In October these Hounslow & District Wheelers club records
have been smashed.
Place to place records are a longstanding part of the British time trial scene, the governing body the Road Records Association was founded in 1888. However in recent years record attempts have been rare - modern road conditions, particularly the huge number of traffic lights, have made the task more difficult.
In most peoples minds this difficulty has moved on to impossibility, but occasionally some one exceptional turns up to challenge conventional thinking, and the Hounslow and District has Loz Wintergold to fill this role. Loz has had a long time trial career which has been illuminated by some flashes of brilliance, for example when he led the Hounslow to the 12 hour team competition record in 1997. This year he has been concentrating on triathlon and has been honoured by selection for the Great Britain Veterans Team for next year's World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Turkey.
Perhaps the work he has done for triathlon has had a beneficial effect on his cycling performances:in September an impressive ride of 253.5 miles in the Kent CA 12 hour in spite of serious mechanical problems gave him fourth place in the event and confirmed him as this year's Hounslow BAR champion. It also encouraged him to pursue his long standing ambition to attempt some place to place records, but it was clear that some 'warm up' experience would be necessary before attempting a national record.
There are three levels of place to place records. At the top there are the RRA national records-Land's End - John O'Groats is well known, but there are many others: Land's End-London (12 hours 1 minute 37 secs), London-York (7.29.45) for example. At this level the records are now very tough. The next level down are the RRA regional records, for example London - Marlborough and back, which is Loz's next target. Some of these records are old and therefore not so unassailable as the national records. Below these are club records: in the past when national level record activity was more prominent most clubs had their own records, and the Hounslow was no exception with Hounslow-Worthing and Hounslow-Newbury.
Record breaking has often gone in phases- a record will lie dormant, perhaps for decades and then some one realises that because of the general increase in time trial speeds it is now beatable and has a go. This then sparks interest among other riders and a new phase begins. The Hounslow records were so antique (Newbury 1937, Worthing 1946) that only this summer the racing secretary had suggested, quite reasonably, that they should be scrubbed from the books as obsolete and impossible under modern traffic conditions.
And the along came Loz. With the racing season over and with the weather conditions deteriorating rapidly he was in a hurry to exploit his current good form before the winter set in. His schedule would be: Worthing, Newbury then Marlborough - London, which would, he hoped, give enough experience to tackle at least one national record next year. It was necessary to move quickly and the Worthing attempt was set up in a matter of hours, although this created difficulties since none of us knew what we were doing. Our method was basic: we would have one following car with a timekeeper and an observer who would also deal with feeding and any necessary mechanical support (e.g. punctures). Two problems rapidly appeared, first that if the route has not been fully agreed (and it wasn't) it would be easy for the car to get in front of the rider without realising it had done so, and second, in traffic at either end the rider was significantly faster than the car. On both occasions the Houslow turn was covered by the observer arriving independently and then joining the car, but the Worthing turn was a disaster with the rider having to wait almost five minutes (in heavy rain) for the timekeeper's car to arrive.
For the rides we followed the established practice of starting at a convenient point along the route, turning at the nominal start point (The Bell in Hounslow), going to the far turn(Worthing Pier, Newbury Clock Tower) and returning to the actual start point.
The existing Worthing record was 5.43.01 for the 109 miles, very slow by modern time trial standards, but time trials never go near places like central Hounslow. Starting from the car park at the foot of Box Hill at 9.23 am (Tuesday 2nd October) and turning at The Bell at 10.12, it was soon obvious that the old record was being annihilated. Loz arrived in Worthing at 12.42and was back at Box Hill by 2.16 pm, making a total time of 4 hours 53 minutes. Unfortunately our amateurish time keeping did not allow for the seconds to be accurately recorded.
Loz described his ride as follows: "There was little wind or traffic before Esher, then riding up the Olympic TT course to Hampton Court gave me a buzz. I had to deal with a road closure near The Warren which involved bunny hopping over a pipe, but the nearest I came to real difficulty was when the south west wind strengthened after Dorking bringing squally rainstorms which numbed my fingers - the rain was particularly heavy at the pier where I had to wait for the timekeeper. Once northbound the wind was beneficial, and climbing up to Findon I found it easy to maintain 20 mph, and my speedo showed 41.5 mph on the descent. The only point where I was struggling was the climb at Kingsfold".
The Newbury record was done on Sunday 14th October. Starting at Paley Street (B3024) at 9 34 am, we went through Windsor and Datchet before joining the A4 at the Colnbrook by pass. After turning at The Bell (10.24) we retraced, getting mixed up with a charity ride in Windsor. It was a relief to get back to the A4 at Twyford although here wind, traffic lights and three traction engines leading long trails of cars all caused difficulties. There are 28 sets of lights through Reading, and then a further 23 sets between Thatcham and the Newbury turn making, for the two way trip, 102 sets of lights. Loz rode steadily "as if I had an extra 50 miles to do, which I will need for the Marlborough record". He was back at Paley Street by 1.53 pm: the new record, now expertly timed by Trevor Gilbert to include the seconds: 4.19.24 for the 96 miles.
We felt this showed that the 1937 record (4.33.36) by a Mr. R. Hall must have been a brilliant ride by the standards of the time.
Loz's enthusiam is such that he intended to attack the London - Marlborough record next Sunday ( 4th November), until it was realised that the London Brighton Veteran Car run would make this impossible. The plan now is to wait for next year.
Shamlessly stolen from http://ukcyclesport.com/results/time-trial/item/8045-place-to-place-records-2012
Written by Chris Lovibond |Published in Time Trial