Cambridge University Cycling Club

We cater for all University members, providing access to all cycling disciplines from beginners to elite athletes.

As well as competing in BUCS races, we regularly organise social and touring rides which allow beginners to improve their fitness and to discover the countryside around Cambridge and beyond.

News about training, races, and results will be posted here. Check out our calendar of upcoming events on 'Training & Events'.

Sign up to the club mailing list here.

CUCC Lent 2022 Racing Roundup

Varsity MTB report

First a race report by Maddie Angwin:

On an unseasonably sunny Sunday morning (27/02), Cambridge University Cycling Club (CUCC) travelled down to Frimely Green, Surrey to race Oxford in the annual Varsity Mountain Biking match. The race, taking place as part of the Gorrick XC Series 1, saw Cambridge crowned victorious, marking a fifth consecutive win for the men and fourth for the women.

 

Spirits were high upon arrival to the course and meeting the Dark Blue squad, which consisted of fourteen riders (eleven men, three women) compared to the Light Blues’ eight (five men, three women). The difference in team size, though favouring Oxford, was heartening compared to last year’s race when the Oxford team never materialised.

The course was a technical four-mile loop, described as a “bowl of spaghetti” by the racers due to its skinny nature, with limited passing spots and a significant number of switchbacks. The men raced four laps and the women three. A variety of rooty climbs, narrow descents, and tight corners saw the riders’ technical abilities and fitness challenged.

After a practice lap to assess the course and conditions, the racing began. Following team tactics of a max effort sprint off the start, Cambridge gained position rapidly. However, the Oxford riders were still in hot pursuit. Yet, the technical drops, tables, and climbs, all within the first section of the course, split up the pack quickly. With adrenaline levels high, yells of ‘Come on Cambridge’ and ‘Let’s go Oxford’ could be heard reverberating around the forest.

These shouts of exuberance were quietened, however, as the intensity of the start-line sprint caught up to the riders. They had no chance to catch their breath or rest their legs as the undulating nature of the course kept the intensity of the race high.

Taking the corners deftly, Cambridge’s Tom Wade and Iyla Kaysin, along with Oxford’s Thomas Long, were in close competition for the lead during the first lap, while Matt Bryan, Jack Bonfield, and Sam Fitzgerald battled Oxford’s Jack Bogdan and Samuel Singler for position, leaving the rest of the Oxford riders in the dust.

In the women’s race, Maddie Angwin put in a strong effort for the Light Blues, gaining the lead and battling some of Oxford’s men for position. Fizz McNally and Liv Alliott grappled with Oxford’s Freya Butler and Elizabeth Hayman for standing. In such a tight course, with limited passing places, gaining position and holding it was paramount to a successful race.

Unfortunately, McNally and her bike had a “domestic” during the race, but her mechanical mishap pushed her to put in a stronger effort for the second half of the race.

Crossing the line first, Cambridge’s Wade secured his second consecutive Varsity win with a mightily impressive two and a half minute gap to the next rider. Kaysin managed to fend off Oxford’s captain Thomas Long to take second, with the Dark Blues’ leader coming in third.

With a pacey final sprint across the line, Matt Byran’s fourth-place enabled the Cambridge men’s team to take the overall win. Impressive races from sixth-placed Jack Bonfield and ninth-placed Sam Fitzgerald left only three spaces for Oxford’s riders in the top half of the leaderboard, with the remaining riders left to fill out the bottom half of the results table.

The women’s field offered an equally strong performance. Leading the women’s race from the off, Cambridge captain Angwin secured pole position, with the other two podium spots being filled by Oxford’s Freya Butler and Elizabeth Hayman. However, impressive rides from Olivia Alliot and Fizz McNally to take fourth and fifth respectively, paired with Angwin’s runaway win, allowed the Cambridge women’s team to triumph over their Oxford opposition.

Crowned reigning champions after a brilliant day of racing, Cambridge proved that quality triumphs over quantity and left Oxford to scheme for their return next year.

 

BUCS Track report

Second the BUCS Track report by Joe Adam-Cook:

CUCC Cuppers report

And finally the Cuppers TT report by Maddie Angwin:

On Saturday (5/3), removed from the crowds lining the river for Lent Bumps, another intercollegiate competition took place – cycling Cuppers. Taking the format of a time trial (TT), which is often considered the purest form of racing, the riders pushed themselves to the limit to complete a 10-mile (16 km) course in as fast a time as possible.

