Matt and Richard raced at Hillingdon crit circuit for the first of the year’s Tuesday evening BC West Thames series of events.
Richard entered the 4th cat only race and Matt the 3rd cat only.
The 4th cat race was the first to start and Richard stayed mid pack for the majority of the time. There were a couple of attempts at a break but none of them stuck. Conditions were not ideal with a cross head wind on the finish straight that proved to be Richard’s undoing.
The final lap bunch sprint was a close run affair with Rich finishing safely near the back of the pack as the combination of headwind and strong sprints proved too much.
Richard was happy with his race with many race tactics learnt and is looking forward to the next one.
Matt was up next with the 3rd cat race that followed a very similar format as the 4th with the bunch staying together for most of the race. Matt kept close to the front but managed to stay out of the wind.
On the last lap Matt moved up and when 3 riders attacked off the front he went with them. Unfortunately the riders ran out of power which left Matt taking the head wind as the bunch rounded the final corner and Matt was swamped in the sprint with 300 meters to the line. Provisional results has Matt around 15th place. Live to fight another day!
James had a busy Easter Bank Holiday weekend with a criterium race on Saturday and a hilly time trial on Sunday, both of which he did very well in.
Following are race reports from James… (Photo credits to Frankie Snell’s Photography)
West Drayton MBC Hillingdon Crit
After confirmation that I finished in 9th place in the MK Crit the previous week, I had my first precious British Cycling point on the board.
On Saturday afternoon I went down to Hillingdon with the aim of adding to my points total.
As I completed a couple of warm up laps the wind started to pick up, and from the advice of fellow BCC racers, they said that it was unlikely that a break would get away if there was a strong wind.
So the race started, and time and time again they were proved right, as various riders tried to break away and as soon as they hit the headwind they were quickly brought back to the group. However, this didn’t stop some trying and failing to make repeated attacks. I was more than happy to sit in the bunch and let them waste energy.
Into the final three laps, and a small group put the hammer down, I jumped onto a wheel and clung on as the pace picked up further. This split the race in half with only about 10 riders able to cope with the increased speed. Going into the final lap I was trying to position myself for the sprint finish. Someone opened their sprint just before the final bend so I jumped to their wheel, but they quickly faded, I went past them but was now boxed in meaning I couldn’t make up any further places, so I had to settle for 7th.
3 further BC points on the board, and now only 8 until that Cat 3 licence.
Watford Velo Sport Whiteleaf Hardriders TT
When signing up for the Watford Whiteleaf TT I had a look at previous editions and in the past the race had gone up Whiteleaf twice. Tough, I thought, but doable, though maybe for some sick April fool’s day joke this year it would be 3 times up the hill!
Going up Whiteleaf would be at the end of each lap, so I had about 10km to prepare myself for it. I started well and got into a good rhythm though turning onto the hill quickly stopped that, sapping the energy from my legs, it was a grind to the top.
1 lap down 2 to go, I settled back into my rhythm and finished the second lap just 26 seconds slower than the first. Just 20 minutes of suffering remaining.
Going up Whiteleaf for the final time and feeling like I was cycling through treacle, I emptied what I had left in the tank, clocking a time of 1:02:45 and finishing in 7th place!
The club wishes James congratulations on a great weekend’s racing and speedy progress to Cat 3.
Up and coming star in the BCC ranks, James Taylor, was out on both days at the weekend, making significant steps forward. Well done James, on two excellent results.
Milton Keynes Bowl Crit Race
After a week cycling in Spain (if it’s good enough for the pros…), with a decent amount of base miles in my legs, I was ready to start my race season. I was a little apprehensive after multiple set backs last year, but I turned up to a cold damp MK bowl on Saturday morning.
After a few warm up laps of the track with Richard, we were ready to race. As if on cue, as the race started so did the rain, wonderful. The pace started off steady as we completed the first few laps. 5 minutes in, and with no increase in the pace, I attacked up the hill, I checked back to see if anybody was joining me, but nobody else decided to join in the fun.
After about 5 minutes off the front the bunch started bringing me back, so I sat up and rejoined them. I burnt a few matches in my breakaway so now was time to recover, I moved to the back of the group and let everyone else do the work.
With the rain persisting and conditions not getting better, nobody else tried to get off the front. 50 minutes in, the 5 laps to go board went up, and so did the pace. It continued to ramp up, stretching out the group and a few gaps started to form, at this point I was quite far from the front.
