Wednesday 30 November 2011

Poole Wheelers Christmas Cracker Cyclo-Cross

The Event
On Sunday 18th December 2011 Poole Wheelers will be hosting a British Cycling Cyclocross event that will be held on the Sika Trail, Wareham Forest. This event is part of the Wessex League series and will count for points in the overall Wessex League competition.

Getting There
The address for the event is: The Forestry Commission, Bere Road, Wareham, BH20 7PA. Those using Sat Nav, this post code will probably take you to the Silent Woman Public House but do not worry as you will only be 100 yds away from the course. Look out for the Marshals who will direct you to parking area’s. Those coming from the North and West will come in through Blandford and Bere Regis then just follow signs to Wareham. Those coming in from the East need to come in Via Sandford and Wareham then follow signs to Bere Regis. We are between Wareham & Bere Regis.

Event Toilets are being provided for this event. Please use this facility, public are everywhere and the Forestry Officers take a very dim view of persons using their trees as a toilet. Unfortunately, there are no changing or shower facilities so we ask that competitors be as discreet as possible when changing in this very public area.

Professional Caterers are attending the event. They are a very nice couple who are farmers from deepest Dorset and only sell products that have been produced on their farm. Should be very tasty and healthy and we hope you make use of this facility.

Cycle Experience of Wareham is attending this event and will be providing mechanical support free of charge. If you have a problem with your machine then pop along and see them and they will sort it for you. Replacement parts will be charged.

The Course
The course is about 3600 meters long and very fast in the majority places. It has a mixture of surfaces, wide, hard packed fire tracks, downhill mud section, a Sand Trap, pine trails and grass. It’s a great course; it is challenging and should be fun. For a sneak preview of the course then go to Google Maps, type in the Post Code, go to Satellite View and it is about 300 meters south west of Cold Harbour. There will be shortened versions for Under 12’s and Youth.


Racing will take place as per the time table promulgated on the British Cycling Website.


Normal prizes will be presented however Cycle Experience Marketing will also be sponsoring prizes in the form of ‘Handy Bits’ for cyclists. You never know you might get something quite handy. Now for the important bit…….

In early 2011 Rob Jefferies, a very prominent Volunteer Co-Ordinator of British Cycling and a Poole Wheeler, was tragically killed in a Road Traffic Collision whilst out cycle training. A hugely popular person, Rob lived and breathed cycling so in his memory a Velo Fund was set up to help up and coming young riders develop in any cycling discipline. In respect of this, a great prize is up for grabs that is free to enter although any donations into the bowl at ‘Signing On’ will be appreciated.

The prize, worth over £200, is an evening meal, one night stay and breakfast at the five star Kemps Country House Hotel for two people. This will be a great opportunity for CX members to come down to the Purbecks and ride our wonderful countryside for a weekend. Your race number will automatically enter you into the prize draw. Non riders can also enter at a cost of £1 per ticket.

Post Racing
There is plenty to see and do in the Purbecks. Why not try our Saxon Town Pubs, visit Corfe Castle ruins or take a trip on Swanage Steam Railway. Whatever you choose we hope you enjoy the Poole Wheelers Christmas Cracker Cyclocross event.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Driver Charged In Rob Jefferies Case (updated)

Police have charged the driver of the vehicle which struck and killed well-known local cyclist Rob Jefferies on 25 May 2011.
The driver was charged with causing death by careless driving in a hearing on Friday 25 November and will appear in court on 12 December.
Jefferies was hit by a vehicle on the evening of 26 April while out training with a friend near Wareham in Dorset. Rob was a member of Poole Wheelers and loved racing on the track as well as riding local time trials. A few days after the tragic accident more than 70 riders paid their respects to Rob with a rememberance ride across Studland to Swanage.

UPDATED 14/12/11

The driver, who was 17 years old at the time of the tragic accident had pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving. Lee Cahill from Wareham had passed his test in January 2011 and was convicted of a speeding offence in April 2011.

The case was adjourned for sentencing on 12 January. The driver was disqualified from driving awaiting sentencing. Magistrates considered the victim statement written by Rob’s widow Jane.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Dorset Miles, Bear Cross "Hardriders" Sunday Ride,

More than 20 of us at Bear Cross, bright sunshine but a strong south westerly wind made it hard at times. Down to Longham and along Ham Lane & out to Broom Hill, Higher Row & Horton Heath. On to Haythorne past Woodlands and down to Cranborne. Its a regular route for the Bear Cross group but usually tackled the other way round. Left in Cranborne, a good climb this one, before droppping down to Tidpit and across the A354 to start the long climb up to the Ox Drove above Broadchalke. A pothole broke a spoke, releasing the rear brake was a good running repair. Some brief respite through the valley to Bowerchalke and then gear selection is critical as the left hander ramps up to Cow Down Hill. Regrouping on the descent to Sixpenny Handley and it was back across the A354. The large group took casualties as the pace livened on the mucky lane through Monkton Up Wimborne and it was "noses on the brakeblocks" as we sped on to Gussage All Saints, Moor Crichel and over to Gaunts Common. Back into Wimborne and the traffic gets heavier and slower. Its a good route this one, with some good climbs, 3HRS 26 and the AVS is very respectable!

