BUCS 25 Report

After another long hiatus from racing, on Sunday 18th April, we were finally back in action as hosts for this year's BUCS 25. Sadly, with Oxford unable to compete this year, it wasn't to be the Varsity match – but with a full start sheet of 120 riders, including plenty of 'hitters' desperate to get some early season racing under their belt, there was still plenty up for grabs.

The club had a strong squad out with over 20 members pinning on numbers, and plenty racing in their first ‘open’. After a long winter of training that had seen many new members flogging themselves in the weekly team time trials on Zwift, it was exciting to see how many would go – especially having lost a number of racing stalwarts in the last couple of years.

With sunny conditions on the local E33/25 course, fast times were expected, and so it proved: the days when a 52 or a sub-hour ride could win the men’s and women’s competitions respectively are now long gone!

Women's Captain Anne-Marie Bowring speeding around Botty triangle (1:09:29)

Clare Jackson on her way to 23rd place (1:06:29)

With Jack Kellam’s Citroën parked up on a grassy verge for a socially-distanced basecamp, our early riders made their way over to the race course, ready to swap out wheels, pin on numbers and warm up for their efforts. Ottoline Martin (1:16:16, 36th) was first rider off, followed by Anne-Marie Bowring (1:09:29, 29th), Clare Jackson and Zoe Burrell also in the women’s field. With the latter two having only been on their new TT bikes for under a week, their eventual finishing times of 1:06:29 (Clare, 23rd) and 1:04:41 (Zoe, 19th) were super impressive, and a sign of their really exciting potential.

Anna Harrison (1:02:46, 15th) and Rebekah Nash (1:03:11, 16th) followed shortly after, putting in super rides to help support one of our strongest all-round performances in the women’s field for a few seasons. This was capped by Elspeth Grace, whose transformation from cyclo-crosser to top-tier tester now appears all but complete. With a time of 1:00:54 that would have readily netted a podium in years recently past, Elspeth finished 8th in a very strong field – keep an eye out at national events later this year. 

The final podium saw Francesca Hall (Loughborough) take the win with a flying 56:35, followed by Lucy Gadd (Southampton) in 58:44, and Tamsin Miller (Exeter) in 59:44.

Zoe Burrell posting a time of 1:04:41 to land in the top 20

General Secretary Elspeth Grace on her way to a top-10 classification in a strong field (1:00:54)

In the men’s event, first Cambridge rider off was Joris Witstok on his lovely Cervélo/Spinergy road bike TT set-up, who showed that #JorisWatts on Zwift translated effectively into reality, flying round to finish 40th in a 57:19. Tom Hale followed, starting early so he could hand over his TT bike to his UCL-based brother. In his first proper 25, Tom smashed a 55:30 that would place him 26th and as 3rd Cambridge rider overall.

George Spooner then headed out on his road bike, gurning round Botty to a very fast 55:52. One of the rides of the day, though, goes to Joe Adlam-Cook who – undeterred by a last minute snapped rear cable – rode a bodged, 1x single speed set-up for 25 miles, still finishing with a 1:01:47.

Tom Hale is third fastest among CUCC riders in his first proper 25 (55:30)

Men’s Ride Captain George Spooner putting up a fast 55:52 on his road bike

The two Sams – Massey and Gerrard – were also riding their first opens, and finished next to each other in the final standings, the latter (57:52, 49th) narrowly squeezing out the former (58:05, 50th). The triathletes followed, with Fabio Albertani finding a space on the start sheet to ride a creditable 58:17, before Luke McCarron put in a solid ride of 57:51. Our audax and ultra-distance specialist Tim Welsh was up next, and turned up the intensity for a very strong 57:24 (42nd) on a road bike and tri-bars set-up.

We were then into the squeaky end of the startsheet. Despite a healthy dose of last minute stress – it wouldn’t be CUCC at BUCS without it – a rapid wheel and cassette swap saw Jack Brown make his start time. Clearly unfatigued from racing a 25 on the same course the day before, and claiming not to have done an interval session in 18 months, Jack stormed to a 52:19 that placed him 8th (and a time that would have at least secured a podium in years past).

Jack Kellam and Toby Antippas followed with a 55:40 and 1:03:17 respectively, but it was Euan Tebbutt on his new P5 super bike that put in the star performance with 54:11 that saw him finish 19th.