Going into the final lap, I was sitting in around 20th position, as we came onto the back straight, as we began going uphill, I started my sprint early. I started picking off those in front of me, more gaps were opening as I went up the hill, and the possibility of a top 10 finish was increasing. I gave one final push and overtook a few others just before the line moving into the top 10, and claiming my first ever BC points. Final positions are still to be confirmed, but best case is 7th. Now time to recover for a time trial on Sunday.
Sid Latchford Time Trial
A Time trial which includes going up Bison hill and Invinghoe Beacon at 8 am on a Sunday morning, most people’s idea of hell, but for 91 of us, we fancied putting ourselves through an hour of hell. I started well and was feeling good, catching my minute man half way up Bison hill. My legs were screaming at me on the long drag up to the Beacon, but the end was in sight. Going into the final straight with a slight tail wind I pushed for the finish, clocking a time of 57:54, putting me in 4th place in the road bike category, only seconds off the podium.
The 2012 London Olympic venue of Hadleigh Park, Essex hosted the first round of the Mud Sweat and Gears cross country mountain bike series on an extremely chilly Sunday afternoon. BCC racer Mervyn Dempsey, is continuing his preparation for the 2018/19 Cyclocross season by participating in selected rounds throughout the year. Competing in the Sport Male category Mervyn finished 24th of 35 starters in an extremely competitive field.
In Mervyn’s words…
“2005 was the last time I took part in any sort of mountain bike race and probably the last time I did any serious technical off road riding so lap one was a bit of a shock to the system! However within a couple of laps the confidence started to return and I could start to enjoy everything Hadleigh Park had to offer! It a was long and tough race with lots of climbing and a lot of fast riders, but I’m happy finishing 24th in the end. The aim was to have fun and improve the technical skills, both achieved! Looking forward to the next one!”
Congratulations to Matt for a well deserved 7th place at race 2 of the ART Winter series.
Race review from Matt & Simon…
Was a good race. A pacey start then about 5 mins in 3 were off the front, peloton eased and a guy on the left attacked to bridge and in a rush of blood I attacked right and bridged with him. Took another 5mins or so for a good breakaway of 6 to form with a decent gap, as the peloton started to whittle down. I pulled my turns pretty hard and about 25 mins into the breakaway, the 2 strongest in there upped the pace and I couldn’t hold the wheels. Dropped back to the bunch, recovered and found a sprint for 2nd or 3rd over the line from the bunch. Great fun!
Matt had a great race day – bridged the gap and stayed away with a 5 bike breakaway. Eventually the breakaway proved too strong and Matt re-joined the peloton, but with the leader already poised to go up a category he pulled the remains of the breakaway over the finish line, almost lapping the field. Matt soon recovered and sprinted the final straight to clinch 7th place. Great race Matt!
Facebook link to a short video of the race from the Abingdon Race Team…
WEEK 2 THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!Thanks and well done to everyone who raced today at another sell out event!!! A little bit of action below from the racing this morning.Well done to those who picked up some points!! We’ll be back on 24th Feb 2018 for week 3 (link below) which looks like it will sell out so enter early to guarantee a race.https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/168209/Abingdon-Race-Team-Winter-Crit-Series–3Hope you had a good time out there. We’ll be back bright and early with more coffee and more bacon rolls.Results and photos up in the few days.Thanks to Fission Nutrition, Thomas Merrifield Sales & Lettings, Take3, Java&Co, Independent Coffee House, Isis Scaffolding Limited, XHale, Blueprint Imaging Ltd and photographers Steve and Stephen Cartmell.See you in a couple of weeks folks!!!
The club members that took part in the Lovelo Cyclo Crossmas at Ashlyns School on Sunday 17th December had a fantastic time!
Much mud, snow and a bridge to contend with 🙂 Huge thanks to Lovelo Cinelli Race Team and Lovelo Cycle Works for putting on a great event.
Full results and pictures from our Hill Climb at Toms Hill in Aldbury on Sunday 29th October 2017. Congratulations to all the riders, some good times posted.
Many thanks for all the volunteers and supporters for coming along too – it makes a big difference to be cheered on.
Finally, a massive thank you to Ashmei Cycle Clothing for allowing us to use their lovely building again – and of course, for the first place KOM and QOM jerseys from their new range – quite brilliant prizes!
