Race Reports

Isle of Wight Cycle Tour

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At the end of April, Steve Mac, Ian Anderson, Brad Williams and Kev James headed out for two day epic to the Isle of Wight and back.

It started with a rendezvous at the dolphin pub at 8.30 then onto Hurst to pick up Steve by 9am. By the time we had left Steve's we now we all had our tales of lack of training and lack of miles all on record, so it was time for some hard graft.

We ditched the original plan to keep to the A272 on the insistence of Ian and were treated to a better ride as a result. The first part of the ride picked up the Sunday steyning run in reverse but we cut across via Spithandle lane to Washington then onto Storrington before hitting the country lanes properly.

The roads were fairly rough in places with a few lumps but nothing too strenuous but we were enjoying the chance to ride side by side and slowly eating up the miles with a helpful tailwind. With a few map checks we risked a road closed to road works and came across a stunning scene of a lake and open woodland. We all agreed that we'd be moving to the house overlooking the lake.

Much too our amusement at the next map check Brad seemed so overwhelmed by the name of the village (Cocking) that he had the first (and not last) wobble of the trip, We agreed to briefly picked up the A272 through Midhurst before heading south again to Elsted. The first killer climb of the day was realised at Harting.I think this features in the Chichester triathlon and at one point I was close to track standing I was going so slow. Ian was in turbo charged mode with Brad glued to his wheel. I only had the comfort that Steve was behind grinding it out. We topped out on the climb and had a fast decent heading south before we cut west again up another sharp climb.

With around 60 miles done, by now we were all thinking about food and in the small village of Chalton, we stopped at the excellent Red Lion pub, which had amazing views overlooking a valley of the Hampshire downs. The sun was shining brightly and we had a very leisurely lunch, with Brad seeming to fall asleep on a park bench at some point.

With stiff legs and full bellies we set off. And in classic form we were straight up another sharp hill which we could have anticipated having enjoyed the view of the said hill over lunch. Steve was having gear problems as well as feeling the effects of his meal. Up this hill we then bridged the A3 and then hit the Meon valley. I had never ridden this part of Hampshire before and it was a definite highlight. Virtually flat and with sweeping bends and a tailwind, I couldn't resist hitting the front and trying to up the pace. While this stretch was quite long, it was over far too soon.

Having treated ourselves to fast and flat roads, we decided it was time for some off-road fun. We had spotted a lane that looked quite small on the map but we thought it might be rideable - well kind of. Luckily we all managed to stay upright and puncture free and I enjoyed a few cyclo cross style moves over tree stumps and avoiding large rocks. My overconfidence was sharply brought back into balance as the back-end stepped out just as I hit the gravel as the track transitioned to rough road - but I managed to hold it together.

We had a few more map checks to do before we managed to pick up some of the road section fairly near the end of the South Downs Way. Having done this ride in reverse a few times I remembered a few landmarks and realised we would have a long drag up onto the downs again. We topped out the climb surrounded by open fields of rape in glorious sunshine and headed West again to Twyford, crossing the M3 just south of there.

We were starting to realise that time was ticking on. Luckily I had found my legs a bit more after struggling most of the early morning. We pushed it on a bit via busier roads and found the Hampshire drivers were not cycling fans. Admittedly, in a break neck run through Romsey, just north of the New Forest, Ian decided to test the breaks of a car turning right on a roundabout, which meant that we weren't complete angel cyclists. I had no choice but to keep going having been glued to Ian's wheel but had to flick the bike at speed and I was amazed that Brad - behind me - also opted for the same option. Steve had the sense and foresight to see that stopping was a better option. A bit too close for my comfort.

From therein we were keeping a reasonable pace, but were not too sure if it was going to be close for the ferry. It was at this point that the 100 mile mark started to bite us all. Steve had a brief moment on his own but as the road went up he somehow saw the end crawling slowly towards him and stopped the elastic snapping. I can't say that the New Forest was much of a highight as the roads were heavy with stressed out bank holiday drivers. And mysteriously, a long grind up through the Forest was not rewarded with a decent into Lymington - how does that work hill and sea level anyone?. Still we were happy to make it to the ferry with a ½ hour to spare.

The ferry crossing was enjoyed with a strong coffee and a bit of chat, but it was amazingly short and we all lowered ourselves gingerly onto our bikes in Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight. Fortunately, we were still blessed with sunshine and the stand-out point was how quiet the roads were. A stark contrast to the New Forest. The road to where we were staying in Newport was rolling but not especially testing and we had a chance to ride two-abreast without too many traffic issues and soon made up the final few miles. With relief found the Travelodge we were staying at with 120 miles in the legs. The evening was then a story of a mega nosh up in a local Italian and the treat of a few ice cold lagers.

