I hope I'm not abusing this thread by suggesting a ride for next weekend rather than reporting a ride that's already been done.
The Victor Berlemont Trophy Road Race (25th August 2019)
The Victor Berlemont Trophy must be one of the very best events in the calendar from the spectators' viewpoint. It's over 100 miles in distance, with some very hard climbing,it's set in attractive countryside with easy reach of London. If you're really keen ( perhaps brave ?) and turn up with a licence, it's quite possible you could enter on the line - there were a few dns's last year!
In spite of the ever increasing difficulties of road race organisation, the Victor Berlemont Trophy race, a classic southern event, has survived for a 2019 edition. This is the result of much hard work by promoter Patrick Kavanagh and the enthusiasm of the race’s mentor Doug Collins.
This year’s race is on the shorter Woodcote course due to gas mains work in Goring, but the circuit to be used this Sunday is the same as that used for the Central Region Road Race Championship which was widely accepted as a worthy course for a championship. Although entries were initially slow to arrive, the final tally was 130 would be entrants for the 80 places available.
This shorter version turns left off the B4009 at South Stoke onto the Woodcote Road, to climb the picturesquely named Catsbrain Hill. An extra lap has been added to retain the original distance.
Organiser Patrick Kavanagh said: “Although we would have preferred to use the longer course this shorter variation is an equally good challenge and at the same distance will provide a hard race for a full field of excellent quality E/1/2 riders”
Some details of riders to watch out for on Sunday.
Charlie Quarterman – Zappi Racing Team
Local rider Charlie Quarterman is the Central Region road race champion and U23 TT champion, his performance in stage 7 of the U23 Giro d’Italia this year turned many heads when he rode alone from the peloton to a strong breakaway and held off a chasing bunch. Charlie is tipped to move to a professional team on the continent in 2020 but for now he is targeting the Victor Berlemont Trophy.
Spirit – Tifosi Racing Team send their top six riders on Sunday with a clear aim to win, last year’s combativity winner Jordan Peacock returns and the team is led by Rupert Graham who starts as number 1 who finished second last year after torrential all day rain. Team owner and manager Russel Rowles has supported the race for many years and has made it clear he always comes to the race with a plan to win, but this year his focus is sharper.
Former winner Ashley Cox – Flamme Rouge Cycling Team is sure to be in the mix as his local knowledge and legendary nose for a breakaway is sure to see him at the front on the short Woodcote course this year.
Cycling Sheffield Giant send three riders this year but team manager Dave Coulson sends his top riders who are all elites, Joseph Clarke, Louis Szymanski and Kieran Savage who is current Yorkshire regional road race champion. All three of these riders could be capable of winning and can play the tactical race plan that team manager Dave will be sure to have ready.
James Boyman - Hoops Velo comes to this year’s race with high confidence after a recent strong performance to take second at the Didcot Phoenix “Rising Phoenix” national B road race. This year has seen James in the top 20 of 8 national B road races with a second place at the Les Ingman Memorial Road Race and fourth in the South East Men's Regional Road Championships.
Joe Laverick – Madison Genesis is the rider many are coming to see, he is the youngest rider in the team and has many fans across the sport. A strong time triallist who represented GB in Innsbruck last year his first year at U23 has shown great promise and will want to show his ability over 108 miles in a strong field.
This event should be rewarding for spectators as well as for the competitors and it is set in excellent cycling country, within easy reach of a day’s ride from London. We hope to see some of you on the day!
Start: Woodcote Village Hall, 11 am, finish about 3 -3. 15 pm.
I don't if I'm breaking rules talking about a paid for ride, which is 25 squid but, but Ace Hotel provide coffee and light lunch, you get to use Fuji Instax camera with film, so you can take kind of Polaroids along the way. We make 4 stops along the way where do my usual thing and go on about trees, these will be proper old trees you may not have ever noticed, even you Tag of Tag fiends will even find difficult. Guarantee it will be more interesting than Steve Davis....
Good luck along the 'toe paths'. :)
Short ride up near Buxton with daughter. Lovely views, tough climbs!
Richmond Park Rouleurs were hosting an M25 Orbital ride which involved a ~225km loop around London, weaving in & out of the M25. But, only a few days before it was due to go ahead, it was mysteriously cancelled and all information about the ride had vanished from the internet. In my personal historical fashion of doing loops and cancelled rides: we just went ahead and did it anyway!
Four brave souls, Valentina, Michal (also riding fixed), Alex and me, met up at a misty east London park at just-gone 4am to ride out to the nearest section of M25 and begin an anti-clockwise shadowing of this major road. We headed north and commenced the loop near Waltham Cross.
The sunrise was absolutely incredible and it really set the tone for the energy of the ride. We smashed it pretty hard. This was until, inevitably, the directions didn't go quite according to plan. We found ourselves having navigate around gravel footpaths but eventually gave in and actually embraced a grassy one. Nothing like a bit of tracklocross in the morning!
