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Crystal Palace Triathlon

2013 Club Championships

11 August: Bewl (Standard)

Find out more about the Club Championships

Forthcoming events

18 August - Thorpe Lake Sprint Series

4 August - TVT Concorde Sprint Triathlon

2013 news - July

CPT in action


Dunwich Dynamo - 20/21 July

KarenRide report by Karen Ayers

I’ve wanted to do the Dunwich Dynamo since reading and hearing about the ride from other CPT members, so was really pleased when Selwyn sent out an email encouraging members to ride this year. Unfortunately he didn’t get much response and, following surgery on his knee, he also had to decline. I didn’t fancy riding on my own as I’m not very good at following directions or even arrows,  as you may remember from the Thorpe Triathlon. I didn’t think I’d be riding this year until Brian mentioned he was definitely riding with two friends and I was very welcome to join him. I had just over a week to sort out lights (thanks for all the offers) and make travel arrangements. I was excited!

I met Brian, and his friends Bill and Clive, by the Greenwich foot tunnel. This proved to be a very wise arrangement as I would never have found them amongst the hoards of cyclists at London Fields. While I was waiting at the top of the tunnel, a Canadian tourist asked me if I knew where the tunnel went. I explained it went under the river and pointed across to the other side on the Isle of Dogs. She was really disappointed when I explained it wasn’t a glass tunnel, but a very old Victorian tiled walkway with puddles on the floor. She thought she’d be able to see the fish in the River Thames! She decided to give it a miss!

As we waited for the off outside the Pub in the Park, we were surrounded by road bikes, recumbents, tandems, fixies and hybrids  with riders of all shapes and sizes, some in full Club kit, others in jeans and trainers, some in fancy dress, some with helmets some without, and a very large group of Dulwich Paragon! We soaked up the atmosphere and before long and without any signal people started moving off.

Dunwich Dynamo 2013

As the queues for the bar and the loos were so long we agreed we’d stop as soon as we could at a convenient location. I think we actually cycled for a whole four minutes before we made our first stop at McDonalds, for a comfort break and a strong coffee! It was about 20:45 when we joined the constant stream of cyclists heading out of London.

Brian, Bill, Clive & Karen - Dunwch Dynamo 2013

The first part of the ride out to Epping Forest is along busy London streets but on the whole drivers were pretty considerate and understanding as traffic wasn’t moving very quickly anyway. A black cab pulled up alongside me in the traffic and I expected a mouthful of abuse but was pleasantly surprised when the cabbie asked me where we were going and were we doing it for charity. I explained it was just for fun, which he didn’t understand, but he wished us a good ride and continued on his way!

On the other side of Epping Forest we cycled through villages and then out onto more remote country lanes, overtaking and being overtaken until darkness started to creep in. As bike lights started to go on, we could see bikes snaking through the roads, red lights flashing ahead of us, as far as the eye could see.

I was a bit frightened on the first couple of bends when it became really dark and thought I was going to have to call Bruce to come and pick me up! But once I’d put my super powerful light on it was great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed riding in the dark.

The roads were pretty flat, compared to Kent and Surrey, with just a couple of short climbs but nothing of any note. We reached the half way point just before 01:00, at a community hall, manned by volunteers, providing hot drinks, food and toilets. We had quite a long rest and set off again after taking some ProPlus, just in case!

Clive got a puncture at about 02:00 which gave us another short break from the saddle, as did a road closure further along the route, where there was a queue of cyclists carrying bikes over a temporary footbridge. Apparently we could have missed this if we had followed the diversion on the instruction sheet!

I was surprised at how short the actual hours of darkness are, how quickly the morning arrived and light started to creep back in. I didn’t feel tired at all, concentrating hard on the road and lights and bikes ahead of you must help. At about 04:00 it started to drizzle, that horrible wet air that just soaks you and makes your handlebars and brakes slippery, but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits.

We made a final stop about 20 miles from the finish where we were offered free tea and coffee. Brian, Clive and Bill couldn’t resist the smell of cooking bacon so had a quick buttie but I decided to hold out for breakfast on the beach.

