CUCC Dominate at Three Peaks

There might not be many mountains to practice carrying your bike up in Cambridge, but Ffion James (Girton), Elspeth Grace (Girton) and William Weatherill (Homerton) all secured stunning results in this year’s edition of the iconic race. No wonder there’s no BUCS Cyclocross – we’d only sweep the board there too! Social Sec 2019/20 Ffion offers up the full story of last weekend…

On Sunday 15th September, three brave delegates from CUCC headed up to Yorkshire to take on the infamous Three Peaks, arguably the hardest cyclocross race in the world. It comprises 60km up and down 3 mountains in the Yorkshire Dales on a ‘cross bike: drop handlebars, survival bag and emergency whistle all compulsory… Who wouldn’t want to give it a go?!

Ffion on her way to smashing the U23 record time

Nothing can prepare a 3 peaks first-timer for the ascent of Simon Fell, the first summit of the route. The hill creeps up in front of you, getting steeper and more intimidating the closer you get to it. Crawling up a mountain side with 600 other crazy people really makes you question yourself. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced. The descents are no less insane. Racing blind down a steep, rocky mountain with no suspension, drop handlebars and 50+ psi in your tyres is not to be recommended!

Smile or grimace?

Ffion James and Elspeth Grace nevertheless managed to make it around with both themselves and their bikes in one piece, placing 1st and 3rd respectively in the U23 Women’s category, with Ffion breaking the U23 record by an impressive 35 minutes. Relief was the predominant feeling for both riders as they crossed the finishing line, mixed with a bit of frustration for Ffion who only finished a minute behind the winner in a 3 hour 45 minute race. While she’s sure she’ll be back next year to wrap up some unfinished business, Elspeth is not quite so convinced, having said she only ‘thinks’ she enjoyed it!

Will mid hair-raising descent

Will Weatherill, with a little more experienced than Elspeth and Ffion, was competing in his third Three Peaks and aiming high. He was having an incredible ride, constantly moving up through the field, reaching 12th place by the top of Pen-y-Ghent, the final climb. The extremely fast but on-the-limit descending which had helped Will get into that position sadly came at a price, as he suffered a frustrating two punctures on the final descent. He still managed to hold on to a very impressive 17th place and 1st U23 rider, in an extremely strong field containing the likes of 12-time champion Rob Jebb and EF Education First World Tour pro Lachlan Morton.

What a day for CUCC, with three different riders on the podium at a prestigious event, that isn’t a time trial and includes hills! Bringing home this set of results is really quite special and shows how well-rounded and multi-talented the club is. Congratulations to all three of them!

Let’s see if we can convince a few more testers to take up the challenge in 2020…

Ffion and Elspeth taking 1st and 3rd U23 Women

Will stood on the top step of the Men’s U23 podium

 

MTB Varsity

The all Cambridge podium

Last Sunday saw the Cambridge Mountain Bike team put on one of the most dominant Varsity displays in recent years. Down at the Olympic course at Hadleigh Park the Cambridge team took a landslide victory claiming all top 5 spots and winning the Varsity for the third year in a row. The combination of amazing weather and standout performances led to a perfect day out.

The race was effectively won before the end of the first lap when our riders led the race out, swiftly dropping the entire Oxford team and ending up competing against each other for the podium spots. Fitz fresher Craig Rogers led the line and never looked back, he stormed to a fantastic debut win. I am sure he will continue to be dominant over the next few years. Very strong rides from second year Will Weatherill and third year PhD student Fin Allen saw Cambridge complete the podium by taking second and third place respectively. Thanks to Max Vesty and Robbie Blythe, Cambridge also claimed fourth and fifth, with the first Oxford rider coming in in sixth place.

Special congratulations must also go to Izaak Cobb and Alex Pantelides who, competing in their first MTB Varsity, added to a very strong team performance.  

Other big shout outs must go to CUCC president Rob Walker for getting the team down there, Euan Tebbutt for not letting us down when given the van’s aux cord and to Elliot Scott and CUCC alumnus Seb Baucutt for providing great support* on the day.

All in all it was a fantastic day out for CUCC and the best race I’m proud to say I’ve been a part of with the MTB team. A MASSIVE congratulations to everyone involved. A big thanks to Oxford for organising this year’s event and we’ll see them next year to make it four from four.

Robbie Blythe

CUCC MTB Captain

*Making sure everyone sent it down the A-line

Thetford Winter XC Series Round 1

On Sunday, a CUCC MTB team comprised of Robbie, Fin and Izaak made the trip to Thetford for the first round of the Winter XC Series. Robbie and Fin were racing in the 1.5hrs Senior Mens category while Izaak opted to make his XC racing debut in the 1hr version. CUCC came away with some great results. Fin got off to a fantastic start (in what was a very chaotic 200 person mass start) and brilliantly managed to further work his way up the field and secure a very impressive 6th place. Robbie suffered from the chaotic start but nonetheless worked his way through the large field, up to 12th. Izaak deserves huge congratulations for coming 6th in his first ever XC race, especially as he must have been one of the only riders on flat pedals!
All in all, a great day racing for CUCC MTB and this is hopefully a sign of more exciting things to come.

Varsity Mtb Race Report – Double Victory for Cambridge

An incredibly strong Cambridge team headed to Hadleigh Park on the 25th of February 2018 for the annual Varsity Mtb contest. The race was held as part of the Mud, Sweat and Gears XC series and resulted in a dominating victory for Cambridge in both the women’s and men’s races. We’ll hand over to our roving reporter (and Varsity competitor) Tom Wade for a full breakdown of the race (with thanks to Robbie Blythe’s dad for photographs):

“Despite the freezing temperature and strong, blustery winds, the Cambridge Mountain Bike Varsity team arrived in good spirits at the ex-Olympic venue of Hadleigh Park in Essex. These spirits were no doubt aided by the news that Oxford had a very depleted team. There would be twenty-one Light Blue jerseys tackling the track, but Oxford could only muster five entries, making a Light Blue victory a likely prospect.

 

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Varsity XC 2017

by Tom Simpson

The victorious Men's Team

The victorious Men’s Team

The 2017 edition of Varsity XC took off with another early morning. We gathered in Catz car park in the dark to pile eleven bikes into the back of our hired transporter and arrange ourselves between the three additional cars. To everyone’s surprise, Official Supporter Jali Packer put in a heroic effort to make it to Catz for 6:15 am after his Women’s Varsity Netball Dinner the night before, pillow still in hand. Once at Crowthorne Woods in Berkshire, the venue once again, we met with Rob Walker and Tom Wade – making the Cambridge team up to a huge fourteen men and three women!Continue reading

Revel Winter XC Round 1

CUCC MTB Captain, Tom Simpson reports:

​The last Sunday of October was the date of the first round of the KLMTB Revel Outdoors Winter XC Series, and we had a strong CUCC contingent of five riders head over to Thetford forest to race. The changing clocks (we eventually worked out) would allow us an extra hour in bed, which was a relief as we had been busy trying to obtain a bike for Arnav to race on well into the evening. Myself, Arnav Kapur, Sam Haigh and Toby Cowell rode the 1.5hr course format – Toby in the junior category – while Andy Zhao chose the slightly shorter 1hr race.Continue reading