You may well know by now that Bristol South CC (the club that 2 of us & many of our friends ride for) recently had the kit reimagined by the awesome Ade Ridley, it was a big step for the club to re-invent the kit after 120 years as a club, but the kit has been extremely well received by members & non-members alike. I thought I’d take an opportunity to post some of the random photos I have of the kit in action, seeing as it is now probably the most sought after kit in UK cycling clubs.
A round up of the past three weeks of racing up at the Odd Down Crit Circuit. A big thanks to VC Walcott and Bath CC for holding the races.
Week 2 – Fast, fast and more fast. The race strung out into three groups, mainly due to James Coleman driving the pace up! Ady and me rolled in with the last bunch after missing the breaks.
Week 3 – Super fast pace from the start, the first two laps were tough! I managed to hang onto the back of the bunch but dropped off as the pace increased on the last lap. Strong riding again from Ady got him 7th place.
Week 4 – At last it wasn’t really that windy! It stayed together due to less wind and I managed to be up with the front riders a few times. A school boy error on the second to last lap meant I wasn’t anywhere near the front to contest the sprint. Ady came in just outside the top ten, getting close to that 3rd Cat licence!
Thanks to Adam at adamferris.co.uk for these photos from week 2.
This weekend sees myself & Ed take on our first circuit race of the season. It will be Ed’s first ever road bike race & my first race in what will hopefully be a full season of circuit racing. We’ll be racing alongside a couple of other Bristol South boys & we’ll all be sporting the awesome new BSCC kit, designed by our good friend Ade Ridley. Here’s a peek at how great this new kit really is:
Wednesday evening saw the first of many Bristol South midweek time trials. It was to be my first TT of the year, I was reluctant as to whether I was going to race or not, but as the opener is only a 5.2 mile out & back I couldn’t not do. I opted for racing on the geared road bike, rather than the fixed gear TT build I rode last year. This was firstly because I had a 20 mile ride planned before the race, and secondly because I hadn’t bothered to get a bike together.
I had no idea whether the gears (without TT extensions) would make me faster than last year or not. I dug out my time from last year & was aiming for a PB. When we arrived at the meet point it was apparent it would be a hard night for everyone as the headwind on the way out was next level, and average speeds on the way back were 3-4mph faster. Mad on such a flat course. My time came along, I battled the wind on the way out with my average speed being less than 20mph, I was not happy with this so knew I needed to up that drastically on the way back. Luckily that crazy headwind was now a major tailwind giving everyone a physical & mental boost on the way back. I spent most of the time in My biggest gear & out of the saddle, I felt super human for those 7 minutes. I chased down our good friend Adam who set off a minute before me on his first ever TT, and I managed to catch him literally just before the finish line.
I put in a time of 14:20, not a PB but decent in the conditions. Ed bagged himself a 12:28 in his new red garms. A big shout out goes to Adam, Dan, Cuff & Hana who were all riding their first ever TT is the least favourable conditions. Here’s to many sunny races this summer!
I took advantage of being oop North at the weekend to go watch the National Hill Climb and give a bit of support to club members PJ and Glyn.
As I nipped out for breakfast in the morning the Manchester weather was cold and damp, with the incessant drizzle that it seems to hold so close to his heart. Ominous for those attempting to ride extremely fast up a hill. Especially when the hill in question is ‘The Rake’.
The Rake is pretty steep. The event program (a glorious DIY photocopied thing by the host club Lancashire Road Club) gives the key facts of; ‘The Rake climbs 321 feet in 947 yards giving and average gradient of 1 in 8.8′, this translates into new money as averaging around 11 % for 0.9 km. The real savage parts comes with the 20% start and a 25% kick with plenty of tarmac left before the finish line. As you would expect I chose to situate myself just after this part for most of the race, it was good for pain face spotting but also the part where the competitors needed the most encouragement which I duly helped provide. There where plenty of people out despite the inclement weather and it made for a good atmosphere.
I was astounded by the age range of competitors, yes I expected a smattering of juniors and some vets but an age range of 12 – 68 blew my mind a little. Amazing that people of these ages can even ride up the thing but some of the juniors where super quick with James Knox even breaking the top 10!
There were some incredible bikes on show, the majority of people rode carbon road bikes but a few purists where riding fixed (PJ included), this included a Cannondale Track!
Choice of gear for fixed seemed to be in the 54 – 57 range, though the top end of that seemed a little too large. As the excellent commentator, event secretary and winner many moon ago Peter Graham pointed out to PJ as he worked hard through the steepest section ‘He DEFINITELY looks oooverr geaaared thurrrr’.
This beast had a drilled out saddle and shows all the elements of what is generally thought to make a good hill climb bike for the short steep stuff. Single front ring, base bar/bar ends with a tt shifter and weight savings made wherever possible (drillium saddle!). Around 85 psi seemed to be the tyre pressure of choice for keeping traction in the wet conditions.
PJ and Glyn both had excellent rides, carding 02.51.2 and 02.37.5 respectively. Giving them 37th and 8th positions. Cracking ride by all and Glyn finished a long season by breaking the top 10.
The event was won by hot favourite Jack Pullar with a 02.21.3 giving a 5 second winning margin over his closest rival (and defending champion) Gunnar Gronlund with 02.26.0, Matt Clinton rounded out the podium. He was one of the few riders I watched at the finish and his speed over the line took me aback.