Velo City 10
Gregarios Superclub Ciclista
Reading Cycle Club
Verulam Cycle Club
Lovelo Squadra Donne
Hemel Hempstead Cycle Club
Lee Valley Youth Cycle Club
Tri-Force Triathlon Club
Lee Valley Youth Cycle Club
Verulam Cycle Club
Berkhamsted Cycle Club
Berkhamsted Cycle Club
Verulam Cycle Club
Velo City 10
Icknield Road Cycle Club
Berkhamsted Cycle Club
Icknield Road Cycle Club
The Bike Loft
Icknield Road Cycle Club
Watford Velo Cycle Club
Aylesbury Cycle Club
Click on the image below for more pictures of the day
BCC hosted it’s third annual Time Trial on 1st October 2017 over the Leighton Buzzard Road course.
The day started out a bit gloomy but thankfully the weather held for a great event. Congratulations to all the riders that took part and a big thanks to all our members who turned out to make the day possible. Delighted that BCC took a 2 / 3 in the women’s category, with Harriet Purchas and Niamh Dempsey both getting a podium – brilliant work ladies! Big shout to the men’s team also, all posting some very quick times today.
Special thanks go to Richard Metcalfe, BCCs performance officer for another seamless event. We look forward to seeing you back on our own TT course next year!
On a Sunday in Wales Lee Morgan became an Ironman.
He did it on behalf of his Uncle Mike who sadly passed at the end of 2016. Click here if you want to donate to Lee’s charity St Anne’s Hospice, part of St Davids Hospice.
This is Lee’s own account of his incredible achievement…
Ironman Wales, Tenby – 10th September 2017
3.86km Swim, 180.25km Ride, 42.20km Run.
I was bored one Sunday so decided to support a friend doing a triathlon at Eton Dorney Lake 3 years ago. I did not own a bike and could not swim more than 25m freestyle but decided I wanted to give this a shot!
With help from joining BCC and dipping (literally) in and out of Duncan’s swim sessions I signed up to a few different distance triathlon events.
The mecca so to speak for Triathletes is an Ironman Distance. Ironman Wales is considered the second hardest Ironman course in the World after Lanzarote, so why not try out the hilly course in the country I went to School and University in!
After 6 months of training (roughly 14 hours a week) I finally arrived in Tenby! After doing a recce ocean swim the day before the race and encountering numerous jellyfish I thought I may have bitten off more than I could chew!
The weather on race day was horrendous. Torrential rain and 40mph winds! The race organisers had already advised to avoid deep section rims on the bike, but having already travelled to Wales, I only had my nice, shallow 62mm rims :-S
All 2,000 athletes nervously walk down to the 7am swim start together where the local’s belt out the Welsh national anthem and a canon sounds the start of the race. A guy next to me dropped to one knee and proposed to his girlfriend (who said “yes”, else he was in for a horrible 17 hours) whilst the other guy next to me had somehow lost his goggles on the walk down, so was already off to the worst possible start!
The swim itself was calm, not too choppy at all. Despite the feeling of being in a washing machine at the start, being kicked and punched, the athletes around me spread out over the first lap and I had room to focus on my swim.
I successfully exited the second lap of the swim and began the 1K run to transition where “The Bat Bike”, my Canyon Aeroad was eagerly awaiting its rider!
The ride itself was brutal, 2,500m of climbing over 110 miles. The course takes you out to Angle, Pembrokeshire which is narrow peninsula in South West Wales sticking out into the ocean. The winds there were frightening. My deep wheels caught the wind like a sail and I was riding my bike like I’d had far too many beers! The Castelli Gabba was a great jersey choice in the rain 😉 Toward the end there is steep climb section in Saundersfoot where people line the road 3 deep either side as you ride up a narrow channel single file with the crowd erupting. (Closest feeling to being in the tour. Arguably the biggest adrenaline hit I’ve had).
After successfully getting off the bike with a 27kph average I finally started to believe this might happen. All that was left to do was “simply” a marathon with over 500m elevation gain on empty legs!
With almost 10,000 people lining the streets of Tenby and the Ironman race bibs showing your name and number, I received countless “Come on Lee” shouts throughout the run. The support there is truly remarkable! On the last lap of the run I literally couldn’t stomach another gel so switched to the hard stuff at the fuelling stations, Coke and Red Bull. 🙂
I successfully completed the 4th and Final lap, my watch buzzing for the 42nd KM and the Ironman “Magic Carpet” approaching my feet! This last 100m, lined with spectators truly was a moment I will never forget. Having the announcer shouting out “Lee Morgan, you are an Ironman” still sends shivers down my spine and it truly sunk in as the best reward for all my efforts and sacrifices made in the last 6 months.