Saturday 26 November 2011

Local Cycling News

Mike Cotty (Wheelbase/Cannondale) had to settle for second place in round 6 of the Wessex Cyclo-Cross league. British number 2, Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles) made fast work of the grass track course at the Thruxton Motor racing circuit in Hampshire. Cotty, however, extended his lead in the series and with Crawforth unlikely to ride enough rounds, is the man to beat. Round 8 takes place this Sunday in Reading. Ryan Hodgkyns, Jordan Wade (Poole Wheelers) & Simon Meadwell (BJW) were also in action

Next year's weekly Track League Competition leading up to the Olympics will see an enormous boost in the profile of track cycling and, with it, an increased use of Bournemouth Cycling Centre's track. During 2011 an initial group of 8 volunteers came forward and were trained by British Cycling to be L2 Track Coaches. However more volunteers are needed.

Alan McRae of BCC says "The local cycling community has benefited already from the last intake of coaches and to continue this growth we urgently need additional resource to come forward now. This would give us time to kick start their training so they can be operational next summer. Participation in our sport relies on volunteers and I would urge all those who would like to give something back to step forward now."

To register an interest please contact by December 11th.

Justin Oakley

Local cycling clubs have been busy with their annual prize presentations. As well as the racing stars winning awards, backroom members have also been honoured.

Local professional, Daniel Lloyd was guest of honour at the Poole Wheelers dinner at Broadstone golf Club. Lloyd presented awards to Dave Marjoram “Club person of the Year” and club champion Gary Dighton. Marjoram has been involved with the local cycling scene since the sixties and enjoyed a successful racing career.
Dave "Marg" & Dan Lloyd
Best Novice Harrison Fielding

Best Improver
Neil Pinch
Peter Bennett Touring Trophy Paul Dytham who completed Paris-Brest-Paris this year
Hill Climb Trophy
Gary Dighton
Handicap 10 League Steve Birtwistle
Handicap Trophy Neil Pinch
Veterans BAR av speed 27.106mph Gary Dighton
Rothwell Trophy Gary Dighton
Junior Track Champion Ryan Weston
Juvenile Track Champion Rebecca Hurst
Snior Track Champion (winner of the
Herne Hill Picture in memory of Rob Jefferies) Gordon Skillen
Ladies Champion Judith Martin
Mike Malins Trophy Gary Dighton
Senior Road Race Gordon Skillen
Jvenile Cyclo Cross Ryan Hodgkins
Senior Cyclo Cross John Burrows
Junior Road Race Jordan Wade
junior Cyclo cross Jordan Wade
Senior champion at 10, 25, 50 and 100
Miles (av speed 24.390mph) Gary Tuskin

Top time triallist and Cycling author, Adam Topham was the guest of Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers. Topham presented the “Services to the Club award” to long standing member Bill Voller who works tirelessly behind the scenes. Nick Spencer won the clubs “Best all Rounder title”
Novice Simon Meadwell
Hill Climb Simon McLaughlin
Vets BBAR James Fuller
Ladies Champ Lisa North
Boyson cup Dave Pickering
Messer Shield Cliff Rowe
Most Improved Rider Jon Clemas

This weekend saw the first of CC Weymouth's reliability rides followed by
the club AGM and presentation. Steve Pink writes.... 25+ hardy souls turned up on a real "PeaSouper" of a morning for the 34 mile trek around West Dorset taking in a couple of our tougher climbs, dodging multiple potholes, muddy roads "don'tlick your lips, that might not be mud" and for most the first run for their trusty winter hacks. Numbers for the ride were slightly down on
expectations mainly due to the Southern wide pour visibility that even
closed Heathrow for the day. However for those who chose to ride everyone
came back happy and bursting with enthusiasm for their winter training

After the ride everyone headed for the local patisserie for a spot of
lunch, an eloquently short AGM and the annual prize giving. It is a measure
of the clubs character that the biggest applause was saved for Clubman of
the year Justin Oakley.(TOP PIC) Justin has been unable to ride this last year or so due to ill health, yet he has still turned up and been our time keeper more often than every other club member put together. Without him we wouldn't be
the club we are. The award is nothing more than he deserves and alongside
being given lifetime honorary membership of CC Weymouth the club hopes it
has shown it appreciation. Justin's health is now recovering and we look
forward to seeing him back racing on two wheels again soon! Along with the
awards winners there was also a host of medals for achieving club standards
and it seems that everyone has got faster this year, a sign of the
increased competition perhaps? Roll on 2012.

