Varsity and BUCS 25 2022

A report of the Varsity Road race and BUCS 25 event by Women’s captain Zoe Burell

On Sunday 3rd of April, while most eyes were focused on the Cambridge-Oxford boat race, BUCS 25-mile TT returned to the roads of Cambridgeshire. With one-hundred-one students competing from universities across the country, it looked set to be an exciting race on CUCC’s home turf. Furthermore, with Oxford able to attend this year, BUCS 25 doubled up as the cycling varsity match. Cambridge came prepared for the challenge putting forward a strong team of eighteen men and four women.

The day started with the women, the first rider off for Cambridge was Maddie Angwin. Completing her first 25 mile TT, although, with a couple of hilly TTs under her belt (helpful on the last brutal straight of the Botty triangle), Maddie put out an impressive time of 1:09:34. Next up was Phoebe Barker who despite being on a road bike set-up put down the power and achieved an absolutely rapid time of 1:04:31. Experienced racer Charlotte Brass, was Cambridge’s third rider completed the course in 1:11:47. Zoe Burrell was the final rider of the women’s team narrowly making her start, she finished with a time of 1:04:11. This gave the women’s team a competitive time of 2:08:42, just 3 seconds off a podium position. There was also individual success for Maddie, Phoebe and Zoe who also achieved their half blue!

Maddie Angwin taking on Botty Triangle (@kanelssmith)

Next off were the men! Ryan Gilfeather, Neil Ibata and Jacob Lewis were looking speedy, finishing their two laps of the course with times of 1:08:55, 1:04:39 and 1:01:37 respectively. Joe Lunn, one of our two events secretaries, carried out an impressive juggling act. When Joe wasn’t at HQ helping to organise the event he was smashing the course, finishing with a time of 1:00:10. Time differences were tight between Luke McCarron (59:33), Matt Rizzo-Naudi (59:28) and Tom Wade (59:23), they completed the course with just 10 seconds between them! Going faster still was Jack Shuttleworth (59:11), Fabio Albertani (58:51), Tim Welsh (58:20), Luke Andrews (57:55) and Tom Hale (56:29).

The Cambridge men’s B team this year were well equipped with new TT bikes making an inaugural appearance for Joe Adlam-Cook and James Cummins who achieved times of 56:03 and 55:49 respectively. The team was completed by Jack Kellam who flew round, completing the course in 54:37, this gave the trio a team time of 2:46:29.

 

Matt R-N on the overtake! (@kanelssmith)

Even faster were Joris Wistok, George Spooner and Theo Weinberger who made up the men’s A team. Joris zipped round the course with an impressive time of 54:03 just three seconds off George Spooner’s time of 54:00. George had already had considerable success in BUCS events this season coming second overall in the Hill Climb late last year and had spent the evening before organising the delivery of a huge pile of skinsuits for all those racing. Fastest rider for Cambridge was Theo Weinberger with an undeniably quick time of 53:19 placing him an impressive 10th in the individual results. We won’t mention that was just eight seconds slower than brother and Oxford student Harvey Weinberger! This together gave the men a collective team time of 2:41:22, just two seconds off 3rd place on the men’s team podium!

As the day came to a close and the award ceremony was completed, there was Varsity Dinner to look forward to and Varsity results to announce. Unfortunately, this year it was not to be with Oxford taking all of the wins in the Varsity match, their super strong team of both men and women putting down some amazing rides across the board. Despite this, I am sure all involved would agree that it was a fantastic day with great results and an amazing atmosphere. It would not have been possible without the huge effort from all the volunteers, in particular James Quigley and Joe Lunn whose unparalleled organisation skills saw that the day was a smooth success!

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 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

Freshers’ TT 2021 Report

Freshers’ TT – Saturday 9th October 2021

RESULTS

Starting off CUCC’s riding and racing for this academic year was our Annual Freshers’ Time Trial with 44 racers of all levels of experience willing to test their mettle against our 9.5km TT loop from Newton. Our events secs had clearly put the work into setting it all up, booking some beautiful weather and multiple flyovers from a Lancaster Bomber (we think – we’re cyclists, not plane spotters) for what turned out to be an excellent day of racing.

