Weekly Round-up: 1 May 2022

A busy week for NFCC Members with the early may bank holiday weekend playing host to multiple events across the region.

Starting the week with the usual Tuesday evening time trial, this week it was the first round of the 15 Challenge Aggregate series – a full report and results can be found here.

Thursday night chain gang training returned to the out and back course form Roundhills Campsite to Hatchett Pond due to the closure of the crossing of the A35 again. A number of riders turned out looking resplendent in there club kit and a strong session was completed under the golden hour light – a note to those wishing to attend this week that the start time has shifted back to 1845.

Following a strong return to time trialling with a fifth place on Tuesday evening, Ray Claridge took on the Hard Boiled Egg Audax event on Saturday:

For LEL prep I entered the Hard-boiled egg 300km Audax (its egg shaped, and hard at the end) It was a chilly 2am start in Poole for 25 riders with some also taking on the Dorset Coast 200km the next day.We set off into the night and after 11miles some excitement, blue flashing lights, police dog and a burglar caused us to make a 3-mile detour. Cracking on into the night it got colder down to -2! after the first control stop and fried breakfast at 4.30am. We carried on across Salisbury Plan, the sun rose with clear sky’s so that was a great sight but still so cold. The ride continued with fantastic countryside and dry roads, slowly it got warmer. The first 200km were tough at times but the last 100km back from Axminster was much tougher with relentless up and down steep climbs. I rolled into the finish control 6.30pm, it was an eggtastic ride!

The usual Saturday Club Ride started wth 18 riders in Brockenhurst, splitting into a few groups on the road and venturing north out of the forest to avoid the bank holiday weekend traffic. After skirting through an accident scene on the edge of Romsey and over Dean Hill, there was time for a quick coffee stop before returning back to the start point. Another great route – thanks Barry!

Catherine Pascoe escaped into her favourite habitat of the woods representing NFCC at the first round of the Central XC Mountain Bike series at Checkendon, outside Reading:

The course has been used for mountain bike racing for decades and I know it well. It was the perfect course for coming back from Covid, as there are no climbs for my struggling lungs to deal with. After 5 weeks away from racing, I had lost my mojo and was unsure about this whole racing lark; a pootle and cake seemed preferable. However, something happens to me when the starting whistle blows and, sure enough, I found myself racing rather than pootling along at the back. The leading Grand Veteran Woman (50-59) had a mechanical half way through the 4 laps and had to pull out of the race. This put me into 2nd place, out of the original 4 riders in the category. I had left the 3rd placed woman behind on the first lap, so I spent the race trying to catch and pass the younger women, which was satisfying because they start a couple of minutes in front of the older women. Current UCI World Champion Evie Richards raced in the Elite category and lapped me as I was completing my 3rd lap – she wanted a photo with all of the racing women and girls afterwards, which was nice.

Captain of Sundays, Mr Phil Harris, reported on the days club ride:

Sunday’s ride proved to be a pretty chilly, ultimately wet, but enjoyable couple of hours in the saddle. 9 regulars plus a guest from Kingston CC and yet another prospective new Member braved the conditions for a loop around Ipley Cross and St Leonard’s, before returning to Brockenhurst for and a well earned coffee and highly controversial Zucchini and Lime cake at The Terrace. Robert continues to win plaudits by successfully navigating the route in his new clip-in pedals without taking a tumble. A chatty ride as (nearly) always on Sunday mornings, covering everything from dental disasters, training camps, chainring design and world war 3.

Another hardy pair of NFCC riders, Neil and Stuart, were also out representing the club but this time at the Dorset Coast 200k Audax event:

The Dorset Coast 200k Audax involves 3,000m of climbing and has been one of my go to training rides over the last 8 years. Starting in Wareham, the ride opens with a warm sprint around Poole Harbour to the chain ferry and resumes more slowly through the Purbecks via Corf to the first stop in Weymouth. This year’s edition on Sunday 1st May was restricted to 100 riders and I soon joined a group with Stuart (NFCC) and two friends from Christchurch BC. Persistent rain made conditions tricky but did not affect the camaraderie and enjoyment. The middle section from Weymouth to Axminster is the toughest part of the ride, taking in Abbotsbury hill with views over Chesil Beach and then a series of steep Dorset back lanes. The spectacular banks of wild garlic and blue bells or primroses that line the lanes take the mind off the legs.
The stop in Axminster is at a Primary School where the kitchen staff serve soup, sandwiches and more cake than even 100 hungry riders can eat. The climb out of Axminster up Sector Lane on a full stomach and cold legs is probably the hardest of the day but after that there is only one more big climb before a fast return to Wareham via a quick stop at ‘Top o the Town’ cafe in Dorchester.
As with all Audax rides, The Dorset Coast and its 100k version – The Coastlet – are impeccably organised, great value for money and I can recommend it as a great test of fitness to put in your diary for next spring.

Following on from the March training camp Bill Mayes participated in Paris-Roubaix and Mallorca 312 sportive during April.

At only 175km and pan flat, the Paris-Roubaix could be considered easy if not for the 29 sections of cobbles totalling 53km. In hot dusty conditions, Bill completed well within the cut off time to ride along the top rim of the Velodrome before watching the women’s race. The next day was spent in the centre of the Velodrome rehydrating and watching the men’s race. A great weekend of cycling.
The Mallorca 312 lives up to its name – 312km with 5000m of ascent. The 312 is tough enough to challenge even Phil Grant, albeit he would be aiming for a fast time rather than to beat the cut off time. Bill managed to beat the 225/312 cut off by 7 minutes and was looking forward to rolling into the finish with time to spare. With just under 4.5hrs to cover 92km and only 1000m of climb with nothing over an average of 5.5% confidence was sky high. Little did he know that the averages included some flat and even downhill sections with the gradients topping out at 12%! Time slipped as Bill rolled into the last refreshment stop at Arta where a large crowd of locals was gathered to cheer on the back markers, drink beer and listen to the music. Copious amounts of free beer were being handed out to the riders. Taking off his shoes Bill relaxed and joined in before completing the remaining 25km in the dark but warm glow of a tremendous day on the bike with full sun, tremendous scenery and 8,000 other friendly cyclists and locals.

Bill credited the recent NFCC training camp as a significant factor in increasing his stamina and skill level to allow him to complete the above and in relative safety.
If you find yourself out and about representing NFCC, don’t forget to jot down a few words, snap a few photos and send them over to press@newforestcc.co.uk if you find yourself out representing the Club.