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VC Revolution Reliability Trial

February 5th

VC Revolution Reliability Trial – (54miles/87km) 3rd Feb
Invigorated by last weeks CCS RT I was all fired up for doing the new VC Revolution’s inaugural RT which, conveniently for me, was based at Wivenhoe not far from where I live. I failed to instil any enthusiasm into any fellow CCS riders so set of again into the sea of blue and white. This time I elected to be a little more discreet and donned a blue top of my own but still felt like the only rider in East Anglia not to belong to the VCR. For a first event this ride seemed very well organised. Learning from last week’s mistake, I put my name down for the “Silver” event of 54 miles inside 3 hours. I figured even I could manage an extra 6 miles in 30 minutes over last week. I wasn’t sure whether to be reassured or concerned that the person to sign on for the silver event just before me was a young schoolgirl who could barely have been one third of my age – and she wavered her pen over the gold sheet for a moment! The only other names I recognised on the silver list were Ken and Julie Baker’s from local rivals Colchester Rovers. Again I’m never sure if this is a good or bad thing but I’ve become quite used to hanging on to their wheels lately so I set off reasonably happy. I’m not great at judging young people’s ages but I’d say that the young lad who set off with us was even younger than the spirited lass. They set off with youthful enthusiasm, maybe bolstered by the super bikes they each owned, making mine look very sad.

This was a delightful ride. From the start there was a general feeling of camaraderie; that we were all in it together and would stick together as a team. This was vocally reinforced by several of the VCR riders who stated that if anyone had difficulty, a mechanical problem or even a call of nature, we would all wait and regroup as much as possible. I felt a little pride in the fine example we were setting the two youngsters who were keen to do their share of the work at the front, shaming me into doing the same. My turns, it seemed, were always on the exposed headwind sections but I felt good and was really enjoying the atmosphere. I wished I’d worn my club colours after all and waved the CCS flag a little. We still managed to employ the successful “don’t tell the strong riders the way” ploy which worked famously. A dropped bottle and a mass wee stop proved the “team” ethic was sound and we all rode what was a modification of the Tendring Hundred circuit together – and at a fine pace. As last week the speed rose during the last 5 miles and apart from ensuring the youngsters were not left alone we did fragment a bit which was exacerbated by the traffic lights on the home stretch through Elmstead Market. So again I finished a few minutes behind most of the others but was very happy with the 2hrs 47mins time I was awarded. My legs didn’t half hurt on the ride home though and I hoped those kids’ did too but “Chapeau!” to them both.

Category: Articles

Sudbury Reliability Trial

February 2nd

Sudbury Reliability Trial – (48miles/77km) 27th Jan
The CCS RT sensibly comes pre-packed with it’s own ready made excuses. As it’s held the morning after the Club’s own awards ceremony I’ve already got a late night and a hangover to blame everything on. For my own part however (due to a carefully planned and executed strategy during the 2007 season), I didn’t have too many trophies to collect or celebrate so didn’t actually feel too bad at signing on. I was still fuzzy headed enough though, to find I was the only one amongst my regular club run buddies to, not only put my name down for the long, fast group but also to inadvertently be amongst the first 10 to do so, so found myself in a group with the likes of Wiggins, Thomas and Cavendish.

Doubting my early season preparations, I pretended to be otherwise engaged at the allotted start time and so set off on my own a few minutes after the dust had settled confident that I would soon be caught by a group of riders I might have a chance of staying with.

Sure enough before I’d even made it through the Chilton Estate I was engulfed by another fast moving bunch. It seems just about everyone except me has joined the new VC Revolution club and their new team kits must be free or something, because I was the sole speck of orange in a sea of blue and white. Hastily upping my pace accordingly, I was swept along with them and started to feel better. All too soon however an Interbike peloton swept passed and our blue and white posse quickly dissolved into red and yellow. It was soon clear that I wasn’t going to hang on to even this group for the whole 48 miles. So before the first passing of Lavenham I was on my own again through Monks Eleigh, Semer and Bildeston. By Hitchin though I heard a familiar voice behind yelling “Jump on Viv!”. This I managed to do and found myself riding with my first CCS colleagues of the day. Brian and Stuart were hanging on the back of a well organised group and the front of which Ken Baker and his pals were sitting up, wearing jolly hats, looking like they were on the back from the bread shop. Now on familiar ground I was able to hold onto this group, even doing a little bit of work and we maintained a good pace round the northern section of the route. Fortunately the strongest riders never seem to know the route as well as the rest of us, so at each junction there is just enough confusion for us to get a quick breather. From the left turn where we head back south towards Lavenham again and Sudbury, and I began to feel that I would hang on to the end.

Thus re-fortified I was alarmed when the pace suddenly shot up and by Lt. Waldingfield I was once again out the back and scrabbling for the wheels of similarly prepared riders. By the time I got back to the Cornard Community Centre (who was Stephenson anyway?) I was once again on my own. Still, by a combination of different strategies I did the 48 miles inside 2.5 hours and for my part at least, was nearly as pleased with that as I was with the tea, cake AND hot soup being distributed by the CCS crew. Thanks to Brian and all for another excellently organised event.

Category: Articles