Road Racing and Time Trialling in Yorkshire and Lancashire

The Mini-Flyers enjoyed a very successful weekend – see separate report – but not to be outdone some of our older – not old though! – members were also in action, two of them enduring very taxing conditions when crossing the border into Lancashire.

On Saturday Helen Goldthorpe and partner Liam Mealey rode at the York Sport Cycle Track, Helen not only for the experience of bunch riding but also to help train for the CTT Team Time Trial (TTT) National Championships 3-up to be held Sunday 18th June over a 33-mile Yorkshire course. Helen is riding the event with Liz Hills and Claire Jessop. Here’s Helen’s report on her day in York.

‘This year Liam is trying to do more bunch racing, and as he was planning to be over in York racing I decided to enter the ladies race too. This was mainly because I thought it would be good TTT training – sitting on wheels at a decent pace, reacting to what other people do and learning to be more aware of what’s happening around me rather than just riding along in my own little bubble! At the very worst it would be a traffic free threshold session. This plan turned out to be a good safety blanket when I realised that there were some fairly decent riders signed up (ladies don’t really get the luxury of cat 4 only races to start out in!).

The race went off fast and split into little pieces almost immediately – 3 very strong riders at the front and then riders scattered all over. Gradually I and another rider worked together to pick up other riders ahead of us and form a group of 7 or so which was the 3rd and probably biggest group on the track – the fast 3, a group slightly ahead that wasn’t really pulling away but we couldn’t quite get back to, us and then a variety of dropped riders including some who got spat out of the back of our group along the way. As this was mainly TTT training I was more than happy to do plenty of time on the front of the group to make it a hard workout for myself, and I had no real desire or need to save myself for a sprint at the end!

That said, when I got to the last hundred or so metres with three people from the group (one had gone off the front in the last few laps and the others had fallen off the back when we picked up the pace to chase) I was tempted into a cheeky sprint and to my surprise actually went round one of them just before the line. That put me about 11th or 12th overall I think (from around 20 starters) which I was quite pleased with particularly as I’ve never outsprinted anyone before!

I enjoyed it enough that I think I’ll be signing up for some more’.

Looks like Helen’s got not only the TTT bug but the road racing bug too.

The junior riders were in action too with Eleanor and Harry Hunt, Will Brown, Sam Howcroft, James Veitch and Jack Coates in action, Eleanor finishing 2nd, Will 3rd, Jack 3rd and Sam 7th in their respective categories. Photographs courtesy of Kate Howcroft.

Further north, riding in the Prissick Spring Shield Round 3 at Middlesbrough, Luke O’Connell finished 10th in the 3/4th category event, scoring 1 point for his efforts. Full results on the BC website.

No details on Liam’s ride at York unfortunately, although you can see him in action in video on Helen’s Facebook page, but carrying on the theme from Helen’s efforts, two more Otley CC Women were riding the same day in the West Pennine RC Hilly 14, but in very different conditions with strong winds and lots of rain.

Held on the L142 course near Clitheroe, the event attracted a good field of 99 riders, Otley CC represented by Gill Arnett and Liz Hills. After drying out, Liz put together a report on her and Gill’s experience over the border.

‘With forecast 25mph gusts we nearly didn’t attempt this TT but given that I’d made such a fuss on Twitter celebrating the fact that it was equal prize money (in an effort to piggy back on to it and try and promote our own equal prize money Open TTs) I felt I had to at least show my face, and even though it was a tough day I’m glad I made the effort.

The weather worsened as we headed west and as we drove the course we were almost aquaplaning through standing water so we weren’t looking forward to it at all. The rain didn’t let up and having got my bike ready (road bike – I decided not to chance it on TT in that weather on a hilly course) I nearly didn’t make it to the start line. After advice from Gill and Stephen (Lloyd, Liz’s partner) of “well, you can only get ‘so’ wet, and then your skin is waterproof’ I decided to just get on with it.

The first half mile was hell, rain bouncing off the road and you couldn’t see the road condition, so after convincing myself not to turn back I decided to just take it steady on the descents, ‘go for it’ on the flats and just try and go as fast as I could on the climbs. That strategy must’ve worked as I came in under the hour, happy with mubaverage speed. We had a great tailwind going out but as you know, that means…yep, 7 miles back of crying and swearing into a headwind.

The event was being supported by Olympic athletes nd World Champion Joanna Rowsell-Shand and it was fabulous to see her marshalling on one of the bends warning about gravel ahead. I managed a smile which she probably wasn’t impressed with – I clearly wasn’t trying hard enough.

The course was interesting, and ‘rolling’ as some might say – imagine a very undulating course with four 10% short climbs thrown in for good measure and that about sums it up. But the good thing about a hilly TT is that you get to use the momentum of the downs to do the climbs. I think I’d like to try another hilly one (maybe Bronte Wheelers’ Cracoe course on Wednesdays but definitely not the Otley Hill Climb one!).

The post-ride atmosphere at HQ was buzzing as we all recounted our “hour (or for some half-hour) of hell in hail and a headwind”. I’m happy with sub 55, I know I could try harder as I still can’t psychologically ride through the pain threshold and I always end up holding something back. I’d like to try it again on a dry day but I’m not sure those things exist in Lancashire do they? It was incredible to see the speeds that some of these people were going at. Number 60, Paul Fleming of Preston Wheelers, just effortlessly sailed past me. There were some very fast people on the course!

It was fabulous to see 27 women on the start sheet inc. 3 OCC ladies and a fellow corsaRosa TTer Alison gates from albaRosa. And it felt really inclusive – equal prize money for all and lots of subcategories so loads of people got prizes (but I STILL didn’t manage to get one although I take comfort from the fact that I was 2nd in the V40 category!)’.

The overall winner was James Gullen of JLT Condor in 32:40 with Charlotte Gorman of Team Lusso fastest woman in 40:43. Liz recorded 53:47 and Gill 55:08. Well done to Liz and Gill for braving the conditions.

Full results from the CTT website.

Photographs courtesy of Ellen Isherwood of Lancs Racing Scene.

Liz

Gill

Into this week and in the YH Training Spring Series Round 3 Tuesday 21st March at the York Sport circuit 3rd category rider James Coates secured another 3 points with 7th place in the 3/4th category event. Full results on the BC website.