We had some excellent pain faces today seen in the photos from our favourite photographer  Nordin (@nordincatic), however questions were raised about how seriously some riders took the no TT equipment rule with rumours from the marshals about there maybe even being an 80mm deep wheel present at the event! Due to some traffic lights on the course this year, we had to run a marginally shorter route but the results were as impressive as ever with some rapid times in both the men’s and women’s categories.

We had some blistering times in the women’s category with our podium all within a minute of the fastest time. Rosie Wallace recorded an speedy 15:57 to win first place with Clara Dunbavin not far behind at 16:17 and Charlotte Wilde seconds after that at 16:32. The rest of the women’s field of 8 all also put out amazing times in what has been a very competitive start of CUCC’s racing calendar.

In the hotly contested men’s category there were some amazing times with the top 5 riders all recording sub 14-minute times and none more than 10 seconds apart. Sam Lewin put out the fastest time of the day with an eye-watering 13:21 with Jack Shuttleworth close behind at 13:28 followed shortly by Luke Andrews at 13:35. The remainder of the 36 riders out today weren’t far behind with some positions decided by literally a second and very good times all around.

Thanks all for coming to the TT as its always great to see so much interest in trying cycling/racing and we hope to see all these new faces out on the road (and in the pub)!

Varsity 2021 Race Report

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!

Elspeth Grace, Rebekah Nash and Zoe Burrell

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.

Jack Kellam

Euan Tebbutt

Jack Brown

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.

Women's Results:

PositionCompetitorTime
2Elspeth Grace01:01:26
4Zoe Burrell01:02:12
5Rebekah Nash01:04:06

Men's Results:

PositionCompetitorTime
2Jack Brown00:53:03
3Jack Kellam00:53:29
4Euan Tebbutt
00:54:59
5Timothy Welsh
00:55:32
8Fabio Albertani
00:56:18
8Joris Witstok
00:56:18
11Joseph Adlam-Cook
00:56:52
12Tom Hale
00:56:54
13Sam Massey
00:57:17
15Joe Lunn
01:00:48
16Tom Wade
01:02:14
17Matt Bryan
01:07:25

National 24 Hour TT Report

This past weekend Tim Welsh was representing Cambridge University Cycling Club in the National 24 hour TT championships put on by the Mersey Roads cycling club. It was set to be an absolute scorcher, with the Met Office warning that it could be the hottest weekend of the year so far with no clouds and high humidity. Undeterred, Tim took to the start line along with 63 other competitors (11 out of the original 75 started chose not to even start the day). The course for the 24hrs was quite complicated, to ensure that riders were on different routes that were safer for different parts of the day and to make things more simple for the timekeepers at the finish. The majority of the course centred around the Prees Heath roundabout which was part of the main day circuit and the night circuit. After his start time at 13:26, Tim started the leg of the race to get to the main circuits (which of course required climbing directly uphill for the first 10 miles).

Tim gives a double thumbs up before heading to the start line

He's started! only 23 hours 59 minutes and 30 seconds to go

Within 15 minutes of the start, tragedy struck. Tim hit a pothole and the clamp on his right aero bar (clip-ons on his road bike) entirely snapped. With the aerobar now dangling from his handlebars it took a few moments to gather his thoughts. Luckily he had packed some gaffa tape, so he phoned his support crew who gave him hand ups of strips of gaffa tape which he used the wrap the bars together. Somehow, he managed to get the setup reasonably stable and carried on with gaffa taped bars for the first 7 hours until he took his first stop and had the bars and mount cable-tied more solidly.

 

Despite the bumpy start, Tim was getting on very well. The heat was getting to everyone, with loads of people (including multiple previous champions) deciding to pull out within the first day section. Tim however, was doing great. His support crew – Julia, Alex, and Steve – did everything they could to keep him fed and cool, handing up bottles full of electrolytes and sugar every 18 miles and ice packs to put down his skinsuit. His heart rate was skyrocketing the first 6 hours in the heat, but he felt good and carried on – managing to cover the first 112.45 miles in 5th place with a speed of 22.49mph.