Bill, Brian, Clive & Karen arrive at Dunwich

We gave a big cheer when we saw the first sign for Dunwich with seven miles to go, although it felt like a very long seven miles! There were lots of supporters at the finish cheering everyone into the car park. Bruce was already parked up when we arrived at 07:00 and Lisa arrived shortly after us. There was a huge queue for the cafe and even larger queue for the lorries transporting bikes back to London, so we were very pleased Lisa was taking ours!

Unfortunately, after a lovely sunny week with clear, warm nights, the weather turned so we didn’t see the full moon, the stars, the bats or the sunrise, we didn’t get breakfast on the beach or a dip in the sea, but we did have a fantastic night ride arriving in Dunwich after cycling approximately 120 miles. I think it was probably the most enjoyable 100+ ride I’ve ever done and one of the flattest.

Brian and I are definitely up for it again next year, who’s going to join us?

Too cold for a dip - Dunwich Dynamo 2013

Brian and I make a guest appearance on this YouTube video at 5:30!


parkrun results - 27 July

Brockwell parkrun
33rd Victor Thompson 21:19
93rd Louise Alan-Smith 27:03

Crystal Palace parkrun
36th Dave Crockwell 24:48


New members

Welcome to new members Amy Kubrycht-Ellis and Caroline Heaney.


League updates

Cathy provided the following updates while I was away, sorry they are late!

18 July update
Well done to all those who raced at Liverpool British Triathlon Champs. Scores have been updated but no changes to any rankings since previous report (below).

8 July update
Update to the Club league scores after the Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon, Llandudno Triathlon and Sussex Middle Distance Triathlon (also Club champs over that distance - well done to Lisa Collins and Mark Thomas for honours there). Well done to everyone who raced espcially Greg Lewis at Bristol and Llandudno where he won his club age/gender category. I understand that the Sussex middle distance on Sunday was not just very hot but a very challenging course as well.
Latest top three standings are now:

Female senior: Suse Fairfax, Lauren Whitmore, Cathy Cooke
Female vets: Sheila Horsman & Kati Pusey,  Brigit Brown
Female supervets: Karen Ayers, Sally Kidson, Louise Alan-Smith

Male seniors: Rob Parry, James Nellist, Andy McRobbie
Male vets: Jon Horsman, Neil Pusey, Mark Thomas
Male supervets: Greg Lewis, Brian Morris, Noel Murphy


Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon - 23 June

DerekRace report by Derek Chitty (sorry it's late, photos to follow)

I haven't raced at Bristol before so this was a new event for me and a step up, having not raced for three years due to heart rate problems. My first race this year was Tonbridge which was a tester to see how the body reacted. All went okay and I then concentrated on trying to qualify at Bristol for London in September.Training had been going okay and have steadily been building up to cope with Bristol.

Derek on the bike at BristolHad good trip down to the city but got completely lost in Bristol trying to find the registration centre. Eventually found myself on bike course so did a reccy which turned out to be very useful. Decided this was a good course for my trusty old TT bike, so was looking forward to winding up the gears. Eventually found registration, picked up my numbers etc and then tried to sort out where to park on race day. This proved to be a bit of headache as a lot of one way streets and good walk from transition plus my B&B was on other side of water. Picked out some possible spots to park which again proved to be useful on race day, as I found a nice parking spot tucked away close to transition.

Had bit of prob at B&B as a security alarm on adjacent shop starting sounding at 10pm Saturday night and continued all through the night until 8am Sunday morning! Getting sleep was very difficult so did not feel great Sunday morning. It did not help that our wave was off at 11.56am so had a long morning waiting around.

Kati on the bike at BristolWalking to race first Clubby I met was Rob Parry and had good chat with Rob, filling me in on the course etc. Into transition and started meeting some of my old mates, both Club and others from distant past. It was also nice to meet Club people who I had not met before. Just like the old days!

