Eastern Counties ‘25’ mile open time trial report

Eastern Counties ‘25’ mile open time trial on Sunday 29 May on the E2 course – Bruce Williams reports
There was a great deal of anticipation within the cycling community for this event on Sunday morning as local boy and professional star, Alex Dowsett of the Movistar (UCI registered) team headed the line-up on what was his third appearance in amateur time trials on E courses this season. 
Last man off at number 130, traditionally known as ‘the Scratch man’ and starting at 0810, Dowsett was rumoured to be intent on taking national competition record for the distance, currently held by Matt Bottrill with a time of 45.43 set on a Midlands course around Derby.  Dowsett already holds competition record for the ‘10’ at 17.20 set on the E2 in 2014 and of course is also a former holder of the track World Hour Record.
Event secretary, officials and a fair number of spectators were not disappointed as Dowsett, four time British Cycling professional time trial champion, duly blasted his way round the Cambridgeshire based course to shatter the record with a formidable new record time of 44.29, an amazing average speed of 33.7mph.
I was marshalling at the top of the exit slip road at Fourwentways – from where the riders turn to retrace the route back to Newmarket using the fast A11/A14 dual carrigeway – and was joined at one point by Dowsett’s father, mum and a close friend, stop watches to the ready.  I enquired of the older gent if he was indeed Dad Dowsett and he confirmed same pointing out that sadly he was no longer plain Phil Dowsett, just ‘Dad Dowsett’.  I suggested to him that it could be worse – do any of the enquiries refer to Grandpa Dowsett?  Dad also checked traffic coming from Alex’s right as he entered the roundabout to begin his turn, in the interests of safety as he explained to me.
‘Phil’ pointed out that Alex was back in the UK (staying with his parents who live local to this course) after a block of two weeks training in the Pyrenees and had decided on a local time trial and a tilt at the 25 record.  All the officials had deduced that a pro rider, and time trial specialist like him, would not turn up for the fun of it.  Phil also explained that Alex was disappointed not to be selected for team GB at the Olympics in the time trial – we have one place this year (compared with two in 2012 when Bradley Wiggins triumphed) which has gone to Chris Froome, and, at this moment, it does not appear that he will be in the road race team either.  He is waiting to hear from his pro team that he is in their Tour de France team selection.
Later, I briefly spoke with Alex and his father at Newmarket Leisure Centre, the event hq; Alex said he had been right on the limit and could not have gone any faster, but was pleased with his performance.  Keith Dorling was also more than happy, in his capacity as event secretary, to bask in the reflective glory of the star rider and new competition record, commenting that the morning had been cold (12 deg C) and windy so, on a better day, a 43 minute ride would be possible.
Great credit should also be given to the top amateurs, Colin Ward of Essex Roads and Justin Layne of CC Ashwell who did 47 and 48 minute rides for 2nd and 3rd places respectively.  Julia Freeman of Easterley Road club recorded a very rapid 55 to win the women’s event from Sue Triplow (Essex Roads) and Anna Dearing, Colchester Rovers, taking the next two places with 59’s.  Verity Smith of Stowmarket being unlucky just to fail to break the hour in 4th.
Flying the flag for the NNW was Karl Read who recorded a fine 55.33 for 37th place overall and, he told me, his best time for a 25 in 19 years.  He will be back feeling sure that he can get a personal best on the right day.  That is the spirit of time trialling.
Mike Padfield directed me to a cycling blog where people commented very differently about the pros and cons of star pro riders mixing it in amateur events, winning championships and setting CTT competition records that an amateur rider will not be able to compete with – most people agree that only a pro rider who also specialises in time trials will be able to take a record like this one.  It is of course true that amateurs and pros are not competing on a level playing field in these events but I believe that most of the top amateurs enjoy the occasional contest with the pros and the competition and excellence that this generates.
There could perhaps be an argument that competition records should exist separately for both amateur and pro riders?  Back in the 1970’s, cycling was strictly segregated between amateurs and pros and no pro riders wre allowed to enter amateur time trials. A retiring pro had to wait two years before he or she could re-enter amateur tt’s and punitive measure were taken by the governing body against amateur riders alleged to have infringed amateur status.
There are always different opinions and individual subjectivities in these things but, on balance, and allowing for the level playing field issue, I prefer the spirit of open competition that exists today compared with the rigid rules that were enforced back then.