Full list of winners:

Time Trial champion: John Chapman
Vets TT champion: John Chapman
Ladies TT champion: Heidi Gould
Junior TT champion: Bryce Riglar
Road Race champion: Bryce Riglar
Club Hill Climb champion: Paddy Dunn
Clubman of the Year: Justin Oakley
Most improved rider: Matt Merrit
Best Newcomer: Steven Pink

And of course the club's award for winning the Interclub Hill Climb trophy!

A Forest View, Bob Joliffe writes....

NATIONAL 100-mile time trial bronze medallist Steve Whitewick was guest of honour at New Forest Cycling Club’s annual dinner and prize presentation at Lyndhurst.Utag-Yamaha rider Steve, from Totton, gave an inspirational talk on how he started bike racing 10 years ago after a health scare in his early forties and by dint of hard work reached the high standard which saw him clock a dozen 30mph-plus 19-minute ten milers this year alone.

New Forest CC’s Club Champion this year is John Heffernan who was presented with the Cooke Cup. He also won the Broomfield Bowl for fastest club 25, the Thoresby Cooke Cup for short distance best all-rounder, the Thorney Hill series and is the club’s most improved rider of the season.Other award winners include: Colin Humm (first in division one of the 10-mile series), Geri Robinson (1st div 2, 10 series), Konnor Bracher-Walsh (1st div 3, 10 series), Terry Jefferies (fastest over 55-yr-old in 10 series), Carolyn Weaver (1st woman, 10 series).Terry Jefferies also won the Wareham Cup for fastest club 50, the Marsh Shield for club best all-rounder, and the awards for the veterans’ best all-rounder and short distance all-rounder.Colin Humm took the Keith Mitchell Shield for fastest forest circuit, Morgan Williams was road champion and Martyn Dymond cyclo-cross champion; Dan Mitchell won the Handicap Cup and Tim Barry the Hincheslea Cup for club person of the year for his work on the website.Totton schoolboy Konnor Bracher-Walsh won the Drayton Cup for junior best all-rounder and the Jonathan Bottomley Cup for fastest junior in a club 25-mile.

Hugo Walters (15), who finished his season on a high note taking fourth in a circuit race in Portsmouth, received a special award for his efforts on the track and in circuit races in addition to collecting the Knightwood Cup for junior champion and the Pope Cup for winning the hill climb.A total of 73 members and guests enjoyed the celebrations at the Crown Hotel


Thursday 24 November 2011

Daniel Lloyd: An Interview

This time last year he was knocking out 2 hours of tempo while I grimly held on to his back wheel. The option to come through was there but I was unable to take it. Even on the south coast the weather was bad, it was either freezing cold or pouring with rain but mostly it was both. Dan Lloyd would not waver; he was motivated at the thought of riding with his new team, Garmin-Cervelo and riding for World Champion Thor Hushovd.

Fast- forward six months to the Criterium Du Dauphine, for two days Daniel Lloyd and his Garmin-Cervelo team drove the bunch along. Watching on Euro-sport the commercial breaks came and went and still the poker faced Lloyd sat on the front. But each day as the finale loomed and Garmin-Cervelo faded, the man for whom all the work was being done, Tyler Farrar, was nowhere to be seen. Not his fault perhaps? After all, other teams had their tactics, cycling is not so predictable. Had Farrar taken a win, perhaps Lloyd’s stock would be higher? It’s the nature of team sport, good individual performances get lost in defeat, just as poor performances can be hidden in victory.

Jump forward another 5 months, it’s the first frost of a very mild autumn on the south coast and I am out on the bike with Lloyd again. There is no tempo this time, it’s just a ride and a chat and with no contract for next season Lloyd is contemplating retirement. The door remains slightly ajar with one last opportunity, When will he hear?