Eventually our wave was off on swim. Deep water start and around sixty in group which included some young guns, horribly quick in the water. Having been down to Tooting lido regularly water temp (17*) was no problem. It was very windy to the point, the marker buoys were leaning at an angle. Felt quite comfortable swimming, trying to build up a steady pace but then I received  a kick in the right hip which at the time was no problem. I had reasonable swim for me and actually overtook a few in the last section.(winner of  my group 14.14!) However, coming out of water and running toT1, I realised there was a problem, as I could not run smoothly without hip hurting. Despite this, from the results I had fastest transition time! 

Rob on the bike at BristolOn the bike course we were immediately hit by the strong headwind. A gentle incline on closed roads, out to turn around and this is where my reccy paid off, as I knew where turn around was located. Then back to the start and the crowds, via a tricky, twisting section around the back of transition to start 2nd/final lap.  However, I was struggling, as could not put power down on pedals as hip was painful, plus could not stay down on tribars as neck was painful on same side. Very frustrating as I knew in training I had been clocking good times for 20K. At finish looking at watch - 49 mins. Very disappointing. (fastest in my group 42.14)

Out of transition for the run and the nightmare began. I literally hobbled out onto the run course which started on incline, up onto flyover and much to my embarrassment there were some Club supporters at the top of this ramp giving me a shout. Nice to get the support but wish I could have re-acted to them! Once on the flat I did manage to get some form of running together and tried to make up bit of time. Sadly I had to keep stopping to ease off my hip which I can only assume was a nerve trapped. As the course was steady incline out to the turn around point this did not help my problem.

Even more embarrassing, a very loud voice coming towards me shouting 'this is a run not a walk CPT' ! Guess who - Fintan! Exchanged few pleasantries with Fintan and pressed on. Luckily the run was just one lap so was able to make it back to the finish, although it seemed an age before we reached the finish as there was an extra loop up flyover to finish on the top road above transition. Again miffed by time (38 mins) as I had clocked 29 mins for 5k at parkrun week before. (fastest in my group 27.50).

Fintan on the bike at BristolSo, I made it - pleased to have finished under the circumstances but disappointed could not perform better. Having said that, one of the advantages of being very, very old is there are not many in our group and I was pleased to find I had finished 5th o/a. Fingers crossed I may have a chance of getting to London which will be brilliant and make up for the last three years when I did not think I would ever get back to training again!

Hopefully, I may be able to get to Bristol next year and get a more realistic time.

One bit of advice - if you have any symptoms or concerns of HR problems, get them checked out as soon as poss, with CRY or your doctor. The worry of what might be is greater than the worry of any treatment/procedures you may require.


London Triathlon - 27-28 July

Congratulations to everyone who raced at the London Triathlon over the weekend of 27-28 July, in very mixed weather. Did anyone spot John P at the swim start?

Angie and Louis SmithResults are still provisional so no placings, but I have updated the PBs page. There are no Clubs listed so if you didn't have your name on the race matrix I haven't looked up your results! Let me know if you are missing and I'll add you.

Emanuele was pleased to get a PB but doesn't think he'll return to London again, it's too big and too busy! His next goal is to break 2:30 for an Olympic distance race.

Angie is yet to do a triathlon herself but is a keen supporter, especially when she spots an Olympic medal winner crossing the finishing line!


Late results

Tim did the Vachery Olympic Triathlon distance in Cranleigh on 21 July.

Tim says "It was my first Olympic for a while and I was a bit off the pace.  Overall not too bad as a non wetsuit swim through weed and a hilly technical bike course followed by a hot x-country style run.  Did OK, other than a mistake taking the TT bike up Leith Hill".

Jilly got a PB at the last in the SLH Informal 10k series on 25 July.


Ron - 3rd maleTooting Lido Children's Aquathlon

A late result from the Children's Aquathlon at Tooting Lido on Saturday 13 July.

Congratulations to Ron, who joined some of our juniors on the podium, taking 3rd place in the Parent's race!

There are more photos on the Junior news page.

I'm not saying a word about Ron's FC kick!

Ron's FC kick!


