Over Lent Term, unable to take part in group rides, CUCC has instead been hard at work producing some lovely Strava art! It’s been great to see all these pieces and we’re very much looking forward to being able to ride together again next term.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Congratulations to all our riders who smashed Everest rides this summer. This involves riding up and down the same hill until you have completed 8,848m of elevation, all in one (challenging) ride. First up was Touring Sec Tim Welsh in Hampshire, completing 108 reps of Liss Climb (for a total distance of 355 km), at the start of May. The next week saw Tom Hale in Gloucestershire complete 58 reps of Stanway Hill for a total of 324 km. Then in August Patrick Elwood took on the challenge in Hertfordshire, completing 158 reps of Robins Nest Hill (total 379 km). All incredible efforts, getting about as much elevation in one day as they would in a month's worth of riding in Cambridge!
Special mention also has to go to alum Emma Pooley, who after her effort in Switzerland holds the world record for the Everesting women’s record. A few weeks later she also completed a second Everesting ride, this time on gravel!
This summer has been a very strange one. At the beginning of lockdown we were wondering whether we’d be following the likes of Spain and Italy and not being allowed to exercise outdoors. There would have been a lot of Zwifting and nothing very interesting to write in this article but luckily that didn’t happen! During the ‘exercise once a day’ period of lockdown people were cautious and didn’t venture far from home. But since the restrictions have eased, the CUCC women have been doing lots of cycling related adventures and even some racing. Read on to find out what they’ve been up to.
Lucy Harris has been adventuring in the Alps and tackling some seriously tough climbs, including the infamous Mount Ventoux. Lucy Havard has also had some pretty epic days in the saddle, including a one day 325 km tour of East Anglia. As well as doing vast amounts of swimming, running and some rowing Emma Andrews has also been doing lots of exploring on her bike and finding some beautiful beaches, villages and café stops in the Suffolk countryside.
Once TTs started up again Elspeth Grace, Lucy Havard, Anne-Marie Bowring and Ffion James were quick to get going. Lucy did her first ever 25m TT in an impressive 1:05:24, which put her in 4th place. Elspeth has also been putting in a huge amount of miles with several 100+ mile days, including a DIY audax which involved lots of climbing in 5 counties (Herts, Beds, Bucks, Cambs, Essex) and some seriously quick 10m TTs with 23:31 being her PB for this summer. Ffion, who has just graduated, is starting to prepare for the racing season again (and keeping fingers crossed that it will go ahead). She’s aiming to retain her national cyclocross series title and race internationally in Belgium, all with her eyes set on the 2022 Commonwealth games!
We’re looking forward to welcoming new women into the club in October – please get in touch with women’s captain Anne-Marie Bowring (email@example.com) if you’ve got any questions.
Congratulations to Ffion James (Girton) who has been awarded an extraordinary Full Blue for her magnificent racing efforts whilst at Cambridge.
Alongside her degree in Natural Sciences, whilst at Cambridge Ffion has represented Great Britain multiple times in cyclocross, including at prestigious World Cup events and the European Championships. In the 2019/20 season, Ffion’s most impressive results included winning the elite National Trophy series in cyclocross, as well as finishing 2nd in the U-23 category at the UK National Cross Country Championships, directly behind a multiple world champion.
Whilst representing Cambridge, Ffion won MTB Varsity 2018 (by quite some margin) and led Girton to a huge win at 2019 Cuppers. She was also part of the team that took a magnificent bronze at the 2018 BUCS Team Time Trial championships, and placed 7th at the BUCS 10 Mile championships in 2019 (on a borrowed bike quite a few sizes too big!).
Throughout her time in CUCC, Ffion has also given back a huge amount in her role on the committee, inspiring newcomers to race as the Women’s Captain in 2018/19 and being one half of the fantastic Social Secretary team in 2019/20.
Alas, this recognition of Ffion’s achievements in representing CUCC has come at the very end of her studies, but the club looks forward to following her undoubted success in all the years to come.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…