as 32 of us descended on the track to take over the venue, giving a fair few their first experience on the banked wooden boards. This was just a fun event, but more than one came away pledging to become accredited on the tracks and take up the sport.
June witnessed the Berkhamsted Castle Revolutions Festival, a day of crit racing on closed roads, which provided spectacular racing throughout, and a win for one of our members in the hotly-contested men’s novice race. In fact our club members dominated the results, with two podiums, five of the top six places, and seven of the top ten going to BCC. 2nd place in the women’s novice race also went to a BCC club member.
Into August and the BCC Road Race was run on a loop around Mentmore. An expansion from last year came in the shape of a women’s race in addition to the men’s. Across the two competitions we fielded an impressive seven riders, and came away with a win in the women’s Cat 4.
In September our 10 mile open time trial was revived on the Mentmore Loop, with a good turnout of 23 BCC members on the starting line. Our ladies were narrowly beaten to the Team Shield by Lovelo Cinelli Race Team, but we had a win in the “Athlete” class for standard road bikes. The men’s team went one better and brought home the Team Shield and took an individual bronze medal, while the “Athlete” medal was won by a BCC member, albeit entered under the Lovelo banner.
Which brings us to our last competitive event of the season – our club hill climb, run up Tom’s Hill in Aldbury in late October. A good showing of entrants from several local clubs, and one or two who had come from as far afield as Dulwich came to the start line, and was interspersed with a few of our own lightweight uphill flying machines. Although we didn’t win any prizes today, BCC put on an excellent showing and were roundly applauded and thanked by all those who took part, whose generous appreciation and acknowledgement made it all seem worthwhile.
So, all in all a very satisfactory season for BCC.
Everyone who has taken part in these competitive activities deserves recognition, but there are one or two individuals whose achievements I would like to highlight:
Matt Buckle, for his win in a Cat 3 crit race at Hillingdon. He would have scored a second win, but elected to take the short cut to hospital instead.
James Taylor, who within two weekends went from a Cat 4 racer with zero points to a Cat 3, with a fantastic race in which he just missed the win. He also put in some great time trial performances.
Ben Nixon, for winning in his first ever race, and going on to represent Great Britain in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Italy.
Simon Pearce, for continually putting in outstanding performances every time he rides. 3rd in his age group (58th overall) in Ride London and 12th overall on Velothon Wales. Another Great Britain representative at the world championships.
Heather Taylor, for her 2nd in the women’s novice race at BCRF and her two triathlon wins.
Janice Bell, winner of the women’s Cat 4 in our road race and the “Athlete” class in our time trial. Also, Janice qualified for, and represented Great Britain in the world championship Gran Fondo.
Lee Morgan, for completing an ironman competition.
The above is just a small selection. Across the board no fewer than 67 of our members have competed in races of one form or another this season. Take a bow – you deserve it.
Berkhamsted Cycling Club Hillclimb, Tom’s Hill, Aldbury. 21st October 2018
Our annual test on Tom’s Hill was held on a crisp, bright Sunday morning which saw the picturesque village of Aldbury bathed in beautiful Autumn sunshine, and views across from the hill tops looking down onto mist-shrouded valleys. It couldn’t have been a better setting for the 36 riders who had come to support our event. The first rider was underway at one minute past nine, and after enduring three minutes’ worth of pain it was all over for him. Although there are no viciously steep inclines on the hill, it is quite challenging, and more than a few competitors mentioned how hard they had found it.
All seemed to have enjoyed the hurt of the competition though, and a steaming but happy throng made their way back to the event headquarters in Musette Cafe for refreshments and the awards ceremony.
Fastest time of the day went to Calvin Cheung from Hub Velo, with a most impressive two minutes and six seconds, while Karine Jones from Verulam Really Moving took women’s honours at two minutes, fifty two seconds. Well done Calvin and Karine. BCC were represented by a small, but perfectly-formed group, who put in some good performances, but fell just short of collecting medals. Next year they have promised to win.
This event has always been run as a B Category “closed” club event, but we are looking at running it as an open event for next year. With a larger field than ever before, and many entrants vowing to come back next year, 2019’s running could be even better.
A great day of racing. Well done riders, volunteers, supporters and Graham for organising the event.