Long Course Weekend race report

HansReport by Hans Geberbauer

Wim and I headed to Tenby for the Long Course Weekend.  Me because I wanted to recce the course for IM Wales, Wim because, while nominally an adult, still does as he’s told (provided there’s plenty of food and a luxurious hotel to compensate for his exertions), as well as having to get in the miles in preparation for the Alpine crossing next month. 

We found Wales uncharacteristically sunny and without so much as a breeze.  That made for an easy swim in smooth-as-a-baby’s-bottom Tenby bay where I managed a PB over the Ironman distance while Wim settled for the half distance (not having swum since Challenge Henley).  My own swim training this year has been minimalist (no pool swimming since February and only the races at Thorpe and Sussex for open water practice) so I am pleased there’s been no deterioration.   However, conditions were so benign that I am not kidding myself that the IM Wales swim will be anything like this. 

Saturday brought the 112m Wales Sportive (on the IM Wales course).  No wind at all must surely be the exception but made for a fast first 60km.  The highlight was a fast descent into dunes west of Pembroke – stunning scenery.  I shudder to think how vulnerable this part of the course is to wind from any direction.  We also quickly realised that the climbing (well over 2000m) is all crammed into the last 120km.  We were doing very nicely to 95k, with our distinctive Tour of Wessex kit serving as a beacon for many riders.  But we soon began to wilt in the withering heat.  At every stop, we poured water over our necks for relief – some riders overcooked and required an ambulance and at the last water station we encountered a large group of riders sheltering in the shade that seemed neither minded nor able to move on. 

Wim in particular was not enjoying himself towards the end and gave me permission to drop him with 20km to go, and I rushed for the wonderfully atmospheric finish down a chute in the very centre of Tenby.  We both posted PBs for a sportive of this length, achieving faster times only at Challenge Henley (with less climbing and the adrenaline of a proper race pulsing through the veins) and placed well forward in the combined field of Long Course athletes and sportive riders. 

IM Wales should be a good deal cooler but I fear I will also be met with a lot more wind.  Between the threat of wind and climbs (some steep) bunched towards the back of the bike just before the run, Shakespeare comes to mind:  “Road bike or time trial bike – that is the question”. 

We skipped the Welsh Marathon as I saw no training benefit whatsoever in running a full or half marathon in 30 degree heat, although that landed us with a technical DNF for the Long Course Weekend where a DNS for the run day would have sufficed.

Wim (1.9km) 35:56
Hans ( 1:19:53

Hans 7:19:07
Wim 7:44:58

Hans & Wim post-ride


National Lottery Anniversary Run

Suse, Andre & RukiRuki reports from the National Lottery Anniversary Run "It was great running in the Olympic Park and Stadium especially. It was quite busy out on the course so there was a lot of weaving in and out to pass slower runners who didn't seem to know about keeping to the left!  I sprinted round the stadium but later partly wished I'd spent more time soaking up the atmosphere as we were herded out straight away! Saw Chris Hoy and Nicola Adams (Olympic Boxer)...  I didn't manage to meet up with Suse but I think she had a good run judging from her time!" (and her race face!).


Middle Distance Club Championship - Sussex Triathlon

Congratulations to Mark and Lisa for winning this year's Club Championship Middle Distance race.

- Results for the Sussex Triathlon
- 2013 Club Champions

LisaQualifying for the Wooden Spoon
Race report by Lisa Buchanan

Oh happy days to be racing again. You really appreciate it when you’ve been out of action for a while. Sussex has been on our calendar for ages and the day finally arrived. Were we prepared? Not quite. Things kept getting in the way… weddings, honeymoon, stress fracture… is that enough excuses?

Excuses at least helped my race-day mentality. I was relaxed, and I’m usually nervous. I wasn’t confident I could finish, having barely run since April, and there were so many unknowns about this distance – what/when to eat, how much kit to take… the optimal thing to do is try these things in training; do as I say, not as I do!