Euan Tebbutt and his new P5 fly into the top 20 (54:11)

President Jack Brown reaching the top 10 on his second consecutive day of E33/25 TTs (52:19)

Having stacked the podium in 2019, the men’s squad couldn’t quite repeat the feat two years later. The win was taken by George Peden (Leeds) with a 50:34, with Frederik Scheske (Exeter) and Sebastian Garry (Nottingham) coming 2nd and 3rd with 50:56 and 51:09 respectively. The top 7 all finished with times that would have comfortably won the event in previous years, showing quite how high the standard has risen in UK time trialling over the last few years.

Although the club weren’t quite able to match the results that we’ve become accustomed to in BUCS events over recent years, it was hard to come away with anything other than massive encouragement from the strength and breadth of new talent in the club, many of whom (including plenty who were unlucky to not get starts) are certainly going to be up in the sharp end of results sheets in the months and years to come.

A final, but incredibly important thanks go to Events Secretary James Quigley for putting on the event in really difficult circumstances, as well as everyone who helped out in marshalling and timekeeping: James’ dad, and Elspeth’s parents in particular! It was clear how grateful other universities were that we’d provided the opportunity for racing to return, and at quite how smoothly the day went by.

With Varsity still to come at a later date this year, and the season only just getting underway, keep your eyes peeled for CUCC skinsuits at time trials around the country!

(Image credit: Kane Smith and CUCC's very own Nordin Ćatić)

CUCC Hill Climb Report

Last weekend saw CUCC return to our local and beloved Hill Climb course with a healthy turnout of over 30 determined riders eager to test themselves up the deceptive climb. Consisting of a gentle slope followed up shortly by a sharply increasing gradient before a final sprint to the finish over the top, the hill can be tricky to pace despite Cambridge’s flat reputation and is still a tough one on the legs.

Some taking it easier than others

Tim Welsh giving it the beans (1:51)

Luckily the conditions on the day were excellent, with plenty of sunshine and even a slight tailwind! A notable improvement from the conditions at our previous event, the Freshers’ TT, as those who were there I’m sure would attest.

In the women’s field, the competition was so close we had a draw for 1st place! Elspeth Grace and Mathilde Pauls both smashing out an impressive 2 minutes and 1 second. Hot on their heels was Zoe Burrel, showing off some great multi-disciplinary talent by following up on her 2nd place at the Freshers’ Time Trial and securing the next podium spot only 3 seconds behind. And the final podium spot went to Anne-Marie Bowring with a time of 2 minutes and 17 seconds; excellent efforts all around!

Mathilde Pauls (2:01)

Elspeth Grace (2:01)

Anne-Marie Bowring (2:17)

Likewise, in the men’s field the competition was well and truly on with only 2 and 1 seconds separating 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. Euan Tebbut charged to victory this year with a time of 1:40, just ahead of Ollie Moseley with a 1:42 and Joe Adlam-Cook, once again taking the title of fastest fresher, with a time of 1:43. Off the podium there was no lack of rapid times either with time differences between places often being just a single second showing every watt/kilogram counted. Unfortunately, our hill climb specialists George and Craig, who both put in stellar performances at the National HC recently, couldn’t be there this time as they tired themselves out on their – admittedly quite long (70 miles) and scenic – ride over to the course.

Ollie Moseley (1:42)

Joe Adlam-Cook (1:43)

Euan Tebbut (1:40)

James Quigley, our events secretary, concludes: "Special thanks to Elspeth and Euan who not only competed (and did rather well!) but also helped do timekeeping for portions of the event. And thank you to everyone who came to compete for making the event as fun and successful as it was, I hope everyone had a great time, or at least as much as possible when doing a hill climb!"

Naturally, credits are also in order for James himself, who has managed to organise two great club races this term, despite limitations and a premature end to club rides and other activities, as the club moves to alternatives like riding in pairs and on virtual platforms.

Autumn Racing Round-up

With the darkness now drawing in ever earlier, the racing season for 2021 has come to a close for CUCC’s time triallists – with only this weekend’s club hill climb up Gog Magog left to finish. It’s been a strange, abridged season, but club riders have nevertheless managed to achieve some fantastic results in the two months since the last update.

In September, the club sent a good contingent to the National 25 Championships on a quick course in the Midlands. Standout ride was Dave Bell, who finished first of our riders in 40th with a 51:13. Close behind were Ali Goby (48th), Jack Brown (49th), and Euan Tebbutt (64th), showing the strength in depth we’re beginning to develop.