 

Racing the Bottisham TT course, a unique out and back road with a motorway bridge (read: mountain) in the middle, the riders battled the elements to produce some impressive results. With a starting line-up of 50 riders from 24 colleges, competition was set to be tight, especially given the gruelling conditions.

Setting off at one-minute intervals, the riders worked to chase down the target in front of them, and hoped not to be overtaken by the cyclist behind. The race saw a range of bikes – from mountain to time trial, and everything in between – putting tyre to tarmac.

The stopwatch started and the first rider was off. Hearts thumping, legs aching, and pain faces a plenty, the race was tough from the get go. The art of a time trial is to sit on the edge of your ability, pushing to, but not over, the limit. For some riders, there was too much gas left in the tank at the end, others burnt out too soon, but a trained few paced it to perfection.

In a race with so much variation in ability and equipment, there were a range of prizes to be won and points to be earned, with individual results going towards the Cuppers trophy.

If cycling on the road on a mountain bike is hard, competing in a time trial on a mountain bike is near intolerable. Yet, the beefy 27.5” tyres, un-aerodynamic geometry, and weight of the mountain bike didn’t seem to bother Ilya Kaysin (Sidney Sussex), who flew around the course in a staggering 30 minutes 52 seconds to take home the town bike championship.

Blitzing around the course in 23 minutes 38 seconds, James Cummins claimed victory in the road bike category for Jesus, an impressive feat considering the strength of the competition. Though not awarded medals, congratulations must also go to Matt Rizzo-Naudi (Selwyn, 25:08) and Neil Ibata (Trinity, 25: 42) for placing second and third in the road bike category respectively, managing to break up the bulk of the TT bike competitors at the top of the field.

The women’s category saw some fast and fierce competition, with Newnham’s Charlotte Dalton putting in a strong race to finish third with a time of 27 minutes 48 seconds despite a plethora of mechanical mishaps on the ride over and a last-minute wheel change.

Competing in her first ever TT, Robinson’s Phoebe Barker put in a stellar performance to place second with an impressive time of 26 minutes 38 seconds. Claiming victory on the women’s side, Murray Edwards’ Zoe Burrell raced round the course in a rapid 26 minutes 13 seconds, claiming fourth overall for her college despite being the only rider to participate.

Competition on the men’s side was highly competitive, with only 55 seconds separating first and fourth place. Cambridge University Cycling Club’s most elusive member, Tom Hale, made a brief (22 minute and 11 second) appearance in order to claim third place for Fitzwilliam. Coming in 11 seconds faster, with a strong time of 21 minutes 58 seconds, Joris Witstok dug deep to gain second place for Sidney Sussex before flying off to earn his college success in the rowing too.

However, none of these remarkable performances were fast enough to top George Spooner (Magdalene). Averaging 44.3 kilometres per hour, Spooner decimated the course in 21 minutes 47 seconds to achieve first place.

The blisteringly fast performance by Spooner, paired with impressive races from Joe Adlam-Cook (5th, 23:15) and Matt Bryan (19th, 26:55), allowed Magdalene to run away with the overall win to become this year’s Cuppers champions, a feat they’ll hope to recreate next year.

CUCC Alumni Dinner 2022

On Saturday 19th February, CUCC held another fantastic Alumni Dinner at Jesus College, Cambridge. Despite the best efforts of Storm Eunice and National Rail, 47 attendees, including alumni from the 1980s up until the 2020s, and the current CUCC Committee, made it along for a delightful evening of good food and reminiscing.

The evening started off by sharing images of CUCC throughout the years and a great game of “that’s me!” (with bonus points for being in an ugly skinsuit or on Spinergy wheels) as everyone filtered in undeterred by the wind. The Head Butler then took great pleasure in breaking up all the conversation and greetings between long-lost friends with the gong to commence the meal.

Plenty of stories from CUCC’s past were shared over the three courses, and as someone relatively new to the club, it was great to hear that not much has changed in the last few decades; we still love to sprint for the Cambridge town sign and dish out the pain on each other on Sunday morning ride, but we are all still united by a passion for bikes!

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone that came along to the dinner and for making the evening so wonderful, and to this year’s committee for everything they do to help make CUCC happen. To all those who enjoyed the evening so much that they enquired, we intend the Alumni Dinner to be an annual occasion and hope to see you again next year, if not before.

