Racing 50 – July 2016. Or should that be Racing 50, 100 and 12-hour?

‘Tis the season to be riding long, longer and very long distance time trials and nine Otley CC members celebrated it in style on the last day of July.

Team Swift held not only a 50 that day but also a 100 and a 12-hour, all running concurrently.  A slightly chilly but gloriously sunny morning greeted the riders at the start in Melbourne near York, directly opposite the HQ at Melbourne Cricket Pavilion and Scout Hut.  The 12-hour also incorporated our club Championships, the overall, handicap and women’s awards all being competed for.

First Otley rider away at 06.02 was Gary Purchon, riding his first 12 hour, followed 17 minutes later by Phil Mason.  Tandem pair Christine Bell (pilot) and Rachel Crowther (stoker) were last of the 12-hour contingent away another 20 minutes later.

Claire Jessop, the only 100 rider from Otley, was away next at 06.43.  The first of the 50-mile riders away was Otley’s own Liz Hills at 07.08, riding her first 50, followed by Sheldon Howcroft at 07.13, with a gap of 11 minutes before John Churchman started. Last of the Otley 50-mile quartet Helen Goldthorpe, also a 50 newcomer, started at 07.29.

12-hour tandemists Christine and Rachel ensured they had plenty of fuel to keep them going through support out on the course by Rachel’s parents Joan & Brian Morris and Otley CC Club Captain Brian Keighley. Gary’s and Phil’s refuelling technique was the complete opposite, each calling into the HQ as they passed on the circuits to collect refreshments from their cars.

Claire was supported on her 100-mile ride by husband Greg, handing up drinks and gels. Greg admitted that they’d been practising the handing-up technique in their kitchen that morning before setting off to the event. Better late than never!

The weather waited until all riders were safely away before ensuring a persistent wind raised its head.  Although the weather stayed fine, the sun shining throughout, riders reported that the wind seemed to be in their faces for most of the time, making for a hard ride.

The 50-mile riders were the first to finish. Fastest Otley rider was Helen in 2:24:34, an excellent 50 debut given the conditions. Sheldon was next with a 2:28:38, declaring that anyone spectating rather than riding had made a wise decision.  Liz, who said before the event that she thought it would take her 3 1/2 hours, in fact finished in an equally excellent 2:39:24.  Ever smiling, Liz said she enjoyed the event. No accounting for taste Liz!  Sadly, John decided to climb off, but that allowed him more time to change to then go on marshalling duties for the 12-hour.

The overall winner of the event was promoting club rider Robby Krygsman in 1:51:16, Kerry Gowland of Team Bottrill fastest woman in 2:13:13.  Full results on the CTT website here.

Claire’s intention in the 100 was to ride slightly above what is known in cycling parlance as ‘evens’ (20mph) and so achieve a sub-five-hour ride.  Unfortunately, due to the conditions Claire missed out slightly on that goal, finishing in 5:05:21 as fastest woman but nevertheless a great ride given the course and the conditions.

Overall winner was Philip Graves of Clifton CC York in 3:56:02, who warned down after the event by going for a run, no doubt as part of his trading for Ironman triathlons, in which he is a top competitor.  Full results here on the CTT website.

Many hours later if was the turn of the 12-hour riders to complete their rides, the Otley contingent of course vying for the club Championships.  Christine and Rachel successfully completed their ride, and have reported they’re thankfully still friends, achieving a fantastic 187.017 miles on the tandem.  For their hard work, not only during the event but before also involving some long rides in training, it’s been agreed that the women’s award will be awarded jointly for 2016. Just to hope there’s no fall-outs about who has the trophy, although Rachel is the club trophy coordinator!  In addition to being joint 2016 Women’s 12-hour Champions, Christine and Rachel have set a club record for Women’s Tandem at 12-hour to go with their 10-mile record set earlier in the year. Official CTT result.

Gary and Phil also achieved excellent results, particularly given the conditions and that they were self-supported throughout the event.  Both exceeded 200 miles, Gary reaching 212.332 miles and Phil 219.214.  Phil is now the 2016 club 12-hour Champion, winning the Challenge Trophy, and with a 25-mile allowance Gary is awarded the plaque as club 12-hour Handicap Champion.  Congratulations to our four Champions and also to record-setters Christine and Rachel!

Alexander Colman of Arrow Cycles recorded the furthest distance with 280.897 miles. Tyneside Vagabonds Tania Tucker was the women’s victor with 221.925 miles.  Full result here from the CTT website.

Well done to all our riders and helpers and a particular mention for Keith Lawton and the team from Team Swift for running the three events at the same time.



Signing on for the 12-hour, Phil looking pensive


Tandem-team helper Brian listens intently to his instructions


Joint Club 2016 Women’s 12-hour Campions and Women’s Tandem 12-hour record holders Christine and Rachel


Club 2016 12-hour Handicap Champion Gary


Club 2016 12-hour Champion Phil


Claire away on her 100-mile ride


Liz ready for the off in her first 50


Sheldon sets off in the 50


Big push for John at the 50 start


Debut 50 too for Helen


Sheldon glad it’s all over!


Liz happy with her ride – and John thinking about his marshalling duties