CC Breckland open 50 mile time trial

Report on the CC Breckland open 50 mile time trial on the B50/18 course on 25 September 2016 – Bruce Williams
A big late September / late season time trial was held on the A11 Morley course on Sunday, the last BAR qualifying ‘50’ of the season, and attracted a good field of 75 riders, the big news (for us) being that the NNW had a team of 3 who entered and started, one of the very few times in my memory that we have had such a team in an open event over the last few years.
Our intrepid trio consisted of Charlie Nurse, making this his last race of the season after enjoying by some margin his most successful year to date, club secretary Nigel Walsh and Mike Padfield, the latter competing in his first ever ‘50’.  With an unusual 9 am start (I believe it was 7 am last year) our boys, like the rest of the competitors, were greeted with grey skies and the risk of rain which fortunately held off, as well as moderately strong south westerly winds, making the leg from Snetterton to the Browick top turn pretty fast with the south easterly stretch back to Snetterton hard going. Basically the same wind direction as for the National ‘25’ held on this course some weeks ago and the CC Breckland 12 hour 3 weeks ago, but the winds on Sunday were fortunately not as severe.  Temperatures were mild to warm, this being the reason (as I understand it) for the later start time.
Scratch man (that is the fastest man in the field according to the form book/records and the assessment of the event secretary) was Daniel Bloy (Team Velovelocity – ‘TVV’) at number 70, with other notable contenders including national 12 hour champion, Danny Grieves (GS Metro) at 75, Mark Richards, VC Baracchi, at 60, Andrew Leggett (TVV) at 30 and our own club champion, Charlie Nurse (41).  Looking at the form book this season and the fact that Daniel Bloy has engaged in a lot of distance racing this season, including covering 285 miles in his first 12 hour 3 weeks ago, personally I expected the event to become a straight shoot out between Bloy and Nurse, recognising that Charlie has never beaten Bloy, a prolific winner of events on ‘B’ courses, and elsewhere, over recent seasons.
Favourite in the women’s event was Lucy Gossage of Cambridge Triathlon club (31) who won this event last year, followed by Anna Dearing of Colchester CC (72) and Sue Triplow (22) of Essex Roads CC.  Lucy is a full time triathlete who knows Kim Morrison, a local triathlon star who sometimes competes in our club time trials, very well and is a top class cyclist.
Expertly organised by Martin Badham, with whom I am on friendly terms, I could not help but ‘discuss’ with Martin as to how he managed to locate Charlie – pretty much a certainty for a podium finish – so inauspiciously at number 41 ?  For those that are not familiar, the tens are the seeded riders with the scratch man on the last 10 (Bloy at 70 in this case) with the next fastest riders seeded (in this case) at 75, then 60, 50 and so on.  Number 40, Nurse’s minute man, was a good rider had no qualifying time for a ‘50’.  Most of you know how genteel and ‘would not say boo to a goose’ I normally am, but in this case, I recall suggesting to Martin B words to the effect that ‘our guy will have swallowed up your number 40 before they make the top turn’ (the Browick turn where I was marshalling at approximately the 13 mile mark).  I proceeded to remind him that Nurse did a 1.47 in this event last year when he was the fastest rider of an Eastern District affiliated club (ie the top 4 were national riders who travelled in for this EDCA event on the day seeking times for their BAR bids).  Martin smiled good naturedly but was reluctant to admit that this was something of a cock-up !  Perhaps he has been trained by Tony Blair, or some other degenerate politician?  He was to be somewhat sheepish at the finish, when somebody else had done the talking for me !  Anybody else remember that famous quote from Bill Shankly, legendary former manager of Liverpool FC?  ‘Football is not a matter of life and death.  It is much more important than that’.  Somebody should have introduced him to cycle racing.  Having just read Mark Cavendish’s book ‘At Speed’ I am glad that I never was a pro cyclist.  I am far more accomplished giving help and support from a safe vantage.  Basking in the vicarious glory of others is ok by me.
