Racing in 2017? The season starts here!

Actually, to be truthful it’s already started, with several of our members already taking part in the NovaCross Cyclo-Cross in Knaresborough on New Year’s Day, the National Cyclo-Cross Championships at Peel Park in Bradford on the weekend of 7th/8th January and the Ilkley Cyclo-Cross 15th January.  But there’s still the rest of the year to compete so if you’re still planning what to do here’s some information that will hopefully help speed you on your way.

We won’t hold anyone to their plans – although on the other hand, we might.  Various racing plans disclosed for 2017 include, unsurprisingly, to keep on racing and in various disciplines, continue family rivalry – all in good spirits of course – stop faffing and go faster round the Triangle, avoiding being beaten by the same clubmates for a second year in succession, not spend any more hard-earned money than is necessary to endure the pain of racing, to keep healthy – that definitely applies to us all – and ride some long distance events, maybe breaking some club records on the way. And lastly, to read course instructions and actually stay on the racing line.  You know who you are!

Some might want to try for one of the many Club Championships. These range from single-day events such as time-trial Championships covering the hill-climb to the 24 hour, or season-long Championships such as road racing, cyclo-cross, the Triangle Series or track. Different age categories are catered for as well as there being awards for male and female riders.

Or you may want to have a go at cracking some of the club records, even setting some that are missing from the list.

Whatever you choose, there’s something for everyone whether old or young, male or female, serious or just wanting to have fun. Cyclo-cross, time-trialling, road racing, grass track, mountain biking – there’s even cycle speedway and cycle polo if you fancy trying something out of the ordinary!

And don’t forget to ensure that your club membership up to date so you’re eligible to compete!

Cyclo-Cross (CX)

As CX had already been mentioned, it’s probably a good place to start.  The Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Association (YCCA) promotes events throughout the year, even though CX is traditionally regarded as a winter sport, with a Winter Series and a Summer Series.  As you might imagine, their Winter Series is now taking place with the last round on 22nd January in Barnsley.

There are several different age categories, ranging from Under 8s to 45+ Veterans, so there’s something for everyone. Although the races can be tough it’s a good way of maintaining your fitness over the winter and will certainly help improve your bike handling skills.  The club has a number of CX bikes to loan out so if you’d like use one to try out please contact the club racing secretary John Barnett by email on otleycycleclubracesec@gmail.com

If you get bitten by the CX bug and want to ride further afield there’s a British Cycling (BC) National Series available too. See also multi-national Champion Nick Craig’s ‘Getting started with cyclo-cross‘ on the BC website.  The Road CC cycling website provides a useful guide to CX bikes.

Time-trialling (TT)

Probably the easiest form of racing to get into as you can ride virtually any bike but be warned, it can become addictive and, as with most involved in cycling, you will likely succumb to Velomonati Rule #12.  Some might say this is the most important rule, the one governing the number of bikes you should own and a TT bike will be at the top of your shopping list.

Introduction to Time Trialling

This is now an annual event, this year taking place at the Clubhouse on Monday 20th February from 19:30 to 21:15, organised by Christine Bell.  It’s an informal evening designed for those new to the sport where experienced TTers will be on hand to provide tips and pointers and answer questions about time trialling.  See the club website for more details.

Triangle Series

Our Triangle Series for club 1st claim TTing members, organised by Stakes place each week on a Thursday from the end of April to the end of August, mainly 12 1/2 mile TTs round the Pool Triangle, based at The Wharfedale Inn.  A 25 (twice round) is thrown in for good measure plus a hilly 14 at Farnley.  On the A168 near Boroughbridge some 10 & 15-mile TTs and a 30 take place, usually on a Tuesday.

The Triangle Series is handicap based, each rider being awarded points from 6 down to 1 against their handicap time.  This gives slower riders the opportunity to claim the overall championship instead of it going only to the fastest rider.

Apart from championship events incorporated into the series all events are enter on the night, although numbers can be restricted.  Our 10, Hilly 14, 25 and 30-mile Championships are included in the series.  See Open TTs below for information on other TT Championships.  Watch out for an announcement about 2017 Triangle dates.

Please note that all regular Triangle Series riders are expected to act as marshals for at least one Triangle event.

corsaRosa League

Local club albaRosa organises the corsaRosa Time Trial League using two local TT 10-mile courses, one based at Ben Rhydding, the other at Addingham.  TT specific bikes and equipment aren’t allowed, providing more of a level playing field for all competitors.  Races take place every other Sunday commencing 7th May, the last one being Sunday 10th September after which the prize presentation will take place.  Pre-entry is required and information will be updated regularly on the corsaRosa Time Trial League Facebook page.

Open Time Trials

Open TTs are organised by other cycling clubs under the rules and regulations of the UK governing body for time trialing, Cycling Time Trials (CTT).  Clubs have to be affiliated to CTT for members to be eligible to enter open TTs.

Usually, anyone can enter but there may be certain restrictions, for example fastest riders only, a certain percentage of women and younger riders, clubs local to the area of the course. Details of races, courses, how to enter and other important time- trialing information can be found on the CTT website and in the CTT 2017 Handbook, available from the CTT website shop.  Our Hill-climb, 50-mile, 100-mile, 12-hour and 24-hour championships are incorporated into open TTs and these will be announced at the same time as the Triangle Series details.