Somewhat stupidly, I had decided to raise my saddle before setting-off. This was because I had been watching video of myself riding and thought my knees looking like they were bending too much. Well, why fix what isn't broken? By about 50km in, my knees were killing me. I returned my saddle to it's previous position but the damage was already done. According to one Strava segment, I averaged 159RPM for 1 minute and 9 seconds. With the overextended leg position, that definitely set me up for some pain for the entirety of the rest of the ride. It also didn't help that I was riding 48/19 which is fine for solo riding when pacing is somewhat irrelevant but when you have to keep up with a vague group pace it might be on a bit of an under-geared side of things.
By the time we were half way around, the temperature was really kicking in. I believe it reached around 31C. The brutality of the heat at least took my mind away from my aching knees - although it didn't help with my speed whatsoever. Quite the opposite. We took a large break in Leatherhead and I took in some high quality nutrition - Doritos, Greggs sausage rolls and 1 litre of Coke. We then ascended to the highest point in the ride at Headley Heath where I managed to 'clip' into some fresh dog poop with my cleats. As I rested my bike down to try and clean off as much as I could I had the misfortune to place my brand new tyres (first ride with them) onto onto piece of dog poop. What a shitty situation.
After a quick and very quiet break we embraced the heat, ploughing down the A25 for a considerable distance. The traffic was regular but not too bad. I was glad to be off it though and heading north again towards Dartford. Did you know there is a free minibus shuttle service for cyclists wishing to use the Dartford Crossing? We took full advantage of it, loading the bikes into the back of the van within about 2 minutes of making the call using the single-purpose phone at the control offices. Remember to pause that Strava app though!
We were in the home straight. Just some Essex hills to conquer and we'll have completed the loop! At this point, my knees had completely given up. Every time I ran into anything vaguely reminiscent of an incline my speed dropped to minimal levels and I watched the other three zoom off ahead. The sandbag life was real with this one! This made what should have been a jubilant final quarter distort into a mentally draining torture as the anguish began to stretch on for longer than it should have. A quick check of the map thankfully confirmed there were only two major roundabouts to go until the finish line... well, not considering the additional 20km to get back home too!
A very testing ride, but these ultra rides always throw something different at you that you don't quite expect and that is the beauty of them.
276km / 172 miles. 2,319m / 7,608ft gain. 16:50 elapsed / 11:40 moving.
The all-important Strava link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2651545121
There will be a video up from this ride soon. Why not go check out some of my previous fixed gear adventures on my channel? https://www.youtube.com/user/josephxkendrick
What should the next fixed gear loop be around?
Well done. Previous similar forum rides:
I wonder how many routes are around now for this sort of thing ...
I like to think we got the ball rolling:
Having had my weekend destroyed by daughters requiring help with moving, it was not until noon yesterday that I was able to get out on the bike. Rode down to LMNH where I had a pain au raisin and a green tea and picked up one of their Cafe Run brevet cards.
I headed down to the Embankment and along the Thames, past Chelsea Harbour and over Putney Bridge, up Priory Lane and then into the Park, up Sawyers Hill and out of Ham Gate, following the river to Kingston, over the bridge and then over Hampton Court Bridge, right turn by the station and off to Esher where I pulled into Giro Cafe for more green tea, a chicken wrap and a slice of cake and had my brevet card stamped. Having filled my bottles, I retraced by route, stopping to fill up with more water on top of Richmond Park and made my way back to LMNH for more green tea, a slice of ginger cake and to exchange my brevet card for a rather fetching cap. I then rode home and enjoyed a cold shower.
Just over 76 km. 1.5 hours in cafes. Over a gallon on fluid taken on. More than a gallon of fluid sweated out. A pleasant afternoon on the bike.
In preparation for a charity ride to Belgium in 10 days’ time (if anyone wants details, PM me) I have been taking my bike with me pretty much. wherever I go. This weekend a friend who teaches history in Swansea had a party so this morning, after a night of downing Sharp’s Atlantic and eating chillies stuffed with cheese and after a fried breakfast in a golf club, I headed out to ride the length of the Gower.
I went there once when I was a student and I have no recollection of the hills. Cefn Bryn was a long slog to the highest point on the peninsula followed by a descent at 68kph (no, not fixed) and a wiggle along to Rhossili. One the way back the climb to Three Crosses saw me hitting about 8kph. Ended the ride on the Mumbles seafront.
Wow. That beach.
Where is that?
25 miles around South Oxfordshire this morning. Lovely morning but definitely getting Autumnal vibes.
Free blackberries still.
Long ride, it's been a while. The annual 24 hour messengers ride in NL, 438km in 18 hrs, had a good time!
I felt like testing out my fixed gear endurance again so booked a last minute ferry to France. I left at midnight from London to catch an 8:15 ferry from Portsmouth to Caen. I basically rode the A3 dual carriageway the entire way. It was fabulous until a huge rain front came in and I got absolutely drenched with about 3 hours to go on the 136km ride. Oh well, it kept me moving and I arrived with 2 hours to spare.