Up in the North East, on the 4th October, Jack Brown and alumnus Rob Walker both took part in the National 50 Championships. On a greasy course, with a number of tumbles for competitors at roundabouts, both stayed upright to record superb results. Rob managed 9th with a 1:43:34 while Jack was 11th with a 1:44:40.

The string of high placings at Nationals continued on our home course, the E33/25 at Bottisham, where the 2020 Circuit Championships were held at the end of the month. Elspeth Grace took home a brilliant 10th in the women’s category, while Rob Walker stormed to another top-10 position in 9th. Men’s race captain Jack Kellam took home a solid 29th, accompanied by a number of strong performances from riders in the separate road bike event that day – topped by Emma Andrews winning in the women’s field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, George Spooner and Craig Rogers managed to sufficiently avoid getting trapped in self-isolation to head to the National Hill Climb Championships on Streatley Hill – a short, sharp brute of a climb for this year’s course. In a frankly massive field of riders, both put it storming runs to take 14th (Craig) and 15th (George) respectively, separated by only tenths of a second! Both will be heading to the club event on Sunday with a score to settle…

Freshers’ Time Trial

Kicking off CUCC’s return to Cambridge after a longer than usual summer, filled with plenty of time-trialling successes for many, what better way to start the academic year than with our Freshers’ Time Trial! This year saw an unprecedented turnout of over 60 keen cyclists of all experience levels eager to test themselves around our customary 6 mile loop between the villages of Newton and Little Shelford.

Unfortunately the weather did not remain on our side during the event and left many of our riders battling the rain as well as the clock as they powered their way around the course. However, this didn't stop some truly impressive times being recorded on the day.

Joe Adlam-Cook and Daniel Slater both recorded blistering sub 14-minute times, 13:45 and 13:56 respectively on the men's side. The remainder of the 49 strong field were certainly not far behind and was strongly competitive across the whole range of results with lots of ties and mere seconds separating many with highly respectable times all round.

The women’s side also saw fierce competition for the podium spots with only a handful of seconds between places; Clare Jackson, Zoe Burrell and Charlotte Brass recording outstanding times of 16:00, 16:05 and 16:26 respectively. In addition, the competition remained strong beyond the podium with outstanding times across all 11 riders in the women’s field.

Overall, CUCC are very pleased with the event and especially the amount of interest in trying out cycling given the stellar turn-out, something which has extended to our weekend club rides recently also. Plenty of amazing times on the day and lots of strong riders with lots of potential. We hope that it was enjoyable for all despite the conditions and that many of you continue to enjoy cycling with the club throughout the year. See you all at the Hill Climb next week!

Summer Racing Round-Up

Since the return of racing to British roads in late July, CUCC members have started to put all of their lockdown training to good use, with a string of great results already on the books – including club records, PBs and national championships – and plenty of competitive action still to come in a busy late season schedule.

Elspeth flying to a new PB on the F2a/25

More time-trialling success

Recent alumnus Rob Walker kept hold of his CUCC skinsuit to record a blistering 19:14 on the F2a/10 just west of Cambridge in one of the first events back at the end of July, powering through conditions so horrific that the race was cancelled shortly after his ride!

Jack on his way to a short 53 at the Bedfordshire CC 25

The following weekend, there was a strong club performance at the Bedfordshire RCC 25, where Dave Bell smashed his PB to record a 51:58, and Jack Kellam put together a decent ride for a 53:03. Not to be outdone though, Lucy Havard rode over 25 miles from Cambridge to the race start at 6:30am, did an impressive 1:05:24 in her first TT, and then cycled all the way home – simply ridiculous.

Lucy at the Bedfordshire CC 25

Meanwhile, Elspeth Grace has been honing her transition from national-level ‘crosser to aero time-trialling machine at her local club events in Welwyn, recording a number of increasingly speedy times, a 23:31 being her PB for the summer over 10 miles.

In the midlands, Euan ‘The Duck’ Tebbutt and Ali Golby have put in a number of strong regional performances, including taking 11th (21:38) and 4th (20:47) respectively in the overall round Mallory Park over 10 miles this August. A 20:58 on the K11/10T a week later also spelled a PB for Euan in an impressive summer’s racing.

