Weekly Round-up: 31 Mar 2024

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

NFCC Zwift Club

To his surprise, despite still recovering from a chest infection, Phil Harris clinched the top spot in this week’s Zwift TT, edging out Joe Oatley by a full 8 seconds in second place. With the final virtual TT completed before we transition to real-world racing, the league table, compiled from results across five virtual races, concludes as follows:

  • 1st – Michael Johnston (60 points)
  • 2nd – Jay Tee (45 points)
  • 3rd – Mark Cowling (42 points)
  • 4th – Catherine Pascoe & Phil Harris (39 points)
  • 5th – Phill Grant (28 points)
  • 6th – Dan Avey-Hebditch (26 points)
  • 7th – Ben Tsabet & Phil Jones (20 points)
  • 8th – Reece Dawson (15 points)
  • 9th – Robert Sweatman & Joe Oatley (14 points)
  • 10th – Neil Stevenson & James Allen (13 points)

Occasional Zwift club rides/races will continue during inclement weather, but regular events are now on hold until November. Thanks to everyone for making turbo sessions a bit more bearable! Congratulations Michael on a convincing overall victory, with a consistent performance in every race without missing a single one!!

York Arrow 2024

“Arrows” are 24-hour team events. The objective is to ride as a team of up to five, attempting to cover the longest distance possible, within the allotted time, departing from different locations and converging towards York. Arrows are modelled after the Flèche Vélocio, the oldest events created by Audax Club Parisien, where teams journey to the traditional Easter cycling rally. This year, a team of five club riders signed up. As the team captain, it would be my second time. However, this year’s challenge was longer, wetter, and noticeably more potholed. For the others, it was their first time. Joe, Sam, and Reece faced a significantly longer ride than they’ve ever attempted before. Even for Ray, an experienced Audax rider with several far longer events under his belt, the stringent time limits imposed for the 24-hour duration posed quite a test. Find out how they got on by CLICKING HERE.

Saturday Club Ride

For what felt like the first occasion since the club’s inauguration in 1934, a dry and mild Saturday club ride was forecast. Some rumour-mongers even whispered that the ‘great orb’ might reward us with its appearance if only we would believe hard enough. So it was that a few of the really superstitious club members dusted off the summer bikes, donned the bib shorts and even bared their skinny pale arms. Others feeling that they’d heard it all before stuck with the thermal long-johns and Norwegian beanies. 11 made the starting gate and with only a limited number of the club hot-shots making an appearance this week, we decided to go out in one group. Barry had prepared a significantly longer and hillier route than usual, theoretically to get away from the ‘busy forest roads’. As we got ready to set off however and he still hadn’t appeared, suspicions started to arise that he’d planned to level a little revenge upon us tail-suckers by pulling a tactical hamstring and was sat at home in Wootten towers laughing to himself like The Joker and high-fiving the Spaniel. Despite Barry’s absence, we set off on time at a fair pace and as usual when heading North the first lumpy obstacle was the Col de Bolderwood. As efforts increased up the hill those who had dressed for summer started feeling pretty smug and light of heart, those like Simon who had dressed for the Drangajökull glacier were sweating like a black bear caught in the Sauna in the Coldstream guards barracks. We soon picked up Matt S, lost Neil S and Jay and his buddy too so if my maths is correct, exactly a number of us set forth to Shaftesbury.

A light tailwind aided our progress north, the weather held and an arguably ‘too high’ pace was set. At some point Richard P joined us then disappeared as soon as he’d arrived, it’s not often that Richard doesn’t make the cafe stop so there must have been a good reason, which may have been that his pedal had fallen off. The group stopped for vittles in one of our favourite haunts, the community shop/cafe in Broad Chalke with Axum particularly impressing in his charge for the clubs, ‘most calories consumed in a calendar year’ award with a solid Doppia-Torta. Post cake, and before the real climbing began three headed home citing excuses like Easter family responsibilities, jury service and the dog ate their homework but the hardier members of the group, arguably those with nothing better to do pushed on. At this point for reasons best known to the cycling-shoe gods both of my (Phil H) cleats started coming loose at regular intervals for the rest of the ride. For lesser people, being re-shod in an increasingly undignified position by a hex key-wielding plumber might have looked inelegant at best but I’m confident that I managed to pull it off with a certain elan. In any case, I’m pretty sure there are no photos so I think I got away with it. Sadly for the club, Graham F chose the first re-shodding break to ‘accidentally’ expose himself to an elderly lady and her pet Pekinese but that’s another rather sordid story and possibly sub-Judice. Graham’s next act of folly was to get a puncture, it happens to the best of us but unfortunately, he chose the forecourt of perhaps the smelliest farm in Europe to do so. A mere half an hour stink-fest later we were ready to go.
The ride was becoming a smelly, stop-start affair. Like driving a Trabant P50 on a tour of East Germany‘s sewerage treatment facilities ( not a holiday that I remember with much fondness). Eventually, we got moving again, rode up and down some hills and then took what seemed like an unnecessary break at cafe number two. If the warm welcome at Broadchalke had been a bit ‘Golden Girls’, this one had more than a hint of ‘Witches of Eastwick’ about it. The reception may have been a little frosty but you certainly couldn’t make that accusation about the beef and thermo-nuclear onion pies. Needless to add, Axum maintained his form in the eating department. Onwards and downwards, the group made its weary path back to Brock and home with Axum, Graham F, Jon S, Phil J, and Matthew Knight all posting impressive 100+ mile rides. The weather stayed fine and many chocolate Easter eggs were earned.

Southern XC Rd.1: Matterley Basin

Despite not pre-entering for the event meaning he was not gridded and having to start at the back, Jay Tarrant flew the NFCC flag at the Southern XC Rd.1 at Matterley Basin Going deep early to make some passes, Jay was pleased the strong winds in the last few days meant bone dry conditions, which was great even with having mud tyres on making his ride a bit draggy! Good racing on the last lap, back and forth, Jay was pipped for 3rd in the last 100m so ended up one step off the podium.

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.

Share this post