Weekly Round-up: 17 Mar 2024

All the latest news, events, and results from NFCC Members from this week’s two-wheeled adventures…

SURC Triangle Time Trial

Southampton University Road Cycling hosted its first TT P164 this week – an unusual event at 2pm on a Wednesday. The newly nicknamed triangle time trial only attracted one NFCC rider, with Reece Dawson finding his way to the start line. We’re unable to find any official results, but judging by his Strava, Reece had an impressive ride.

Saturday Club Ride

At last, a Saturday where sunglasses were needed, and waterproof jackets weren’t. Some, especially Axum, were delighted with the announcement that mudguards were not mandatory this week, slightly optimistic planning on Barry’s part as it turned out when we reached some deep water in Pitton. A hilly 105Km route was scheduled with a planned stop at the Community Shop in Broughton. After the shenanigans of the night riders last week careful planning was made to ensure that bollards could be avoided and that badgers and owls would be asleep. Eleven riders made the start with a plan to meet the post-op Smithy at Milkham where he would join up and he was allowed some hill avoidance this week. Big things were expected of Smithy this week with the extreme measures he had taken to improve his power-to-weight ratio with the help of a surgeon’s knife.

With no volunteers for a faster group, it was a single peloton that made its way up Rhinefield and Bolderwood. A gentle tailwind assisted us across the Stoney Cross airfield, and we then picked up Richard and said goodbye to Paul who had domestic chores to attend to. The twelve-man peloton was split as we approached Awbridge to make it easier for cars to pass and it was to remain a two-group ride for the remainder of the ride. The planned route, a result of some sado masochistic planning by Barry took in several punchy hills in the area east of Salisbury. We did encounter some significant flooding near Pitton, the saving grace was that it looked like clean rainwater rather than a mix of mud and slurry that we often have to ride through, and it was clear enough to see the road surface underneath so less risk of hitting a hidden pothole.
On the last hill before the coffee stop, Phil G suffered a puncture. The beatified Phil is always the first to offer help to stricken riders so the Band of Brothers that was now Group One split as half of the group with the loyalty of an alley cat repaid his many acts of altruism and rode onto the coffee stop. We all reconvened for our first visit to Broughton Community Shop and a very pleasant experience it was, so we shall be returning soon. Thanks to Richard for his work in doing the research and making an earlier visit to sample the coffee and cake. This is the type of work he was put on earth to do. Just as we were about to leave the coffee stop, Graham discovered that he too had a puncture. There was a clear Velominati Rule 49 violation as Graham stood his bike upside down to effect his repair.
The Group Two riders set off in a Tortoise and the Hare metaphor while Graham sorted his puncture. The Band of Brothers behaviour was carried on by Matt M, Axum and Simon who summarily dumped their old friends from Group One and joined Group Two. With most of the hard work done in the first part of the ride, it was only a moderate headwind to deal with for the last 40-45Km. Once we reached Fritham the remaining riders went into a through-and-off drill to share the load with the worst of the head and crosswinds and this was well executed by all. A few hardy riders carried on after the ride and at least a couple, Phil H and Axum rounded up to 100+ miles.
A hard ride this week with more climbing than usual but a very pleasant one with good company as usual. It only remains for the totally undemocratic nomination for who goes in the barrel this week. We’re going to need a bigger barrel this week as it’s going to be filled by those who left Phil G to repair his puncture whilst they rode onto the coffee stop and those who left their group when Graham tended to his puncture. These acts of solidarity will be noted when these renegades need assistance!

Omega Early Season Circuits

The opening Mountbatten crit race of the season had a less familiar NFCC face on the start line this year… Dipping his toe into as many different kinds of cycling as possible, NFCC’s Reece Dawson took part in his first-ever crit race at the Omega Early Season Circuits on Saturday Morning. The 14-rider Cat4 race lasted for just over 35 mins on the outdoor velodrome-style circuit and Reece held his own in the bunch to finish in a solid 6th place. We can’t wait to see where his racing journey takes him.

Sunday Club Ride

With heavy rain falling until close to go-time riders could have been forgiven for staying in their warm beds, nursing a mug of hot coffee and planning a slap up Sunday feast. New Forest club members are made of hardier stuff though, commitment runs through NFCC veins like raw sewage through rivers of an English stream with SSSI status. 10 heroes turned out for the start in various states of dress, everything from shorts and jerseys to full wetsuits. The full wetsuit option soon started to feel like overkill as we headed out up Bolderwood, people were stripping off layers like they were performing at Madame Jo-Jo’s in the 1980’s. At one point we noticed someone badly camouflaged in orange lurking in the bushes, photographing the group. At first, we dismissed them as just another Lycra fetishist out for their kicks. After a little while we were joined by the luminous bush-skulker Phill G himself, confirming our suspicions.

At the top of Bolderwood we had a regroup, took layers off, put layers on and set forth into the fog. Despite the lovely tailwind at this point we kept a lid on the effort and enjoyed coasting along at a lively pace until turning left at Furzley. At this point, one turned for home and one disappeared into the ether, the nine remaining riders girded their loins and set off up the dreaded Pipers Wait climb. Sotonia were coincidentally holding a TT which rather sadistically finished at the top of Pipers Wait and after a particularly laboured and pathetic effort up the hill, I couldn’t help feeling that the chequered flag and the look in the timekeeper’s eyes held a particularly sarcastic edge to them.
We were now in headwind territory for the next 20K. We tried to keep the group together until the end of the airfield where we were suddenly caught by the previously disappeared rider Steve B who had been TT’ing to get back to the group. Another regroup at the top of Bolderwood before chaos ensued back to Brock, the group splitting into various factions with the smell of coffee starting to permeate the nostrils. The Sunday riders’ appetites are becoming a thing of legend and folklore, Axum impressed with a double cake but Steve took gold as he rewarded himself for his TT-like effort with an impressive double cheese scone with all the trimmings. Not content with this at least 5 had coffee seconds. I’m no businessman but I really must strike some kind of discount deal with Setley Ridge cafe. With the Sun making a slightly belated appearance, several headed off for extra miles.

RTTC National Classic Series – R1: P183

Another local time trial this week with the first round of the RTTC National Classic Series hosted by Sotonia on P183 – 14.6 miles of what feels like mostly climbing! The start sheet was filled with familiar names and a few NFCC riders made their way to the event too. The unstoppable Sien van der Plank crushed the women’s road bike category once again, topping the leaderboard in just 43m13s. NFCC Racing snake Reece Dawson finished his third race of the week in 39m51s with fellow audax’er and club-mate Sam Dorking not too far behind in 44m40s.

Get Involved:

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.

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