Jack Kellam has continued to pick up top ten places at sporting courses around the South East of the country, while Rob Walker recovered from disappointment at this year’s National 100 Championships (where an onset of cramp derailed a promising run) to take 2nd at the V.C.Baracchi 50 mile event in Suffolk.

 

National Championships & Club Records

With CTT National Championships events pushed back to later in the year, after the cancellation of BUCS and Varsity, club riders have been able to focus their attention on new goals.

At one of the strongest fields ever for a National 10 Championships, alumni Rob Walker and Ali Golby donned minty green as our club representation at the H10/3R in Newbury. After a solid 20:58 for Ali, a rapid 19:30 by Rob catapulted him into 21st place which, in an absolutely stacked field of nearly 150 riders, was an incredibly impressive result.

Rob breathing deep to finish 21st at the Nat 10

Vying for ride of the summer so far, however, was Club President Jack Brown’s new CUCC record for a 100-mile TT at the start of September. Coming off the back of a seemingly endless summer of touring, Jack was somehow capable of jumping onto his TT bike and riding at nearly 44km/h for an imperial century to record 3:39:39 and smash a decades-old club record – almost more impressive when his race report reads that he “blew his doors off” with 10 miles to go, and had a full bladder (so to speak) for over three hours!

 

Jack Brown in a world of pain setting the club record for 100 miles

Hill climb season – and the start of term – approaches

With the start of term around the corner, club riders have been returning to Cambridge and its famed training triangle. On the 13th September, the club had a number of starters at Cambridge CC’s event on the F2a/25 course west of the city. On a fast, if blustery day, Elspeth Grace smashed her way to a new PB, recording a 57:20 and finishing high in the women’s category behind winner – and CUCC alumna – Hayley Simmons. Dave Bell ticked off his ‘sub-50’ goal for the season, sneaking under the mark with a 49:57, while Jack Brown did a rapid 48:53 to finish 14th.

Dave firing himself to a sub-50 25m TT

Meanwhile, with the seasons changing, hill climb season has got back underway and CUCC’s resident watts-per-kilogram machines, Craig Rogers and George Spooner, have been back in action. Craig took 6th up Holly Lane at the Ilkeston CC event on 6th September, while George placed 3rd at CC Basingstoke the following weekend. Keep your eyes peeled for their performances at this year’s nationals on a favourable short, steep climb at Streatley near O*ford.

George at what looks like VO2max at the start of his hill climb season

The delayed start to the season means there’s plenty of racing still to come, and with the National Circuit Championships being held on our ‘home ground’ – the E33/25, or ‘Botty Triangle’ course – the club will be looking to impress!

Lent Term Racing Round-up

With the sun shining relentlessly outside and the roads beautifully dry and clear, CUCC should be celebrating another rampant BUCS campaign and the start of the fair weather race season. Instead, the boredom of being stuck at home has forced some people to insane measures including Everesting attempts, alpine passes on a TT bike – and worst of all – attempting to change a pressfit bottom bracket yourself. So in an attempt to distract from this madness, here’s a long-awaited roundup of CUCC’s racing activity from Lent term before it passes from living memory and into folklore.

 

Time Trialling

First up was the notorious Ely Hardriders TT, incorporating 25 miles of some of the “most beautiful” countryside the Fens have to offer. Those daft enough to insist on racing this early in the season, however, were spared by the weather gods, as Storm Ciara forced the event to be called off. Quite incredibly the weather still didn’t look as grim as it has done in recent years when its been run!

Next up was the North Road Hardriders just north of London, with an exciting course featuring several U-turns in the road just to keep it interesting. A great showing for CUCC saw Elspeth run away with the women’s event, whilst Rob, Jack B, John, and Jack K came home 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th in the mens’ classification. The three racing first-claim for CUCC – Rob, Jack K and Elspeth – also did well enough to see CUCC take home the team prize.

Elspeth at the start of her winning effort at North Road Hardriders

Then it was down to second-hand car dealer country for the Hainault Hilly 50km in Essex. Another great weekend for the light blues with Jack B in 2nd, Ali in 3rd (despite somehow puncturing in the car on the drive down) and Jack K 4th (including a meaty late start penalty for forgetting his rear light). Dave made his long-awaited bike racing debut, taking a 62-tooth 1x setup to an event with the word “Hilly” in the name, and Andy Salkeld got round with a power PB!