“I don’t really know it’s the final chance really, at least with a top level team” Is he fed up? “I have got past the point of being pissed off that I cannot carry on; though I think next year when the racing starts it will hit me. I am pissed off that I have not got a final yes or no; it kind of stops you from continuing on. I like riding the bike but if anything the last couple of weeks has taught me I like riding it to get as fit as I can, I don’t just like riding, I have had plenty of opportunities to go out but I cannot be bothered to go out. For me the whole thing of riding is having that plan for the next 4 to 8 weeks to stick to and trying to get better. It’s hard to stick to an 8 week plan, I don’t even know if I will be racing!
What about racing at a lower level?
“Not straight away, no I will leave it 2 or 3 years, so I don’t have the same expectation and other people don’t have the same expectations”
In light of recent comments from Hushovd, I ask him about the Garmin team, what it was like?
“I enjoyed it the whole way through; I got on well with the staff, directors and riders. I think, you know, our group as a whole, Cervelo did not seem to fit in with the management, as there is only one who has been re-signed. (Andreas Klier) None of us really know, the 5 of us that came from Cervelo that have not signed for next year, what the problem was. Back in April, May we were asking about next year and the feedback was all very positive we don’t know what changed between then and the end of the season. In May I was a bit worried about my race programme, I hardly had any days of racing in June, July & August. I wrote to the Director, I don’t complain too much but only had 12 days of racing in 3 months; I could have done with some more racing. The team were aware of Lloyds concerns “If you are worried about next year, you don’t need to be” he was told “When you have just had a kid it’s something you want to hear” (Daniels son Jude was born in April) “If you hear something like that and you are happy with the team you are with it stops you looking round for another place”
In hindsight was it the wrong thing to hear?
“Yeah, I mean it did not change my work ethic or attitude on the bike in training or racing or wanting to do my best. But it changed me in respect of responsibilities with a house and family and keeping a job, you start putting feelers out early, before we found out that Leopard Trek were merging with RadioShack and before HTC were definitely going. By the time I started to get the drift that actually there might not be a place for me, that had all happened and there were loads of riders on the market. Managers were waiting to see which riders they could take from those teams. I am certainly not bitter and not blaming anyone, I realise there are loads and loads of riders at my level, I have no right to stay here, if you are Wiggins or Cavendish you have a right to stay in cycling but at my level there are a lot of other people who have the same power, maybe not the same knowledge & experience but they can gain that and they are cheaper when they are younger”
Uncomfortably honest as always but it will be a shame if that experience is lost to the sport.
“I was still learning as well, you do see a lot of young riders coming through who have all the power in the world; I wish I had that talent. In terms of helping a leader though, timing is as important as anything in terms of being there at the right time, if you are not there at that moment all that power cannot help”

By now we had stopped for Coffee in the Hampshire town of Ringwood. It was market day and we looked slightly out of place in our cycling kit in the busy coffee house. We manage to find a table on which we both put our smart phones, mine to record the conversation, Dan’s, in the hope that it would ring, I notice that the screen on his phone is all smashed up? “I don’t know whether it was because I was stressed out at the end of the year but I came off in training and broke my phone. It was stupid; I was constantly looking at my phone in training. I kept thinking the next email was going to be the one with more positive news, a gust of wind caught my front wheel and I just ended up on the floor and smashed my phone, I was so pissed off” he says ruefully. “When you are a pro you don’t really mind crashing, yes it hurts but as long as it’s not your fault you accept it. When you crash in training and it’s completely your own fault, it’s so annoying”
I take him back to when Cervelo was absorbed by Garmin, was he relieved to be taken on when other riders were not?
“I actually had another couple of options, I could have gone to other teams last year, and there were two fairly solid offers on the table. That’s the thing you know, if you are in a successful team like Cervelo was or HTC when it folds all the other teams come in like vultures and see who they can get. It’s almost better to be in those teams, I don’t think out of those two teams anyone has been out of a job for the last two years. When you are in a team that doesn’t fold there is no way for other teams to know you are available. There is not really a transfer system. They assume you are under contract, by the time they realise you are out of contract they have filled their rosters!
Daniel Lloyd is a hugely likeable guy, after more than 8 years as a full time rider I cannot imagine he has made one enemy in the pro peloton. Why does he think he has no contract next year?
He starts to talk about less places being available but he tails off “…I’m not really sure, it’s another surprising thing from within the Garmin team, I had the support of a lot of the riders, big riders in the team respected what I did as a team member and gave me support towards the management, you start to think you must have done something seriously wrong if they’re not going to take me when I have this much backing, I don’t know, you can speculate all day.”
I take him back further, to when he first went abroad to France to race in 2002, was he nervous?
“I was, I had done half a year with Russell Downing out there and got a bit of a hammering really, even though I had had a good first part of the season back here, I had won a few races”
And if he does retire what are the highlights?
Tour De France obviously, it’s not everyone who gets to race and finish it. The Tour of Flanders, that’s the one I really always look forward to” Lloyd has been on the scene a long time, I suggest that a lot of that time he has gone unnoticed, does he feel ignored in the press “I’m not really bothered about it you know, I never did cycling for the money or to get into the press. I wanted to do the big races and get better every year and achieve personal goals that I had within the sport and one of them was not to get as much press as I could. It’s just not me, I not happy with self-promotion, perhaps in hindsight it would be better, and my name might be in managers heads a bit more. When I first joined Cervelo, I did well and there was a lot of respect for the work that I did. They rewarded it with a two year contract. I really got into the role of helping others and was hoping that would continue for quite a few years. It’s a bit like living your dreams through your son or daughter in some ways. I got to the point where I knew I could not win a mountain stage in the Giro and I can’t win the Tour of Flanders but I have teammates who are well capable of doing it so I can be part of it. How fantastic it must be to be part of the world championship squad, everyone talks about how much of a team performance that was, they can all look back at it and be part of the team that won the worlds for Great Britain in 2011! The pleasure that Wiggins and Millar and all the others got that day is what I get.”
Does he want to stay in cycling?
“I really want to stay in the racing side of the sport, I don’t want to stop racing but I may not have any choice. I love racing at a high level and when I get home and there is a race on tele, I will watch that as well” There are a few different directions to go, it’s just choosing the right one”
It’s easy for me to urge him to carry on, to continue to chase the dream, but Lloyd knows that at the end of every month the rent has to be paid. Two years with a smaller team may put him two years behind in another career “It’s difficult” he says
No doubt other doors will open for Dan, he has ideas and there are opportunities out there.
“Because I had not planned on finishing right now, I have not got a definitive plan of what I want to do afterwards
It might be boring but what am I going to do next that’s not boring in comparison?”
When we leave the cafĂ©, the early chill is gone, it’s a familiar route home but there is no urgency. We even go off-road, a short cut across the meadows, some “rough stuff”, just for a laugh.