 

Matt Bryan

CUCC General Secretary 2021-2022

CUCC Alumni Dinner 2022

Back Row: Tim Johns, Miranda Robbins, Graham Couchman, Andrew Brown, George Gekov, Joe Adlam-Cook, Michael Hutchinson, Joris Witstok, Jake Stuchbury-Wass, Gabriel Fowden, Jali Packer, Dougal Toms, Ethan Tebbutt, Stephen Chen, Dan Cox, Peter Robinson, Eliott Lindsay, James Cummins, Nathan Parker, Jack Brown, Matt Rizzo-Naudi, Becca Parkin, Matt Bryan

Middle Row: Mickie Couchman, Maria Waldhoer, Rob Selby, Sue Selby, Bekah Nash, Charlotte Brass, Lukaz Weilguny, Zoe Burrell, Maddie Angwin, George Spooner, Seb Dickson, Alex Petter, Lavinia Delfini, Joe Lunn, Matt Davison, Nick Grogan, Rob Walker

Front Row: Reg Legaac, Phoebe Barker, Charlotte Dalton, Elspeth Grace

Off Left:  Robbie Blythe, Ffion James

 

CUCC Michaelmas 2021 Racing Roundup

BUCS Hill Climb report

Starting off this year’s BUCS racing with a bang at this year’s BUCS Hillclimb, CUCC secured the Men’s Team Trophy, 2nd place in the Women’s Team competition and a Men’s individual 2nd place!!! Fantastic racing from everyone that rode today and let’s keep it up!

1st place Men’s Team 🏆
🥇George Spooner 2:15
🥇Craig Rogers 2:20
🥇Theo Weinberger 2:27

2nd place Women’s Team 🏆
🥈Charlotte Dalton 3:00
🥈Zoe Burrell 3:12

2nd place individual Men’s
🥈George Spooner 2:15

For their performances in this event, George Spooner was awarded an extraordinary Full Blue and Craig Rogers and Charlotte Dalton were awarded extraordinary Half-Blues!

CUCC Club Hill Climb report

The Annual club hill climb took to the unrelenting slopes of Gog Magog once again.

Following some exceptional conditions and stellar performances this weekend we had not 1 but 9 riders absolutely smashing the previous course records and some extremely closely fought positions. Well done to everyone who rode, we hope it was an enjoyable day and a pleasant break in the midst of Cambridge term time!

Men’s Podium 🏆
🥇Oliver Moseley 1:31
🥈Tim Welsh 1:32 & Andrea Ferlini 1:32
4th Rob Peacock 1:33

Women’s Podium 🏆
🥇Mathilde Pauls 1:48
🥈Marion Denby 2:29

Thank you to James Quigley for arranging an excellent event!

Red Bull Timelapse report

 

A huge congratulations to CUCC’s Tim Welsh, Tom Hale, Craig Rogers & Rob Walker who were the 1st placed outdoor and under 25 team for this year’s Red Bull Timelaps, which challenges teams of 4 riders to record the greatest distance on Strava in the 25hrs across Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st. The quartet managed an awe-inspiring 649.6 miles, which is a huge achievement even without the terrible weather! The following is a race report by Tim Welsh:

On October 30th, most people were going to sleep knowing that the clocks would mysteriously jump backwards an hour in the middle of the night – giving them a hard-earned extra hours of snooze. Four CUCC cyclists however, decided not to take the extra rest but instead pulled out their fastest bikes, clothing, and legs, to battle the elements in a 25 hours relay time trial as part of the Red Bull Timelapse event. The event is simple, ride from 1pm Saturday to 1pm Sunday, with the twist that at 3am the clocks go back to 2am, so an extra “power hour” would have to be ridden. In total there were >400 riders, some of which took the safe way out by riding the 25 hours in the comfortable controlled environment of an indoor trainer, but the real competition was settled on the roads of the UK where riders could ride anywhere they wanted and the live results were tracked by uploading GPS tracks of their rides to Strava. The CUCC cyclists, Craig Rodgers, Tom Hale, Tim Welsh, and alum Rob Walker, decided to base their ride in the Fens – the fastest roads that Cambridge has to offer and hopefully with little traffic.