Day 2 - Isle of Wight and back again

The second day didn't start as brightly and we were all fairly saddle sore even sitting down for breakfast. Steve managed to use his charms to get us a breakfast deal of tea and toast to which we seem to add a number of other breakfast extras.

A very brief ride down the street was halted by Ian noticing a flat-ish tyre. In the waiting period Brad seemed to get a bit bored. Having remained cleated-in on one side he decided it was time for the second wobble of the trip. Again much to my amusement.

I think that I made a bit too much of the breakfast as I suffered in the first hour of the ride. We decided in the time available to make our way down to the Needles to do the sight seeing thing. This entailed riding up and over a series of long hills and topping out on what might have been the high point of Island.

We headed into Freshwater then took a bit of a detour around the coast to the north. I must admit at this point that I was feeling groggy from the beers the day before and tired and was not particularly enjoying myself, so the prospect of hills up and over the Needles was not welcome. We eventually found our way to the Needles and took a small single track road into the face of a mental head wind that had us all in the small chainring. At the top we still couldn't see the Needles, but we watched the alarming sight of Ian descending offroad towards the cliff's edge. Ian was apparently quite confident that his brakes were quite good. We had visions of air-sea rescue.

Photo opportunity in the bag we headed back to the Needles visitor centre where I had to change a puncture. While waiting, Brad spent time looking in the gift shop, but was heart broken that the sand in test tubes was no longer available in the gift shop, clearly this had left a lasting impression on him!

Once again we were concerned about the time of the ferry and the distances we had to cover. The slow progress in the morning was only going to get worse as we now had a strong westerly headwind to deal with. On this basis, we headed back on the main road (hardly busy) and ate up the miles with Ian on the front and the rest of us sitting in. Fortunately, we all stuck together so it was fairly fast going and we got through Yarmouth again to see a load of cyclist starting an Isle of Wight sportive event. We made the ferry in Fishbourne with time to spare and just missed the earlier Ferry by a few minutes.

Across the sea we were soon rolling out of Portsmouth, which was not the nicest welcome back to the mainland. Busy roads and head winds were the order of the day. These miles passed without much excitement. Ian was happy to be on the front, which he had been most of the day, reinforcing his nickname of "The Ox" even more. We eventually picked up another rider coming out of Havant towards Chichester. He was kind enough to show us the way around Chichester and past Goodwood House. We left him to head back South, and agreed to do a brief stint on the A27 so that we could pick up the Slindon valley. Once again I was feeling much better at the 60 mile point (the same as the day before), so I led us up the climb up the valley (although Brad was happy to sprint for the last 50 metres at the top!!).

The reward at the top of the valley was the ride down into Amberley at good speed then the three hills that step up towards Storrington. We all stopped at the garage for the final energy and water refills. As always the road from Storrington towards Steyning and back home via Ashbourne was pretty kind to us. We managed to keep it together most of the time and we were all pleased that we had enough in the legs to keep it going to Steve's. It was there that we bid adieu and then the final short leg up Isaac's lane with 220 miles + logged.

Overall, it was a great trip with everyone at a similar level in terms of fitness and everyone in good spirits. The beers in the evening were a welcome treat as was getting off the saddle after some mega miles (both Steve and I found that it was a good two days before we could sit properly again!) It also worked out pretty cheap - £50 for the accommodation and ferry - and we agreed that it would be a good ride to try to repeat in future.

Author: Kev James

BAR Race 2 Norwood Paragon 25m

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Unfortunately only 13 started with Pete Harris worried to test out his new TT steed in wet and windy conditions, whilst Mark Jordan proved that it is just as dangerous doing a training ride. He cycled into a stationary car, fortunately quite slowly, and no significant injuries.

Due to recent roadworks on the original course we were riding a modified course, with the start some 5 miles away. This caught out Trevor who missed his start time by 2 ½ minutes, but was nothing to Colin Chambers who got to the start early then wandered off aimlessly, thus joining Ant Grey in that specialist sport - the Time Trial for people with no sense of direction. He eventually found his way back over 20 minutes late! Mind you, he also missed his start last year!

It was a wet and windy day but both James dear and Rupert Robinson were comfortably under the hour, with James taking the win by just 4 seconds!

