Tuesday 7 June 7pm Club Hilly Time Trial – Bruce Williams
Eighteen keen riders turned up at the Big Splash, Sheringham to enter the club’s 18.5 mile Hilly time trial this Tuesday evening, a good turnout considering the tough nature of the course that suits all round bike riders more than time triallists, all enjoying a warm and balmy evening that promised for good conditions and fast times. A far cry from some of the cool and grey evenings that we have had so far this season.
The drama unfolded on the day before the first rider turned a pedal in anger when it was noticed that temporary traffic lights – anathema to any time trial – were in place on the course at Upper Sheringham, a problem that could be avoided by switching the downward leg into Sheringham onto the straight but steep descent of Holway road, a version of the course used by the club on previous occasions. Unfortunately, plan B was disrupted as temporary lights were also in place on Holway road, so a last minute course change plan was hatched whereby riders continued on the A148 in the direction of Cromer, instead of descending into Sheringham, finishing the normal 18.5 mile distance a couple of miles past the ‘10’ finish at Pretty Corner and nearly three miles from the start at Big Splash.
It must have seemed a bizarre sight as club officials and marshals were seen urgently studying maps to check the new course with marshals and cycle event warning signs being despatched to points of interest on the course, old and new, just in time to get the event underway as planned. John Chambers even checked the course distance in his car in order to determine the finish point – it takes more than the Highways Agency can muster (not much !) to stop a NNW club event, especially on such a fine evening.
Worried looking competitors got to the start line on cue and proceeded to make the best of this fine evening, not least Charlie Nurse who stormed round in 45 minutes and two seconds (45.02), taking the win by 2 minutes from Aiden Bond.
A number of NNW club riders were fresh from competing the previous weekend in the UCI world championship qualifying event (a total of 800 or more riders in all) and were clearly energised by the experience. Mike Padfield recorded an excellent 48.12 to take third place with good times recorded by other NNW riders including Nigel Walsh (he was also fresh from a cycle training stint in Italy) with 51.12, John Morgan with 52.04, Henry Woodley 53.19 and John Hayward with 53.51.
Tommy Power, a 2nd category road racing rider of the Strada Sport cycling team based in Wymondham, showed that he can turn his hand to time trials by riding strongly from number 3 to record 48.48 for fourth place. Tommy is likely to be riding the Lotus League at the Hethel track the following evening so is clearly a man that takes his cycling competition seriously. Apparently he almost went off course at one point – which he realised when he overtook the same rider twice in quick succession – but evidently did not lose too much time and completed the course strongly.
Unfortunately that was more than could be said for 3 new club members who, despite riding a full distance, had to be classed as DNF when they went off course near the finish. Having marshalled lap one at Holt, I proceeded to Lodge Road (Sheringham Park entrance) for the left turn that competitors do on the first lap, but I directed them straight ahead on lap two (the change in course as above) in order to finish on the A148. I then got to the finish point to join Geoff Paice, John Chambers and Chris Knowles awaiting the last 3 riders who duly did not make it, all apparently making the left hand turn down Holway road back to the start area. Unfortunately, it turned out that 6 marshals were not enough as a 7th would have gone to this juncture to direct riders straight on.
I suppose a last minute change and double change in the course is always likely to cause problems of this type, especially with inexperienced new members. Rather a shame, but these things happen. Hopefully the new competitors and club members will not be put off by the experience.
Apart from this, the club did well to get the event on given the course problems encountered. Credit to Chris Knowles for working out the new course and John Chambers for matching the distance at 18.5 miles. Well done to all the riders as well. At the end, club members discussed the differences between the revised (one-off) course relative to the usual one and opinion varied slightly with the new version considered to be anywhere from half a minute to one minute faster (Ed note: I think it was a slower and longer route). Personal best times do not really count in these circumstances! Hopefully the next ‘Hilly’ will be back on track with normal service restored.