Spring racing roundup

The following was sent out earlier this week as a newsletter to all who have signed up for it - if you didn't get it but want it then click on the big button on the right hand side of the home page now!

Hi All

Welcome to the first of what should be weekly newsletters mainly detailing the results of the club’s evening time trial series (the club 10’s), but also some snippets of information about what the members of the club has done or are intending to do, etc.

Often there will be links through to pages on the website, or hopefully threads on the forum in which people can participate in the chats on the events they may be taking part in – or results that have happened or … well just about anything! The more people use it the better it will become as an online community. In recent years the triathletes have been using it a fair bit but these last few months the time trialists and road racers have really got into it and have been very active! It’s been great – don’t miss out! http://www.hemelcycling.org.uk/phpbb/index.php

Firstly – an apology for anyone getting this that isn’t really interested – many club members were automatically added to the mailing list for the newsletter and asked to check their preferences – if this is you and you haven’t then you can unsubscribe to certain sections or the entire thing. I have decided to send the first newsletter to all interest groups but will be more selective from now on.

Secondly – yes well the first newsletter is over 4 weeks late! We have had 4 of the club 10’s already!

So in view of the fact we have had a number of the events I will try to make this one a comparatively brief overview of what has happened so far – but my briefly is still a bit longwinded!

Club 10's

The first of the events was on 21 April and as you may remember we had summer back then – it was gloriously warm and only a gentle breeze wafting along the course. Surprisingly we didn’t get a massive turnout considering the conditions. Maybe with it being just the day before a very late Easter may have had an effect.

On to the results, Gavin Atkins has been the man on super form this springtime and he showed this with an outstanding time of 20:34, thrashing any previous best time done by any Hemel member on the course and as far as I can tell is the 3rd fastest ever rider on there after Gordon McCauley (course record 19:56) and Craig Simpson (who has done 18 minute 10’s on faster courses). It goes without saying that Gavin was leagues ahead of everyone else, despite a lot of them doing PB’s.

On handicap it was the domain of the women on the first week, with Carol Macdonald showing her winter of training was starting to pay off and taking a big chunk of time of her best from last year – well over a minute 20 seconds. Her long-time training partner Sandra Mogan came 2nd in a very tight fight for 3rd place, just holding off Ian Baynes and Gavin by 2 & 3 seconds respectively – all of them having beaten their PB’s on the course by some margin.
For full results please go to the thread on the forum: http://www.hemelcycling.org.uk/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1055

The 2nd week saw a return to the kind of weather we typically find for this time of year – still not bad but a lot cooler and definitely a lot windier.
Luke Clarke (Team Milton Keynes) was fastest with a mid 21 minute ride. In fact the top 6 riders were all guest riders. Giles Haley was fastest Hemel rider with a long 24 minute ride.

On handicap even after an allowance adjustment following the previous weeks performance, Carol Macdonald still prevailed this time over new rider Steve Conroy and Sarah Williamson (the women still to the fore!).

This 2nd week is also the Longmarkers Trophy – won by the fastest rider who hadn’t beaten 25 minutes in recent years. This year that award was won by Martin Alexander in a very close fight with Simon North and Richard Greaves.

Again for full results please go to the thread on the forum: http://www.hemelcycling.org.uk/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1061

The 3rd week again saw cooler and breezier conditions, but it saw the return of Gavin Atkins, and he again showed that he has moved on by such a margin compared to previous years by still overcoming the conditions to record a very short 21 minute ride. Such was his dominance the next best rider was almost 1 and a half minutes slower.

On handicap Steve Conroy just about managed to take the win by a handful of seconds from again the strong showing by women this year – Jody Conibear taking almost a minute off her best ever to drop into the 24 minute zone and is only the 4th women in the club to have done that on this course. Sarah Williamson backed up her previous performance to come in 3rd and continue the women’s dominance on handicap.

Full results: http://www.hemelcycling.org.uk/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1067

Onto the 4th week and conditions before the start didn’t seem too promising, but the riders kept coming to sign on until we had a bumper crop of 36 riders, and once again we had a number of people coming along to try out the sport for the first time – as we have done every week so far and every week more people have joined the club as a result!

Luckily the wind started to die down as the event started but with still cooler temperatures meant not too bad a day.

Fastest was 2nd claim club member and current Junior National TT Champion Conor Dunne (VL Technics), home from his new base in Belgium on his way to racing for Ireland in the Irish stage race next week. He managed to beat his long time coach Gavin Atkins by a scant 1 second – but had just his training wheels in! Both managed long 20 minute times and both had loads of time to spare over the Clarke brothers (Luke beating Ross by 5 seconds with Luke still 45 seconds down on the top 2).

On handicap Ian Baynes triumphed over a resurgent Sam Williamson and Gavin Atkins still in the frame with his good ride in 3rd place.
Full results: http://www.hemelcycling.org.uk/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1074

So we are now up to date!

But there are lots of stories still to be told!

