Eastern Counties Cycling Association (ECCA) ‘100’ on course E2/100c, Sunday 19 June – Bruce Williams
I never did locate that helicopter to enable me to hot foot it from the EDCA ‘25’ on Sunday morning down to Newmarket to see part of the ECCA 100 so the ECCA had to manage without my marshalling assistance, our local EDCA event getting my priority. Since the NNW affiliated to the ECCA this year, we are on call for duty at one or two of their events, many of which take place on Saturday afternoons rather than early Sunday mornings.
With a 445 am first man off start time, this must have been one early start for most people, the event hq at Fullbourn opening at 345am. Unlike other ECCA events, this one and the 12 hour are not limited to riders from ECCA affiliated clubs and, early start or not, you cannot discourage time triallists as a big field full stars and BAR contenders descended upon the Cambridgeshire course chasing fast times for their BAR bids. I may not have been there in person, but I had a few cohorts in place and base this report on the various eye witness statements received. This was probably the best field assembled for an open ‘100’ for a few years including National Championships.
This was a revised version of the E2/100c course consisting of 3 laps each of just over 33 miles between the Fourwentways junction at the southern end (a few miles before the A11 turns into the M11) to Red Lodge at the top end, a few miles south of the Barton Mills roundabout. Thus the course became all dual carriageway instead of a fair section at the start and finish, as in previous years, on SC roads, with the expectation of an already fast course being even faster. On the other side, an early start takes away much of the traffic drag effect that is experienced with Saturday pm events and the early morning good conditions of low wind speeds and low air pressure gave way to rising winds from the West – which is not favourable on the A11 here in Cambridgeshire or further north in Norfolk – and early morning temperatures were very cool.
Top performers in the field included Richard Bideau (who set competition record for the ‘100’ last year that was later expunged from the record) Tejvan Pettinger, Mark Arnold, Joe Skipper, Daniel Bloy, Liam Maybank (Twickenham CC, my old stomping ground) Colin Ward, Stephen Irwin and evergreen vet and coach, Dave Green. A couple of big names missing from the event were triple BAR champion Adam Topham and double National 100 champion, Charles Taylor.
Riders like Irwin and Jon Wynn had travelled from the North of England as had Bideau. Bloy and Arnold are both regular winners of EDCA events over the years, whilst Skipper is also a local man, a full time triathlete and a top cyclist. Pettinger has won this event twice before and been placed in National Championships, Maybank has done a 1.39 ‘50’ on the E2 this season and Ward was 2nd behind Alex Dowsett on his recent competition setting ECCA ‘25’ also on the E2, so the strength in depth was formidable.
There was also a strong entry in the women’s field with key competitors including Alice Lethbridge, Katja Rietdorf, Eleanor Haresign, Sue Triplow, Mary Bower and Anna Dearing.
Despite cool conditions and the rising wind from the West, some extremely fast times were recorded. Alice Lethbridge won the women’s event in a time of 3.57 – a big achievement for a woman to crack 4 hours for the 100 and not realised by too many – ahead of Katja Rietdorf and Eleanor Haresign in 2nd and 3rd with times of 4.04 and 4.11 respectively. The next women were Anna Dearing and Sue Triplow in times of 417 and 4.20 – these all being very good times demonstrating the increasing strength in depth in women’s time trialling.
2nd claim club member, Laurence Wright achieved a personal best time of 3.49 which, he says, is with little training since competing in the Wisbech ‘25’ a few weeks ago (part of me hopes that this is not entirely true !). I think his previous pb, set some 5 or 6 years ago in the EDCA ‘100’ was 4.01 (he will no doubt correct me if this if it is wrong) so it appears that he can improve on his new pb time considerably further if he puts his mind to it.
Winner of the men’s event was Richard Bideau in a time of 3.22 (3 hours 22 minutes) – an average speed of 29.66 mph which is, let’s be honest, amazing – and, whilst not competition record that many considered was under threat in this event including event secretary John Golder (and CTT who arranged for on site drug testing) is one of the fastest times recorded and sets a serious benchmark for this season’s BAR. Bideau set comp record in the Stockton Wheelers ‘100’ last season with 3.18 and this was part of his BAR winning combination until, at the end of the season, CTT re-measured the Stockton course twice finding it slightly short and expunging all times from the records. Bideau lost comp record and the BAR as a result, which was retained by Adam Topham for the third successive year – Topham had been tiny fractions behind Bideau until the CTT reversal.
It would appear that Bideau is intent on making a serious further challenge this year and good luck to him. Liam Maybank finished 2nd, 3 minutes down on Bideau and was, in turn, 3 minutes ahead of Peter Harrison and Stephen Irwin, separated by a few seconds, in 3rd and 4th places respectively. Local star, Daniel Bloy of Team Velovelocity came 6th in a fine 3.33 (he has done a similar time on the Norfolk A11 course) with 52 year old Dave Green, also of TVV, and a man who seems to get faster every year, recording a very fine 3.37. Bloy finished just over half a minute ahead of Tejvan Pettinger, who had beaten Bloy by a few minutes when Pettinger came 3rd in the National ‘100’ held on the Swaffham (Norfolk) course two years ago, so this looks like good improvement for Bloy, who is making a serious BAR bid (that means doing a 12 hour for the first time) this season.
Laurence always says that the ‘100’ is the much tougher event of the two so, with Bloy believed to be doing the Breckland 12 hour later this season, we will enquire of him subsequently whether he agrees. I could not possibly comment. The pain of long distance time trials, like the CTT, I long since expunged from my own records.
Flying the flag for the Eastern District in what was probably the biggest time trial of the season so far, Team Velovelocity did very well to secure the team award, Bloy and Dave Green supported by local Norfolk man, Scott Davidson who also achieved a large pb with a time of 3.44 for 14th place this being, I believe, only his 2nd ‘100’. Laurence finished 19th telling me subsequently that he was really struggling over the last 20 miles. I doubt that he was the only one.
A total of 34 riders beat 4 hours and first lady, Alice Lethbridge, came 29th in the overall placings. Peter Horsnell, 86, finished in 5.12 and won the vet’s standard prize.
At the end of this month, the Stockton Wheelers ‘100’ doubles as the National Championship – it is a fast course and presumably has been checked and re-checked for distance, which the ECCA and CTT also did for this event given the change in the course. I am intrigued to know whether Richard Bideau will be making a return trip to Teesside for this event and, if so, whether a film crew will be on hand as contacts from a year ago are renewed? Will there be fireworks or will there be no tension in the air? Perhaps Bideau will return in his car with his bike and a sawn off shotgun ?
I am not sure if I will get up there for this one, although my employer has a subsidiary company and factory just off the course in Teesside. Otherwise, I will ask my local cohorts to report.
My thanks to Laurence Wright, Fergus Muir and Tejvan Petttinger for information for this report.