One certainty was the weather – scorchio. At 7am you could feel the heat. Also racing were Hans, Mark, Greig, plus Rob and Ron in the sprint. They must’ve scared the ladies away.

CPT at Sussex

A change to the bike course was announced and we made sure Hans got the memo. The 60km loop plus 25km loop was replaced by 4 x 20km laps. Mark later reported it was nearly 1400m of ascent over 83km, and provided some informative graphs.

At 8.45am we entered the water. After baking in the wetsuit, getting into the pea-soup lake was bliss. Despite being a small field it was still a scrum around the first buoys (I never know why people go mad at the start of a long distance swim, but it seems to be tradition.) I ploughed in against the lily pads and bodies at my own pace.

Swim at Sussex

My own pace turned out to be good. I had a cracking swim (I’m not sure the exact distance - they say 1.9km but 3 laps of 750m adds up to 2.2km.) Whatever, I was out in 30:29 feeling fresh, which was good because the bike was uphill from the start. I struggled on lap 1 – the unfamiliarity of the course and being fairly new to riding TT meant I wasn’t always on the ball with my gears, but I plugged away and settled by lap 2. My brain said EAT! so I ate my homemade flapjacks but they were cloying in the heat so I only managed 3. As I rode, one of my bottles, pump, and 2 gels flew off into the bushes, thus creating an illusion of speed. My thirst was all too real.

Lisa on the bike at Sussex

Little things perk you up. Overtaking men. Getting papped by Joseph Yee in the unofficial team car. Hans flying past yelling encouragement. I didn’t see him again until the finish, strapped to a massage table (I’ve never seen a masseur resort to bondage - Hans must be a slippery fellow!)

After 3 hours crisping up in the sun, knotted like a pretzel, flicking bees out of my face, my bum despairing of the saddle, I couldn’t wait to run just to be upright again.

Lisa on the bike at Sussex

By T2 I was in 3rd place but there were still 21km to go, the bit I was least confident about. But my running legs were there – that wonderful feeling when they turn over easily, getting into the groove. Now I just had to get to the end. It was 4 laps of pure trail, with one punishing hill 2.5km into each lap, and the heat was so oppressive no amount of water seemed to help. Mark and I were level-pegging for 2 laps until his compression socks took effect.

On completing lap 3, throwing the umpteenth cup of water at myself, I commented to the marshal that I was glad to be on my final lap, to which he said it was shorter. ‘Really? You’re kidding!’ ‘Yes, yes, the last one’s shorter; down there and follow the sign to the finish’. So I ran for home, grinning with joy. 3rd place - wow! I crossed the line, got my medal, chip removed and lay down in the shade. Ahhhhhh.

CPT running at Sussex

The race director came over – ‘You haven’t finished, its 4 laps and then a shorter loop.’ I won’t repeat my response. My choice was go back out or DNF. What was the point doing all that to DNF? Stripped of my medal and muttering obscenities, I ran like my backside was on fire. How much time had I lost pratting around at the finish? How many sleek athletes had galloped ahead?

Not as many as I thought. In the end I came 4th by less than a minute - aaargh! But I got a prize for 1st in age group and kudos for going back out. Maybe I’ll take a Garmin next time.

John followed, having clawed back time on the run. Chapeau to him for racing on a bike he only got from the repair shop on Friday, and for saying he enjoyed the flapjacks!

Having finished twice in this race and ‘re-modelled’ John’s bike at the last one, I wonder if I’m gaining enough plonker points to qualify for the Wooden Spoon?