I did shed a little tear when I walked into the finisher tent.
Thanks to my Ironwife for her continued support. A special shout out to Alex, Tommy and Tom who have been great training buddies on the bike, even though I don’t recall Tommy ever doing a turn on the front!
Finally, huge thanks to the club for its support and everyone’s generous donations toward my chosen charity close to my heart!
If anyone is considering an Ironman, this is truly the one to do!
BCC Road Race Report – Matt Buckle, BCC Mens Team Captain.
When Plan A falters, resort to Plan BCC…! Sunday 6th August 2017 saw the inaugural Berkhamsted Cycling Club Road Race go off in a blaze of blue and yellow, under sunny skies and in front of a significant number of fans enjoying the spectacle of a full field of 60 local racers doing biking battle.
It was a great success, especially since for a long while the inaugural event threatened to be delayed to 2018. Four major road closures on the original circuit meant that with just days to go, the whole Race (course, HQ, risk assessment, banana cake and all) was moved to the 4.4 mile loop heading NE out of Mentmore. If you see Richard Metcalfe around town, buy him a beer. His phenomenal efforts, together with those of the rest of the organisational team (including Jez, Alex, Michael, Simon, Chris, Jo, and the organisers of the morning emergency services race), ensured that from the riders’ perspective, the transition was seamless.
From arrival, the HQ was awash with BCC T-shirts and friendly faces, the club putting on a fantastic show. Representing from within the peloton were racers Matthew Buckle, Simon Pearce and James Taylor. With Simon Voysey in the lead car, the neutralized section headed out from the Cheddington HQ, up the climb past the Stag into Mentmore and then right at the Green, onto the descent and the start of the course proper. The flag dropped soon after the turn and the race was on. In a field of 60 riders at 45mph it is an exhilarating descent into a couple of gentle bends, before a tight left at Ledburn. Anyone dozing during the roll out was soon woken up!
It should be mentioned here that the marshals all did a superb job, and all of the hazardous parts of the circuit passed without incident. Fantastic flag waving.
From Ledburn is a long gentle drag up to the crossroads where the course turns left back to Mentmore. A headwind on this section set the tone for the race, making it difficult for anything to get away and stick. From that turn, the road continues creeping up, through a left then a right before hitting the final climb into Mentmore (going the opposite way to our TT course). This starts gently enough before ramping up to 8% in the middle and hitting 11% just before the end. The finish line was placed half way up this part of the climb. The 10 lap parcours meant 9 times over the full hill as well as 10 opportunities for spectators to shout their support, which was hugely appreciated by all.
On lap 4 came the first of two intermediate sprints: the primes. Half-sniffing glory and half-looking to cover any attack that came off the back of the first prime, Buckle moved up on the back straight and was well positioned after the turn towards Mentmore, sitting in about 9th wheel. He took the final bend well and manoeuvred for the sprint to the line, but couldn’t quite come around a strong Bob McGlue from High Wycombe, who took the Prime with Buckle just behind in 2nd.
The race settled back down again as people recovered from their effort, and the second prime on lap 6 was taken by a small break. There were various attempts to go off the front throughout, always tempered by the peloton’s speed down the descent, the headwind on the back-straight and a tight grip on strong elastic – no-one was let off the leash for any great length of time. Simon Pearce was comfortably moving around the pack, including having a small dig with another at the front. He revealed afterwards it was because he had looked over his shoulder, realised he was right at the back, and so had decided to make his way to the front! It was another move that didn’t last long though with the peloton on high alert. However, with just over a lap to go, two guys pushed hard off the front, one going clear and another trying to bridge across. For almost a whole lap the peloton was playing the fine balancing game between giving the escapees just enough rope to hang themselves and letting them slip away. With 5 in the race, Veralum were doing a decent job on the front, just keeping the break marked, and when the race headed down the back straight again for the last time, Buckle again looked to move up to position for the final turn into the finish section.
Right at that moment, from nowhere, BCC’s James Taylor (to that point playing the Steve Cummings role, hanging around at the back), set the finish alight and took it to everyone. He launched an attack down the right-hand side before the final left turn towards the climb to the finish. His move stretched the peloton out of the crossroads as he led the chase through that final left turn and into the final bends on the approach up to Mentmore. Buckle hit his highest wattage of the day (1200w) to stay with the race at this point as the peloton accelerated hard out of this bend on James’ wheel. Through the final left and right bends in the road, James’ effort began to fade and he was swamped a little, but it was a move that had worked well for Pearce and Buckle, who with the practice of the Prime Lap, positioned himself well out of the final bend and came into the finale pretty nicely placed.