I was hoping to get some good sleep and to dry off on the 6-hour boat trip but the air conditioning made it seem like a hellish impossibility. I found some reclining seats and zoned out. Before I knew it, I could see France and my clothes had wicked dry (ish). Straight off the boat, I met a friend and we did a 100km loop along the coast before finally getting some proper sleep. I spent the next day just dillydallying around Caen and eating lots of food in preparation for an actual long ride attempt from Caen to Dunkirk (~400km) starting the next day.
Starting at midday, I left Caen with an epic tailwind and lovely roads. Things got weird at the massive bridge (Pont de Normandie) to Le Havre. First of all, crossing the bridge was petrifying. High winds, a tiny 'bike lane' and motorway-speed trucks coming by. Secondly, I was a bit strange in wanting to stick to the coastline so turned back into the wind westward. This area was also industrial and had tons of trucks. It wasn’t fun. I wasted an amazing amount of time and energy... and then I got a puncture from an awful pothole! I was carrying two spare tubes and to my horror the first one I tried to use was already punctured too. It must have been damaged from transport somehow. After swinging by a Decathlon which was conveniently 1km away from where I punctured, I got back to the beautiful fast roads again and I was into the flow state once more.
However, as I got to Dieppe I got caught in a downpour. I got drenched through. It was almost 10pm and I was 195km in. I found a McDonald’s and hung out there for an hour or so to ‘dry’ and drink Coke. My phone was also stressing me out because it wouldn't consistently charge. This also meant I didn't take many photos or videos and was stuck listening to the same few playlists I had synced offline. I actually could have caught a ferry back to England from here and was in time to get the last one of the day but I had already told myself I was going to do 400km and I didn't want to take the easy way out. I was kinda worrying at this point about the night being too cold and that by starting it soaking wet I'd be asking for trouble. I had already been shivering in the Maccas. As people walked past me, the wind they generated felt like it pierced into my soul with ice. I was carrying an emergency foil blanket so would probably survive.
Once I layered up and got rolling into the dark again, I felt unstoppable. For the first 2 hours after Dieppe, I averaged ~30kmh! I then strategically dodged another heavy rain shower in a bus shelter that popped into my reality just in time. However, by 3am, tiredness and the cold was hitting me. My speed dropped and I found myself stopping more (bad). I also almost fell asleep riding a few times too. I was happy when I finally saw glimmers of the Sun rising on the horizon.
Coming into Calais, I found an open shop and bought more cola, plus a baguette and vegan butter - which I also used the remainder of as chain lube. Almost there, but of course with a wrong turn at the last junction adding ~5km on top! It's never as simple as you think it will be. I was 5.5 hours early for my booked ferry and roughly 22 hours had elapsed since starting the ride, I took a well-deserved nap on some concrete outside the ticket office. It felt like a king mattress after that ordeal.
Upon arriving in Dover, after a short 2 hour crossing and a pretty uncomfortable nap, I began a cheeky 120km ride back home to London. I followed the A2 and then whatever was the straightest road home. It felt endless but I got there eventually.
The big one: http://strava.com/activities/2686523786
Follow along on adventures: http://instagram.com/josephxkendrick
Sometimes I make videos of rides: http://youtube.com/josephxkendrick
We drove over the Pont de Normandie earlier in the summer and I'd mentioned to the kids that the Tour de France had been over it. When asked if I'd cycle over it as we descended off it, my immediate response was "nope". That bike lane was ridiculous.
Chapeau on the ride. And the bridge crossing.
Great rides @peter_v and @veganjoseph great write up too. I've ridden over the Pont de Normandie twice on 2 separate touring trips. It's a bit scary yes, but quite exciting coming down the other side.
indeed wow @veganjoseph that's some adventure!
cheers! deserves a write-up really, but I was too busy sleeping & eating. I'll try to find some time this weekend and get back to it, it was a great event
....I enjoy all your reports
Urgh, some of the rides here are making me feel very unfit. Having barely ridden since the Kieth* of my 2nd daughter 18 months ago, I’ve foolishly booked a track session in Oct that I need to have functioning legs for.
Took the Donohue to bath and back for a coffee this morning (a paltry 27miles). Really nice day to be cycling through trees and stuff, had a lovely aeropress at Society, smoked some fast looking guys on carbon on the way back (who were clearly doing much longer rides than me, and not racing me whatsoever).
A few PRs achieved somehow.
Edit: I’m leaving that, autocorrect you strange thing.
and vegan butter - which I also used the remainder of as chain lube
and vegan butter - which I also used the remainder of as chain lube
Great, show us the pix of Mumbles pls?
I didn’t take very many - here’s what I can find on my phone.
I love this picture.
I love that bit of coast. I used to camp at three cliffs lots. Wading through Pennard Pil where it cuts through the beach was always a treat.
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