3 minutes down was Rob Hoodless in 62.26, with the ever improving Dave Lashbrook with his second PB over 25 miles in as many weeks, just 16 seconds behind in 62.42. Ant Grey also had a very strong ride to finish in 64.03 and Colin (I haven't been on my bike all winter) Chambers did his now expected 65.43 and Steve (I have trained quite hard and this is probably as fast as I can do) Alden managing 67.11

One of the strongest rides of the day came from Rachel Baker as she also lowered her PB to 69.27, comfortably ahead of Steve (I shouldn't have ridden so far last week)Mac in 71.02, although I heard a rumour that these long rides were called training, which ultimately will result in more speed!

Martin Sanwell also earned himself a PB with 73.00 but is sure to better this once he gets his new bike on the road. Trevor managed to get over his late start and also rode a PB  in 76.01, closely followed by Hazel Tuppen in 77.07 in another PB.

Rose Ryan may have been the last home in 95.56, but she entered it, worked hard all the way round and earned a PB. This is the true essence of Time Trialling, that you are racing against yourself, and to my mind, Rose earned the 'spirit of the race' award for her efforts.


MEN WINNER 53.27

James Dear         59.29   1st  11.28%  10pts
Rupert Robinson   59.33   2nd  11.41       9
Rob Hoodless       1.02.26 3rd  16.80       8
Dave Lashbrook    1.02.42 4th  17.31       7     PB
Ant Grey               1.04.03 5th  19.83       6
Colin Chambers    1.05.43 6th  22.94       5
Steve Alden          1.07.11 7th  25.69       4
Steve McMenamin  1.11.2  8th  32.89       3
Martin Sanwell       1.13.00 9th  36.58       2     PB
Trevor Moore        1.16.01 10th 42.21       1     PB

WOMEN WINNER 1.04.42

Rachel Baker      1.09.27  1st  7.34%    10pts   PB
Hazel Tuppen     1.17.07  2nd 19.18        9    PB
Rose Ryan         1.35.56  3rd 48.27        8    PB

Author - Steve Alden

The Marshman middle distance tri race report

Realizing I'll need to get up at 3.00am to get to Lydd for the 5.00am registration was a schock.

Getting there at 5.30am would have been enough. Started at 7.00am in the first swim wave.

 

Only 200 competitors overall in 3 waves. Thought I started at the very back, still got swum over twice. Not nice.

 

When I registered for this one last year had to give my 1000m pool time,

I was a better swimmer then but just started out with cycling. They put me into the first wave.

 

I got slower in the pool since then, because I cycle instead.

Everybody dashed off from the start as expected, there were some under 30 minutes times.

 

Couldn't stay on good feet, just swum on my own. Hence the slow time, 36.15. It was still a comfortable, pleasant swim.

 

I need some work on transitions, for sure. This was my first tri,  6.15 and 6.52 still seems very slow.

I felt soooo organised. The only glitch was I forgot to remove the rain coat from my cycling top,

run back when realized it was bouncing too much. 

There really wasn't too much distance to cover, it was all me.

Heavy rain was the forecast but it was dry and ideal conditions if a bit windy. I guess it's the location.

 

Bike was uneventful and pancake flat. There were only signs if the route went off the main road, I felt bad because of it several times but didn't go astray.

 

3.32 is actually a good time for me, I'm so weak on the bike. Can't even put my bottle back without stopping and putting the feet actually down though I'm practicing this a lot. Fast course, ideal for tri bars, which I've got but can't use, it feels so unsafe for me. It still holds one of my bottle, very useful, see above.

 

The run was on a nice course, very bad signage here. I think it was a problem even last year, I can't understand how could they not fix this. The event is in it's third year, btw. Actually run through two marshalls busy talking, then realized a minute later I've gone astray, turned back, asked them which way, also why didn't they told me earlier.

 

They told me they haven't thought I was in the race. Huhhh.

2.29 was what I expected. 6.50.44 overall, not dead last but very close.

 

I've only had two short runs in the last month, and around 20 runs overall in this year. This included a half, a 20miler and a full, the rest were short runs/bricks. You can't run much better than you've trained for.

 

Last year I've run much more, this year I've injured my knee several times from cycling with too low cadence. I've sorted this out a little bit late (last month) for my IM in July, let's hope not too late...

 

Had a good stretch and a dip afterwards in the lake (icebath), I believe this is why I feel so well today. Muscle soreness only in biceps, well, I think I must be a bit outstretched on my 56" bike.

 

Tried out planned  IM nutrition, ate solids and generally more on the bike than would have been needed for the half. Seemed OK.