Pictures can be viewed and downloaded (free) from Flickr by clicking the image below…
Local cyclist and founding club member Nick Clarke has broken the #Sidetoside cycling record from Pembroke, Wales to Great Yarmouth, Norfolk on 4th October 2018 in a time of 15hrs 25mins. This beats the previous record by 1hr 16mins.
Nick covered 351 miles at an amazing average speed of over 23 mph. He got through almost 10,500 calories and is extremely grateful to the support crew as without them the attempt would never have gotten off the ground.
The club congratulates Nick on his incredible achievement and on the same day as BCC members Michael and Graham broke the Pedal Powered vessel English Channel Crossing.
Sunday, 30th September saw BCC host its annual 10 mile open time trial on the Mentmore Loop. We were favoured by bright conditions, albeit chilly to begin with, and all competitors got round the course with no reported incidents.
Awards were spread around local clubs and teams, with BCC bringing home a few of the medals, to the appreciation of the partisan crowd.
Congratulations to the Lovelo ladies, who won the team shield, just ahead of BCC’s women. Our men won the corresponding shield for the gents, for the second year in succession. Well done all and many thanks to Graham the organiser along with all the volunteers.
1st: Helen McKay, Les Filles Racing Team
2nd: Samantha Fawcett, Lovelo Cinelli Racing Team
3rd: Nicole Oh, Les Filles Racing Team
1st Veteran: Helen McKay, Les Filles Racing Team
1st “Athlete”: Janice Bell, Berkhamsted Cycling Club
Team Shield: Lovelo Cinelli Racing Team (Samantha Fawcett, Bethany
Harrison, Rebecca Fawcett)
1st: Mark Ellis, Team Milton Keynes
2nd: Michael Parker, TMG Horizon Racing Team
3rd: Simon Pearce, Berkhamsted Cycling Club
1st Veteran: Mark Ellis, Team Milton Keynes
1st “Athlete”: Tim Newman, Lovelo Cinelli Racing Team (also a member of
Berkhamsted Cycling Club)
Team Shield: Berkhamsted Cycling Club (Simon Pearce, Ben Conradi, Lee
Our club secretary Simon is very excited to be opening the doors of Musette Cafe in Aldbury for the first time to everyone on Sunday 16th September.
Come and sample their delicious range of cakes, have a go at Rollapaluza racing to win ashmei prizes, check out new gravel bike brand L’Enfer or just enjoy a nice cup of coffee whilst watching the last stage of Vuelta a España.
Club members will be there sampling a cake or two so come along to wish Simon all the best in his new and exciting venture 🙂 Click here to follow Musette Aldbury on Facebook.
It’s been another busy couple of weeks for the club making the most of the end of summer sun.
Along with the clubs weekly Saturday morning rides there have been members further afield.
Simon took on the French RAID Pyrénéen climbs from the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean.
Jez was in the French Alps where he climbed over 150,000 feet in a single week. To put this into perspective, this is the equivalent of going up Mount Everest over 5 times!
Four club members had earned a place to represent GB in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship Varese, Italy. A tough climbers course but all thoroughly enjoyed a weekend or so away making the most of Pizza and pasta!
Julian and Jeremy raced at the Vitruvain Half Ironman in Rutland both putting in respectable times but finding the half marathon run very hard work.
Congratulations Anna and proud Mum (BCC member) on winning the last race of the UK National Women’s Road Race series.
Anna has trained with riders from the club and our local bike shop Lovelo Cinelli Race Team.
Anna races for Cycle Team OnForm and has built an impressive palmarès including:
Junior Hill Climb champion
A string of 1st and 2nd places in the Women’s OVO Energy Tour Series
1st in the Women’s National Circuit Championships
Success on the track in the UK and in other road races both in the UK and Europe.
Sunday, 5th August saw Berkhamsted CC hosting its second road race. This year the event was expanded to include a women’s race as well as the men’s race. We were using the Mentmore course, incorporating a long straight drag, which on this occasion was into the wind, followed by a climb up to Mentmore.
For the men there were 12 repeats of this, covering 80 kms (50 miles), while the women had 10 laps, or 70 kms. All of this was undertaken in very warm conditions.
A full field of 60 riders had entered the men’s race, which got underway at 9.30 in the morning, although there were a few no-shows on the day.
