The club have well and truly rolled into 2019 with members participating in the weekly club ride, sportive events further afield and races in our local leagues.
Of particular note is the new Berkhamsted Cycling Club sign at the clubs HQ in partnership with Berkhamsted Cricket Club.
Other events (in no particular order)…
The superbly well organised Ride Chartridge Sportive saw 34 club members enjoying the Chilterns and the company of other like minded riders.
Not to be outdone by the recent Mallorca 312 event; Mike (current Chairman), Michael (previous Chairman), Paul and Richard completed their very own in Mallorca 313. Enjoying the scenery and climbs around Puerto Pollensa and Sa Calobra. Paul and Richards’s other halves also appreciated a week away but had to put up with the post ride banter during re-hydrates and refueling!
Julian raced at the Eton Dorney Triathlon Sprint distance and Herts Olympic distance Triathlon in preparation for an upcoming Ironman Race.
Simon raced in the Hemel Hempstaed Cycling Club (HHCC) 10 mile time trial with a very respectable 19th place in a time of 25mins 12secs despite taking a wrong turn and adding almost another mile. He would have been in the top 10 otherwise. Simon is preparing for the Cambridge closed road time trial and hopes to qualify for the UCI finals race.
Second claim member Nick (Arctic Tacx 1st claim) has been training hard over the winter and has seen fantastic gains in time trialing with a 3rd place at the Hitchin Nomads 25 mile, 1st at the HHCC 10 mile and 4th at Hounslow 100 mile with a time of 3hrs 39mins 50secs and averaging 44kmh (27.4mph).
James also raced at the Hitchin TT placing 15th in 58min 16secs with an average of 42kmh (26mph).
Rob has been racing at Milton Keynes Bowl and Richard at Hillingdon criterium circuits. Both easing back into the 2019 series of events.
Lee raced at the West London Combine 25 mile TT with a provisional time of 1hr 2 secs at over 38kmh (24mph)
Stephen raced at the local Bovingdon Bomber criterium hosted by HHCC. A great circuit and an easy ride from Berkhamsted.
Summer has almost started and the club has had another busy couple of weeks that started with the Bank Holiday Mystery Tour to the Barn At Turville Heath with fantastic food and a scenic (if hilly) route. Many thanks to Paul our ride coordinator for organising.
Next up was an evening with Mark Beaumont who holds the record for cycling round the world, completing his 18,000 mile (29,000 km) route on 18 September 2017, having taken less than 79 days. Mark was presented with a club jersey by Chris, Graham, Michael, Sarah, Janice and Rob.
Our local neighbouring club Pedal of Honour had their annual charity ride for three local charities: The Hospice of St Francis, Helen & Douglas House and Rennie Grove. Club members Heidi and Briony had a great day enjoying refreshment stops organised by The Alford Arms, Frithsden.
Of note was Velo Birmingham, a 101 mile (162 km) closed road sportive that Michael, Mike, Tommy, Tom and others took part in. Particular mention goes to Simon (our kit officer) who completed the course 4 hrs 19 min averaging over 23 mph (37 kmh) and leading the peloton for the first 30 miles!
Meanwhile, at The Fred Whitton Sportive was Ian, Ben and Leon who covered 118 miles (190 km) with 11, 646 ft (3,550 mtrs) elevation and maximum gradients of near 30% This is one of the must-do sportives for riders.
It’s been a busy weekend for the club with riders taking part in the DENS Hemel Hillbuster, Mallorca 312 and the chairman completing the London Marathon.
The Hemel Hillbuster was a 60 or 100km route around the Chilterns and was a great success with 600 cyclists raising £25,000 for people who are facing homelessness, poverty and social exclusion in Dacorum.
Club riders also enjoyed sunnier climes in Mallorca for the 312 closed road sportive. A fantastic event with a 312km route and 5000 meters climbing. The gang had a great time.
Our chairman Mike took to two legs completing the London Marathon. An awesome achievement and one that Mike isn’t going to try again!
The club are delighted to announce that our Reliability Ride has raised £817.13 for Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) the event charity partner.
The cheque was handed over to one of the helicopter crews comprising of critical care paramedics and a senior doctor. The helicopters are capable of dealing with major trauma incidents, can travel at speeds up to 160mph and land in an area the size of two tennis courts. TVAA also have emergency response vehicles equipped with the latest advanced medical equipment.
