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Miscellaneous Results - 2007

Tour of Picardie Cyclo Sportive (France)

Saturday 8th September

Paul writes "Picardie was good, great weather and lots of Brits riding. This is a proper European sportif with every junction marshalled and cyclists given priority. A mass start of around 2000 cyclists is a great way to start things off. A few hills near the beginning splits it up a bit and soon you are tearing along at high speed.
In the end I finished the 188k in 5:10 which is 36km/hour and was 93rd, Justin was 5:22 and 180th. His water bottle fell off near the start and he had to stop to retrieve it causing him to lose many places."

Austrian Ironman

Sunday 8th July 2007

Mark Edmonds once again competed in the Autrian Ironman Triathlon. Here is his account:-
"OK, well my 7th Ironman race proved once again to be difficult for me in my preparations namely due to the recurrance of my knee injury meaning a severely interrupted run programme. I ran steadily for 3 months from early March til the end of May only hitting 11miles as my longest run and biggest week of 27 miles, before my knee broke down 5.5 weeks before race day. I decided to have a 4th cortisone injection in it 4.5 weeks before race day... then having to take a further 1 week off training to let it do its stuff. I resumed running with 3.5 weeks to go aiming to at least get my legs used to some impact of running again... then prey for a miracle! Alas after just 4 short runs of 3,4,5 and 7miles the knee proved too weak to run still, leaving me just 1 option to stop running with 2.5 weeks left to go til the race. Not good. I did 2x 1hr30mins powerwalks on the treadmill in this time to try and keep the legs moving at least, as I knew it wouldn't be the knee that would cause me trouble on the day but the quads and calves through lack of training/impact work! My marathon schedule was downgraded from a 3.15 target to a 3.27 pace and I was hoping this would allow me to do a damage limitation run for my overall race time, without still being either too ridiculously slow or also too ambitious a target.. Swimming and bike training had been going OK and I'd hoped that after a few longer training rides I'd been doing for this years race would pay off for my bike split, as Ive never quite converted my short distance time trial form to the longer ride so far in Ironman much to my annoyance.

My swim was consistent to my usual form, if not stunning... came out just under 55mins but with the timing mat 25m or so onto dry land my official split was 55.00 for the 3.8kms (2.4miles)...99th outa 2300 or so. After negotiating the turmoil of the transition area as speedily as I could I headed out onto the 2 lap 180kms (112 miles) ride. A nice flat start with a slight tail wind saw me off to a good start! Things were good at this early stage. The 2 big climbs on the 1st lap went very well and I was passing quite a few athletes all the way up... think my lightness helps my climbing ability! Finished lap1 in 2hrs 26 mins which was looking good for a sub 5 hr ride if I didnt blow up on lap 2? Had stuck like glue to my HR zones of 140-145 bpm apart from on the big climbs where it rose to 160-165ish. Continued to feel strong on lap 2 and to my surprise really kept on overtaking athletes til I could only see the odd athlete or 3 ahead of me... knew I must be doing better than usual as by this stage I'm usually swept up by a large pack by now.... nice to stay clear of them for once! I tired a bit in the last 20kms of ride but as it was mainly downhill it didnt show too much in my time... maybe losing 2 mins or so? Results showed I had made 90th position overall on the ride with a 4.59.26 split time.... quickest was an incredible 4.21 by the winning pro! But Id improved my previous best ride of 5.06 by 7 mins! I was very happy boy!
Now on to the dreaded run.... true to form the sun had come out strongly into the 2nd lap of the ride and was hot into the run (approx 27c)... set off at slightly ahead of my 3.27 goal pace... running around a 3.25 pace. Held my splits fine til km 16 (10 miles) when I started to give away a handful of seconds a km only. Not too drastic. Then suddenly at Km 20 I felt really bad... the energy in my quads had gone and was really struggling... like putting the brakes on.... hit the half marathon split in 1.42 and change... on schedule... but more importantly, I was in serious trouble for the remainder of the run. Ran to km 22 and realised things were only gonna get worse from then on and with the prospect of hemoerraging loads of time in the last 20km and the very real risk of getting further injured I decided to quit. So at 7hrs 49 mins into the race my race was over. As it turns out it was def the right decision as my achilles tendon was sore when I walked back... and if you injure them, they take a hell of a long time to get better if at all completely! (it took me 1 year to get over a sore achilles tendon from this same race in 2005 when I did my 9.32 pb!) Was a bit upset not to finish but I can certainly take some positives from the race with my ride. Now need to sort out my knee problem once and for all and do my physio exercises. Then I can hopefully take a year to get back my old run form again? It will be a long haul back to my previous run fitness, if I ever get there again?? Then and only then will I consider doing another IM.... have an eye on IM Germany in 2009 tho if I can get back run fit again? Watch this space. Mark"