Jack K trying to make up for his late start at Hainault Hilly…

The last weekend of racing before the world went mad featured the West Suffolk Wheelers sporting 21 miler (which Jack won), and also our local 25 on the Lee Valley E1 course. CUCC fielded a strong 7-rider lineup including Euan, Dave, Dan, James Q, along with Ollie Moseley and Tom Bishop. Euan got a cheeky top 10 (5th) and CUCC took the team prize! Dave in particular was thrilled with his ride. 

Road racing

The road racing season got going nice and early with some incredibly grim and choppy crits at Hog Hill through Jan and Feb. These saw some CUCC members making their racing debuts, including Anne-Marie, Robbie, Ollie Fox, Alex Bartram and Sam Massey and who all put in some very strong rides! Further mentions go to Ffion and Craig who each won a 2/3/4, and a Will Weatherill-Ollie Fox 1-2 in a 4th cat race.

Next was the start of the actual road races, with the Crest CC road race just outside Cambridge. Very strong rides from Craig and Jack B (ably assisted by a cheeky first lap move from alumnus Toby Parnell) put them in the early break, and Craig stuck it out to take the win! Craig doubled this up a week later with a win at the BRRT Spring Classic, and also netted a phenomenal 2nd at the prestigious Betty Pharoah Nat B.

Finally before the curtains dropped was the Ike Saul memorial, with Jack B getting up the road with (not actually very) recent (any more) alumnus Felix Barker. Felix stuck it out to the finish where he was unfortunate to finish 4th in a 3-up sprint for the line (not a typo).

And that’s pretty much a wrap! Hopefully some more updates to come soon once we can start making the most of the increase in training volume that the current situation has allowed…

 

2020 Cuppers’ Round-up

A few weeks before the Coronavirus lockdown, CUCC held its annual Cuppers’ Time Trial on the 29th February, in what would turn out to be the last taste of racing for many in a long while. 

33 hardy souls braved the classically awful February weather, with some gale force winds making the outward leg to Newmarket great fun, but in turn making the return leg rather painful. As is standard on the slightly tricky turnaround (a roundabout with 5 exits), one rider somewhat inevitably took the wrong turning towards Six Mile Bottom, thankfully realising the mistake before getting to the A11.

Men’s winner Jack Brown suffering over the line in his “distinctive” new skinsuit…

Jesus College were the victors on the day, with a narrow margin of 2 points to second placed Emmanuel. Current Women’s Captain Elspeth (Girton) won the Women’s TT bike category in a time of 25:13, with Jess Godden (Emma) winning the road bike category with a 28:22.

Women’s winner Elspeth Grace, who also comfortably takes home the prize of the smallest CdA!

In the Men’s event, Jack Brown (Caius) successfully defended his 2019 title in a time of 20:35, with Rob Walker (Pembroke) coming a close 2nd in a 20:46 and Patrick Elwood (Magdalene) rounding out the podium with a 21:23. Craig Rogers (Fitz) continued his refusal to ride a TT bike but won the road bike category in a rapid 22:34. Fresher Henry Yates (Churchill) won the Town Bike category on his full suspension 29er, riding a 31:47. 

 

 

 

Women’s Results

PlacingNameTime
1Elspeth Grace25:13
2Hannah Roberts25:45
3Jessica Godden28:22
4Clare Gayer28:39
5Fiona Bunn29:52
6Anne-Marie Bowring31:29
7Ellie Taylor33:14

 

Men’s Results

PlacingNameTime  
1Jack Brown20:35
2Rob Walker20:46
3Patrick Elwood21:23
4Ali Golby21:45
5Craig Rogers22:34
6Jack Kellam22:39
7Euan Tebbutt23:19
8Dave Bell23:42
9Oliver Mosely23:56
10Ollie Fox 24:29

Michaelmas Racing Round-Up

With a New Year – and a new racing season – arriving here in Cambridge, we’ve put together a belated look back at some of the stellar racing performances that club members put in during the last few months of 2019.

At the start of term, CUCC had riders competing in the tail end of the road racing season, while others swapped disciplines to test themselves against the clock in hill climb events and put on the knobbly tyres for the beginning of the cyclo-cross calendar.

Road Racing and Hill Climbs

On an eventful Sunday in mid-October, the first result of the day saw Rob Walker take a fine solo victory in a damp end-of-season Finsbury Park RR, ably supported by Jonny Bodey who claimed a respectful pack finish.

