You are hereTour of Cambridge TT and Sportive; Ridgeway Rouleur June 4/5th 2016

Tour of Cambridge TT and Sportive; Ridgeway Rouleur June 4/5th 2016


By brian_perry - Posted on 08 June 2016

Tour of Cambridge TT and Sportive; Ridgeway Rouleur June 4/5th 2016

Robert John Thompson reports
"At the weekend I rode the tour of Cambridgeshire, Saturday chrono (TT) and Sunday Gran Fondo. Though I entered as the Uni team since they were subsidising our travel and hotel. There were certainly other RCC members in each event - not sure anyone else did both.
Saturday’s TT was my first at anything like this big an event, I took advantage of arriving early and walked the technical start and finish to the course... something that really appears to have gained me quite a bit of time as strava suggests I was quick there, and slow on the rest of the course! The course was hillier than I’d really realised, with one fairly significant steeper section over 10% gradient. With a time of 44:40, I beat my target time (which was 45:00), and while I knew I’d not be competitive (I haven’t been riding a bike for 3 years yet!) I was happy to be far from embarrassed by my time, I overtook a few, despite a few no shows in front of me. And I was empty at the end. Much eating was done to be ready for Sunday (lots of pasta salad from the pizza hut unlimited salad bar!).
https://www.strava.com/activities/598141391
I woke on Sunday feeling much better than expected, an excellent sign as I was worried 84 miles may be difficult after emptying the tank yesterday. Just as I walked the bike to the start disaster struck, my front hub began wailing, badly, no way was I doing 80+ miles on it. Relived I had the TT bike, back to the car and I quickly threw on the TT bike’s front wheel which left me with an interesting pairing of wheels, with a 55mm deep section front, and 30mm section rear (the rear isn’t compatible between bikes) and knowing it was breezy in Peterborough, so was going to be windy in the Fens, this wasn’t ideal, it’s also a narrow tyre, much less comfort... but needs must.
I was in the second wave released (being in the first masters age category), the start was quick, despite claims of being neutralised, very quickly high 20s mph were being fired down the closed roads just to hold in the pack, without any real organisation yet. It was about 3 miles in when the first incident happened, I was a few back in the pack when there was a crash near the front, I hit a fallen man but somehow stayed up myself, but was delayed picking a route through, group was split up by this, I’d never see the front half of that group again. After the crash the large group left having passed the crash stuck together well, I found myself amongst the stronger riders up the slopes and so sat near the front of groups looking to keep out of trouble... I still felt good when we reached Alconbury Airfield at about 25 miles, here the wind was whipping up on the exposed runways which split our group into a selection of smaller groups, certainly my group rode well as an echelon and actually found ourselves sweeping up others as we went through the crosswinds. At 40 miles the hills are over until near the end and many groups have formed together to a large peleton, likely of over 100 riders. Its the fens now and the wind is certainly enough that I’m very aware of my deep section front wheel. The Fen roads were hard, even in the shelter of the big group the wind made life hard and the group was rapidly thinning, then crack, the TT in my legs became apparent and I cracked into a vicious headwind. I was far from alone, as I watched the group escape, riders were falling out just like watching Sky power up a TdF climb. Legs failing into the wind, I ate the first of my flapjacks (eating to this point had been nearly impossible due to the speed and close quarters racing), and quickly had a gel in the hope an energy kick may get me going again. A few minutes later, the sugar’s are going and I’ve turned to a cross-tail wind, a bit of focus and I’m going again, finding myself one of the stronger riders of those spat out the back of that lead group I began gathering a small group, the issue here is that I was one of the stronger riders, often finding that when I pulled of the front the speed dropped so much as to get me back on, leading mile after mile with a tail of lycra and carbon. To be honest, Fen roads in the wind in small groups are dull, largely I focused on maintaining as high a pace as I could sustain, getting a rest behind others when I could convince them to ride, and trying to stop people riding in the downstream gutter in the crosswinds. I was relieved to see the final feed station (1st I stopped at) after 70 miles, I was out of water now. Despite a couple of minutes stop, a few miles later I’d recaught the little group I’d been with up the first of the inclines once out of the Fens. From here all around were clearly tired and it was becoming a simple battle of attrition, each incline dropping people, and other cracked and bonked rides being passed as we went on. A few miles from the end I was caught by a large group and managed to hold into that until the end, including a very enjoyable sprint for the line to get in in 3:50 (average speed 21.7mph) and claim my UCI qualifiers badge. I was actually slightly (4 minutes) slower than last year, but discussion with those around me suggested most of them were more than 15 minutes slower, largely blamed on the wind.
https://www.strava.com/activities/599567562/overview
Many of my complaints from last year had been sorted out, it’s still not the perfect event, but I’ll certainly be thinking about entry again in 2017."

Brian Perry rode local sportive the Ridgeway Rouleur
"RIDGEWAY ROULEUR Saturday 4th June
I decided late to enter the The Ridgeway Rouleur Epic from the Kassam Stadium Oxford. It was pretty much ideal cycling weather, with a decent mix of terrain, Chain Hill, Applepie and Watlington Hills. I had only about 20km together with another rider but still managed a respectable average and finished strongly to place in the top 30% over the 100+ miles. The HQ at Kassam had good facilities with adequate parking; plenty of marshals on the course with sensible signage. All the feedstations were well stocked. There were 670 riders across short/standard/epic distances. All in all a good local sportive."