On the 10th March Brian McCarthy tackled one of the iconic cycle rides; The Cape Argus in Cape Town, South Africa. Following is Brian’s story of the event…
“Anyone who has ever wanted to go, or return, to South Africa on holiday, could do worse that combine it with an internationally-recognised “bucket list” event, the famous “Cape Argus”.
Held on the second Sunday every March, the event started in 1977 and now attracts 35,000 entrants, including around 4,000 from all over the world. So what’s the big deal?
Well, world-class scenery around the stunning Cape Peninsula, fully closed roads, a fairly challenging ride, fantastic support from the road side, and the pleasure of riding a superbly organised event with riders of all stripes, a two-day cycle expo and a beautiful city turned over to cycling and cyclists for the weekend!
Cape Town is a 11 hour direct flight from London (a little longer to fly via Johannesburg and connect, but with a time difference of only 2 hours in March, there’s no jet-lag).
It’s a long way to go for a bike ride only, so for afters (or before), I recommend a stay in nearby Franschhoek for truly stunning mountain scenery, awesome cycling, world class wine estates and a vibrant restaurant scene. For those with more than a week to spend, it’s only a 3 hour flight direct to the Kruger National Park or nearby private game reserves for a memorable southern African bush safari experience.
But back to the Cape Argus! It’s “only” 109km (68 miles) of undulating tarmac, starting in Cape Town City Centre and with total climbing of around 1,200m, including 3 x Cat. 4 and 4 x Cat. 5 climbs. Eminently suitable for riders of all abilities.
Elite athletes start off as the sun rises, the rest of the field set off in groups at 1 minute intervals according to your seeding and group start time, from a very slickly organised starting area, where the atmosphere is fantastic.
Not very long after the start the first climb (Edinburgh Drive) can come as a bit of a surprise to legs which are barely warmed up, but the reward is the opportunity to get into one of the many mini-pelotons that form on the long drop down through Constantia and really fly with only moderate effort.
The second of the event’s four significant climbs (Smitswinkel) is a leg-sapping drag up and then over Cape Point itself, followed by a long run down the west coast of the peninsula back towards Cape Town. Then comes the jewel in the crown – the climb up Chapman’s Peak Drive at 75km/47 miles in, with breathtaking views down to the coast way down below the road.
One more challenge lies ahead before a fast run down into Cape Town and the Greenpoint Stadium finish, and that’s Suikerbossie (“Sugarbush”). If it sounds sweet, it ain’t – its most participants’ least favourite section of the ride. The climb is only 2.8km/1.75 miles long – but with a constant gradient of almost 5 degrees, and coming at around the 95km/59 mile mark, it’s a bit of a b*****d, to be honest. Definitely needs gritted teeth, although the roadside support is electric.
After that it’s all over bar the shouting, with a fast downhill section through Llandudno (yes, the other one!) and then a flat and twisty spin through the famous coastal suburbs Camps Bay and Clifton, with the finish line almost in sight….
March is a great time to be in Cape Town – it’s not too hot (expect to ride in 25-28C temperatures), but it can be windy. The “Cape Doctor” (infamous southeaster wind) blew hard throughout the 2019 event just past, which made it a lot tougher, but usually it’s not too much of a factor – just an additional element to be reckoned with.
In 2018, Neil Ruthven, Peter Hewitt and I flew the flag for BCC in near perfect conditions, and in 2019 I was the lone BCC rider who completed the somewhat more testing event.
It would be really great if we could get other BCC members to get out to Cape Town for 8 March 2020! Anyone thinking about doing so is very welcome to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be delighted to share my knowledge of the event, travel to and in and around Cape Town and South Africa, and general trip planning tips.”
As the weather starts to improve more club cyclists are enjoying our Saturday morning ride and we have a new club record with 230 members.
The club caters for most levels of cyclists and as long as you can maintain an average speed of 19 kmh (12 mph) and have a road bike then head over to our membership pages for details of how to join.
The clubs Saturday morning ride now starts from our new HQ at Berkhamsted Cricket Club HP4 1HE
Along with the different speed group Saturday morning rides we have introduced a training focused ride for members that want to improve or re-gain performance in preparation for Sportives or events later in the year. These rides have been designed by our Performance Officer (also a triathlon coach) in conjunction with our Ride Coordinator.
For faster riders and club racers the early (7:00am) Saturday ride has recently included riders from other clubs. Notably Alice Lethbridge the Cycling Time Trial Women Best British All-Rounder along with other national level racers. The early ride is a great way for like minded riders to team up/chain-gang around the Chilterns challenging terrain.
