Matt and Richard have been out on the local crit circuits at Milton Keynes and Hillingdon. Richard is improving in the cat 4 races contesting for the sprint at Hillingdon and getting stronger as the season moves on.
Matt has had some well earned rest with family holidays and finished 6th at Hillingdon cat 3 race. He punctured early on, changed a wheel and had to sprint back to the bunch. Ultimately the effort cost as Matt felt he could have gone with a three man break that stayed away and took the top spots.
James Taylor rode in the Tour of Wessex, a three-day sportive. Not a stage race, but still a tough ride. Here is James’ account of the event:
Over the Bank holiday weekend I took part in the Tour of Wessex, a 3 day cycle sportive covering 325 Miles/ 525 km and 25,000 ft/ 7,600 meters of climbing.
Day 1: 100 Miles, 7,200 feet
The start of the first ride took me north into the Mendip Hills and a climb up through Cheddar Gorge, followed by some further tough climbs including a couple with gradients of over 20%. Finally, I looped back through Glastonbury then back to the HQ.
Day 2: 120 Miles, 7,500 feet
The second day started with a storm which turned the roads to rivers, fortunately after an hour or so the rain cleared and the sun came out. This ride was the longest of the weekend and took me south down to the Dorset coast and Corfe castle. There was only 1 significant climb about half way through the ride, which was 2 Miles long with an average gradient of 4% maxing out at 17%, the remainder of the ride was on rolling terrain back to the HQ.
Day 3: 107 Miles, 10,000 feet
Today’s ride would have been a very tough ride without 220 Miles in the legs as it included multiple difficult climbs. The pace at the start of today was much slower than previous days as everybody tried to save as much energy for the hill later in the ride. The first climb of the day was 1.5 Miles at 7% with multiple sections over 20%, this was followed by a 1.2 mile climb at 10% which took me into Exmoor.
Fortunately, the ride took us down the A39 (the steepest A road in the UK) which had gradients in excess of 25%. Though this meant ascending Dunkery Beacon, a 1.9 Mile climb averaging 10.3% with multiple sections in the high teens. With one final tough climb back through the Quantock hills, I had completed the event.
If you’re thinking of doing a multi-day sportive I would highly recommend the Tour of Wessex. A very well organised sportive with 3 great routes providing a real challenge in some stunning scenery.
Richard races at Hillingdon and Julian at the Lovelo Time Trial.
The race in Richard’s words…
West Thames Cat 4 race – 29 May 2018.
“The Hillingdon track continued to dry as the field of 25 riders battled a strong Northerly wind on the uphill climb. The breakaways came to nought as the pack controlled the race towards the bunch sprint finish. The pace increased with two laps to go and riders began to fall off the back. The young guns fought for position at the front and the sprint began as we entered the tight corners at the top of the track. I cut inside two riders gaining some clear road and began the sprint, on the long left hander to finish line, gaining on eighth but not enough road.
Count those riders ahead of me, eight!! Done it, my first points 🙂 ”
BCC currently rank 25th out of 63 clubs that have scored points in British Cycling Central League. A fantastic achievement for an all inclusive club.
Julian completed the Lovelo 50 mile time trial at the weekend averaging over 20 mph and up against some full-on TT rigs.
Marcin Białobłocki (ex CCC Sprandi Polkowice) won in a time of 1hr 34min 58secs – the third fastest 50 mile time ever!
If your going to be beaten it’s better to be by one of the best in the world!
The Academy got it’s first win in a while as Matt finally put his knowledge of Hillingdon to good use and won the cat 3 race.
Here is Matt’s account of the race…
“Epic race and splintered all over. Brutal headwind in the finish straight but a breakaway of 4 went from the gun, then dropped 1 to become 3 out front. It seemed a strong group so I helped pace at the front but it was pedestrian and disorganised in the bunch and the gap got out to about 30 secs. 3 more guys jumped off the front and got a gap.
Shortly after whilst pacing at the front I actually found myself sort of rolling off the front and with a little gap of my own. Rather than sitting straight up I decided to steady time trial just to make them work to bring me back. Then found a groove and found myself catching the 3 and growing the gap to the bunch. So I pressed on for about 4 laps solo in the gap, which was super hard – basically 600w intervals into the headwind each time up the finish straight, then trying to recover the rest of the lap whilst cornering as fast as possible.
I was closing, closing to what had become 6 out front. Then just as I was starting to really suffer, the cavalry arrived in the form of 4 more attackers from the bunch. I managed to latch onto them and buy my way out of a couple of turns but then started pulling through with them. We rode really well as a 5 to catch the 6 ahead with about 3 laps to go. We worked together enough to hold off the now fast chasing bunch.
A guy tried to attack with the break from 1.5 laps out but we had him marked and so a joined up breakaway of 11 went together to the sprint. I got a great position and latched onto to the wheel of a strong guy who started his sprint with about 200m to go. I knew I wanted to leave it as late as possible into the headwind and left it to the last 75m before I moved to come round him and made it just before the line.
First win for a LONG time!”
Other Academy racers were competing in crit, TT and road race events.
James and Matt at the Verulam – reallymoving Road Race on 20th May.
Matt punctured with two laps to go and despite a huge effort to re-join the bunch the pace was to high.
James found the brutally high pace difficult to maintain; 45mph down the descent, into walking pace / gravelly bend into sprint, into 30mph back to the turn, up and over Mentmore and repeat x15.
Both were very appreciative of the support from club members on the course.
James also competed in the Hitchin Nomads 25 mile time trial on May 19th finishing mid-field.