Hugely disappointing was the wheel failure experienced by our own Simon Pearce. Fortunately it let go in the HQ car park as riders lined up behind the course car. The loud explosion as the wheel rim literally blew apart took everyone in the vicinity by surprise, and although Simon was disappointed not to be able to take the start he must have been counting his lucky stars that it didn’t happen on the 40 mph descent out of Mentmore.
Further bad luck afflicted another BCC member, James Burke, who punctured on the first lap and had to abandon. Apart from those misfortunes we did see four of our riders cross the finish line, with James Taylor heading Matt Buckle, Ben Nixon and Rob Morton. Our Cat 3 riders, James and Matt, did a superb job, staying with the pack until the finish line, while Ben and Rob had their own battle within the 4th Cat entrants.
The hotly contested race finally saw Richard Wiggins of Team Milton Keynes emerge victorious, followed by Cian Smailes of NFuse Identity Racing and Joe Baker of Zero BC Development Team.
The afternoon brought the ladies to the start line, and this was always going to be a very serious field, with cats 2, 3 and 4 competing for honours.
The main pack stayed together for the whole race, with Georgia Bullard of Team Jadan Weldtite – Vive Le Velo crossing the line first, followed by Charlotte Redden of Cycle Team On Form and Francesca Cutts of CC London. Both races saw great sprinting for the primes, and when the results were finally established it was enormously gratifying to see that BCC’s Janice Bell had won the Cat 4 competition.
From all the positive remarks and compliments from competitors, with many expressing their wish to compete again next year, I think we can say the event was a great success.
BCC would like to express their thanks to Grange Jaguar Land Rover, who supported the event and supplied the course cars.
The club also wishes a huge THANK YOU to the volunteers, marshals, British Cycling staff and our Performance Officer Graham Earl as without these people the race would never have happened. You are all winners!
For more pictures of the day click on the image below…
On Thursday 26th July BCC were honoured to welcome a true local hero to present a talk to the club’s members at the King’s Arms’ function room.
Berkhamsted resident, Michael Broadwith is known as a long-distance specialist, having won the National 24 Hour time trial no less than three times, with distances up to 530 miles, but his most recent crowning glory is his new record for the “End to End”, or Land’s End to John O’Groats, completed in a staggering time of just 43 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds.
Michael generously gave up his evening to tell us how he did it, and to talk about the various trials and tribulations along the way. His charming manner and wit won us all over and everyone felt humbled by this very likeable and modest superman. What a fabulous evening!
BCC were happy to make a donation to Michael’s chosen charity, Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Along with the Saturday club ride this weekend has again seen members enjoying the summer on two wheels.
On Friday the Silverstone circuit was a sea of blue and yellow with three BCC teams in the BMCC 9-up team time trial. Everyone thorughly enjoyed themselves and a huge thanks to our Performance Officer Graham for organising.
Graham was also at Herne Hill Cycling Revival in the penny farthing race where Mark Beaumont broke a 127 year old British record riding 21.92 miles in 1 hour. There was no lycra allowed and Graham is in the gold waistcoat.
Trevor was at the classic cycling festival Eroica Britannia where pre 1987 bikes take on the gravel trails of the Peak District around Bakewell. He did the 60 mile route and was the first rider to finish but not the quickest time!
Not strictly cycling related but… Club member Mathew Norman and crew won 1st place in the Nasdaq Clipper race from Panama to New York. Mathew is front third left. AMAZING result!
Huge congratulations to local superhero, Michael Broadwith, who broke the Land’s End to John O’Groats record on a bike. His “end to end” ride took a mere 43 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds. That’s an average speed of 20 mph. His incredible achievement also saw him smash several other records along the way. Very, very well done. Click here to read Michael’s story.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the club with riders and racers taking part in events all over the UK.
The club are also completing final preparation for the Berkhamsted Castle Revolutions Festival 2018 family day of cycling and entertainment with closed road racing and riding for everyone. Click here for details of the event on 24th June 2018.
On 23rd May BCC took over the Olympic Park velodrome. 30 of our members enjoyed riding the same boards where so many gold medals were won by Team GB during the 2012 Olympic Games.
The place is incredible, and you can’t help feeling the presence of great names like Wiggins, Cavendish, Hoy, Pendleton, Clancy, Trott, King, Archibald, Kenny and so many others who have graced this venue with their very superior presence. After just a handful of laps your whole perspective changes and suddenly it becomes clear just how super-human those characters are. Believe me, it’s hard work.