The thing about coming in mid field, as at number 41, is that you finish and then wait at hq to see how your time fares against the top seeded riders finishing for up to another 40 minutes or so after you.  Charlie finished in a time of 1.44.19, an average speed of 28.8 mph, thus setting a personal best time by over 3 minutes, a remarkable effort especially as his pb time set in this event last year was in more benign (favourable) conditions. He had indeed swallowed up number 40, but just after the 13 mile mark, and having set such a time, he looked like a potential winner as seeded riders came in one after the other failing to dislodge him by some margin – the third and fourth riders ending up 2 and 3 minutes down respectively.  Mark Richards was 4th with a 1.47 whilst Andrew Leggett at number 30 had finished with 1.51.  A good friend of ours, John Swindells of Iceni Velo (66) finished with an excellent 1.50 beating his pb, set 20 years ago, by 3 minutes.  For the technically minded, John advised that his average heart rate during the race was 167 bpm with an average power output of 275 watts.
Nigel Walsh and Mike Padfield were both later starters, Nigel finishing – still looking fresh and energetic – in a time of 2/10.01, a touch frustrated as he had set himself a goal to finish just inside 2.10.  The youthful looking Mike Padfield did not look so fresh or youthful as he finished in a time of 2.00.12, thus just 12 seconds outside of a sub two hour ride which was his goal for the day, and he suffered one or two mechanical issues during the second half of the event (and a stop to retrieve a lost water bottle) – probably resulting from the bumpy section of the course around Browick / Mulbarton, a point of discussion for several competitors.  Walsh and Nurse were resplendent and looked the part in their stylish NNW skin suits. Padfield sported an unusual dark coloured spotted affair, reminiscent of an old camouglage look that could prove really useful in a distant rain-forest. Any mosquitoes or creepy crawlies worth their salt wud surely be repelled.
Unlike Walsh or Nurse, Mike looked pretty cream crackered at the finish, but notwithstanding the disappointment of missing out on a sub two hour ride by so small a margin, I generously reminded him that such a time in one’s first ‘50’ is an achievement that few can equal. Hopefully, the memory of the event and the performance will outlast the pain and temporary muscle damage that comes with it. 
In the women’s event, the professional tri-athlete, Lucy Gossage, prevailed in an excellent time of 1.55.09, almost a minute down on last year but excellent in the conditions.  Shortly after the finish of her ‘50’, Lucy went off for a 5 mile training run returning to Morley village hall hq still looking as fresh as a daisy.  Take note, that is how it is done, chaps…. Anna Dearing of Colchester CC produced an outstanding effort of 1.58.43 for second place and, having only seen her in time trials in the last couple of years, seems to be emerging as a top rider.  The experienced and always strong Sue Triplow, Essex Roads CC, also produced a fine performance, third in a time of 2.02.04. 
John Golder of Chelmer CC and the ECCA produced a solid ride of 1.58.57, acknowledging on the Forum that he had been ‘chicked’ again, double chicked as one or two others reminded him.  A brave man to indulge in such humour, John falls back on the goodwill banked as a result of the number of ECCA events that he promotes on the E2, sometimes being referred by his peers as ‘John Golder’.  He also unashamedly used the age card to excuse the defeat to his rivals – he has been racing since the 1970’s I believe and his humour seems to prove it.
Back to the event finish and scratchman Daniel Bloy finished in an excellent time of 1.42.19 (an average speed of 29.3 mph) thus defeating Charlie by just over a minute and a half. This was his fastest time on the Morley course and a fine effort given the ‘100’ mile time trials and the 12 hour that he did recently, which have resulted in him presently standing in 5th place in the National BAR (British Best All Rounder).  Ever the gracious winner and a generous warm-hearted man, Daniel was quick to congratulate Charlie on his performance and improvement generally this season. If Charlie keeps up the progress, next season will be good for him.
Another season comes to an end, or so I thought, but the aforementioned John Golder is promoting the East Anglia VTTA ‘30’ on the E2 next Saturday pm (concurrent with the Leo RC ‘30’) and has been in touch for marshals.  I normally go into cycle race hibernation mode at the end of September, but I note that this event features a shoot out between retired amateur star (and former world amateur champion) and now coach, Matt Bottrill (this being a one-off and only appearance in a tt this season but I believe he has done some triathlons) with professional star, Alex Dowsett of the UCI registered Movistar team.  I was on the E2 in April when Dowsett set a new national ‘25’ competition record and I imagine that he will have his eyes set on Michael Hutchinson’s current ‘30’ comp record, set in this event about 5 years ago (an incredible 55 minute time).  I may just have to do one more roundabout turn stint after all.
Best wishes for the autumn and forthcoming winter to all