MTB XC Regional Championships – Report

Ollie Rastall reports on his latest mountain bike XC racing exploits

A few days away in Cornwall with the family and friends was possibly not ideal preparation ahead of Round 3 of the Southern XC Series. A couple of coastal rides kept the legs ticking over but I didn’t feel overly sharp as I arrived in the New Forest, en route to home from North Cornwall.

After a practise lap, I was excited to get out on the Crow Hill course that suited my riding style and ability. With 10 strong riders in the Expert category, I knew it would be competitive throughout and quick from the gun. Twisty single track with rooty sections is par for any Southern XC course, but well designed loamy sections were something of a novelty and provided excellent grip in the sunny, dry weather.

The field strung out after a lap or so and I found myself working through the bunch and ended up on the wheel of Dave Bone, a decent rider who I knew had another gear when he wanted it. Another (gobby) rider may have requested that I do some of the work, which would’ve been fair cop, but I genuinely knew that if I turned the screw on him, I would only eat humble pie later in the race as he sailed on by.

I dropped my only bottle on a fire road section and made a mental note to try and force a gap on Dave so I wouldn’t lose much time by stopping to pick it up on the next lap. Easier said than done. I created a gap as he took on some fuel and slowed down to pick up my bottle. I unclipped a pedal, swung a leg over, braked too hard and flipped over the bars. It was a ridiculous ‘crash’ with no scrapes or damage, just dent in the pride and 30 seconds off the clock.

I chased Dave down and we caught another couple of guys. The four of us (one was a Vet) did a lap or so in a train until I decided to put the bike down on a sharp, slow loamy corner. This was enough to let the three of them get away. Chasing them down would’ve lead to a bonk and I had created enough of a gap behind to be confident that, bar no more slip ups (or sit downs), my position was secure. The heavens opened on the penultimate lap which changed the dynamic of the course.

Roots became slippery, loam turned soggy and heavy. Fortunately, most of the race was under the canopy of trees so the rain couldn’t fully penetrate the course but more care was needed to see out the race in one piece.

With the race being selected by British Cycling as the Regional Championships, the field was always going to be strong. Finishing 5th was a respectable result and except for the 5th and final lap where the stronger, lighter guys had some more in the taps and I didn’t, I held my own and was in podium contention for most of the race.

For me, this was the best course on the SouthernXC circuit but sadly my fitness (and basic bike handling skills!) couldn’t justify a podium on this occasion.

Also check out Ollie’s report on the first round at Winchester.

Dates for your Diary

Here are a few upcoming club events that we think may be of interest, with links to find out more information:

Friday 7 June 2019 – Club Night – behind the scenes at Cycling Weekly

Saturday 8 June 2019 – Off-road ride

Thursday 20 June 2019 – FCCC 10 mile time trial Club Championships – trophies up for grabs!

Thursday evenings – weekly club time trials through to the start of September (free for club members)

To find out more about time trials, see the Time Trials page or email [email protected]. To find out more about club nights, see the Club Nights page or email [email protected]. For off-road rides see the Off-Road page.

Club Volunteers – Making Racing Happen

Last Sunday, 12 May 2019, the club held a very successful day of road races for the LVRC at the Dunsfold Park aerodrome circuit (yes, the one where the BBC’s Top Gear is filmed).

We were delighted to receive some very positive feedback both from racers and from the LVRC (League of Veteran Racing Cyclists) about the event. For example, the report on the LVRC’s website describes it as follows:

A well-run promotion by Warren Vye and his Farnborough & Camberley team at Dunsfold Airfield. Spring was in the air, and the weather was pleasant, with light winds – a welcome change from the rain of the previous day. Racing was lively in all three events, and promoter Warren Vye had matters so well organised on the day that he was able to ride in the C/D race.

We’d like to say a big “thank you” to all the members who volunteered their time to help make this event such a big success. Without volunteers, these sort of events simply can’t happen, so we’re very grateful, and plenty of racers thanked the club on the day too. We’re also glad that many of our helpers seemed to enjoy themselves, and were interested to see what goes on behind the scenes to make a cycling event work.

Thank you!

We’re Now on Instagram

We have a brand new Instagram account for the club, @farnborough_camberley_cc

If you use Instagram, then give us a follow to see what the club and its members have been up to recently. Even if you don’t, then please consider checking out Instagram anyway so that you can see some nice photos of our activities.

Club Night Friday 7 June

What have Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Dumoulin, Simon Yates, Floyd Landis, Michal Kwiatkowski, and Marcel Kittel all got in common (apart from cycling)?