Garmin profile from Sussex


July results backlog

Congratulations to:
- Charles for finishing The Outlaw and joining the Ironman Roll of Honour
- Kati and Sheila for 1st and 3rd FV at the 4th SLSC Summer Aquathlon
- Richard for racing at the Kijkduin ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships (The Hague)
- Michelle on her first middle distance race, Cowman
- Rob for 3rd place and Ron for completing his first triathlon (with a puncture) at the Sussex Sprint Triathlon

Results from:
- Brownsea Island Swim
- SportPursuit Splash
- Bournemouth International: Standard
- JP Morgan Corporate Challenge
- British Triathlon Championships Liverpool
- Thorpe Sprint Triathlon #3


parkrun results - 20 July

Bromley parkrun
26th Geoff Dillon 20:24

Dulwich parkrun
94th Dave Crockwell 24:27


June results backlog

Congratulations to:
- Dan on winning the Brett Ashford Standard Aquabike
- Suse for 3rd AG at Dambuster Triathlon (and a PB)
- Team 'Four Wise Monkeys' for bronze at the Tooting Bec Midsummer Relay
- Greg 1st MSV at the Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon
- Mark for a PB at the Beckenham 10k (see his comments below)
- Dave (1st MSV) and Jilly (2nd FSV) at the SLSC Tooting Aquathlon
- Mark for a PB at the Dulwich 5k
- Greg and Suse on first places at the Llandudno Sea Triathlon
- Gary getting a Gold time at the Wiggle The Long One Sportive
- Rob for representing GB at the Triathlon European Championships

Results from:
- Windsor Triathlon
- Richmond Park Time Trial #1
- Dartford Bridge Triathlon
- The Avenger Triathlon
- Richmond 10k
- SLH Informal 10K
- London Cycle Sportive
- Cycletta Woburn Abbey (see Brigit's report below)

Mark's Beckenham 10k PB
The race was full and had a very competitive field with several running clubs well represented.  Two laps of a circuit with some long drags and a strong headwind conspired to ensure a difficult race!

Emanuele's first DNF
Emanuele reports from the Hever Castle mid week tri and his first DNF:

I crashed almost immediately after leaving T1 and was run over by another cyclist (nice rubber mark on my back) so I could not really carry on as shoulder and bike were both least I did not have a long walk back!

Two positives to take away...
1) I was announced as being the first one to cross the line from my wave (they must have processed the chip when I handed it back) which will never happen again...and
2) I was over one minute faster than my PB time post swim\T1!

Anyway not pleasant but something that I knew was going to happen sooner or later.

Llandudno Sea Sprint Triathlon
Haydn reports: The sea was warm! The sprint made a nice change from going long although I didn't plan taking quite so long as I did. I should mention that the race organisation was poor and in my view aspects of the bike were dangerous which was a pity as this is a great venue.


Cycletta Woburn Abbey - Sunday 30 June

BrigitReport by Brigit Brown

Cycletta is a newish series of women only bike rides. They are like normal sportives but with more marshals, more feed stops, more loos and (oh joy) plenty of support to sort out any mechanicals… And no MAMILs! Someone, somewhere must understand what it takes to get women cycling en-masse. There were 700 riders at this one (591 recorded finishers), spread over three distances: ‘Challenge’ 57km; ‘Classic’ 32km and ‘Novice’ 20km.

To be honest, this ‘softer’ approach almost put me off entering in the first place but glad that I did. It was great to see so many women of all ages and abilities cycling and enjoying themselves. Some were inexperienced and unfit and other were very fit indeed. The route was good – rolling hills, semi-rural setting, and (almost) traffic-free in many sections.

I opted for the ‘challenge’ distance which, at around 35 miles, is the same as the usual route I ride. It was a two-lap course. I took it easy to start with, but by the second lap felt relaxed enough to put my foot down and completed it nearly half an hour quicker than the first.

Brigit and Victoria PendletonNotwithstanding some dodgy ‘cuisine’ on offer in the Cycletta Village (nothing vaguely healthy on offer for lunch - BYO!), there was a buzzy atmosphere at the finish. As an added bonus, Victoria Pendleton materialised and was totally charming to her many admirers.

This is a good quality event and ideal for ladies who might be put off by all that testosterone at standard sportives, fancy something a bit more chilled-out, or – as in my case - want to do a ride with less experienced friends.


A Humbling On the Hills

HansReport by Hans Geberbauer

It’s not been much of a season so far.  The cold winter, Achilles tendonitis, a motivational slump after last year’s busy schedule and Wim claiming other priorities (A Levels – apparently they are important somehow) - we have struggled to get going.  At least not all the fitness built up last year was lost.  A week’s cycling in Andalucia in April made up a little for the lack of winter miles and improved my descending confidence no end. 