A day later Dan sent me a text:The door that was ajar had closed!

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Will Stephenson Looks to the Future

After progressing from a Youth rider to 1st Cat in just one season, Will Stephenson took the opportunity to assess his current condition, to plan the winter training programme. Will is already getting the "miles in" and is a regular with the Bear Cross group on Sunday mornings. The hills of Dorset in the winter can test the legs but Will is a strong climber and just gets on with the hard work.
Coach Alan McRae said "The Power Ramp Test confirmed where the results this season came from in terms of excellent top end power and power to weight data. The most important knowledge gain however came from the Body Composition and Sub Maximal Tests which highlighted some opportunities needing specific development. For Will to fullfill his true potential and meet his long term goals it was vital to put the foot on the ball for a minute and check all the basics are in place. We have a follow up test planned prior to the start of the season so we can monitor progress in the highlighted areas".

"Will is riding for a "Primera" team next season, he feels that he needs to ride in a "team" which is something the Arrow are unable to offer at this time. His 2012 targets are the National Junior Road Series, Road and Track Championships. However it is his longer term aims as a Senior on the road that are shaping his winter programme. I wanted to investigate some particular areas of Will's physiology and, after carrying out some research, selected Dr Gary Palmer who runs his Sportstest programme from Le Beau Velo in London. Here a whole range of bespoke services are offered which are not cheap but I believe are some of the very best on offer in the country. Gary's background in exercise physiology and knowledge gained from hundreds of tests is invaluable when interpreting the data".

Stephenson will be riding for the soon to be launched, Primera-Specialized Team. Its a logical step for the talented youngster but McRae is understandably protective of the rider he has coached since a juvenile."My hope is to keep a hugely talented athlete on track, it is now down to Will to deliver". The reality is, Stephenson could not find the "team dynamic" he needs to learn his trade with any of the local clubs.The Primera team will consist of only 4 riders, so Stephenson will still be somewhat isolated in some of the Junior races. The full race programme has yet to be decided but Will will get the opportunity to be team leader in the tougher,hilly races.

"The winter is going ok at the moment" Stephenson told "E D", he went on "the test outlined a lot of things which I need to work on for next year. Hopefully over the winter I will be able to improve them. Areas of things I thought were my strengths have been highlighted as areas which need a lot of work. At first this was a little demoralising but like Alan said if I got the results I did last year, if I can improve on my weaknesses further, then next year should be even better. I am looking forward to next year loads,riding for Primera Specialized, except I'm conscious that I need enough time over the winter to prepare for it".

The learning curve will undoubtedly get steeper for Stephenson but he has good support, a coach who has invested in him and natural talent. He could go far!

*Team Primera-Specialized will be launched soon. The 4 man team,Jason Eastwood,Toby Neave,Ian Legg and Will Stephenson will be targeting mainly races in the South, including the season opener,The Perfs Pedal Race in February!