They have all been interviewed by club member and Cycling Weekly writer, Alex Ballinger. Come along to the next Your Club Night on Friday 7 June, and hear from Alex all about these interviews, why Alex was rejected by Mark Cavendish, and whether Alex’s upcoming interview with Fabian Cancellara makes for “an interesting little story”!

Road Racing Round-Up

The road racing season has now started in earnest, and the ever-growing FCCC road race team has been competing at many local (and some not-so-local) events. Some of the more significant results are listed below, although these are just a few of the events where the club has been represented.

Particular congratulations are due this month to Dean Hendry, who earned his 3rd Cat licence with his 2nd place at Preston Park. Well done Dean!

If you’re not familiar with the various racing licence “categories”, then this system is explained further in this article.

It’s been a busy month, with the club also running two road races for Surrey League on the Seale road circuit on 7 April. A full report on the races is available on the Surrey League website, including photos and several videos. This event went extremely well, and we’d like to pass on the club’s thanks to all those who gave up some of their free time to help make sure that the races were a big success. Without volunteers, these events simply can’t happen, and all the racers really appreciate it.

30 March Hillingdon, West Drayton Specialized Crits 2019 #3 4th Cat – Dean Hendry 6th

7 April Winchester, Velo Club Venta 2019 Criterium #1 4th Cat – Dean Hendry 5th. Dean said afterwards: “Loved the circuit as expected. Bunch shredded from the start down to six, four of us were sharing work. I felt good and tried to split it further quite a bit, no luck though. Knew I had to be first into the last corner but everyone else had the same idea, so no joy. Fifth in the end. I could think what might’ve been, but I loved it.

10 April Portsmouth, Evening Circuits #2 E12 – Nick Hale 9th

19 April Castle Combe, Easter Classic 4th Cat – Jamie Parkinson 10th

22 April Preston Park (Brighton), Easter Monday 4th Cat – Dean Hendry 2nd

23 April Hillingdon, BC West Thames Series #2 4th Cat – Jamie Parkinson 2nd

25 April Kitsmead Lane, Surrey League Handicap #1 E1234 – Mark Nuttall 5th, Joe Naylor 13th (Dean Hendry, Matt Davies and Ollie Rastall were also racing). Joe said afterwards: ‘I was in the lead group, stayed away until one lap to go. Held on to Mark’s wheel when he passed and stayed in the group, but got a bit caught out by someone’s chain slipping coming out of the last corner so ended up in no-man’s land with nothing left. No one passed me at least though! Awesome fun, very happy with just being at the business end, and I can’t wait to go again.’

30 April Thruxton, Behind the Bikeshed Racing #3 4th Cat – Alex Ballinger 5th.

The club will be hosting three LVRC races at the Dunsfold Park aerodrome circuit on Sunday 12 May. It’s free to come and watch.

If you’re interested in the idea of road racing, then get in touch with our RR secretary, Warren Vye. He looks after a friendly team with a wealth of experience who can pass on plenty of advice and tips.

Club Night 3 May – Free Prize Draw

They say that 95% of winning is turning up. Well, all you need to do is to turn up on Friday at your club night, and you could be in with a chance of winning one of several superb prizes, courtesy of guest speaker, Darren Roberts.

Not only will you hear all about Darren’s incredible – and inspiring – endurance exploits, but all attendees’ names will go in a hat (or wheel bag) with a chance of winning one of these fabulous goodies!

Prize 1: Berghaus 25 litre Velocity rucksack (RRP £85)

The Freeflow rucksack keeps you cooler and more comfortable than ever, with a unique back design that maximises airflow and comfort and reduces the build-up of heat and sweat.

Prize 2: Vollebak Condition Black Ceramic T-Shirt (RRP £85)

Embedded with 100,000 ceramic particles, soft, lightweight, breathable, highly elastic, and high wicking – with ceramic technology that makes it highly abrasion resistant and long lasting.…/condition-black-ceramic-t-shirt/

Prize 3: Vollebak Nano 555 Base Layer Long Sleeve Top (RRP £50)

Designed to make you highly visible in any light condition anywhere on earth. Has a unique marker system made of glass beads that reflects in the dark.

Prize 4: Vollebak Mission (Dry)Sack (RRP £40)

Made from the material that Astronauts keep their mission helmets in. Weighs less than half an egg.

Ultra Endurance – Club Night Friday 3 May

Your club, your club night. We have a fantastic speaker lined up for the club night next Friday, 3 May, where the topic will be “Lessons from the toughest races on Earth”.

World class athlete and club member Darren “Dazzler” Roberts will be talking about his endurance exploits (for example, a 24-hour ultra marathon through the Namibian desert), and how some of the things he’s learned can be applied to cycling. We might have an additional guest specifically speaking about dehydration too (TBC).

