This was a cat 2/3/4 race on a gloriously sunny day and unusually short at 37 miles ... and I was humming ‘Easy like Sunday morning’ as I rumbled up a track into the stubble field that was our HQ. The rational side of my brain quietly pointed out that the quality of the start list suggested it was going to be anything but easy.
As we waited for the Commissaire’s briefing, the chatter was about Nicole Oh (just behind me on the start line) having won the National Masters Circuit Race yesterday. And on my left, a 4th cat, eyes wide at the calibre of riders assembled, was longing for 1 more point to reach 3rd cat.
The route was changed at the last minute due to roadworks and we found ourselves on a flattish triangle with two descents and two uphill drags. It all seemed straightforward until lap 2 when the rain became torrential.
9th July 2017, Woodstock-Tackley course
This is a rolling 11km course with 2 short, sharp climbs and a couple of fast descents. It got feisty early on, which kept the commissaire busy because race-cars had to be repeatedly re-positioned in the convoy, often on single track, twisting road.
I started pretty well, keeping comfortably in the front half through the neutralised section and into the race. Towards the end of lap 1 the mood in the bunch changed, which seemed early for a serious attack, but I moved up anyway, knowing there were some very strong 2nd cats onboard.
“Why, oh why!“ was the only thought that my brain could coherently hold for more than a couple of seconds. I was currently heading towards a place called Hem in phase three of a newly ingrained “four positions on the bike interval session”. Tops, Hoods, Drops and finally the now almost forgotten and increasingly hard to find on modern bars “Corners”. Over the previous 5 hours I had discovered to my eternal delight that when on the tops and through very subtle changes in grip pressure I could rattle my eye balls to the point it was impossible to focus, cause quite painful brain rattle, make my triceps flap (do I really have chicken wings?) or smash all my fingers together concertina style.
As you may know, last year Staś (Chobrzyński), David (Spoors) and I (Mike Biggs) had a long April weekend in Scotland, as training for the classic LEJOG trip later in the year. We enjoyed both trips so much that we vowed to do something similar as soon as we could. So in April this year, we headed over to Wales to ride from Chester to Carmarthen, about 220 miles, over 3 days (so about a quarter of a LEJOG). This time, we were joined by Dave (Richards), to provide some local muscle (protection from the locals), and Roger (Silk), who kindly offered to be our support driver.
Club member and driving guru Dave Wilson will be riding this year's RL100 for a very worthy cause.
He writes: This summer I am doing the Ride London 100 cycle event in memory of my little nephew William who passed away last year aged 2 from a serious heart condition.
With the inclement weather in full swing the explosion of smart turbo trainers and improving software applications have invigorated the whole indoor training experience. The software du jour is Zwift, which adds a gaming aspect to proceedings. SNCC member and Zwift user Dave Lindsay has written an article explaining what's it all about.
St Neots Cycling Club member, Jacob Hennessy has been selected by British Cycling to join the Senior Academy Programme in the Men's Endurance group. This is amazing progress for Jacob who started racing as a complete novice for St Neots CC less than three years ago, and has since moved on to race for an elite team.
The warm waters of Lake Balaton provide some beautiful scenic images, but it wasn’t this that lured me back here, it was the challenge to see if I could ride a complete circuit of the lake in one day.