Meanwhile, just south of London, Jack Kellam and Craig Rogers were tackling the iconic Bec and Catford CC Hill Climbs – events in which the club has pedigree! After a successful road race season, and promising early hill climb results, all eyes were focused on Craig who was competing in a tough field.

Despite a sketchy descent down the hill to the start on his lightweight Chinese carbon rims, Craig surged up the steep slopes of York’s Hill to claim 3rdplace – going one better than the eminent Seb Dickson in the 2018 event. While buoyed by the fact the pre-race favourite Calum Brown also weighed a ‘hefty’ 75kg, a discrepancy of a few hundred watts in power output meant Jack could only finish 44th.

Over at White Lane, for Bec CC’s event in the afternoon, Craig produced an incredible performance that kept him in the hot seat until the last few competitors. It took the massive calves of the aforementioned Calum Brown to pip Craig by 1.3 seconds to the prize. Regardless, this was an amazing set of results from our mercurial hill-climber.

A few weeks later, BUCS Hill Climb saw CUCC take a strong squad, buoyed by Craig’s stunning string of results, to Mam Tor in the Peak District. On a bleak day of driving rain and freezing temperatures, a total of 16 riders from Cambridge ground their way up the mountain pass.

In the women’s event the featherweight Elspeth Grace was our highest finisher, placing 17thin a strong field. The trio, completed by of Lucy Harris and Melody Swiers, did well to finish 6thin the women’s team event – especially given their relative inexperience in the event.

Meanwhile, in the men’s event 13 reluctant Cambridge competitors tentatively left the warmth of the van to try and get some crucial BUCS points. In the end, Craig managed a good 7thplace, disappointed to see a rider from Oxf*rd take the overall honours. With George Spooner coming in 17th, and Rob 27th, we did enough for CUCC to take an honourable 3rdin the team prize.

 

BUCS Track

Another year, and after the BUCS Hill Climb, another plucky band of CUCC riders headed to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester to compete on the boards. As the eternal problem of Cambridge not having a velodrome continues for yet another year (perhaps this year might be the one however…) the squad of Jack Brown, George Spooner, Rob Walker and Craig Rogers entered with low expectations, the only goal to have a ‘good jolly’ whilst they were at it.

In the first event of the weekend, the 200m Flying Time Trial, George Spooner posted a quite rapid 12.079, especially considering he’d never done a proper flying lap before…

Next up came the IP qualification, where Jack led the way with a 4:45.245 across the 4km, good enough to qualify 10th, with Rob Walker coming in 5 seconds slower in a 4:50.452.

Both George and Rob were up in the Kilo, with hopes high after Rob’s rapid time last year. However, it was not to be, especially considering George had forgotten to tighten his handlebars after switching, which saw Jack running across the track centre like a frightened rabbit in an attempt to source a 4mm Alan key. Rob posted a 1:10.392, with George (and his tightened handlebars) coming home in a 1:11.556.

The next day brought the Team Pursuit (GS, JB, RW & CR), which remains CUCC’s only slight hope at a medal. After last year’s disappointment, the boys were raring to go, but knew of the challenge ahead of them. Considering the 3 hours of track time the squad had in the run up to the event, a very clean 3:25.790 over 3km was the result, only good enough to Qualify 8th, but also only 4 seconds off the minor final.

The Team Sprint was entered purely for ‘the banter’, coming in 14th, and about 4 seconds slower than the time George had put down on the BUCS entry form.

And in the final event of the weekend came a gripping show, with Jack in the Points race (his first ever real bunch race on the track…). The opening 10 minutes saw Jack up in 3rdplace, after having taken a lap and winning a sprint in the process. Collecting a few more minor points, he unfortunately missed a move which took a second lap, but managed to use his newfound tactical nous to win a sprint after parking it on the front on the bell lap, to allow the catch to happen. The toll of not really riding his bike all that much through Michaelmas began to become apparent, with even Jack’s dad remarking at how utterly gassed he looked. Narrowly missing out in the final sprint, Jack took 5thoverall, just a single place behind a few valuable BUCS points.

 

Cyclo-cross

Back in the great outdoors, and the 2019/20 Cyclo-cross season has arguably been one of CUCC’s most successful, seeing more members racing the discipline than ever, and a number bringing home some superb results, proving that Cambridge riders are capable of winning races that don’t involve aerobars.