The club have lots of events planned for 2019 with social events, sportives (local and further afield) and hosting a road race (with picnic) along with a time trial and hill climb later in the year.
Riders have already put in a phenomenal amount of km’s this year. From 1st Jan 2019 to 31st March the riders have (stats from Strava) …
• Ridden 141,878 km’s
• Climbed 1,347,053 meters
• In 5,702 hours
That’s over 152 times up Everest and almost 5 times around the world!
*Update* Verulam Cycling Club have won the Berkhamsted Cycling Club Spring Classic Trophy with Leighton Buzzard Triathlon Club in second place.
Chapeau to all riders in very windy riding conditions and to the Committee (especially Paul Molyneux) and Musette Cafe for organising a memorable event.
Photos of the day can be viewed and downloaded (free) from Flickr…
The event takes place on Sunday 10th March 2019, sign on opens from 8:00, first riders are off at 8:30.
The event provides a choice of two routes through the stunning Chiltern countryside. Our objective when creating these routes was simple: not the longest, not the hardest, not the hilliest: just the best the area has to offer – a great day out the bike. The longer route takes in a beautiful loop through the Vale of Aylesbury, past the historic Waddesdon Manor and then back via a challenging climb up Aston Hill. The shorter loop shares its outward leg with the longer route before splitting off at 35km and avoiding Aston Hill. **Please note that due to roadworks on Stocks Lane the start of the ride now includes Toms Hill and both routes are slightly shorter with less climbing.
The shorter route is 65km/40 miles with 512 metres/1683 feet of climbing https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28988175
The longer route is 106km/66 miles with 979 metres/3208 feet of climbing https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28973426
How to Enter
What’s a reliability Ride?
Reliability rides are self supported organised rides of a pre-planned course. Riders are expected to navigate the route themselves and to complete the course without external assistance, other than from other riders.
The event will be timed via chip timing, provided on the day.
The event will include a competition for the unique, handmade Berkhamsted Spring Classic Trophy. Each rider who completes the long route scores one point, each rider completing the shorter route gets half a point, the club with the most points will hold the trophy for a year, until the next event, when the trophy will return to be awarded again. BCC are excluded from the competition as the hosting club. Will your club be the winners?
Event HQ and Buffet
The event HQ is Musette Café in Aldbury, Herts. A recent addition in the village of Aldbury Musette has quickly become a destination for cyclists and walkers due to their fantastic coffee, amazing cakes and frequent events. We’re grateful for their support.
At the end of the event there’ll be a free buffet and bottomless tea. Musette will be open as usual selling their excellent coffee and cakes.
Musette can be found at:
Musette Café, Church Farm, Station Road, Aldbury ,HP23 5RS https://www.musette.cafe/
We’re pleased that Thames Valley Air Ambulance is our charity partner for this event. Recently a member of our club had an accident while out on a ride, TVAA were on hand to take him to hospital and he’s now on the road to recovery, we and many other people who’ve been helped by TVAA in their hour of need are hugely grateful for the service the TVAA provides. The TVAA receives no funding from the NHS therefore we’re proud to announce that all profits from this event with be donated to the TVAA. More information about the TVAA can be found here.
Things to know and remember
The event will not be signed, you can download directions from the entry page, paper route maps will be available on the day.
There will be no support on the road therefore riders should ensure that their bike is in good working order and carry sufficient spares and supplies as necessary.
Third party insurance is provided by British Cycling as part of the cost of entry. Riders are reminded that they ride at their own risk.
All participating riders are required to wear helmets.
Riders should obey the rules of the road and ride with due consideration for other road users. Any riders observed not doing so will be ejected from the event.
Parking is available at the event HQ but is limited. If you’re unable to park at the HQ you can park of at Tring Station c.1km from the event HQ, charges may apply.
Please be considerate of residents who live close to the event HQ when arriving in the morning.
The club were proud to host a talk by Guinness World Record holder Leigh Timmis.
Leigh has recently broken the Guinness World record for the fastest cycle across Europe by an astonishing eight days.
Leigh, who had previously spent seven years on a mammoth 44,000-mile cycle across the globe, left the most western tip of Europe – Cabo da Roca in Portugal – on 10th September 2018, intent on breaking the existing record of 24 days.