North Dorset Cycling Journalist Phil Gale writes about one of the world's oldest & hardest cyclng events, Paris-Brest-Paris

4 riders walk into the finish check point to get their final stamp on their route card. It is clear by their eyes red from the wind, their faces weathered by the hours they have been in the elements and their hollow cheeks due to the fatigue, that these riders have been truly tested. As they walk, with a wobbling motion similar to someone drunk, everyone knows that they have been pedalling for so long that their muscles are struggling to cope with motions other than pedal strokes. Polite applause meets them, which is given in respect for their achievements. They hug, new friendships formed on the road. Slowly it sinks in that they have finished the hardest Audax event, Paris Brest Paris.

4pm on Sunday the 21st of August. The “Gymnase des Droits de la Homme” in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelynes, on the western suburbs of Paris, saw the 5200 Randonners start Paris Brest Paris. Facing them was 1200 kilometres which had to be covered within the 90 hour time limit. This eclectic mix of riders, some on normal bikes, some on recumbents, and others on specially designed bikes, have all had to qualify for the right to take the start. This qualification process involves 4 different “Bevets” or events (200, 300, 400 and 600 kilometres), each of which had to been ridden during the past 12 months. The air thick with the anticipation of what lies ahead; both riders and supporters have many sleepless hours ahead of them to take on this epic challenge.

Paris Brest Paris is one of the oldest and hardest cycling events. Taking place every four years (since 1971, before that is ran at originally 10 and then 5 year intervals) it sees amateur cyclists pit themselves mentally and physically against what has become the ultimate Audax. First run in 1891, Pierre Giffard of the Le Petit Journal (newspaper) wanted to sponsor an event which would not only show how wonderful the new invention of the bicycle was, but would also capture the imagination of the public and sell more newspapers. Of the rather small group of 201 brave French professionals (Paris Brest Paris was restricted to French riders only in this the first running), it was Charles Terront who came in first after three days. Ever since that moment the event has embedded itself in the world of cycling and been closely followed by the general public.

The event has gone through various good times, bad times and changes. A certain event called Le Tour de France started to overshadow the race. Legend has it that Henri Desgrange worked on the original events, which gave him the idea for his Le Grande Boucle, motivated as Giffard was to increase newspaper sales. 2011 sees it following the same format first introduced in 1979 where the race was ruled as unsupported, other than at specific check points and only open to amateurs (the last professional to race the event was in 1951).

The format is simple. Riders head west from Paris to the Atlantic Port City of Brest, then turn around and return on the same route. Actually look at how far this is on a traditional map and you will get an idea of the magnitude of this event. En route there are various towns where riders have to get their route cards stamped and all of which are checked at the end before the final results are posted, some of which are secret to stop riders skipping sections.

With the many levels of riders and paces at which they ride, there are many different tactics which can be employed. Those who go for the best time possible will ride straight through without sleep, which adds greatly to the burden of the event. Those who wish sleep, but the clock is always running whether they are on or off of the bike. The only real rules are that you have to get your route card stamped and finish within the 90 hours (from 4pm Sunday, with different start times available). To become a Paris Brest Paris “Acien” (or “Acienne” for the many female finishes) you have to achieve this, then you name is placed in the event’s “Great book” which lists all the finishes and their times over its 120 year history.

This year’s edition saw 4 riders coming in first (first to complete the course, remembering that this is not a race) just after mid-day on Tuesday the 23rd. Arriving together in great spirits they had a time of 44:22:00 (from the 4pm Sunday first wave start). This trickle of riders then continued as a group of two (44:52:00) followed by a group of eight riders (45:25:00) made up the top 10 finishers.

As the riders continued to come in, night began to fall. I spoke with American finisher Billy Edwards, 33, a Professional Triathlete from Boulder Colorado, who finished in 48:46:00. “This is my first and last Paris Brest Paris. My wife who is a great endurance athlete did it in 2007 so I had to do it also. I race Ironmans but this was something else. There was nothing which could have prepared me for this. Physically I trained hard, my equipment was perfect thanks to a lot of advice from Colorado Multi-Sport but mentally this was the hardest thing I have ever done, and I have been to war” Edwards is an ex-marine and compared the event to “doing combat runs in full chemical suits, for 2 days.” He carried on “I was ok until 3am this morning, keeping to my plan of riding through non-stop (for sleep) to get the best time possible. Then my bio-rhythms shut down and my body too. Not only was I fighting to stay awake, but my body was shutting down. Luckily I rode in with two great French riders that kept me sane and pedalling, even though we could not communicate.” Hugs were shared between the new companions whose friendship was formed on the road.

The ever ticking clock continued and more riders came in. Mixed scenes were evident at the finish in the Parisian suburb. Some riders were elated to be finished, others happy that the suffering was over, but the vast majority were still in the zombie-like state which they had to achieve to maintain the constant effort of riding this huge distance.