It was then a slightly messy final sprint as, in true pro-style, the break was caught just 250m from the line. Buckle had surfed a decent wheel and then managed to time his acceleration well to squeeze through a gap in the middle and come past a couple as the climb started to bite. With several riders looking for the same gap he just managed to edge out Lovelo sprinter Matt Vallis to reach the line in 6th overall, Vallis in 7th. Meanwhile Jared Millar of Veralum had timed his kick perfectly to get away and seal a strong win. Bob McGlue added to his prime with 2nd overall. Simon Pearce also showed good power in the finale, coming home a very creditable 20th despite finishing with a slightly buckled wheel after he narrowly avoided an unfortunate crash. He was luckier than James who unfortunately got caught up in it and flipped over the handlebars, mercifully damaging his helmet and his wheel rather than his head. A couple of others were not so lucky, with a suspected collarbone the worst of the injuries. It was ruled a racing incident and put only a slight dampener on an otherwise fantastic day for the club and for cycle racing in the region. It’s brilliant that such a young club can not only host but also enter and compete in the local racing scene.
For those interested in the competitive side of the club, please get in touch with Richard, Matt, Simon or James on firstname.lastname@example.org who would be happy to help you find out more. The racing section has gone from strength-to-strength this year, with participation, points and promotions. There are three road races left in the Central Road Race League this season, and it would be great to have BCC representation at them so why not give it a go!
Matt and Simon braved the very wet conditions at Hillingdon British Cycling West Thames round 14 with several riders puncturing.
Both finished in the bunch with Matt in 11th (just missing out on the points) and Simon 20th.
Matt and Simon were also at round 13 on 5th July finishing in 12th and 26th place respectively. Simon raced in round 12 finishing in 10th place and earning a category point.
On 25th June Matt raced in the VC10 road race part of the Central Road Race League and finished in 23rd place.
BCC will be hosting our own road race on 6th August with a 45 mile race around the Vale of Aylesbury,
Four of the clubs ladies entered a team time trial hosted by Bicester Millennium Cycle Club (BMCC) on Tuesday 27th June 2017. Along with four of the men Richard, Graham, Ian and Alan.
Cat Booker (one of the four ladies) has written a short article with a few pictures…
The 4 Up TTT experience at BMCC’s organised event was agreed to be one ‘the four’ who took part would repeat again. Despite all saying it was ‘for fun’ and an experience, this approach pulled a group of ‘vets’ together with mixed years in the saddle, including various event trails in triathlon, club riding, and much more besides; but never a time trial.
Originally the ladies were set this challenge by Heidi Dore, who would have taken part if she could, next time Heidi, and two teams formed.
A one-up ride test loop near Puttenham set the two team grouping. Heidi was in charge with a stopwatch, the tactics, safety, technique were discussed, and training commenced thereafter. As a group Margot, Sarah, Cat & Janice rode in part together over the two months, and continued with their own normal training, some road trips, club rides, and indoor cycling. The four came together for the first time on the night.
The weather forecast was dire, and the nerves probably showed a little as other teams and the form looked good. The event was confirmed running only half hour before-hand.
The warm-up up gave an opportunity for some leg rolling, but it was agreed to stay right, change off the front every 20 seconds, except for corners, and the words for communicating had been chosen. Keep it simple!
The water and gels consumption before the race happened as the ladies waited by the clubhouse and then the start area watching other teams roll-out. BCC were team 8. There were some things that hadn’t been considered but just happened and went like clock work – phew!
The standing start, being held on the bike, deciding the order in those 2 minutes on the side whilst waiting for the countdown and bleep from the start machine were new. The ladies rolled out in line, no flinching, steady, and a little quiet.
It became evident there was a definite slope and a false flat on this airfield course, along with some lumps, and grass ruts beside the track to avoid. The cross wind influenced some energy sapping but the group looked tight, neat and finished in a great time outside of fourth place, very close and certainly with potential to close those gaps in the future. What does the future hold? We will see; but this is definitely achievable, fun and a great experience for club riders. It proved to be a time for bonding, setting the bar, and getting a taste for what the ladies at BCC could do again and with other recruits.
The Performance Academy has had some great results over the last few weeks.