Having started the Autumn with intent by winning the Three Peaks race up in Yorkshire, Ffion James has carried stellar form throughout a season that has seen her take the overall National Trophy leader’s jersey with a consistent string of top results.

Pick of these was a victory in the Elite Women at a home race in the sand dunes of Pembrey – one of a number of podium places she would eventually accrue over the course of the series. She was just as impressive over the channel in Belgium, putting in an impressive ride to finish in the middle of the field at the UCI World Cup in Namur, when up against dozens of world class athletes.

Such was Ffion’s form, there’s little space to detail all the victories and results she picked up at local races over the course of the winter too. A solid ride to finish 7that the National Championships in January capped off another great season.

Not to be overlooked though, is this year’s Women’s Captain Elspeth Grace, who’s also managed to pull off consistent performances in the mud. Alongside consistent top ten placings at regional races – and a 12thplace at the York round of the National Trophy – she claimed another great position in the National Championships, finishing in the top 25.

Will Weatherill also had a breakthrough season in the U23 Men, consistently placing in the top 10 overall of races, and winning his age category in the North of England regional championships. An absolutely massive result, though, saw Will come home in 24that the National Championships in January – an amazing performance in an increasingly strong domestic field. Alongside alumni Felix Barker, both also took their bikes over to Belgium, taking to the start line of Ambiancecross alongside Van der Poel, Iserbyt, Pidcock and other royalty!

With BUCS time trials and Varsity drawing ever nearer, CUCC will be taking much confidence from a Winter of strong performances across the board. The Other Place ought to be trembling.

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

 

CUCC Summer Racing Round-Up

Our riders might have been scattered around the country for the long vacation, but that hasn’t stopped CUCC bringing home a host of fantastic results over the summer months.

Back in late July, one half of the coming year’s social sec team – Ffion James – put in a strong performance on her mountain bike, finishing a fantastic 2nd place in the Women’s U23 race at the National XC Championships at Cannock Chase.

Craig ‘Mystery’ Rogers has been battling away at a load of Northern 2/3/4s, winning the Ian Mountain Memorial RR, finishing 2nd at the Cold Dark North RR and then also competing at the Harlech ‘Hell’ Climb, finishing 6th in a quality field up an especially grim climb (recently recategorised as the steepest in the world!) to show good form as hill climb season comes into view.

Craig Rogers (Fitz) winning the Ian Mountain Memorial RR. Cred. Kieran Metcalfe Photography

Lucas ‘The Bullet’ He has continued a season of great TT results, a particular highlight being the VC Baracchi 50 near Norwich, where he clocked a rapid 1:51:17 to bag a quality 2nd place. He then followed this up with another podium on the 25 mile variant of the same course a week later, finishing in 56:04.

When not trying to finish writing up his PhD thesis, John Mulvey has been casually winning the odd TT here and there, including the Victoria CC and Chronos RT 10s on the same day?!. The latter was won with a rapid 18:51 on the F2A/10 course just west of Cambridge.

Moving into August, aside from seeing his form slide away through a month of 30-minute crits in Crystal Palace Park, Website Secretary Jack Kellam took the club’s Zipp wheels all the way back home to South Wales for an average day out at the CTT Welsh 10-mile Championship near Abergavenny, finishing 15th for a 20:24. Faring far better, however was Women’s Captain Elspeth Grace who traded her standard ‘cross tyres for slicks, coming 5th in the Women’s field in the Victoria CC 10.2 on the Bank Holiday weekend.

Jack Brown (Caius) on his way to a new CUCC 25 record

General Secretary Jack Brown headed over to a dual carriageway near Derby for the rescheduled RTTC National 25 Championships after a summer comprised mainly of lugging touring kit up mountains and trolling the numerous (8!) Loughborough students he keeps beating in road races.

TT-position muscle memory proved strong, however, as Jack churned out the watts to break the club 25 record for the second time this year, posting a 48:09(!) on the A25/11, good enough for a top 10 finish (9th) on the day. Rumour has it he might get his skis out and head down to the R25/3h in South Wales in search of a 47′ next year.

All in all, its been another superb summer of racing across the board for the club with numerous great results and performances not covered here. With another intake of talented freshers just round the corner, things are looking good for BUCS 2019/20, with the season-opener hill climb up Mam Tor fast approaching at the end of October.