The riders who were arriving looked like they were coming in from a night at the bar, rather than finishing the ultimate Audax event. With weak legs and tired eyes they got the final stamp in their road books and seem stunned that it was over. Many shared moments with each other, whilst some just succumbed to the fatigue, with an ever-increasing number of bodies sleeping in various places in the large Sport Hall.

I spoke with Ultan Coyle, 32, an Irishman living London. “I did not set myself any time to ride to, so finishing now has been a great surprise (54:05:00). I was riding with my team mates, but they told me to go ahead and go for a good time. Last night was so hard, the thunderstorms made it so cold and I did not warm up. To know that I am not going to have to ride through another night is such a relief. I wanted to ride through without sleep but had to stop for 3 hours in the end. I could not keep up with the large group in front (a large group of German riders had just finished, all riding for the same team) they were riding like a military unit. All I want now is some food, then bed.”

The event is never without incident and there were numerous riders who had already abandoned. Tragically the atmosphere at the finish was marred by a fatal accident which took place on the out bound leg, with a rider and a semi-truck coming together. Chatting with the organiser he explained “It is really sad when things like this happen, but it is an inherent part of the event. With the riders pushing themselves to such limits, then accidents happen. Tragically this one was fatal, but the rider’s memory will live on with the event.” He continued to explain his role with this historic event. “It is a lot of work and involves a huge team to get the level of organisation which we have. Hundreds of volunteers help us out with check points and marshalling. I will sleep very little over the next few nights, but it is nothing compared to the event. I rode in 1991 and, as tough as it was, it taught me what the human body and mind possible of achieving.”

Mechanical issues are of course a part of the event also. English born, American educated and now living in Holland, Steve Thorne, on his second Paris Brest Paris explains the trials he had endured. “To be honest what could have gone wrong did. Even finishing in this time (56:29:00) I only had three ten minute naps. Before Brest my gears stopped working and I had to use a single speed. And on the return journey the fix to that solution, taking off the front derailleur and using my foot to change from my big to small chain ring meant I dropped my chain, and the group I was riding with, every twenty minutes. I struggled on and am here now.” Thorne was met by his family who showed their pride with hugs and kisses.

It will not be until Thursday 10 am that the final riders will arrive and the time limit will be up. All the intrepid riders will continue to ride up until the last, whilst all of the volunteers will keep working hard to keep them safe. 120 years old the event still draws the widest range of bike riders who want to challenge themselves to what is the ultimate in endurance road cycling events.

Thanks to the Audax Club Parisian and hundreds of volunteers for organising the event. Without their tireless work this ride would not continue.

For more information on Paris Brest Paris go to

All words & pictures courtesy of Phil Gale, twitter@1_in_the_gutter. Article originally published in Velonews.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Bear Cross "Hardriders" Sunday Ride,

Only seven of us at a very foggy Bear Cross, most of the regulars had opted for the monthly off-road option. Canford onto Wimborne and out onto the Cowgrove. Runners with pre-race nerves, ahead of the Wimborne “10” congested the lane, there are worse things to meet on the narrow corners and we were soon past the excitement. A slight tail wind took us through, Shapwick, Tarrant Crawford & Langton Long through the underpass and into Blandford. Christmas trees were being erected but we did not tarry, up Bryanstone and down to Winterborne Stickland. , Turning right to Hedge End we started the long but steady climb up Bulbarrow thick fog at the top meant the viewpoint was not. Descending to Ansty Cross then left to Hilton, Milton Abbey School was shrouded in fog but the tough climb up through the village was now on our minds. Conversation dwindled as breathing became more important the long descent down to Winterborne Whitechurch & Winterborne Kingston saw us recover. Through the lane to Anderson and Red Post, West and East Morden and up to Lytchett Matravers, always a tough climb, skirting Corfe Mullen and up Pardys Hill, we were on the way home. The fog was finally lifting and the roads were busy now as we went our separate ways. 3 HOURS 25MINS

Thursday 17 November 2011

Local Cycling News

Mike Cotty (Wheelbase/Cannondale) looked very impressive on his way to 10th place in round 3 of the National Trophy Cyclo-Cross series. Rownhams –based Cotty looked very strong on his “home” course at the Southampton Sports Centre and the technical circuit obviously suited him. Cotty is currently leading the Wessex league and on this form is one of the favourites to win round 6 this weekend at Thruxton.

Crispin Doyle (Swindon RC), who finished ahead of Cotty at Southampton, in 8th place will provide the competition. Luke Gray (Baboco) was out of sorts and complained of “sore legs” over the finish line. Despite this Gray still managed a creditable 11th place and leads the national U23 rankings.

