Weekly Round-up: 5 May 2024

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

NFCC Ten Series Rd.3 – P164

Matt Downie (Tapp Kalas) and Sien van Der Plank (NFCC) posted the fastest men’s & women’s times at Round three of the NFCC Ten Series on P164. A full list of results can be seen by CLICKING HERE. Overall standings for the series can be seen by CLICKING HERE. A gallery of images can be seen by CLICKING HERE

BikeShed Race Series @ Thruxton: Rd. 4

Despite luck being on his side for rounds two and three of the BikeShed Racing series at Thruxton, Phill Brown had a long night out on his own this week… The relentless pace of the first few laps with numerous riders trying to escape off the front of the pack, Brown found himself slowly loosing touch with the peloton and spent 8 laps riding around the blustery circuit on his own. Finishing the full race duration meant Brown picked up the final available points for the series and, despite not scoring any points due to not finishing the first round, he ended up 51st overall out of 264 entries across the series.

Saturday Club Ride

With a decent weather forecast and a bank holiday weekend this week’s club ride was planned to get us away from the hoards heading for the forest and took us north to the Chalke Valley. A decent turnout considering there were riders keeping their powder dry for the Round the Forest TT and the IOW Randonee this weekend. Two groups set out and duly reconvened at the coffee stop in Broad Chalke. As ever, gratitude was expressed to Mark and Matt K who took one for the team and rode with Group One to even the numbers up. Group One set off at a ferocious pace, allegedly down to Jay having his racing legs on. Thankfully the wind was light this week and steady pace was made as we headed north. Just before Roger Penny Way most of us saw our first pony foal of the year.

We said goodbye to Neil S at Downton as his rock and roll lifestyle dictated that he needed to get back to the Gardeners World Roadshow at Beaulieu. The numbers were restored as we picked up Peter who was waiting for us in the village. Group One, remembering a ride earlier in the year when they stopped for a puncture at the worlds smelliest farm decided that it would be a good idea to repeat this activity to rea-assess its pungency. This time Michael (welcome back) was the unlucky rider and received the gratitude of the group. Group One did some Hare and Hounds type drills to catch Matt along the Chalke Valley. This ensured that everyone was exhausted by the time they got to Broad Chalke.
We all met up for coffee and cake in Broad Chalke where the volunteers had kindly reserved a large table for us all. The café has introduced a “no nonsense” coffee menu, presumably to deter such exacting customers as Smithy with his list of demands longer than a rock band backstage rider. A wave of relief went down the queue as he ordered tea for the first time, elation soon turned to dismay when we produced an exhaustive list of requirements for his tea. Whist at the coffee stop it was also noted that a key differentiator between Group One and Group Two is that most of the Group Two riders carry reading glasses so they can read their phones and deal with punctures! We also remarked that Axum was undertaking a 132Km plus extras ride without any water bottles on his bike. He has demonstrated these camel-like tendencies before, so we assumed he was just going to bury his head in a pond sometime to refill for the week. The rides continued along the Chalke Valley and then had to make the climb to Win Green. Peter at this time peeled off as he had a secret route that avoided that climb. We duly had our revenge on Smithy as he climbed Win Green alone.
The original route from Sixpenny Handley to Wimborne St Giles had been changed on intelligence received from Graham advising that the road was under water and full of rubble. We rode close to Chettle Stores and there were groans from the peloton when the ride leader ruled out a detour for some of their famous pies. Group Two then reconvened with Peter, proving once again that experience and cunning beats (relative) youth and fitness as his Dick Dastardly like shortcut enabled him to intercept us. Unfortunately, the revised route had just been resurfaced and we had to deal with a lot of loose chippings for a few miles. This caught a few out as we approached Wimborne St Giles down a small incline where a chorus of expletives and unclipping was required to navigate the turn.
On the way back Group One inevitably did its usual disintegration and were met by Phil G who had missed the start, by THREE HOURS. This far into the report and no barrel nominations? Most readers would think it would be unfair to put a club legend in the barrel, a man that is always the first to offer mechanical assistance to others, often to riders who are not properly equipped with spares, a man that always drops back to pace back dropped riders, the man that does all the hard work sprinting ahead to take the photos for the club rides and then has to sprint to get back on. But the barrel is not fair, democratic, or just so for missing the start by a record margin it’s Phil’s turn this week. As expected, a number of riders rounded up to 100 miles plus to kudos to all. In summary, a pleasant but hard ride in some decent weather with excellent company as usual.