 

All in all a reasonable event , very fast course with some bad signage.

Lack of hills is good if you're after a PB, not so if you're in training for a hilly IM. 

We hadn't got a number to call in case of mechanical problems.

There were marshalls on mopeds and  marshalls at roundabouts.

Registration, transition, start and finish went smoothly.

 

Kate Walch 

Royal Wedding Day Aquathlon

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Thorpe Park Aquathlon 750m swim 5km run easy I thought the hardest thing is getting up at 05:00 or so I thought.

 

Race brief done and in the water for a 07:40 start, The water was warmish so I have a quick swim sprint to remind me why I am here. Back to the start for a deep water start whistle goes and it's a very civilised affair no kicks or punches. this is not open water swimming.. after about 100m it feels like the wheels are about to come off "What the hell" I thought "this isn't right" is it the wetsuit? I have only warn it twice!!! 400m suddenly everything is fine, that was weird, now to catch the lead pack that I foolishly let get away. 13:26 out of the water in 7th place

 

Next panic I could not get the wetsuit off very strange, then to top it off I slipped over not quite to Pete Harris's standard but still both feet up in the air. I take the opportunity and get the rest of the suit off honest I meant to do it like that.

 

I feel 5 years old again. I cant tie my shoe laces, I am breathing heavy and trying to slow my heart rate down but cant get the laces done, I cursed the decision not to wear the elastic laced trainers, cobbled a knot together and set off on the run a just over a minute later.

 

O my god what happened to my lungs!!!! Unlike going out on the bike where you get a chance to get a breath straight out on the run you don't, I'm currently 7th and want it to stay that way.

 

Dam lace is undone. stop tie it up better this time.. Dam lace is undone. stop tie it up and get passed. ##@# undone again are you kidding me, its knotted now.

 

At the run turn around just got passed like I was standing still and I am in 9th. there is a guy behind me I can hear him, I'm doing a 07:30 pace but he is still there and I cant see the finish line, he passes me so I tuck in behind him, he's not getting away, there's the finish should I go now and risk him beating me on a return sprint? Yep go for it, 3 long strides and he's behind a few more to hold him off a few more and he has given up and I am over the line 23:15.

 

Steve Mac: 37:57 and a 10th place

Mark Jordan and his Tinman Challenge

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Let me start by thanking everyone who gave so generously of their time and effort to come out on the rides, gave me encouragement and, of course, contributed to the £1,600 (and counting) that we have raised so far for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.  While I am hesitant to name individual people, I really do have to mention a few:

 

     Paul Wills, who managed to use his 'magic hands' to keep my body functioning and, believe me, that was no mean feat;

     Steve Mac' who, as ever, was his usual ebullient self;

    Nick Harding, for organising the use of the Hurstpierpoint College swimming pool and for acting as the lifeguard during the swims;

     my children, who can shout louder and longer than any other supporters, and, of course,

     my wife, Lizzie, who not only had to put up with a somewhat distracted husband for months but was a real inspiration throughout.

 

You may recall that the challenge involved a 4km swim on Friday 8th  April, a 100 mile bike ride on Saturday 9th   and the Brighton Marathon on 10th.  That was followed by another 4km swim on Friday 15th   April, 100 mile bike ride on Saturday 16th   and the London Marathon on the 17th.  I am well aware that this was by no means a unique series and especially given that a significant number of people have done multiple back-to-back full Ironmans.  It was though, something of a challenge to me, even in the conception of it and as my body will testify, in the completion of it.

 

I started the first swim at just before 0700 with what Dave Jones describes as 'my waddle' up the first of 160 lengths of the 25-metre pool.  I was aiming to complete in a time of 80 minutes or so and thus tried to maintain a steady 30 seconds a length.  I tried to concentrate on tempo and style - something that I insist others do when we train.  Requiring it is one thing, doing it is another.  I found it quite difficult at first to achieve any kind of rhythm, let alone tempo, with the constant turning.  It did start to come after about 300 metres and, thereafter, I managed to keep a good, steady, even pace.  I quickly lost count of the numbers of lengths and relied on Lizzie showing me a countdown board.  I finished in little over 76 minutes.  It was a little quicker than I wanted but I must say, I really enjoyed the whole thing.  It was a great training session.