10m TT results 24/5/16

North Norfolk Wheelers Pretty Corner 10 mile TT results 24th May 2016

Following a victory in Ironman 70.3 Buenos Aires local professional triathlete Kim Morrison swapped the sun for a cold windy evening on the Norfolk Coast and produced a stunning ride of 22.33 to smash the previous ladies course record of 23.51 (held since 2010 by Catherine Essex).  Kim has vastly improved her time-trialling times over the last few years and training on our local courses seem to be paying off.

In slow conditions Charlie Nurse won on the night with (21.41), with Kim second (22.33) and Mike Padfield third (23.20). Most people were slower this week with the cold air, strong wind and low humidity not conducive to fast times, although John Hayward bucked the trend with a seasons best of 24.17.

With the ladies record broken is there anyone that will break the men’s record of 20.07 that has been held by the late Zak Carr for over 20 years? Charlie Nurse has been the fastest on the course in recent years and is getting close.  Maybe it will need a visitor to come and have a go?

Thanks to all the marshals, timekeepers and riders for another weekly instalment of fine time-trialling on the Norfolk Coast.


25/05/2016 Pc 10m TT
Name Time Handicap time Notes
NURSE 21.41 21.48
MORRISON (f) 22.33 CPB and ladies course record
PADFIELD 23.20 21.33
WATTS 23.37
WATKINS 23.42 21.16
HAYWARD 24.17 21.45
MORGAN 24.36 21.46
WOODLEY 25.22 21.55
JANES 26.04
PLATTS 26.28 21.38
JAY.A 27.33
THOROLD 28.22 22.46
JAY S (f) 30.23
VIDLER 31.54

Club Run on the 25 May 2016 to The Black Lion at Walshingham

Club Run on the 25 May 2016 to The Black Lion at Walshingham

Five club members met at Pretty Corner for our ride to The Black Lion at Walsingham. The weather was anything but conducive to a long hard slog on minor roads so a shorter version on a more direct route was taken. The BBC weather forecast (seaweed) indicated that all would be well after 10.00am. This forecast proved to be as helpful to the riders as a third ear is to an elephant.

Leaving PC we rode to Kelling Heath, Langford, The Dome, Binham to Walsingham and then the pub. With the rain still descending we were grateful to find a large fire waiting for us as well as excellent food and service.

After lunch and suitable dried out, we rode homeward going via Hindringham, Bale, Sharrington, Hempstead, Baconsthorpe, West Beckham and finally home.

My thanks to those hard riders who braved the elements and made poor conditions irrelevant.


Conditions: Cold, light rain most of the way with a moderate cold wind.

PC to PC 41 miles.


Role of Honour: John S, Andrew, Alan, Kevin and Geoff

Club Run on the 21 May 2016 to The Peacocks Teashop at Hoe

Club Run on the 21 May 2016 to The Peacocks Teashop at Hoe

Two club members met at Pretty Corner for our ride to the Peacocks Tearoom which is situate just out of Hoe.

At our pick up point in Reepham another club member greeted us and so off we set at a cracking pace despite a strong headwind in our face for most of the outward ride. Our journey took us to Whitwell – going past the station – then Sparham to Bylaugh ( how do you pronounce it ?) and then Robertson Barracks. Here, there were signs warning of “marching troops” but in reality the only marching was of three bikes going flat out for a well-deserved lunch.

For those who have not been to the café it is a real gem.

After lunch we had the added incentive of a strong tailwind most of the way home. Our route now was Hoe church to Woodgate and then Peaseland Green, Collin Green to Attlebridge, Swannington Upgate, Haveringland and finally Cawston (passed the disappearing Rat Catchers) to Itteringham and home

An excellent days riding – fast on the outward bound and even faster on the return.