LWL Audax: 400km

Ray Claridge was reported in action at the London Wales London 400km Audax this weekend. Ray rported: Started 30min late due to road closure. Started catching up with cyclists just before first control but missed out on the normally faster grouping at the start. The weather was good, some blue sky’s and slowly got warmer towards mid afternoon. The route went through the Cotswolds and down into Wales via Symonds Yat with the hardest climb on the route. Across the Seven bridge which is always a treat. Then into Somerset back and towards London. However I didn’t get any sleep the night before and this massively caught up with me just after the last control with the last 80km through the night a real struggle and my avg speed slowly lowered. The temp dropped to 3c, so was glad I packed the my down jacket. Finally rolled into the finish control at 5.15am 3h:45m within time limit. Overall a very enjoyable Audax with very good hot food at the manned controls and very helpful volunteers. This is my second LWL and may do again in the future.

Sunday Club Ride

Of the motley NFCC crew assembled in Brookley Rd car park, some looked ready to embark on a polar expedition, others like an afternoon of sunbathing was on the cards. It was dismaying to see our (unelected) Sunday group leader Comrade Harris leaving the premises in his car, the broad grin on his face belying the fact that his mumbled excuse about some valve malfunction was little more than a diplomatic white lie: instead preferring a solitary day in his studio working on one of his exquisitely detailed paintings with sherry in hand (and possibly the Giro on the wireless in the background). There was the usual thorny topic of who should set off in the faster ‘group one’, a few riders already self-selecting by standing contemptuously apart from the rabble, whilst their more bashful counterparts needed a bit of coaxing before crossing over.

The two groups set off a few minutes apart. In group two, Matt’s Zwiftomaniac daughter Eloise put in a strong performance on her debut club ride—well done to her. Matt himself—no doubt strengthened by a week of Riccione climbs—could not refrain from powering up anything with a half-decent gradient, tactfully using the cover of ‘photographer duties’ to mask the fact that he wasn’t content to wait with us mere mortals huffing and puffing up Shirley Holms Rd and other ‘nice climbs’ (his oxymoron, not mine). Speaking of excess power, it would be rash to overlook Andrew Donaldson generating enough wattage to break his chain, thereby spelling an end to his ride and freeing him up to prepare for some more epic hiking. Jane Hardy was also on sterling form in the wattage department, making light work of the undulations between Pilley and Bucklers Hard: on the front of the breakaway no less.
While the rubber held fast for all group two riders, the fast group suffered two deflations: James Allen getting his dose of karma for holding up the peloton in the rain with his puncture by later being doused in the sealant expelled from Dan Soutan’s tubeless setup. Little wonder that both groups arrived at Setley Ridge café more or less simultaneously for a well-earned refuelling session. It was a pleasant surprise to realise we that, for once, had arrived comfortably before the 1130 cutoff time and eggs were still available. Apart from shivering in the outdoor section of the café, it was a good end to another bucolic Sunday club ride.

NFCC Round the Forest TT: P333

NFCC’s time trial aficionado Joe Shepherd hosted the 2024 edition of the infamous Round The Forest Time Trial this weekend. Based out of New Milton, the route heads through Lymington, past Hatchett Pond and Beaulieu before reaching Lyndhurst and taking a turn back down the A35 for the finish line back in New Milton. Last year’s winner Andrew Rivett proved quickest with Louisa Cooper crossing the line the fastest woman. Ben George was the fastest home club rider, clinching the Ted Joyce Memorial Cup in the process.

Graham Sharman was pleased to be greeted with sunny skies and dry trails in Surrey for the Gorrick 3hr Endurance Race this weekend. He reported: I was unsure how to set up for a three hour ride so I chucked an extra bottle in the feed zone and some jelly babies in my pocket and went from there. Sighting lap in hindsight was a waste of energy as it was open and flowing with only one or two technical sections that I could ride with ease. Everyone went off like a rocket at the start and I did my best to roll through the single track and burn matches on the open sections but quickly realised this was way too fast for me. I’d forgotten to factor in that these guys were doing the event as pairs hence the high pace. Plus the usual 60kg skinsuit brigade!! Lap two was trying to recover, letting riders go and that I settled into my own pace until the dreaded cramp began on lap 3. Not particularly surprising having only been able to drink 500 mils in an 1hr 45 of riding! I was now riding on my own with the only company single lap team riders shouting their position to overtake and flying past like I was stood still (not great for morale).
Halfway around lap four on a short punchy climb, I got cramp in both quads which caused me to fall to the ground with my knees locked straight. It took a few minutes lying on the floor and four attempts to stand up before I could get back on the bike. Fortunately, I rejoined with better legs and settled in behind a rider that was riding just above my pace. I was glad of the tow for the last three miles. The rider in front asked several times if I wanted to come past “as I’m just practising” they were greater with “no chance, I’m nailed”. (We were told Swearing was banned in the briefing). After 26 miles, two hours and 36 minutes of racing I was pleasantly surprised to see a 19th place on the results board! Further cramp getting off the bike at the finish line was now comical! I’ve learned a good few lessons but not sure I want to move into mountain bike endurance racing yet.Maybe a few more weekend club rides first. The team events look fun though! Who’s up for a team event though?

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