In less than half a season Tom Newton moved up to 3rd cat racer after finishing 9th at the Milton Keynes Bowl crit racing on 25th May. (Photo credits to Pixel Point Photography)
James Taylor competed in the Nick Clark and Ginger Smallwood Road Race on the 11th June. Part of the Central Road Race series that will see BCC host our own round on Sunday 6th August.
Some words from James…
“Was going well, stayed with the bunch the whole race, even attacked a couple of times on the last lap but came to nothing. Was well placed in the bunch for the sprint, then punctured with 100 metres to go and had to do a Chris Froome up the hill”
Graham Earl completed a sterling penny farthing race in the Rapha London Nocturne finishing in 7th place despite being hampered with seized steering on the last lap.
BCC had two men’s teams competing in the Bicester Millennium Cycle Club Silverstone Grand Prix circuit 9-up Team Time Trial.
The two Men’s teams (BCC1 and BCC2) were ranked 16th and 23rd overall with times of 24:55 and 26:16 respectively. This is impressive considering the average age of our riders.
The BCC women’s team are preparing for the forthcoming 4-up TT event.
More photos of the team time trial can be viewed by clicking below…
6th May – Simon Pearce at Hillingdon Crit – 10th place. Simon commented “Lots of breaks but managed to reel them all back, so was bunch finish. Pretty windy on the finish straight so had to push hard to stay on a wheel. It was great going back to Hillingdon, totally different to MK.”
7th May – New BCC member Patrick Brown won the Hatfield Super Sprint Tri – The only competitor to finish under the hour. Chapeau Patrick from the club and the Academy team 😊
11th May – Tom Newton at MK Bowl Crit – A very impressive 5th place in a steadily paced race. Tom now ‘only’ needs a 6th place or better to move into cat 3 racing.
11th May- Simon Pearce at HHCC 10 mile Time Trial – 9th place of 30 riders with a time of 23:00 mins riding a time trial bike. Simon commented “I need more practice to get the power down in the aero position.”
Matt, Richard, Tom and Ben raced at the Milton Keynes Bowl crit on Thursday 5th May 2017. A fantastic showing of BCC colours with a 1 2 3 but, unfortunately, only on the first lap!
Some words from the team below…
Matt (in the 3/4 cat race)…
“Felt good the whole race, had a good position and then lost it and was never in the sprint for the line. Annoying I felt as if I could have won. Should’ve done better really. Apologies if my profanity comes out on the video.”
Provisional result has Matt in 7th place with more points in the bag. Chapeau.
Richard (in the cat 4 race)…
“Very good race, much faster than the two previous weeks, averaged just under 25mph including the warm down lap. We raced anti clock today, the wind certainly slowed the sprint down on the hill. Otherwise a strong BCC showing.”
Provisional result has Rich in 20th place.
Ben (in the cat 4 race)…
Head/cross wind on the climb made for hard work and the first corner after the descent is a long sweeper so strung things out too. More riders there than last week with far too much energy to burn!
Provisional result has Ben in 13th place.
Tom’s provisional result is 12th in the cat 4 race.
Tom Newton raced at Hillingdon crit cat 3/4’s on Tuesday 2nd May 2017 in one of the BC West Thames series of crit races.
Conditions were damp but drying with a strong tailwind down the finish straight that would prove very important in the later cat E/1/2/3 race.
The downside of the strong winds was a block head-wind on the back straight. The series alternates direction of the course and this week was anti-clockwise.
This was the first time at Hillingdon for Tom and walking the course followed by a few laps warm up helped no end.
The start was delayed that meant a shorter than usual 30 min race. Racing was soon underway with Tom sitting nicely mid-pack and keeping out of the wind wherever possible. Watford Velo CC were very strong with numerous attempts at a breakaway down the tail-wind finish straight but being caught in the back straight head-wind.
Pace was high and a handful of riders dropped off the back.
Tom had a sketchy moment when a rider directly in-front had a rear wheel lock (probably broken spoke & buckle) but swift braking and manoeuvring saved anything serious.
The rider with the mechanical had to pull out of the race and had a slight ‘hissy-fit’ throwing his bike over a hedge!
After burning a match, he wasn’t expecting to Tom was back in the bunch. As the laps counted down Tom started moving up as the race was coming down to a bunch sprint. The bunch acceleration out of the last bend was one to many for Tom and he finished around 20th place mid-pack.
Very pleased with his performance and with room for improvement – Tom will be back!