 

The first ride the following day was an experience I will not forget.  It was not that it was my first ever 100-mile ride but that so many people had organised themselves into groups to cycle around the various laps of the course with me.  I was really moved by the enthusiasm and commitment.  I had devised a route that took in 3 laps that took us from my house through Ditchling, along the bottom of the Downs to Cooksbridge, up the A275 to Chelwood Gate, then to Horsted Keynes and back through Cockhaise to my house.  I intended to try to cycle at somewhere between 14 and 15 mph and so finish in a little under 7 hours.  The weather was superb and just got better.  We ticked along, chatting about everything under the sun.  We maintained the hope for pace on the first lap, slowed a little on the second and picked it up on the third.  The last bit of the third lap was bit of a mess.  My bike computer was only intermittently picking up the mileage.  I got it into my mind, and I know it was stupid, that the computer had to show 100 miles plus before I could finish.  Trevor Moore was with me (Steve Mac' had had to branch off earlier because he was running out of time).  He and I ended up pedalling up and down Gravelye Lane until my computer tripped over the 100-mile mark.  Goodness knows how far we actually did but Trevor is a patient man.

 

The Brighton Marathon was an experience and a half.  I am by no means a runner and, despite the ministrations of Paul Wills, I was not looking forward to it.  I set out at a steady pace aiming to get somewhere around the 4 hour mark.  The weather was splendid, if a bit too hot.  The event itself was absolutely fantastic.  The support was incredible.  The spectators were 3 or 4 deep from the very start through to the end.  We really do have a marathon to be proud of.  Unfortunately, my performance did not match the quality of the event.  Someone switched my energy supply off at 20 miles, just as we got into the dreaded Shoreham Harbour, the one place where there was little spectator support.  I went from just under 9 minute miles to walking in a matter of metres.  Thankfully, Steve Birchall came passed at about 21 miles.  He stopped and then helped me to the end.  I was in tatters for the last 3 miles.  Steve managed to coax me over the line in 4 hours 5 minutes and 51 seconds.  I then proceeded to nose dive into the concrete just after the finish, making a complete and utter idiot of myself.  After a dowsing in the sea (in lieu of an ice bath) I then gave back all of the Poweraid that the organisers had kindly given out on the run.  Unfortunately, I gave it back without the bottles.  My mood was not helped by a number of horrid blisters, one of which was somewhat deep and across the bottom of my right foot.  I was none too keen to think about what was coming up the following week.  I was disappointed with the time and with my inability to stand up to the physical challenge.  It was quite a low time.

 

The next week seems to be a bit of a blur.  I kept to the regime that Paul Wills had set me and was able to sit in the cold baths for 10 minutes without expending my entire repertoire of expletives. I enjoyed the London Marathon registration because of the buzz and the opportunity to go to the exhibition.  I left there on the Wednesday afternoon actually looking forward to what was to come.

 

The swim on the 15th went well.  I stuck to a steadier pace and felt comfortable completing the 4kms in 78 minutes and 2 seconds.  The ride the next day was okay too.  Once again a host of people came out even though a good number were racing the next day in Cambridge at the qualifying race for the European Duathlon Champs or in the 25 miles time trial.  We ticked along at a slightly quicker pace, chatting the whole way and setting the world to rights.  We altered the course slightly to get off the A275.  It seems that the sun brings out the worst in motorists.  Some cannot evidently comprehend that cyclists have as much right to be on the roads as they have.

 

Oddly enough, I was looking forward to the London Marathon.  I haven't done it since 1989.  I was like a little boy waiting for Christmas.  Gone were the dreadful thoughts at the end of Brighton.  David Rickets and his wife kindly took me up to the start.  David was really great in looking after me and certainly through the first 13 miles.  My plan was to run on heart rate at 9 minute-mile pace for the first half and to see what happened thereafter.  Everything went to plan, although David and I got separated at about 14 miles.  I felt pretty good physically and so just kept going on heart rate.  I got tired when I saw the 26-mile marker.  For some reason, my brain decided that that indicated the end and I spent a little while trying to persuade myself that there was .2 of a mile left to go.  I finished in 3 hours 53 minutes and 13 seconds.  It might have been a relatively slow time but I must confess to having been chuffed to bits.

 

I have thought quite a lot about the experience.  I set out to do it for a number of reasons: to raise money for the club charity, to give myself a challenge, to get into the routine of a reasoned training plan and to lose some weight.  I have achieved those goals.  I enjoyed the whole experience.  I also learned a great deal.  At the risk of sounding sanctimonious, there are two things that stand out for me: (1) the mind is something with considerable potential but all too often I have allowed mine to be a limiter in terms of what I might be able to achieve and (2) my body can withstand far more than I have given it credit for.

 

My heartfelt thanks to everyone.

 

 

Mark Jordan