The Dragon Ride Cyclo Sportive

Sunday 24th June 2007

Paul Martin, Justin Browne, Sarra Carroll and Andy Ballentyne all rode what is billed at the largest the Cyclo Sportive in Britain with some 2,500 in total. Paul, JUstin and Andy decided to do 200km event while Sarra rode the 120km.
Andy writes:- "We all stayed overnight at a Travel Lodge near to the start in Bridgend in SOuth Wales with a meal of pasta in the next door 'Harvester' inn but woke up to torrential rain. We drove up to the start and the rain gradually eased off and stopped before the start although with the roads still very wet we caped up for the start. Paul, Justin and myself started in the first group of 100 riders and made rapid progress out of Bridgend until disaster struck when Justin broke a spoke in his Mavic Kysium back wheel. With him unable to continue on the ride, Paul and I continued and joined back in with the 5th or 6th group on the road. This group stayed together until until the first main climb of the day, the Bwlch. Here the group disintegrated. Paul stayed with the leaders but I rode up at my own pace. I took it easy on the wet descent and gradually met up with a few other riders and formed a small group.
The sun gradually came out, the roads dried off and the day just got better and better. At the second feed stop after about 50 miles, the group had swelled to about 20 riders, soon to become nearer 50 as two groups joined after this stop. This group split and others formed as the terrain went up and down. I however was haveing problems with my bottom bracket at the lock ring section on the fixed side had sheared off which meant some play in the cranks. Fortunately as it was a cartridge type b/b it all held together and I was able to carry on.
The circular route toook us back round to the bottom of the Bwlch again and it was here that I met up with Paul again. Paul had stopped to wait for Sarra at the last feed stop but I gave a quick shout and carried on up the climb. Paul caught me up and rode on ahead but didn't get very far ahead before comig back to. We rode on together for a bit with Paul on my back wheel. I felt better than the first time up the climb and was out of the saddle on 39x21 climbing quite well for a fat git! Behind I could hear Paul's rubbing chain getting quieter and quieter and I thought he's blown! Serves him right for sticking to the orange juice and lemanade the night before - should have stuck with the carbo drinks (Fosters) like me ;-)
Over the top was the fast run down to Port Talbot with speeds topping 50mph round the long swooping bends and I got into a small working group for the last 10 miles into Bridgend. Paul came in about 10 minutes later. Justin meanwhile had gone back to the HQ after he broke his spoke where he'd managed to scrounge another wheel. By the time this was sorted however he only had time to do the shorter 120km ride."

106 Andrew Ballentyne 06:45:04
132 Paul Martin 06:50:07
68 Justin Browne 05:06:00
538 Sara Carroll 07:14:45

Circuit of the Cotswolds Cyclo Sportive

Sunday 17th June 2007

Jim Lewis, Paul Martin, Justin Browne plus Sarra Carrol and Dave Churchill all rode the challenging 102 mile route of the Circuit of the Cotswolds and finished with a time of 6:03. This route takes in some some tough climbs including the 25% Cleeve Hill.


So you think Essex is flat? Cyclo Sportive

Sunday 3rd June 2007

Jim Lewis, Paul Martin and Graham Smoth together with and many of the groupd doing the Marmotte in July did the 'So you think Essex is flat' sportif (well according to Graham it is with only 1100M of climbing in 105 miles). The day was hot and sunny and Ian Morgan was driving a hard pace for most of the way, things stayed mostly together until we got to Little Baddow Hill where it all kicked off. Ian was pushing hard and Jim was the only one who could stay with him, Paul was 20 metres behind and thought when we got to the top they would ease off but not so - and so had to chase to Danbury to get back on. Graham was a further 50 metres back at the top and also struggled to get back. After 90 miles Jim blew and Graham and most of the others carried on, Ian led us home and we completed 170km in 5:40. There were around 400 riders and the weather was very good as was the event organisation.

Fred Whitton Challenge

Sunday 13th May 2007

Andy Ballentyne went up to the Lake District to ride the Fred Whitton Challenge Cyclo Sportive. The Fred Whitton Challenge is a 114 mile ride covering all the main passes in the Lake District and is the hardest ride of this distance in the country. Route profile.