Conditions: Stiff headwind out, strong tailwind home. 

PC to PC 61 miles.


Role of Honour: Harvey, Geoff and Malcolm (and still room for a few more riders)

Great Yarmouth CC 25 mile Open TT (BS/13a)

Report from the Great Yarmouth CC 25 mile Open TT (BS/13a) on the 22nd May 2016 by Mike Padfield

With rain forecast I was planning on taking my road bike for this ‘sporting’ course in the heart of the Broads.  However as is often the case with BBC weather they got it wrong and although the roads were wet in places it wasn’t raining so I decided on my TT bike.  Having not ridden it before I drove round part of it and it looked like it would be a tricky course with a few small hills, tight bends and parked cars.  Luckily there were lots of marshals (c.20?!) along the route to look out for us and guide us around the bends.  Even so riders had to keep their wits about them and be ready on the brakes.

Pre-race talk was of previous crashes, poor road surfaces and busy main roads which made me think “what am I doing here?”  At the start a marshal pointed out numerous parts along the course to be aware of but that marshals would be everywhere.  Not being familiar with the course road names and places this didn’t really mean anything so I planned on going easy whenever I saw a hi-vis vest!

The start was a fast downhill then a short climb to the junction at the B1074 and left along a bendy section to Somerleyton and then a very sharp left towards the village of Lound with cars parked on either side of the road in places.  Four marshals were present here.  After Lound there was a fast downhill right hand bend with off-camber and surface gravel in places that was tricky in the wet and then a climb up to the main A143.  Here there was a sharp left, avoiding any cars and then south west along an up and down section to St.Olaves with a very sharp left back to the B1074.  This was repeated for a second lap with the finish close to the start.

I didn’t judge the course very well and was too fast on the first lap as I was too busy trying to better my ave. speed so I suffered on the second lap.  It was tricky to get any sort of rhythm being on edge quite a bit of the time with all the obstacles and frequently getting out of the aero-position. A stopped car past a blind bend in the middle of the road tested out my brakes and ability to control a rear wheel slide. Having made it round ok, all-in-all it was a good morning session with some tasty cakes laid on by the hosts afterwards at the Village Hall.

The winner was Mark Richards of V.C. Baracchi with a 56:54, second Steve Gorbutt of Diss & District C.C. with 57:14 and third Jim Hardwicke of Plomesgate C.C. with 58:35.  Fastest lady was Verity Smith of Stowmarket & District C.C. with 1:03:26, taking nearly a minute off the course record set in 2009.  John Swindells and Paul Groombridge won the 2-up after they crashed into each other! (see John’s report here: Here)

If I learnt a couple of things it was that TT bikes with skinny tyres and 120PSI don’t go round corners very fast in the wet and it made me grateful of our ‘relatively’ smooth main roads in North Norfolk.

Full results are posted here:


There are also comprehensive photos of all the riders on the Great Yarmouth CC Facebook pages.

Club Run 18th May 2016 to The Corner Cafe Mundesley – Leader Robert Nixon

Don’t you just love it when something works out really well.  And so it was with to-day’s ride.  4 Wheelers true met at PC to follow Robert to Mundesley.  Robert had planned the route the night before but it didn’t quite work out as planned which was great – new lanes!  It was basically Aldborough, Erpingham, Colby, Felmingham before turning north to take in Bradfield and Trunch before arriving in Mundesley.  This sounds traditional, but an unorthodox left after the junction between Red Barn Lane and Mill Rd. set the tone for the ride – lots of little unusual twists.

The Corner Cafe at Mundesley is always nice to visit but we usually do so when wringing wet – how nice that the showers which we saw falling around the area left us completely alone.  Malcolm met us at the cafe and joined us for a bit of the ride home.

The route back to PC was straightforward except for the “zig-zags” dialled in by Robert – there was no danger of being torpedoed by enemy submarines!  And we were using little-trodden lanes.

Alan punctured loudly as we approached Gresham – this was notable for the “ever so impressive” use of a gas canister inflator.