The later E/1/2/3 race (with no BCC involvement) was very fast as the wind strength grew and attacks were constant. The winner set the Hillingdon circuit KOM with a 1min 43 sec lap at 32 mph and 480 watts!
Matt Buckle was racing at the Thames Velo road race on the 30th April 2017, the 3rd race in the Central Road Race series held over a fast course near Oxford.
Following is a race report from Matt, another fantastic read…
Thames Velo Category 3/4 Regional B Road Race
On May bank-holiday Sunday, the third round of the Central Road Race League (BCC is hosting a round in August) was held on the flat and fast Drift Road circuit near LEGOLAND. It was, in a word, quick. A total of 77 riders clipped in, with BCC represented by Matthew Buckle and other local interest in the form of Lovelo riders James McGahern, Matt Verrinder, Mike Kazer and Nick Clarke.
After a long-neutralised section, the flag dropped and the pace was hot. Measured at surface level, the velocity needed to escape the earth’s atmosphere is around 11.2km/second or 10x the speed of a rifle bullet. The escape velocity required to break from the Thames Velo peloton was in a similar range as endless flurries of attacks went off the front, only for the escapees to be irresistibly sucked back into the fold by the unyielding gravitational pull of the peloton.
There were flashes of Blue and Yellow as Buckle jumped with a couple of attacks and helped to chase some dangerous moves. A suicidal solo move by Nick Clarke looked like it might finally cause a ceasefire behind, only for others to take up the chase, and the pedal was back to the metal once more. At this kind of sustained pace (average speed was 27mph/43.2kmh for the 45miles/72km distance), it began to look like the elastic would never snap. Indeed Buckle was guilty of assuming that nothing would get away and he began to sit in a little.
And then it happened. A slight lull inevitably meant yet another big attack went down the right. This time it turned out to be the right time. As the pace had eased the front of the race had become bloated and Buckle found himself slightly boxed in the left gutter, as the attack went down the other flank. It was part tactical error, part poor positioning, part bad luck. And partly it was great team tactics. Henley and Watford riders deliberately blocked at the front as they both had teammates in the 5-man break.
With around 25km still to go and the 5 escapees still in sight, Buckle, Luke Houghton (a strong Junior from Veralum), a pony-tailed rider from OTRT, Nick and a couple of other contributors got a chase nicely organised with 6 or so riders rolling through and off at the front and clawing back time. Here again though, teamwork advantaged the breakaway. Infiltrating the paceline of the 6 or so genuinely working at the front were 2 from Henley and 1 from Watford, ever so subtly rolling through but then slowing the pace to disrupt the chase. It was good tactics and it worked to give the break the edge. Buckle learnt the lessons of the Lovelo Road Race (where he burned too many matches on a futile chase), and began to focus on the minor places.
With maybe 60 riders remaining in the bunch and a tailwind down a long, straight road to the finish line, it was always going to be an interesting sprint. Bunch sprinting is one of those things you either love or hate. It is like a chess match played at 37mph and 95%+ of your max HR, as you make a thousand calculations per second, taking a position, choosing a wheel, timing your gear change, ultra-aware of everything around you. It is the paradoxical feeling of floating in slow motion whilst the speed cranks up and up and up as you wait and wait and wait for the moment to hit the after-burners. Buckle chose a good line and was on a good wheel with 300m to go, staying seated and whizzing the pedals patiently as the wheel in front climbed from the saddle 200m from the line. Wait. Wait. Go. As the road rose to the finish line, Buckle was accelerating whilst the two in front of him faded and a guy came up the right fast. With around 50m to go it looked like he had timed the effort to squeeze through a gap and take the line but alas the gap widened slightly too late, preventing the after-burners from firing, and with the tailwind the finish line came just a little too soon. Despite a tight finish, Buckle could only claim 4th over the line from the bunch, for 9th overall. Still, as a Regional B race, 9th was worth 2 BC points and £10 cash and the BCC Race Team ticks off another of the 2017 goals, by scoring our first points in a road race.
Video from FaceBook (you may need to be logged in to view it).
Ben Conradi and Tom Newton were at the Milton Kenyes Bowl cirt race on 27th April 2017 with the track in wet/greasy conditions.
Both had a good race and managed to catch a breakaway with 5 laps to go, the race ended in a bunch sprint with Ben taking 9th and Tom 10th.
BCC racers Matt Buckle, Ben Conradi, Richard Metcalfe and Tom Newton were at the Milton Keynes Bowl crit race on 20th April 2017.