Stu Bowers (Hargroves Cycles) struggled with the fast pace. As always, Bowers has the miles in his legs but is under raced. If he can get some racing under his belt expect to see him challenging Doyle & Cotty!

The Primera Sports supported, Bournemouth Cycle & Tri Expo was hailed a great success.

Most of the big names in the cycle industry were there, including Specialized,Garmin,Cannodale,Sportful and a host of others. Local profesional, Daniel Lloyd was on hand for most of the afternoon and was very happy to talk and answer questions.

Alex Croucher of Primera had this to say

"We would just like to say a huge thankyou to everyone who helped with the Bournemouth Cycle & Tri Expo last weekend, we had a truly great day with over 3000 people attending!, which for our first expo we are extremely pleased with.

Huge thanks to all the exhibitors who attended and also to everyone who helped promoted the event.

Planning for next years event has already started and we are looking to go bigger and better with more great products to see and also possible cycling celebrity appearances!!"

Monday night road race coaching sessions at the Mountbatten Centre 20:00-21:00
Starting on Monday 21st November, initially for 5 weeks.
For Junior and Senior road racers
£5 a rider
The sessions will have a technical & tactical flavour, and include coaching a range of the below examples.

If you have specific technical or tactical areas you'd like the sessions to help you improve?

Technical examples
Bunch etiquette
Sprint lead outs
Maintaining a position near the front of a group
Taking laps out for technical problem
Putting on and taking off a gillet / cape
Feeding at speed
Lunging the bike at the finish line
Taking a bottle / musette from a helper
distributing items between teammates
Sitting on/in
Clipping in at the start of a race
Group riding - Thru and off

Tactical related to:
Initiating attacks
Responding to attacks
Breakaway riding
Bunch riding
Team strategies

The tactical elements will be delivered using a coaching technique called coach led racing.

Mountbatten Leisure Centre
Portsmouth, United Kingdom

"E D" recieved this email in the week, while it does not reflect "E Ds" views it does raise some interesting points. Have a read, discuss and feel free to leave your comments

Dear all,
There is a problem with road racing in the south!! Namely there is almost none! Shame on you clubs who do not promote - seriously you should be embarrassed!!
So far for the entire of next year there are a pitiful 4 senior races and 1 junior tour. (This does not include TLI events. E D)
Why is this??
Cycling used to have a strong club structure, well organised with a good team of volunteers who were prepared to do their part in organising as well as racing. Also the older members used to step down from racing to run events and take over the official appoinments. By and large this does not happen now.


1) We live in a self obsessed era where self gratification is the name of the game, people only race and do not think of promoting events.
2) People do not know that races are organised by volunteers.
3) People are scared of organising events because it seems so hard, might land them in court.

Do these reasons chime with any of you? Turning red yet?

What can be done?
Hey, lets go back to the club structure

1) Organise a committee in your club, a chairman, secretary, racing secretary.
2) Look at a free weekend and offer to promote a race. Call the RCA Tim Knight and he will let you know what you need to do.
3) Think where you would like to do the race. Tim will let you know of approved circuits in your local area or possible further afield.
4) Send off the paperwork for the race, check the website, see the handbook and see your race! It will feel good.


5) Get some marshalls, normally 8 will suffice on most circuits.
6) Have a couple of cars and a first aider.
7) Organise a village hall and book it, Sue, Tim and me recce'd about 6 circuits in 2009 all with HQ's and tel no's.
8) Tim will bring some race aids, signs, banners, CB radios etc etc.
9) Promote the race, BC officials will judge and commissaire.
10) Enjoy your promotion, organise a club pub dinner afterwards to pat yourselves on the back on a job well done!
12) Go to other clubs races safe in the knowledge that you have done your bit for the sport!

What could go wrong?
1) There could be an accident. Yes and Fisrt aid and the Ambulance service will pick up the pieces.
2) There could be a crash which will see you in court. Yes I was in court in June for a crash on a race between a casual rider and a racer. I had followed the risk assessment and no case to answer, BC fully suport organisers.
3) You get the result wrong, a BC official will judge the event so it will be correct.

What benefits are there?

1) More races on the calendar.
2) A sense of achievement.
3) Your club and your name on a national website.
4) The thanks of other riders.

Please have a think, look in the mirror to see if this is you, pass this email on to people who should know about it, use facebook and all the rest to spread the word. Organise your club and organise a race. If you are not in a club, stop being a chepskate and join a club which promotes events and suport that club!

I am off on an extended sandy holiday soon and will not be able to organise events over the summer, please lets get the racing on track or we could lose the entire sport and only have crappy Sportives to ride!!


Darren Clarke
Army Cycling Union (organiser of about 30 races this year and about 50 last year)