Jack raced in the Somerset Road Club cat 4 crit at Torbay Velopark on May 19th. A hard race and he stayed with the bunch until the last lap.
He also competed in the Milton Keynes Bowl cat 4 crit race on May 24th and was in with the bunch sprint until 400 meters to go when Jack had to break hard to avoid an incident.
Jack is improving race-on-race and it’s only a matter of time before he’s in the points.
David, James and Julian were in action at the Antelope 3-up 50km team time trial in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire. They finished in 1hr 27min 42secs averaging over 21 mph.
Matt competed in the Thames Velo road race and finished 11th averaging over 26mph for the 50 mile race. He felt that he could have placed higher but was slightly out of position for the sprint.
Matt was also at Hillingdon crit finishing 8th in the cat 3 race, unfortunately again boxed in for the sprint.
He competed in the Hemel Hempstead CC weekly 10 mile Time Trial on the 3rd and 10th of May. He won the former on a road bike and finished 3rd in the latter!
Matt is going very well and has started a TT bike build. The Academy cant wait 🙂
Paul and Trevor also raced in the HHCC 10 TT on 10th May and both thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Setting a bench mark to improve on over the summer.
Richard raced at Hillingdon in the cat 4 race finishing in provisional 15th place. Learning all the time and improving race-on-race.
James raced the London Phoenix 9 mile TT finishing in 11th place with a time of 22min 42secs averaging over 24mph. James was 1st on a road bike beating lots of full-on TT rigs!
BCC’s Matt Buckle has enjoyed a successful week, picking up a win in the Berkhamsted triathlon last Sunday, in which he rode the cycling leg in the winning relay team. In that race Matt’s time was just eclipsed by fellow BCC member, Simon Pearce, who claimed fastest time of the day, the pair just beating ex-BCC man, Matty Earles. Overall, it was a great day for the club.
Matt followed this victory with a win in Hemel Hempstead Cycling Club’s Thursday evening 10 mile time trial.
On the morning of Sunday 29th April in the freezing cold, damp and blustery weather (summer was last week – we’re back to winter now) the Berkhamsted Triathlon took place, based at the Knox Johnston sports centre.
BCC was very well represented by 6 sterling individual efforts and 6 relay teams. Each team consisted of 3 individuals making a total of 24 competitors. A fantastic turnout of over 10% of the club!
The results were quite outstanding, and everyone put in huge efforts just to be on the starting line on such a miserable day. Massive congratulations go to all who took part.
Of special note, the winning relay team comprised our very own Emily Hartwell (swim), Matt Buckle (cycle) and Rob Chambers (run). Well done indeed! Matt’s time on the bike was pipped by the always amazing Simon Pearce, whom (provisionally) took fastest time of the day, but it must be mentioned that Matt’s slightly slower time did involve him having to stop to inflate his punctured tyre! Pretty incredible.
5th place overall in the individual’s event went to ex club member Matty Earles, whose bike time was only just shy of the aforementioned Simon and Matt. A truly meritorious result Matty. Well done.
So, BCC really did seem to dominate, as we have done in the Harp Hilly 100. Let’s work on keeping this record and build on our success for next year at this very well run local event. Get training now. In the meantime, enjoy the photos…
James Taylor was racing on both days of the weekend, again. He has rapidly moved from a Cat 4 rider with no points to a Cat 3 racer. That impressive fact apart, he is now ranked 113th best time trialler in the country! Read about his spectacular performances below.
Cycling Club Hackney Circuit Race
After managing to navigate through the back streets of London, I turned up at the Lee Valley Velopark ready for my third race of the season. I had been given number 13 for the race, perhaps it would be lucky for me.
Having never ridden the track before, I had one neutralised lap to learn the course, fortunately the first few laps weren’t very quick so I got a bit longer to familiarise myself.
Adopting the Steve Cummings role of sitting on the back of the group conserving my energy, I watched as multiple breaks tried and failed to get away due to the strong headwind on the finish straight. Only once did I have to chase back on when not concentrating while having a drink. Now I had to decide when was best to make my move.
With 5 laps to go a small break went off the front and pulled out a decent lead. Looking like the break could stay away this time I made my move at the start of the next lap. As I attacked I checked back to see if anyone else was joining me, but nobody was.
Within half a lap I had bridged the gap to the front three and then tried to recover on the back of the group. With three laps to go I checked back again and the main bunch were beginning to close the gap so I moved to the front and upped the pace.
With two laps to go I looked back and we had a decent lead again, meaning it would be a race between us for the win.
Not wanting to get boxed in for the sprint like last week, I decided I would start my sprint early. As we rounded the final bend, I put the hammer down, topping out at 1,359 watts, sprinting for the line. Unfortunately I was pipped on the line, and finished in 2nd place earning 8 BC points. This makes my total for the season 12 points and enough for my Cat 3 licence! Looks like number 13 was lucky for me!
Richard Metcalfe also raced and stayed in the pack for the majority of the time but the surges in pace brought about by the attacks were to much and Richard finished safely near the back of the peloton.
Icknield Road Club Time Trial
With heavy legs I rode over to Cheddington village hall on a drizzly Sunday morning.
The course was two laps through Mentmore via Wingrave, 30km in total, fortunately for me much less hilly than last week.
I settled into a decent rhythm on the first lap, but as I started the second my legs began to tie up and I struggled to keep the power down. Only another 20 minutes of suffering!
I finished with a time of 50:50, which placed me in 6th overall. Combined with my other TT results I’m currently ranked 113th in the country!
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 email@example.com 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,