Andy writes:-
"Overnight rain had cleared by the morning but the roads were still damp at the start and wheels were slipping going over the first climb of Hawkshead hill, a 'little' 1 in 4 warm up in first couple of miles. There was only a gentle breeze but the forecast was for rain spreading from the south so the question would be whether we would get over the main climbs before that set in? A quick return back to the HQ as I'd forgotten to lube the chain meant 5 minutes or so lost but then made steady progress down to Ambleside and Troutbeck where I met up with a group of half a dozen riders. The first of the main climbs was the Kirkstone Pass, taken from the easier Southern side and was taken at a steady pace with a nice run down the other side towards Ullswater. We then turned off towards Matterdale where the group swelled as we caught a number of other riders who latched on until we had about twenty or so. The left turn to Keswick on the A66 saw some gentle through and off until we turned into Keswick itself for the run down past Derwent Water, through Borrowdale and Seatoller top the bottom on the Honister - a 1 in 4 climb that splintered the group. I took it steady on my 30x24 gear (saving the 27 for Hardknott!!) and made my way past the slate mine at the top of the pass and descended carefully down to Buttermere for the first check point at 52 miles.

A quick refill of the bottles, some malt loaf and a banana and it was straight onto Newlands Pass which is a long 1 in 5 previously used for the National Hill Climb. This was followed by a long fast descent to Braithwaite and then left onto Whinlatter. This is probably the easiest of the main passes and it was a here that a group started to merge. This stayed together over the (relatively) flat road through Lorton and Ennerdale Bride until it split up over Cold Fell overlooking the Cumbrian Coast and Sellafield. The second check was at Calder Bridge with another quick fill up ready for the big climbs of the day - Hardknott and Wrynose!

Again another group formed on the run through Santon Bridge and Eskdale until the bottom of Hardknott itself where all hell breaks loose and it's everyman for himself. Hardknott is an unrelenting 1 in 4 steepening up to a 1 in 3 near the top and the whole of the climb can be seen from the bottom. The 30x27 bottom gear was now coming in useful and I dropped the others from the group on the climb. I still had to stop (but not walk) for a breather on the steep section and then grovelled over the top to the cheers of the supporters. The descent is also very steep and twisting and you have to be on the brakes the whole time. Wrynose Bottom was reached but a stiff headwind had now sprung up making going very hard after the effort of the climb. The eventual winners - Lewis Craven and Stuart Reid (Wheelbase) overtook me here while I took Wrynose at my own (slow) pace. Over the top of Wrynose is another steep tricky descent and with rain now starting to fall, I took it very gingerly indeed deciding discretion was the better part of valour. Despite this the back wheel locked up on one occasion but I made it safely to the bottom for the run down to the finssh in Coniston. Here a number of riders passed me but I couldn't be bothered to latch on!

At the finish we had our timing chips registered and collected our refreshments - a bean casserole, tea and cake which made a refeshing change from energy bars and gels."

A few stats:-
800 entries, 632 finishers.
Fastest riders: Lewis Craven and Stuart Reid (Wheelbase): 5.45.48
My Time: 7.20.44 for 163rd place
Fastest hand cycle: 12.15.00!!!
Full Results

Omloop Het Volk Cyclo Sportif

Saturday 28th April 2007 - 210km

Paul Martin, Andy Ballentyne and Ian Morgan were joined by Dave Churchill to ride this years Omloop Het Volk Randonee in Ghent (Belgium) which follows the route of the classic cycle race round the Flemish hills.

We left Paul's house on the Friday afternoon and picked Dave up from Wrotham (Kent) and continued down the tunnel for Le Shuttle. A good run down to Ghent meant we were in plenty of time for a leisurely dinner and early night ready for the early start with breakfast at 5:30.

Signing on at the HQ at 6:30 meant paying the entry fee of Euros 3.20, filling out a card and picking up our complimentary bidon and bag. Predcited temperatures of an unseasonably warm 29 degrees meant just short sleeves and shorts despite the early start. The four of us made a steady start for the first hour of so with the flat roads gradually getting more undulating the further south we went. The first checkpoint came after 54km at the top of the first of the days hills (the Kluisberg) with Paul outsprinting Ian was first to the top of the 1.8km hill, followed by followed by Dave and then Andy who was struggling on the hills with a cold contracted the day before!. The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful except when Paul started struggling, only to find that the shaking of the cobbles had managed to tighten his brakes up! Releasing them meant an easier ride from then on and we got back to Gent in under 8 hours

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