Weekly Round-up: 25 Feb 2024

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

The Scotty Brown Emporium Criterium

The final round of the Scotty Brown Emporium Criterium series at Lancaster Park in Christchurch, NZ on Friday evening had a familiar NFCC face on the line once again. In his final few days of being in the southern hemisphere, Phill Brown lined up with the biggest field the series had attracted to date, including a rider with a current pro-team contract. Despite the strength and depth of the field, Brown seized the opportunity to repeat his week 1 antics and rode away from the pack right from the line, hanging out the front to finish the first race in first place. Wise to his moves, the pack kept a close eye on Brown and despite an attempt at a last-lap escape, the pack caught him in the final few corners and he crossed the line in 3rd place, leaving him 2nd overall in the series.

NFCC Virtual TT

On Tuesday, we had six riders participate in the second of our virtual time trials on Zwift. The course was a rolling one, involving two laps of the loch in virtual Scotland. Reece Dawson secured the top spot with a fantastic time of 22:10. Phil Grant took 2nd place with 23:32, and James Allen finished 3rd with 25:19. It was great to see Cathrine Pascoe join the race this week, finishing with a solid time of 29:38. The standings for the Virtual TT league after two races are as follows: Michael Johnston holds 1st place with 22 points, Mark Cowling is in 2nd with 20 points, and Reece D and Jay Tee are tied for 3rd place with 15 points each. Only three cyclists turned up for Thursday’s Chain Gang ride, which may indicate that people are growing tired of indoor training and eager to get outside.

Saturday Club Ride

An unforecasted overnight frost added to the misery factor on Saturday morning. At around 0830 the heavens opened and everybody heading for the start got their first soaking of the day and a very cold one at that. Ten riders braved the conditions and made the start for a 102Km ride including Baz who was making his first Sunday ride after a couple of Sunday excursions. The route had been planned to avoid areas liable to flooding and this worked out to plan and we didn’t have to wade through any deep water. At the start Graham was already questioning the sanity of riding across the forest to make the start and was trying to plead the case for going for a coffee instead of heading out. As it was opening weekend in Belgium the majority of riders opted to ride and respect the traditions of opening weekend whilst Graham went for a coffee. At this stage it was Belgian Hard Men 9, Velominati Rule 9 Refuseniks 1. The ride set off north through Rhinefield and we lost Matt K who decided that this was not how he wanted to spend his Saturday. After we ascended Bolderwood we were rejoined by the renegade Graham who recaffienated seemed to have found his mojo. Alas this was short lived as we reached Markham he carried straight on home as the group turned right. For this total lack of respect for opening weekend Graham takes his turn in the barrel this week.

The group now had the added power of Smithy who had joined the group and as we crossed Ocknells Plain we added Lucy to the pack. This pattern continued as we then added Richard to the peloton at Bramshaw. Thankfully the weather had abated and the peloton continued for another hour without incident until we reached the planned coffee stop at Bucklers Hard with just one small shower to deal with. After coffee the group headed out for a loop around East End and back to Brockenhurst. There were no dissenters peeling off here for an early bath so kudos to all. After traversing Setthorns there was an unfortunate low speed crash involving Axum and Jon. Luckily no injuries but Axum’s bike will be in for some repairs this week. Call out and kudos to Lucy here as she peeled off having done her longest ever stint with the Saturday ride. At this point we started to shed riders who were making the sensible decision to cut for home and we headed to Burley before cutting back to Brockenhurst. By this time we were down to three and then two as Baz had parked at Knightwood Oak. Barry and Matt S were the last riders on the road and then as we passed Barry’s house Matt was the last man standing and the only one to complete the whole route.

NFCC Audax Riders on tour

NFCC’s dedicated team of audax riders are ramping up training for the rapidly approaching York Arrow (Cadnam to York in 24hrs for anyone who was wondering). This Saturday Ray, Phil G, Reece, Sam, and Joe forfeited the club ride to take a trip to Combe Gibbet, despite this being the closest of the ‘official’ top 100 climbs in the UK it was still a 200km round trip which was a good taster of what is to come on the 433km Arrow. Setting out early doors the weather forecast looked promising, unfortunately, Barry’s doom-mongering came to fruition with a freezing downpour ensuring everyone was in the early stages of hypothermia by the time the first stop of the day was reached in Salisbury. Keen to step into a nice warm cafe and regain some feeling in their extremities the riders were to be sorely disappointed with the proprietors clearly having decided to forgo heating as a cost-saving measure. This is the only (indoor) coffee stop this author has experienced where the exhalation of those around the table is indistinguishable from the steam rising from the coffee! Leaving the cafe colder than when they had arrived, a stiff pace was set in an effort to get the blood pumping, fortunately, the rain had abated at this point and as the terrain started to roll the gentle southerly breeze pushed the team towards the challenge of the day.

It was at this point that Reece piped up about his Saturday afternoon shift that started at 1545… in Lymington. What followed was a desperate 100km race against time to ensure the people of Lymington could enjoy Colin the Caterpillar cakes well into the night (other Caterpillar cakes are available). The four remaining riders pushed on towards what would be a well-earned lunch stop in Vernham Dean. After crushing Combe Gibbet and the bonus climb that followed it was fish finger sandwiches all around but only after the pub staff were bemused by Sam’s drinks order, yes he would like a pint of lemonade AND a pint of orange juice, at the same time, please. On exiting the pub the intrepid riders were dazzled by a large yellow thing in the sky, something the regular Saturday club riders could only dream of, the weather would hold for the remaining 75km home and what would turn out to be a remarkably puncture free ride considering the conditions. The next training ride is scheduled for Friday 8th March and will be a 175km loop, starting at 2200 to test the group’s night riding capabilities, watch this space for more updates as our heroes strive to do more things on bicycles no one else would want to.

Sunday Club Ride

10 of us took off from Brock including several new or nearly new to the Sunday rides. James, Simon, Baz and Rupert. In Phil H’s absence the pace was only slightly high so they had to wait for Budge at Hilltop, but they carried on through Lepe where once again he delayed proceedings slightly with a loose Garmin mount. Rupert (a veteran of the Saturday rides) had to chase down the leading pair to cool the pace but everyone enjoyed being out in dry weather. Six riders later stopped at Setley Ridge then Baz, who had parked at Knightwood Oak, Stewart, Axum and myself headed for Bolderwood and at Poulner making it home before the rain. Hopefully those who continued riding didn’t get too wet.

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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