It had been a fairly rainy few days leading up to the 30th, even the morning was a fairly soggy one, but miraculously the sun came out in time for a 1pm start. Tom led CUCC off with a rapid >40kph two-hour ride around roads near Ely on his TT bike and was followed by an equal performance from Tim on the next stint. It was already getting dark by the time Rob started his two-hour shift, and the powerful headlights began to come out. Craig, the only one not on aero bars, but on an incredibly aero road bike nonetheless, had the honour of the first full night shift – which was apparently his first real night ride ever (and it turns out his second shift at 4:30am might have been his last night ride ever too). The riders were absolutely ticking the miles away. After 4 hours of riding, CUCC was sitting 2nd in the outdoor category at 100.99 miles, and already leading the under 25 category by over 10 miles. Pushing through the night would be the time to make a gap on the other competitors. Riding at night is always a different sensation, the world seems to go by slower and the rider always feels faster than they are since their vision is pigeonholed into only a small area lit up by an LED in front of them. However, our riders were focused and kept the pace absolutely relentless and consistent over the whole competition, averaging just over 40 kph or 25 mph. That’s 25 consecutive sub-one-hour 25 mile TTs. The competition wasn’t just about raw speed though, it was also about efficiency of hand offs. Since it was a relay, only one rider could be riding at a time. This meant the hand offs were predetermined for set times. At the set time, no matter where the first rider was, they would stop their ride then slowly pedal home, while the next rider started. This meant that for each of the handoffs there was only about 15 seconds of dead time. Only one hand off went wrong, but overall there was less than 8 minutes in the whole 25 period where one of our riders wasn’t riding.

By 9pm, CUCC had jumped into the lead by 5 miles with a total distance of 205.35miles. The blistering pace was starting to hit the riders a bit and the lack of rest was also going to be tested over the next 12 hours. There are different strategies to split up the order of rides, but CUCC decided to do a rolling 4 person shift of ~1.5 hours. This meant that each person would have only 4.5 hours to recover from one ride to a next, meaning little sleep was had that night. Kudos have to be given also to the one-woman support crew (Julia, Tim’s girlfriend) who was happy for her house to be taken over by 4 cyclists for the night and cooked two massive pasta bakes and other goodies to keep the riders putting out the watts.

In the middle of the night was the “power hour” where the clocks went back. To mark this occasion, the event organisers said any distance tracked during the hour would be doubled towards the overall total. CUCC decided to put Rob to the test who did not disappoint, he covered 26 miles on pitch black roads even though he only managed to record 57 minutes of riding due to a GPS failure! The strong night section, partially assisted by the incredibly mild weather conditions, helped CUCC move comfortably into the lead at 534miles, 11 more than even the fastest indoor team whose only battle to overcome was boredom from staring at a screen for 25 hours. The weather conditions were set to change however, which would prove a final test for the riders in the remaing 6 hours of the race. Met Office was promising heavy rain and >40mph winds, so the riders made the decision to each ride due north to Kings Lynn to fully take advantage of the wind (upon arrival they would shamelessly take the train back to Cambridge). Rob started the northerly journey first, blistering up the A10 with only a bit of rain but still lots of heavy cross wind. Tom followed suit, dressed in nothing other than a Lycra skinsuit and TT helmet, he barrelled across the Fens, being blown all over the road with his disc wheel like a sail and gliding across puddles of water like a hydroplane. The conditions finally got the best of him when he got sprayed in the face by pools of splash back for the 50th time while a lorry was overtaking him on the A10 and he cracked on the side of the road. He ended his ride a bit short of Kings Lynn and hobbled the rest of the way in, after having put in a massive effort and leaving it all out on the road. Tim then sprang into action and practiced his best lean in 40mph cross winds, getting up to Kings Lynn in about 1 hour 45 minutes. CUCC was well in the lead going into the last hour of the race, but this didn’t stop Craig giving it the absolute beans for the final leg, solidifying victory for Cambridge.

 

In the end, the team of four racked up 649.6 miles in the darkness, wet, and wind – beating the next team by over 50 miles and confidently bringing home the Red Bull Timelapse title, for which they were awarded with a ungodly amount of Red Bull and other goodies. I’m not sure any ih the riders are in a rush to do the event again, but we’re confident they’d defend their title if they do.

Also, you can read Red Bull’s report of the event here:

https://www.redbull.com/gb-en/red-bull-timelaps-2021-winners-interview