Matt and Ben have penned reports on the races below (I know the picture above isn’t of all the boys but it’s a nice photo!)…
MK Bowl – 20th April Race Report by Matt Buckle (CAT 3)
The power of Google reveals that “Open the Gates” is – variously – a song by SLDGHMR used in a Mondeo advert; an album by metal band Manilla; an anthology of Arab feminist writing; the URL of a US-Egyptian Gospel Preacher; and a crude phrase with an Urban Dictionary entry. It is also an imperative sentence which, turns out, is a sure-fire way to ignite a bike race in a quiet corner of Buckinghamshire… Last night, in the middle of Ardennes week, the eyes of the cycling world left Wallonia to focus on that other sure-fire hot-bed of two-wheeled action: Milton Keynes. Once the 4ths had done their thing and the E12s had disappeared into the distance, it was the turn of the 3rd cat racers to turn their cranks and take on the Bowl in the first round of the Abbeygate/Corley Summer Series. Representing your beloved Blue and Yellow [insert re-mixed Wiz Khalifa to fade] were Men’s Race Captain Matthew Buckle and leading 2017 points scorer Simon Pearce.
Initially following the same kidney bean course previously “rouled” that evening by the flying Fourths, the pace was pedestrian. Too pedestrian for Mr Pearce. Whilst Matt sat in and passed the time recalling his favourite Arab feminist poetry, Si could regularly be seen moving up the side of the pack into the wind and testing his strength on the little climb back up to the finish line. As he admitted afterwards, at this stage Si was comfortable and assumed that he would lap around for an hour like this, then smash the sprint and take the spoils. As Matt admitted afterwards, he occasionally jumped in Si’s wheel and took the free ride up to the front. This pattern continued for 30mins: a steady average 41.4km/h, 243watts and 131bpm.
Enter Mondeo stage left. The order came. Open the Gates! Suddenly: a race for position, the ovoid peloton elongated to an impeccable British queue and two BCC’ers without a Scooby-Doo what lay beyond. As it turns out, what lay beyond was a series of sharper turns, unfamiliar lines, and a whole lot more braking and sprinting required to keep the wheel. No longer pedestrian, the race was on. Matt and Si did their best to reconnoitre this new part of the circuit for the very first time at 25mph+. For once “tale of two halves” was not a football cliché but an empirical study backed by Garmin data. Second 30mins: a tough average 41.0km/h, 329 watts and 148bpm – proving that it isn’t the speed that counts, it is how hard you are working to keep that speed. Alas, slightly too hard for Si, who did a great job but paid the price for slowing too much into unfamiliar bends and having to sprint out of them again to keep the wheel. Matt managed to dig in enough to stay with the front group, only to relax a little at the wrong moment and find himself caught out by an early bell indicating the final lap. Fortunately, the pace lifted for a split second, an instant just long enough for Buckle to ask, “is that the final lap?” and react to a confirmatory “yep” by accelerating around the outside of the slight descent from the finish line. This was enough to move from 15th to 6th wheel into the technical section beyond the gates, where it stayed strung out before the group hit the bottom of the small climb to the finish. With a couple of dropped riders in the way and the wheel in front fading quickly, Matt had to take to the wind earlier than was ideal and whilst going past a couple, didn’t quite have the strength to either get up the hill to the top 3 nor defend the final sprint of the guy immediately behind, who just nicked past on the line. The two blokes stood on the side suggested that it might be a 5th place, but it was a little chaotic and we’ll have to wait for the commissaire’s results (officially confirmed as 5th!). Whatever the verdict, it was another great night’s racing for the club.
MK Bowl – 20th April Cat 4 Race report by Ben Conradi
“A favourable turnout on Thursday 20th April or the first event from the
Abbeygate/Corely Summer Series 4th Cat at MK Bowl with Richard Metcalfe, Tom Newton and Ben Conradi flying BCC colours. The inner circuit provided plenty of attempts for breaks though nothing managed to stick with Ben chasing down an early break and handing out one of his own shortly after. Richard & Tom looked strong too staying in the top half of the field throughout the race. A bunch finish was imminent with 1 lap to go and a heroic, albeit overly ambitious, punt off the front by Ben left him outside of the points. Richard and Tom were placed well for the final rise to the finish but ended up boxed in or a little short on the sprint. A great representation for the club and sterling effort by all. Perhaps even some points next week as the outer gates open to spice things up! Watch this space…”