On 5th October he arrived at the most Eastern tip in Ufa, Russia, close to the border of Kazakhstan, having completed the 3,956-mile (6330km) ride in an extraordinary 16 days, 10 hours and 45 minutes.
Leigh’s talk was engaging and inspirational sharing stories of overcoming adversary along with consuming 15,000 calories a day during the ride.
A brilliant evening, and thanks to Heidi and the Committee for organising.
*Update* BCC have won the Harp Hilly 100 shield for the 5th consecutive year in a row with 58 riders completing the ride.
Verulam Cycling Club were our nearest competitors with 21 riders finishing.
The HH100 Shield was presented to Berkhamsted Town Mayor Sue Beardshaw for display in the Town Hall. Please see the photos below.
Ride report from club Chairman Mike Plowman…
The annual Harp Hilly Hundred ‘call to arms’ came from the BCC Committee. Initial club entry numbers looked promising and we knew there was a good chance that BCC could retain the shield. That said, rumours were rife that Verulam CC were keen to reclaim the trophy for their cabinet! We could not afford complacency especially at this time of the year with the constant threat of winter coughs, sneezes and other diseases, that, and any injuries or strains, could spell disaster.
The morning of Sunday 20th January rolled around. As predicted, there had been a number of club riders that had dropped out due to illness, injury and last minute commitments but our ride coordinator had liaised with the HHH organiser and managed to re-allocate some spots.
The weather on the run-up to the ride had been very cold and there was no guarantee that the event would take place as planned.
As it turned out Sunday morning was very cold with temperatures at -2 during the night before and the mercury didn’t rise above + 4 for the ride itself. 60 well wrapped up club members lined up for the start with lots of talk of black ice, finishing and getting back to the start HQ for warmth, coffee & cakes.
A special mention to ex-chair Michael Gower who made the journey up from Kent to ride with the club.
Soon everyone was underway, feeling the cold but soon warming up with the hills of the Chilterns. There was the distinct possibility of punctures and one or two members had this misfortune but everyone rode in groups so help and support was at hand.
Club racer Simon Pearce whistled solo round the course in 3 hr 16 min at an average 19.5 mph with a slow puncture! Simon is well on his way to superhero status!
Everyone had a great (albeit cold) ride and the club have now received official confirmation that we have retained the Harp Hilly Hundred Shield. 58 riders completed with our nearest rivals, Verulam CC, having 21. Congratulations to all riders and supporters. Truly a great BCC achievement to win the trophy 5 years in a row!
Big thanks to the HH100 organisers and Trevor Hill who captured a superb day out on camera.
On Sunday 27th January a band of intrepid BCC’ers braved the wind, and the rain, and the wind and the hail, and the wind, and the cold, and the wind, and the mud and very occasionally some pleasant sunshine to compete in the final round of this year’s Central Cyclocross League (CCXL).
Taking part were Robin Lord, in his first CX race of the year, Niamh and Mervyn Dempsey, Janice Bell, who was taking part in her very first ever CX race, Jonny Gray and yours truly (Jez Kidd). The racers were ably supported by a host of BCC ‘spectatheletes’: IT guy, photographer and all round club supporter Trevor Hill, Men’s Captain Rob Morton, Neil and Charlie Barnes (who was dressed as a Chicken), Tommy and Marie Wong and Baby Ben.
This year’s CCXL has brought us a little bit of everything, and so it was with today’s race, which brought us four seasons in one day, with a double helping of mud. The course wound its way around the Hillingdon road circuit, a familiar venue to any crit racers, but today put to a slightly different purpose. The course started on tarmac before diving onto the grass and a series of tight turns and small rises for a truncated first lap, which brought the race quickly back to the start line and a now extended course which included two short steep drops, with two equally short steep climbs. The race took in off camber sections (resulting in an off camber club secretary on more than one occasion), the obligatory hurdles and tight tracks through trees and bushes. While it didn’t feature as much climbing as some of the previous rounds it more than made up for it with lots of the aforementioned mud which meant plenty of going sideways and running with the bike, with the small number of gravel and paved sections never being quite long enough to get your breath back.
All in all a fantastic race and brilliant fun to be part of.
Provisional Results based on CCXL timing system:
Robin Lord 38th
Niamh Dempsey 17th
Janice Bell 20th
Mervyn Dempsey 10th
Jonny Gray 18th
Jez Kidd 22nd
I’ve really enjoyed my first season of CX and I’d urge everyone to give it a go, I’m even thinking of training next time 😉
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