Hans & WimBack in the UK,  we completed the Wiggle Ups & Downs 100m sportive in April in just over seven hours, sneaking into silver standard for the first time in a sportive.  I nearly gave up White Down lane though, a reminder of the cruel English gradients for which Spanish don’t prepare you. 

In early May, I tackled the 112m Fred Whitton, involving almost 4000m of climbing over the iconic passes of Cumbria.  Having ordered the new Canyon bikes too late, I had no choice but to tough it out on my trusty steel bike with its heavy 53/39 and 11-25 gearing.  And although I had conquered Hardknott and Wrynose, as well as the climbing intensive King of the Pennines, on that bike last year, and Kirkstone Pass posed no challenge, my fitness was too poor so early in the season to get me up even the brief 25% section of Honister early in the ride.  I knew then already that Hardknott and Wrynose (coming in as they do at mile 99 of the course) would require humiliating pushing as well. 

Hans & WimFeeling stung, I did make short shrift of Newlands Hause and Whinlatter, and braved the soaking and battering cross winds on aptly named Cold Fell.  The Calder Bridge feed station resembled a battle field dressing station.  Many riders shook violently, ambitious young riders covered in all of two layers especially.  I despatched two of them to the special heat room set up by the medics before setting off again into the driving rain to wind my way up Eskdale with a smile on my face for this was mile 85, there’d be a tail wind all the way home and from Santon Bridge, I would join the route I had ridden with Wim the year before.  I am not proud having to push up Hardknott and Wrynose but a 9h 19min time in these conditions on that bike struck me as a defensible result. 

Wim was then deprived of the second May bank holiday when we headed to the three day long course Tour of Wessex (see here for flavour).  There is no finer way to explore the West of England.  The rides form a clover leaf pattern centred on Somerton (near Glastonbury), heading north and east for 107m, passing Glastonbury and City of Wells (that’s a mighty big village church I thought before realising where we were), south to the Dorset Coast for 117m and west to Exmoor for 112m.  

Hans & WimDay one and two brought glorious sunshine (if chilly), day three was mostly overcast and we caught an hours rain on Exmoor and we would have avoided even that had it not been for a mechanical on Wim’s bike that made us be grateful for the roving the marshals and mechanics.  There is a fair amount of climbing (although at lot less than advertised) but it’s mostly about maintaining a decent pace over long undulating stretches. 

On days one and two, we formed some very effective chaingangs that carried us over many tens of miles and on day 3, there was even a bit of peloton riding when some hundreds of riders rushed towards the Quantocks on small country roads.   The following Sunday, we returned to the King of the Downs 115m circuit of the South East’s favourite climbs which had left us with unfinished business last year (I failed to climb York and Titsey and Wim had to pull out due knee pain at mile 92). 

The day started perfectly with Keith Brewster greeting us at registration and Katie Crowe joining us at the start.  We rode the entire distance together, falling into a pattern of her surging ahead on the climbs while we caught her on the descents. 

After Titsey, Wim was just about done for the day but Katie and I made a dash for the finish to try to sneak in below 8 hrs but were thwarted by two red lights and the extra mile over the advertised 115m that the kind folks from Evans threw in extra free. 

A glorious day, with last year’s ghosts firmly banished, albeit with Wim’s knee playing up again.   With these rides under our belts and brand new, ultra-light, mountain geared Canyon road bikes, we headed north to the Peak Epic, Wim for the 101km medium, myself for the 102m epic, squeezing in 2230m and 4000m of elevation gain respectively.  

KatieThe weather was appalling with steady rain from the outset, although not as cold as feared.  The bikes felt excellent and the first 25km to the course split went swiftly enough, despite the climbing starting almost immediately.  Having split from Wim, I attacked the next 50km fairly aggressively in two hours, only to finally turn into the wind.  I have never experienced such persistent headwinds for such a long time (and we have a miserable 6 miles crossing Exmoor during the Tour of Wessex), shaking the bike even when it came head on.  Tough climbs alternated with descents completely neutered by the wind.  The field was small and strung out & there was no one to shelter behind (and give shelter to).

