Cyclo-cross – First Race Experiences

By Ian Stuart. Photos by Molli Keenor.

I bought a cyclocross bike to commute to work in 2015 when living in London, as I wanted hydraulic discs and those were not really rolled out to road bikes. I progressed to lapping Richmond Park – not the road with the rest of the cyclists, but the gravel perimeter path. Moving to Camberley, the forest roads of Swinley were a gift so riding on gravel and grass is not alien to me.

Attending the club CX evening presented by Scott Heyhoe gave me the encouragement that I needed to finally enter the type of race that I had always intended to do. I have ridden CX sportives and road sportives in which, in essence, you are racing yourself. But racing other riders, that was different. So off I went to Bedfont on a Sunday in October.

There was a grid start, which I was at the back of (no form to give the organisers any gridding data). I tried to jump a few places on the start before the group filtered out into single file except I jumped for too long and blew out a bit. I just ploughed on trying not to slip off and the heavy rain made the race very muddy.

42nd out of 50 was a pleasing result for my first race. Now I’m thinking of entering one or two more this season for experience, and joining a league next year since this season I have started 5 races in.

Well worth giving it a go, though, and I would thoroughly recommend anyone to have at least one shot.

Carbon Fibre – Club Night Friday 2 November

Come along to an educational and entertaining evening, when Simon Whiten from Handsling Bikes will be answering all of your questions about carbon fibre.

  • Ever bought a “branded” carbon fibre frame and wondered whether a non-branded one would be just the same but half the price?
  • Ever wondered how on earth you can make wheels out of carbon fibre?
  • Ever wondered whether carbon fibre can be repaired after a crash?
  • Ever wondered whether beer and chips would be provided again? (YES!!!)

Soft drinks and crisps for the kids and drivers. Guests and prospective members are very welcome.

See Simon’s very latest and most wonderful aero road bike – with disc brakes!

Friday 2 November, 8:30pm, All Saints Hall, Chapel Lane, Farnborough GU14 9BW

Club Trophies – Have You Won?

As a club we are fortunate to have a rich history that includes an impressive trophy collection (far more than are pictured above), covering all sorts of categories – not just time trials but also road racing, hill climbs, track racing and even sportives.

The large number of trophies means that sometimes a member might have won something without even realising it! The full list of trophies and the rules for them (including exactly what is needed to win each one) are detailed in the club rules document (pages 5-9), accessible via the Members’ area of the website.

The onus is on members to come forward and claim trophies. Obviously if an award is for a particular club event (e.g. the annual hill climb championship) then the committee will already know about that and can present the trophy. However, some of the categories are a lot less clear cut and we really need members to come to the committee and say that they think they could be eligible for a trophy. For example, the committee can’t keep track of all open time trials that a member might have entered, so if you’ve achieved a very good time at Little Wallop CC’s TT and that’s connected to a trophy, you need to tell the committee.

Here’s another example – The Sportive Trophy, which according to the rules (page 8) is “awarded to the member with the greatest total distance ridden in sportives and audaxes. The time period to be 10 months from 1st February to 30th November.” Now this is one where the committee will have no real idea who might have won this, and we need members to present their lists of sportives and audaxes to us. Someone out there will have won this, and we want as many trophies as possible to be looked after and displayed by members and not to have to sit in a box in a storeroom somewhere!

The trophies are presented annually at the club dinner (date for 2019 to be advised in due course).

Don’t be shy in coming forward, and please email the committee if you would like to put forward a claim for a trophy.

British Cycling and Cycling UK membership

As a club, we strongly recommend that everyone who rides be a member of either British Cycling, or Cycling UK (or both). As well as providing some handy discounts and other benefits, membership of either of these organisations provides third-party liability insurance and also a legal helpline and legal services should you be involved in an accident.

As FCCC is an affiliate member of both organisations, club members can take advantage of discounted offers to join British Cycling and/or Cycling UK. See the Member Benefits page of the club website for more details of these offers (in the Membership Discounts section).


Club Night – Carbon Fibre

November’s club night will feature a talk that we’re sure will be of interest to a lot of members. Guests and prospective members are very welcome too. And the free beer and chips at last month’s club night proved so popular that they’ll be back! Soft drinks will also be available, of course.

From carbon-copy frames to real-deal wheels, learn everything there is to know about the wonderful world of carbon fibre. In an entertaining and educational evening, Simon Whiten from Handsling Bikes will share his vast knowledge of carbon fibre and how it has revolutionised the bike industry.

Join us at 8:30pm on Friday 2 November at All Saints Hall, Chapel Lane, Farnborough GU14 9BW.

Off-Road Ride – Saturday 10 November

Scott Heyhoe will be leading an off-road ride on Saturday 10 November. Be ready to ride at 8am at the canal car park at the junction of Reading Road South and Aldershot Road in Fleet.

This will be a three hour ride.

Everyone welcome for a mid-paced off-road ride. Discover parts of North Hampshire that you’ve probably ridden past a hundred times on the road. The tracks and bridleways are 100% rideable.

Suitable for mountain bikes, gravel bikes and cyclocross bikes. Scott will bring a couple of spare MTBs if anyone wants to borrow one, but please contact him in advance to check –

Off-Road Update

We’re busy working to promote and expand the off-road activities within the club and trying to get more members involved, covering both mountain biking and cyclo-cross.

The recent club night on cyclo-cross was very successful and well-attended, and the slides from Scott Heyhoe’s presentation are now available on the updated cyclo-cross page.

Also now on that same page is a link to a cyclo-cross race report section, with the starting point being a report on two races at Milton Keynes last month.

Now that we’re incorporating mountain biking into the website as well, you might notice that the menus have been slightly restructured, with CX moving into a new Off-Road menu, and with a new mountain biking  page being added.

The mountain biking page is still under construction and is at a very early stage. We know that many club members are keen mountain bikers, and we’re keen to promote and organise more off-road club rides. If you’re currently riding off-road on your own and would like to sometimes ride with others, then get in touch with Scott Heyhoe, who is organising some rides. Or if you already have your own group off-road ride and would like to promote it and get other club members involved, then similarly please get in touch.

If you have any input about club off-road cycling, then please either get in touch with Scott or with the committee in general. It’s your club and we need you to make things happen!

Member Discount – Osteopathic Consultancy

Following September’s excellent talk from Laura Fishlock and Alex Watson from the Osteopathic Consultancy, we are pleased to announce that we now have a number of vouchers that can be used by club members to obtain a £10 discount for a consultation with Laura.

These vouchers are valid until the end of February 2019, and we only have a limited number. So if you’d like to take advantage of this offer, then please get in touch.

Road Race Team – 9th in Surrey League

The Surrey League road race rankings have recently been updated, with the FCCC road race team currently lying 9th out of 54 teams, with one race left to go. This is a great performance from the team, and a big improvement on last year’s rankings, reflecting how the team has grown in strength and experience this season.

Find out more about the club’s road racing activities, and how to get involved, here.

  1. Meudon Sovereign Pedal Heaven RT 590
  2. Southdowns Bikes CASCO pet Racing Club 488
  3. Crawley Wheelers 475
  4. Kingston Wheelers 290
  5. Blazing Saddles 266
  6. Norwood Paragon CC 230
  7. VC Meudon 227
  8. London Dynamo 187
  9. Farnborough & Camberley Cycling Club 180
  10. Paceline RT 175