Feel free to bring friends and family – runners, swimmers, cyclists, all endurance athletes will learn something. This promises to be another educational and entertaining evening. And as usual, there will be free beer, soft drinks, and chips.

Friday 3 May, All Saints Church Hall, Chapel Lane Farnborough GU14 9BW, 8.30pm to 10.00pm.

Ladies Take Over!

On the Gentle Paced Social Ride last Sunday, the ladies outnumbered the men! 

Our headline is a little bit tongue in cheek maybe, but it’s long been a key objective of the club to recruit more female riders and even up the gender balance a little, so this was truly gratifying to see.  We’ve had quite a few new ladies trying out our rides and signing up recently, helping us get to this little milestone.

As a club we quite understand how cycling can seem to be male-dominated, especially with the vast majority of TV coverage being of men’s races, but of course there are a large number of keen female cyclists as well, and we’d like to encourage more of them to join us.  We are a friendly, inclusive club and look forward to seeing even more ladies join us in the future, so if you’re thinking of giving us a try please do, you’ll be in good company.

(Nearly) One Year and Counting – A New Member’s Tale

By Paul Hosemann

I have lived most of my life in Farnborough, moving to the area as a young boy in 1969 having been born in Woking.

I grew up cycling to and from school, cycling in and around Hawley Woods and doing a paper round when I was 13, having to cycle through those woods in the darkest mornings of winter to deliver one paper to one house.

I was always aware of a small group of cyclists meeting at the Bridge around 9.30am on Sundays and thought I‘d check it out some day.

In the interim decades I cycled a lot here in the UK as well as trips in North America, France, Italy and Germany, but almost always on my own with only the odd trip with a friend or two. A mixture of on road and off road, depending upon my mood of the day.

Like many cyclists I became obsessed with data, throughout my rides checking how far I had ridden and how fast, what my heart rate was during the hill climbs and what my maximum speed was on the downhills. So much so, in fact, that on one British Heart Foundation London to Brighton ride I was pulled over by a police motorcyclist and almost charged for doing just under 55mph in a 30mph zone just off Ditchling Beacon.

When questioned by the officer, what did I think I was doing?, I didn‘t dare tell him “trying to get 55 mph on my Cateye odometer”. I was let off with a caution and my ride into Brighton was thereafter uneventful.

In 2016 I retired. I had reached 18 stone in weight through excessive corporate wining and dining and travelling the world with Time Warner. Following two prolapsed discs in 2005 I had neglected sport due to the associated pain and delayed recovery time, during which time I gained the weight.

I was ready for a change. I serviced an old Trek 300 MTB with a new Brooks saddle and new tyres and decided to ride the EuroVelo 15 from the source of the Rhine in Switzerland to its exit into the North Sea at the Hoek of Holland. 1500 km and 11 days later through Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland I finished the ride 12cm thinner around the waist and wanting more from my cycling.

So, some forty years after first looking at those cyclists at the bridge, my wife nudged me to go and give FCCC its first trial.

I spoke with Steve Hammatt and joined them in May 2018 for what was to be an incredible summer.

How far had I ridden was all I was asked and the rest, as they say, is history.

For the first few rides I was tested on the hills with the likes of Gavin Watson hanging back and motivating me at the rear of the group. He would kindly let me hang on to his rear wheel.

The thing I noticed the most was that I lost my obsession with data during the rides. We could chat as and when we wanted and I rarely looked down for confirmation of how far we had ridden, but would just make an odd check of the route if I had bothered to download the map (mainly to make sure I could reach the cafés for a bacon sarnie and cup of coffee mid-way round).

I have ventured out mainly with the gentle group, but also with the mid-paced group a few times, and thoroughly enjoyed it all so much that I have ridden for every available weekend in 2018 (assuming we were not in Germany where we have a second home) as well as during the winter and in the rain. Since joining I have put some serious mileage (for me at least) consistently into my bike week after week.

I am now several stones lighter (losing 14 kilos in 9 months) and have made a few new friends along the way too.

I can‘t believe that it took me over 40 years to join, but I am sure glad I did and I am sure so is my wife!

I realise that to make FCCC tick takes a lot of dedication behind the scenes from a rare breed of people who clearly put the club before themselves more often than I would care to count. The club nights, the web site, the meetings, the club kit secretary and the race meetings are, inter alia, all good examples of that dedication.

I would like to say thanks to FCCC and its variety of members who turn out early every Sunday and Wednesday under the railway bridge for making the small membership fee one of the best investments I have ever made.

See you all at the Bridge!