It had been a long time coming, but more than two years after the last event, on the 11th July the Cycling Varsity match finally returned. Oxf*rd had been unable to make BUCS 25 earlier in the year, so instead of the standard Bottisham circuit, this year’s time trial was instead hosted on the E1/25d course starting just outside of Ugley near Saffron Walden.
Unfortunately, some temporary traffic lights on the Friday evening put the event at risk! But thanks to the incredible generosity and effort of the Essex Roads CC organisers, when the lights disappeared at the last minute, we were still able to run a full 25 mile event – albeit with only Oxf*rd and Cambridge riders competing.
We were blessed with some good sunny, still conditions on the rolling out and back course which promised some fast times. With only varsity riders involved, once competitors were out on course, there was an even more spirited atmosphere than usual, with plenty of chances to shout encouragement to teammates being passed on the course!
All in all, CUCC had 15 riders taking part, looking to win the Women’s event for the first time in 6 years, and defend our long-held Men’s trophy. Having not competed against O*ford in a number of years, it was all to play for, with no real knowledge of what to expect from the opposition!
The women’s event was a close run affair, with Elspeth Grace (2nd, 1:01:26), Zoe Burrell (4th, 1:02:12) and Rebekah Nash (5th, 1:04:06) narrowly missing out by 1 minute and 13 seconds from the Oxford women’s side, led home by Anna Murgatroyd, who won the overall in 1:00:04.
With some strong rides from Jack Brown (2nd, 53:03), Jack Kellam (3rd, 53:29) and Euan Tebbutt (who recovered from a minor “sit down” to finish 4th in 54:49) the men’s squad was able to hold onto the trophy with a combined time of 2:41:31, enough to beat Oxf*rd’s effort of 2:43:50, despite a fast ride from Matthew Coulson, who won overall with a 52:26.
As a result of their performances, half-blues have therefore been awarded to the top three riders from the men’s and women’s events! Congratulations also go to Jack Brown, who earns another Full Blue, having already completed the remaining criteria earlier this season.