Open Results Catch-Up

As noticed above, Gavin Atkins has truly stepped up a level this year and his great form (coupled with a quick trip to a wind tunnel to refine his already good position it has to be said!) has resulted in a number of high profile top placings in events around the south and east of the country. His first notice of this was coming 2nd to top Team Sky pro Alex Dowsett in an event on the fast E2/25 course where in conditions some described as not favourable he proceeded to smash the club 25 mile time trial record previously held by JD, and set some 29 years ago. He took almost a minute off John’s time and the record now stands at 50:47! Just to prove that was no fluke and the fact that taking notable scalps such as Ian Cammish, the following week he again finished 2nd in a 25 on the F1 with a slightly slower 52 minute ride in conditions many thought were tough.

Gavin on his Shiv

And then 2 weeks ago Gavin rode his very first ever 50 mile time trial… and again smashed the club record, this time previously held by Wayne Levet and this time by over 2 minutes to now stand at 1:46:06.

Last weekend he had a go at the club 10 record but came up against a stiff and often strong and gusty wind and came up short with a 20:09, which of course he was disappointed with! However it that makes him the equal 3rd fastest Hemel rider (tying with Tim Cox and after JD and Jon Hunt, the 2 riders who have been under 20 minutes). Gavin again finished 2nd – behind the superstar of Michael Hutchinson but ahead of a huge number of notable fast riders – again!
Next stop for Gavin is the National 10 Championships up near Middlesbrough. Many think a top 10 finish is within his grasp, which would put him firmly in the minds of many top riders. Good Luck Gav!

Whilst Gavin has bee hitting the headlines, Sam Williamson and JD have been getting busy too – Sam recording PB’s at all distances from 10 to 50 miles too – the 50 being a first time ride and he has already dipped under 2 hours with a 1:58 last weekend – on a tough day too. There is more to come from Sam.
Ian Baynes meanwhile has started to mix his racing with a few time trials interspersed with a number of circuit races at both Hillingdon and Redbridge (aka Hog Hill) resulting in a number of top 10 finishes and has managed to upgrade from novice 4th cat to a decent 3rd cat in just a handful of events. He has often been supported and even outsprinted by Chris Grange (Chad). Ian has now decided he wants to go racing with the big boys on the open roads now and has taken the plunge to race the bigger events to gain more experience – anyone want to join him? He’s very keen and learning fast.

This year seems to have started off with a bang on the time trialling and road racing fronts – and a scheme set in motion at the club dinner seems to be more and more a possibility: A team of good club riders are aiming to go for the club team 12 hour record, set some 49 years ago, but even now deserves some respect. It’s been a couple of years since anyone in the club did a 12 hour, let alone 3 or more in the same event (in fact I’m not sure that there have been more than 2 ever do the same 12 hour in the time I have been in the club, and possibly not more than 2 or 3 do a 12 in the same year). This scheme is the brainchild of Sam Williamson – and his enthusiasm has gained the promise of none other than the current top 2 time trialists in the club: Gavin and JD. JD has done a lot of 100’s, but has never done a 12 in a very long career so we all really think he needs to plug that gap in his palmares. But a number of tough Fondo’s and Sportives in Europe of 6 to 9 hours plus a career as a GB road racer in younger years will come to the fore here. Gavin had never ridden a time trial longer than a 25 before this year – or rather up to 2 weeks ago – and his first 25 was relatively recent too – only 2 years ago (again Gavin has had a fairly long career too!). However his previous speciality of mountain biking also included some long distance marathons – team 12 & 24 hour races plus the huge international MTB Stage race the Trans Rockies in Canada where him and his team mate were one of the top UK teams. So for both it’s not a massive step. Sam too has done a few bigger events – running and triathlons. With all 3 already in fairly good form and the target event being mid August then still plenty of time to get themselves in good shape. However if we could get a few more taking up the challenge????


Meanwhile on the multisports side of things in the club, the recent Bedford Sprint event saw 8 club members take part, with Richard Boley backing up his 2010 Club Champion win by coming home top club rider. Top woman was Liz Fletcher – recently joined daughter of Keith who was also taking his first plunge into the Triathlon world and doing very well too.

For more info about this event click here http://www.hemelcycling.org.uk/news/bedford-sprint-tri-24-apr-2011

This weekend some are back at Bedford for their 2nd event of the year and this event is the one designated as the Club Championship to decide the best improver See more on the forum thread: http://www.hemelcycling.org.uk/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1073

A new target event has been picked up: The Triathlon England Eastern Region relay Champs. Here a team of 3 take part together – but individually! – by swimming and tagging their team mates who all do the swim, then the first does the bike, and once all have done them they go on to do the run… It’s a relatively short race individually and of course you can get your breath back between each element but the atmosphere should be great. A women’s team from the club has already entered and the men are trying to sort themselves out. Teams can be men or women or mixed and there are veteran’s teams too. See the forum thread for more – and get yourselves a team and entered! http://www.hemelcycling.org.uk/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1056


One final thing: the Marshalling rota – a reminder that you should check you can do your allocated day and if not then it is up to YOU to arrange a swap, and then notify me. I’ll then try to keep the rota up to date. See the thread here – needs a small update but it’s close enough for most (any changes will be known by those involved) http://www.hemelcycling.org.uk/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1043

I have probably forgotten loads of what has happened - and will be happening - in the club, but it’s already a long newsletter so I’ll stop now. More next week. But shorter. Probably!