The very top is where the brutality of the climb is most evident. I spoke to PJ up there who proclaimed he had ‘gone deep into the death zone’ and kept touching his chest as if to make sure his heart wasn’t going to pop out.
This Sunday once again reminded me why I love riding bikes & living in Bristol. Almost every Sunday myself & Ed will go for a ride, and are sometimes joined by 1, maybe 2 other riders to put in a few miles. This Sunday was the Bristol South CC hill climb at Burrington, so we had a little round up via the social networks & managed to get together a group of 9 of us for a ride out to support close friends & local riders as they battled with the infamous Burrington Combe climb.
The ride out was foggy but fun, then we joined the largest crowd on a corner to watch all the riders compete, including Christian, Dan B & Mark, as well as eventual winner Paul Jones aka PJ (winner of last week’s Hell Climb). There was a great atmosphere & there were spectators of all ages, it feels great to be part of what is such a good cycling community.
Once the prizes were handed out we set off for the ride home in what was glorious sunshine, taking on a hill challenge of our own, in form of Wrington. I took a bunch of photos thoughout the morning & they are all below in glorious iPhone quality. Now grab some friends & go ride!
2 months ago I rode the Interclub 10 mile TT at Dursley, I came away with a time of 25:07 which was fairly respectable, for one of the first 10 milers I’d ridden. Tonight all 3 of us attended the final Interclub race at Dursley, although only myself & Christian raced, with Ed taking to the sideline as directeur sportif/team driver/photographer.
Since my first attempt at the Dursley course I have changed a bunch of things on my bike, usually in between weekly races at the lake, and my times have slowly been improving. I have swapped my seatpost to an aero carbon job, saving a vital second or two.
I’ve also upgraded my shoe/pedal combo from a flexy MTB set up to a super stiff road combo. My gear inch has slowly grown in the past couple of months too, and tonight I rode on a 101GI, the biggest I feel I could push on a course as undulating as this one. My slack chain is also a talking point.
Now whether all these upgrades have made a difference, or just the fact that my legs have gotten stronger but I did managed to put in a PB at Dursley tonight, albeit by a marginal 10 seconds, from 25:07 to 24:57. I’m happy with the fact that I broke the 25 minute barrier, but in fairness I would like to have gone even faster. But a 14th position overall makes up for this. All of these component upgrades have helped with my progression at the races, and I certainly don’t feel as destroyed after races as I previously did, so I guess I am getting better at this TT thing, I just need to get some more races under my belt & put down some faster times!
Elsewhere out on course tonight, Christian smashed an awesome time of 24:02 on his road bike with TT extensions, you’d have mistaken him for a triathlete if it wasn’t for the presence of his sleeves & socks!
It was the first time he’d ridden the course, ever, so this is an excellent result, real proud of the boy, who will be racing again tomorrow night at Castle Combe for a circuit race.
Friends of the wheelers Sam L & Ed P both continued their domination of the Bristol South TT circuit by coming away with insanely fast times of 22:18 & 22:33 respectively. These guys have been smashing fast times throughout the year & showing us how it’s done.
Sam is too fast to be caught on camera, but he gets a shout out for being first BSCC rider tonight. The conditions were spot on & I’m fairly sure we all took home PBs. Generally another good fun TT, and the last Wednesday night race of the year, hopefully I’ll get to another few races before the season is up, and possibly beat my PB on the Dursley course again. Enough of my rambling, here’s one last picture by Ed of Derek Smetham, the TT bad man who most definitely took the win today with a sub 22 minute ride. Full results from tonight are here.
Last week Christian joined myself & Ed at the lake for another (just over) 8 mile TT. I was, as always in search of a new PB, and knew that putting in even more effort for the first couple of miles was the only thing I could do to beat my previous best time (disclaimer: Photos in this post extracted from the interwebs).
The conditions on the day were more than perfect, with it being fairly warm & quite humid, the higher temperature making the air less dense, therefore creating less drag & generally giving us potential to go faster than ever before. See this graph for scientific research:
I managed to put in a big effort at the start, which made me feel more destroyed than ever at the half way point & I even had the stupid thought of dropping out of the race. I’m glad I didn’t, and I stuck at it, beating my previous personal best by 6 seconds! I felt like I was spinning out on my 94 gear inch at times (something I thought wasn’t possible) so this week I will be upping my GI to over 100! As well as this I will not take my arm warmers off mid race, this must have lost me vital seconds once again! My aim is 21 minutes, which is 42 faster than my PB of 21:42.
It was the first time that Christian had TTd at the lake this year, after weekly training rides & road races throughout the year, but he’s got a TT event coming up so he thought he’d try his hand at the our local weekly race. The conditions were on everybody’s side & Christian came away with a great time of 21:22, just a second ahead of our good friend Mark. Both of these boys were on road bikes without TT extensions, so hats off to the 2 of them!
Ed has been getting closer to the 20 minute mark over the 8.2 mile distance all year, and with his times in every race getting faster, it wasn’t going to be long until he hit that target, and you guessed it, he beat his PB & the 20 minute barrier with an awesome time of 19:53! The boy has been smashing TT times all over the shop & has upped his gear inch to 111 this week, as well as upgrading his shoes to some ridiculously stiff carbon numbers. We only have 2 weeks left at the lake, with next week being an Interclub event. Keep an eye on the blog to see how we get on at these races.