Constant hand ups of bottles, gels, rice cakes, energy bars, and even gaffa tape and lights meant that stoppage could be minimised and Tim could keep rolling

Even though the day was scorching, the night temperatures got down to 13°C and Tim had to put on an extra layer to keep warm

After the first 112.45 miles on relatively busy A roads, the race moved onto the more relaxed Quina Brook circuit, which featured a bit more rolling terrain and even some nice little lanes through some local farms. Tim fared well on this section of the course, fuelling often with rice cakes and energy bars, and even managed to creep up into 3rd place overall before moving onto the night section.

Running a race through the night is a difficult task, and it requires a course that is reasonably smooth but also had little traffic. The night section for this race was a slightly mixed bag for Tim. He of course had no problem in the dark, probably due to his countless audax rides he has done through the night in much worse conditions on much smaller roads, but there were certainly more lorries than would have been desirable. That being said, Tim was still rolling well – covering the first dark 50 night miles in 2:15 (22.2mph). Things slowed a little bit from there, but never significantly. Around 2 am, Tim’s stomach started to tense up a bit – maybe due to the rapid ingestion of caffeine pills chased with an energy drink and antacids, or maybe due to not having enough solid food in the early hours of the morning – but this caused him to take a 35 minute stop to involuntarily empty the contents of his stomach and try to collect himself and recover. Being a stubborn person, Tim carried on for the remaining 3 hours on the night circuit, albeit at a slightly slower pace.

Giving it the beans during the final hour on the finishing circuit

A few minutes lying in a chair were required before any additional motion was possible

Around 7 am, Tim was one of the last riders to be moved back onto the Quina Brook circuit, where the first lap he still was moving relatively slow (by his self-imposed standards). After one lap around Quina, he took another short break to get some more solid food in, cover his legs in deep heat, and swap the clear visor for the sun visor on his aero helmet. After that break, things started to perk up. Tim started picking up the pace again and was looking a lot better than he was at 3 am. After completing 5 more laps of Quina, Tim was one of the first riders to move towards to finish circuit near Wrexham.

This was Tim’s first time ever riding in Wales, something he hoped to have done already in the 3 years he’s been in the UK, but nevertheless, at least this was a notable first ride to do in Wales. The race crossed into Wales on the A525, and of course, as soon as the “Croeso i Gymru” sign appeared the roads turned into a vertical wall (or so it felt). The rest of the commute over to the finish circuit was equally hilly and draining, or maybe it was just the previous 21hrs and 420+ miles in the legs. After the transit over, Tim made it onto the finishing circuit in 6th place with ~430 miles covered in the first 21:20.

The finishing circuit was an 8.18 mile lap around the lovely Wrexham Industrial Estate, with 4 timekeepers spaced out around the circuit to mark riders once they finish their 24 hours. Something obviously ticked for Tim in the final 2.5 hours, because all the tiredness and soreness seemed to drop away and he went full gas and even managed to consistently get negative splits across the 7 finishing laps he completed! Because of the shorter circuit, it also meant there were more supporters dotted out around the lap, and they were clearly excited by the speed Tim was moving as it seemed like pretty much every group of people screamed at him as he passed. In the last 3 hours, Tim didn’t manage to eat any solid food, but the carb drinks, countless gels, and most importantly the yells of support pushed him on.

It was truly a team effort and would not have been the same without great supporters (left to right: Steve, Alex, Tim, Julia)

Going into the last hour, Tim was determined to squeeze out every last bit of energy he could and was out of the saddle sprinting up every climb, and tucking into his most aero position to hit up to 30mph on the straight and flat sections. The final lap was his fastest one of all, averaging over 23.5mph – not bad for the end of a 24-hour ride!

In the end, Tim eked out 487.70 miles, securing him 4th place in the nation (3rd male). His original goal was to beat the Cambridge University record of 442.66 miles, and he absolutely smashed it. For his first TT over 100 miles, Tim and all of us at CUCC are pretty pleased with the result – especially on such a hot day where only 37 of the original 64 finished. Also a massive thank you has to go out to Julia, Alex, and Steve who were an absolutely stellar support team, they did everything they could to keep the pedals turning for Tim and it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Tim is recovering and as always is already scheming for his next massive ride (although maybe it’ll be at a more relaxed pace). Onwards!

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…

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!