The weather was good but a tad windy and we got a slight dusting of rain as we approached PC. Still – we expected a dousing.

A super ride.  Many thanks, Robert.

5 out.  37 miles PC to PC. 1 puncture (impressively dealt with).

18 May 16

Eastern Counties Cycling Association ‘50’ mile time trial on E2/50c (Newmarket) 14/5/16

Eastern Counties Cycling Association ‘50’ mile time trial on E2/50c (Newmarket) Saturday 14 May – Bruce Williams reports
The first 50 mile time trial of the season in East Anglia took place on Saturday afternoon on the ultra rapid E2/50c course, with warm but windy conditions prevailing.  North Norfolk Wheelers affiliated to the ECCA for the first time at the beginning of this year as a result of which I duly reported for marshalling duty meeting the event secretary and other helpers at the village hall hq a couple of miles from Six Mile Bottom, just south of Newmarket.
This is a drag strip course that does not seem like a lot of fun – riding on the dual carriageway A11 / A14 alongside fast moving traffic – but is popular with riders because of the fast times frequently recorded here, and Saturday was to prove no exception.  The start was south of Newmarket on a slip road with competitors heading south to turn at Fourwentways (FWW) – a slip road leading to a large roundabout and a 100 yard long bridge crossing the main road – then heading north to turn again at the B1085 junction at Red Lodge. 
At this point, competitors head south on the old A11 for a bit under two miles, to retrace north and then to re-join the dual carriageway heading back to FWW for the second turn, finally finishing back at Six Mile Bottom.  In practice, this is not as complex as it might seem and enthusiastic high viz jacket wearing marshals were evident in abundance, but there can be no doubt that the course would be even faster if it were confined entirely to the A11/A14 dual carriageway, the 3.5 mile leg on the old A11 being slow by comparison.
I was marshalling at Red Lodge, a good spot as riders head south and back on the old A11 leg taking anything from 8 to 10 minutes to pass me for the second time.  Perhaps because this is a Saturday afternoon event, the field is limited to 90 riders with plenty of numbers reserved for women.  Many open events on this course take place on Saturday afternoons, whilst the ECCA ‘100’ in July – one ECCA event (along with the 12 hour) that is not restricted to riders of ECCA affiliated clubs and therefore draws top riders from around the country seeking fast times for their BAR attempts – has the more traditional early Sunday morning start and will attract a field of 120 competitors.
This Newmarket course is something of a melting pot where competitors from Essex and North East London converge and compete with riders from East Anglia, all seeking quick times.  Earlier this season, professional Alex Dowsett recorded 17.46 on the E2/10 despite cold and windy conditions; he also set the ‘10’ competition record at 17.20 on this course in 2014.  Only two amateur stars have recorded sub 18 minute ‘10’s’ on similar courses in recent years when good mid season conditions prevailed.  I asked a few local experts what it is that makes the E2 course so fast and the general response was the top class, smooth road surface and the drag effect from the considerable traffic flow.  Drag strip courses existed back in the 1970’s (I rode them once or twice myself) so I guess there is no point complaining.
My impression was that the windy conditions would preclude really quick times, but I was wrong as 6 men recorded times under one hour 44 minutes (1.44) the winner being Liam Maybank of the Twickenham CC (he came second last year) who did a 1.39.  Even on this course, it is a rare thing, and takes a very strong rider, to get under 1.40.  David Langlands of Fenland Clarion came 2nd with a 1.41 ride beating David McGaw, Cambridge CC, the winner last year, by 4 seconds.  I spoke briefly with David at the finish and, philosophical chap that he is, he seemed pleased with his performance and time, rather than disappointed not to have repeated his win of the previous year.
Jason Turner of Norwich ABC recorded a personal best 1.46 (no doubt a club record as well) whilst James Trenchard of Godric also recorded a pb and club record with a 1.47.  These two guys are both rivals of Charlie Nurse in EDCA events, but I cannot help but feel that Charlie would have been on a 1.45 ride had he entered this event.  Of course, he went on anyway to do a very fine ride for 3rd place in the Wisbech Wheelers 25 the following morning.
I asked James about the wind and how it was that times were so quick.  He explained that the wind was favourable for the southerly leg to FWW, whilst the road on the northerly leg affords a fair amount of wind protection which was anyway more across than against.  Basically, he explained that the wind was, on this particular day, in the right direction.
He must be right because, in a strong field, no less than 4 women recorded sub two hour rides.  Sue Triplow of Essex Roads did a 1.59 for 3rd place with Mary Bower of Chelmer CC getting the win (and 40th overall) with a short 1.58, thirty seconds clear of Suzanne Robinson, of club VC10 in second place.  These two women are slight in stature and build (Trenchard again reminding me that that is good for low aerodynamic drag) but evidently generate a lot more cycling power than you might imagine.  Perhaps I should get back into training ?
Unlike some of our NNW club time trial courses, this is not a course that you would choose for a scenic club run, but time trial riders are a funny breed and motivated by the spur of competition and the prospect of fast times.  The course and the day delivered – there will be more full fields and over subscribed events for sure.