Some of the descents out of the wind were on such narrow and mud and debris strewn lanes that they were wholly unrewarding.  My average speed dropped to something pedestrian. My spirit was crushed and I thought of abandoning the ride when I hit the third checkpoint.  But at least the rain had eased up.  And a look at the map suggested we’d turn out of the wind soon.  So a final climb up an exposed ridge to the Cat & Fiddle directly into the storm, then a hazardous descent with furious cross winds, and suddenly, with 45km to go, the worst was over. 

With a tailwind, and each climb rewarding the riders with a civilised descents, my pace picked up, and reached the finish in Bakewell after just over 9 hours to rejoin Wim who’d finished his course in 5h 25mins.  On the drive back to London, I was a bit downcast. My time was only 17 minutes faster than the Fred Whitton, despite using the vastly superior Canyon, more training and a course that’s 10m shorter.  But a look at the results puts that in perspective.  We placed in the middle of the pack and each only narrowly missed silver standard.  For the middle distance, almost a quarter of the field DNFed, for the epic distance, 86 finishers faced 60 who DNFed.  A grim grind but perhaps this was a ride and a day where just finishing really was an achievement in itself.

So the London Cyclo Sportive, a 100m ride starting from Dulwich Park and featuring a meagre 1500m or elevation gain, should have been an easy spin.  Being very familiar with the route which tracked our standard club ride circuits and much of the King of the Downs (including the descent of Gangers Hill, probably the most dangerous we have here in our home territory due to the sharp left hander) should have helped as well.  But fine weather and low winds were not enough to prevent a bit of a sub-par performance of 7h23m, a good deal slower than the equally long but rather harder Wiggle Ups & Downs which had kicked off our sportive season (the time is unofficial in any event, as we had missed the on-line sign up and they wouldn’t take on the day registration – so only water for us at the feed stations).  With only eight weeks to go, the cut off times for the seven stages of the Haute Route Alps in late August look ever more forbidding.


Tuesday swims at St Joseph's

Our 20:00 and 21:00 Tuesday night swims will continue at St Joseph's up to and including 30 July. We then have a break for the summer and return on 3 September.


Novice and 'not so' novice ride - 20 July

The eighth of our 'summer' rides is this Saturday 20 July setting off at 09:15 from Elmers End for a steady two hour ride at c. 18-20 kph into the Kent countryside. The weather looks set to be hot, hot, hot. Depending on numbers we will ride as one or two groups with the focus on riding effectively as a group and supporting the slowest riders. The group(s) will be led by the more experienced cyclists and there will be no session fee.

This will be the last of our Saturday rides until September - we hope everybody who has participated is feeling the benefits of another four months of regular rides? Please do let us have feedback - the positives and the negatives - to help with planning our rides at this level in the future.

We need experienced adult riders to support this growing group - please do come along and give us a helping hand! You will get a good ride too.


parkrun results - 13 July

Crystal Palace parkrun
51st Dave Crockwell 25:49


Friday training - 12 July

As there is no swim at Trinity, there will be a group led ride from 18:45 - 20:45 from Elmers End.

Jon will lead a fast group and Dean will lead the other, everyone is welcome and the pace will be very accommodating. If you have some small lights it could be useful, just in case, but we should be back before they are necessary.


parkrun results - 6 July

Bromley parkrun
4th Keith Brewster 17:42

Dulwich parkrun
91st Dave Crockwell 24:12


I'm back!

I'm back from cycling, reading and sunning myself in Spain! I've got a lot of catching up to do so please be patient, I'll get there as soon as I can. If you haven't yet sent me details of any races you did while I was away, I'd be very grateful for details to speed up the backlog!


New members

ChrisWelcome to new members Simon Roberts and husband and wife, Christopher and Elizabeth Petch.

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