Otley Cycle Club runs four open TTs itself, a 10, a 25, a 50 and a 2-stage Hill-climb (see Hill-climbs below also).

10-mile TT (tandems also). Saturday 15th April. Event secretary Christine Bell.

25-mile TT (tandems also). Sunday 23rd April. Event secretary Martin Tallontire.

50-mile TT (tandems also). Sunday 9th July. Event secretary James Cullen.

2-stage Hill-climb.  Saturday 7th October. Event secretary Stewart Newbould.

Please note that marshals and helpers are required for these events so please contact the event secretaries to offer your services!

Yorkshire Cycling Federation (YCF)

The YCF runs points competitions during the season involving TTs in the Yorkshire district. The Sporting Courses (SpoCo) points competition is open to members of all CTT affiliated clubs.  The YCF Points Competition is open to members of clubs affiliated to the YCF, of which Otley CC is one.  Details can be found on the YCF Facebook page.

Claire Jessop from our club is organising a 15-mile TT and a 30-mile TT on behalf of the YCF, both on Saturday 19th August. Please note that YCF affiliated clubs are required to provide marshals for YCF events, so Claire will be grateful for offers of help.

Hill-climbs

Not for the faint-hearted and certainly not for those afraid of hills!  Usually held at the end of the racing year in September and October – though Yorkshire Road Club (YRC) hold one 27th June on Cragg Vale near Mytholmroyd – these usually require a sort, intensive effort although some of the courses, Cragg Vale and Horshoe Pass in Wales are much longer at 4.8 and 4 miles respectively.

YRC co-ordinate the Yorkshire Hill Climbs Points Competition, made up of all the hill-climbs in the CTT Yorkshire District, the YRC Cragg Vale event 27th June being the first counting event.  Further details will become available later in the year on the Yorkshire Road Club Facebook page.

Tejvan Pettinger, former National Hill-climb Champion, many time winner of our own open hill-climb and once an Otley CC member, writes an excellent blog on hill-climbing cyclinguphill.com containing lots of useful information on anti-gravity competition.

Road racing

Many of us will have had our first experience of cycle racing watching the fantastic 2014 Yorkshire Grand Depart of the Tour de France.  And of course, our club patron Lizzie Deignan is a master of road racing, being one of the world’s top racing cyclists, Olympic Road Race silver medalist in 2012, World Champion in 2015 and Team Time Trial World Champion with Boels-Dolmans in 2016.

Both the TdF and Lizzie, and more recently the Tour de Yorkshire, have inspired people to take up cycling and what better way to emulate those by taking part in a road race.

British Cycling (BC) are the main administrators of road racing in the UK.  See ‘How to get into road cycling‘ page on the BC website.  Age related races are also organised by TLI Cycling (formerly The League International) and over 40s racing by the League of Veteran Racing Cyclists (LVRC).

The club’s main road racing protagonists are riders on our Youth and Junior Race Team but why not have a go yourself?  In most BC races you will need a licence – see Racing Licences Explained on the BC website – although single day licences are available.  Again, see the BC website – Single Day Licences.

Although many road races are held on the public highway, there are more and more closed circuits opening, providing a safe competitive environment for all.  Two of the most popular, both where our youth and junior riders have enjoyed many successes, are the York Sport Circuit and the Steven Burke Cycling Hub in Nelson, named after local rider Olympic and World Champion Steven Burke MBE.

If you’re unsure about racing in a bunch then coaching courses are sometimes available through BC and our more experienced road racers in the club will be only to happy to pass on their tips.

Track

By far the biggest involvement Otley CC involvement in track racing is through grass track at Roundhay Park in the West Riding Track League (WRTL) series.

This is a summer Track league which takes place on Monday evenings.  There are classes for all riders from 5 years old and upwards, with our younger riders enjoying success every week whilst being able to learn racecraft in a safe environment away from the open road.  Bikes are single gear  for the older riders – WTRL advice is ‘Under 12s can ride any bike in good working order, provided it has brakes. Over 12s and adults ride a more traditional “fixed wheel” Track bike with no brakes, and a “fixed” gear so the bike can’t freewheel – riders control the speed of the bike by applying pressure to the pedals’.  Although track bikes are usually fixed gear, younger riders can ride a normal freewheel to gain more experience.

There are some grass track bikes available to members. These are stored at the clubhouse.  Please contact the club racing secretary John Barnett by email on otleycycleclubracesec@gmail.com if you are interested in trying one out.  Some of the bikes have a single speed freewheel as well as a fixed sprocket.

If you fancy track racing but don’t want to race on grass and would prefer to follow in the wheel tracks of our World and Olympic stars such as Laura and Jason Kenny, Sir Chris Hoy and Jo Rowsell Shand then you can have a taster session at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. See ‘Introduction to track cycling‘ on the BC website.

Mountain bike racing (MTB) 

Although not a mainstay of racing within the club, some members do indulge in fat tyre racing.  Similar to CX in that races are off-road, laps tend to be longer and climbs more gradual meaning they can be ridden rather than the bike having to be carried or pushed.  Many members own a mountain bike as well as road bikes so why not get together with them and perhaps go to some local MTB races for the experience?

As with other disciplines, further information can be found on the BC website under ‘Mountain Bike (MTB)

Whatever form of racing you do in 2017, good luck, enjoy it and ride safely.