TT results Pretty Corner 10m TT (B10/5) 17/5/16

Time Trial Results Pretty Corner 10m TT (B10/5) 17/5/16

A good turnout of riders including three from TriHarman triathlon club turned out for the club time trial.  The ladies were flying with Louise Marsden finding some early season form with a course PB and Teresa Harman knocking over a minute off her course PB.

It was business as usual for Charlie Nurse with one of his best times on this course for the year as he continues his preparation for the amateur world qualifying ‘chrono TT’ in Cambridgeshire early next month.  With a couple of training ‘tweaks’ and optimum conditions on this course he is sure to break his course PB later this year (no pressure!).

Second was Aiden Bond who went under 22 minutes for the first time this year on this course, with Dan Watts third. Karl Read posted his second fastest time on the course and Mike Padfield went under 23 minutes with a PB of 22.47.  ‘Super veteran’ Brian Platts went under 26 minutes for the first time this year.

Thanks to all the riders for supporting the event and to the time-keepers and marshals for organising another great evening of racing.

17/05/2016 Pc 10m TT
Name Time Handicap time Notes
NURSE 20.53 20.52
BOND 21.50 20.56
WATTS 22.10
READ 22.35 20.49
PADFIELD 22.47 20.55 PB
WOODLEY 24.11 21.34
HAYWARD 24.24 21.52
MORGAN 24.48 21.48
MARSDEN (f) 25.14 CPB
JANES 25.44
PLATTS 25.49 21.19
A.JAY 27.20
T.HARMAN (f) 27.27 CPB
JAY (f) 29.56
VIDLER 30.31


Club Run on the 14 May 2016 to The Olive Branch at Tunstead – Leader Geoff Poulter

Club Run on the 14 May 2016 to The Olive Branch at Tunstead – Leader Geoff Poulter

Riding up to Pretty Corner GP found only one person – Charlie from the Cotswold Cycle Club – ready to join him. We rode directly to Banningham where we were greeted by Robin Rush. A discussion then followed on the length of the route to take. This was curtailed slightly from the planned one due to the persistent cold wind that showed no sign of abating.  

Our way out was Tuttington, Skeyton, Swanton Abbott, to Worstead and then Briggate, Honing , Dilham Church, Dilham, Anchor Street and then back lanes to Tunstead.

At the café we were joined by Malcolm. 

Food was good as usual at this cyclists café and our visitor was suitable impressed at the cycling memorabilia on display as well as the bikes for sale at the end of the café.Break over. It was now a hard slog into a bitter NNW wind all the way home which was via the only dual carriage way in Norfolk then Tuttington, Banningham and finally Sheringham.

Our guest thanked us for our hospitality and commented that this was one of the most scenic rides he had been on.  

We hope he will join us again for a further excursion into deepest Norfolk !. 

Conditions: hard and bitter cold wind – not much fun on the way out and certainly not much fun back. 

50 miles

Role of Honour: Robin, Charlie, Geoff and Malcolm – at café.