Archive for Audax and Sportivs

greenjersey joins London to Paris peloton

This morning I was cycling near Leatherhead on the way to Brighton when a motor cyclist pulled alongside and told me that there were three hundred cyclists coming up behind! When he then stopped the traffic on a roundabout and waved me through I realised that something was happening and a moment later the front end of a very big bunch came past.

The riders had frame and body numbers but I knew it wasn’t a race, after all I had tucked in without much trouble. We cruised along the A24 at 23mph for a few miles and just when I was dreaming of beating my record for the Harrow to Brighton trip they turned east on the A25 leaving me to return to my usual 16mph plod.

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Matt Damon rides Cape Argus Cycle Tour

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Matt looking a little over his best climbing weight

Actor Matt Damon took advantage of a working trip to South Africa to ride the 110km Argus Cycle Tour on a tandem piloted by brother Kyle. greenjersey has a finish in the event in his palmares although he failed to beat the three hour barrier which is generally considered to be the cut off for real racers.

Apparently Matt faced tough, windy conditions but it is uncertain if that can explain his seven hour time! Not to worry Matt as you rode for charity the time doesn’t matter.

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More Flandrians cycling for fun

There is no bigger fan of Flemish bike racing than greenjersey but for his own outings awheel he prefers Wallonnie with the May Day 200km classic Mons-Chimay-Mons being a particular favourite. Bashing along uneven concrete cycle paths in a Flemish cross wind has limited appeal in his view. It seems that thousands disagree as recreational cycling is on the rise in Flanders and is also resistant to the economic crisis. The Flemish Cyclists Federation (VWB) saw its membership in 2008 increase by 44 pc to 41,000 members. Remarkably that growth was almost entirely during the last four months, coinciding with the start of the financial crisis.

The VWB is focused on recreational touring cycling and sportives. The number of licensees increased from 28,485 in 2007 to 41,000 in 2008. One in three of the new members are women and there are now 10,571 females on board. Furthermore members are no longer exclusively middle-aged, and older, men. The average age of the membership is now 35 years for women and 41 years for men.

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P-B-P finish brings quiet satisfaction

This photograph is of  American Veronica Tunucci checking into the final control after 89hrs 58min with just two minutes to spare. The look on her face says it all really. More photos can be found on http://picasaweb.google.com/rob.hawks/ParisBrestParis

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P-B-P update no. 3

The good news is that Bob Harber and Damon Peacock both finished in eighty seven hours. I believe that Bob was a little quicker than 2003 which given that the weather was worse and he is now the wrong side of sixty is quite an achievement.

Sadly it seems that neither Ray Kelly nor Mike Butler finished as they both disappeared from the web site at 1000km. I calculate that Mike was just twenty minutes outside the time limit at the Villaines control. Surely he wasn’t pulled out with “only” 225km to go. As I said previously Mike seemed to have a long stay at Loudeac both out and back. That is fine if you can ride quickly between controls but IMHO you need to get in with a fast moving group most of the time and many of the older riders just can’t hack that. Incidentally I phoned Gino Goddard to give him the news about his cousin and I asked him how old he is. Gino said he doesn’t think he is seventy yet!! He is expected in the UK next month so I am hoping to meet him.

Poor Ray Kelly has, it seems, had to abandon for the second consecutive time and again at well over half distance. He may also have been pulled for being out of time at an intermediate control. I believe you will be allowed to continue if you have evidence of some misfortune but I think just having a bad spell cuts no ice.

So of the five riders I chose to track only three qualified. I think the drop out rate is normally about fifteen per cent so maybe I jinked them. Nevertheless they are all heroes and deserve respect

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P-B-P update no.2

As Beryl Burton showed many years ago women can hold their own with men in endurance cycling (remember her 12 hour ride of 277 miles?) so I am not surprised that of my group of riders Sheila Simpson is the first finisher. She took just over 86 hours so she was comfortably inside the time limit. Not that I am sure “comfortably” is the right word as Sheila doesn’t seem to have had too much sleep. Like everybody else she rode through the first night and then maybe two or three hours sleep for the next three nights. I have read that Sheila says she slows by two hours every four years so she has two more P-B-P’s in her which will take her to nine!

Of the rest Bob Harber and Damon Peacock arrived at Dreux (1156km) at 10am so they should be OK but at 1pm French time Ray Kelly and Mike Butler are not yet recorded as arriving at Mortagne (1082km). Ray however didn’t start until 11.10pm so he has some leeway. Lets hope it is an admin error and they are, in fact, on the last 70km stage.

It is now 3.15pm French time, fifteen minutes to go for 9.30pm starters, and the PBP site seems to have crashed! Over-use I guess.

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P-B-P update

It is five pm in the UK and for a lucky few PBP is over! Besides tracking a few acquaintances I followed a couple in the fast group selecting at random numbers 11 and 44. They got to Brest at 615km (385 miles) in 20hrs 35min. and returned in 24hrs. 15min for  total time of 44hrs. 50min. Some ride  for 1225kms (765 miles) eh? Interestingly although they were clearly in the same group no.11 always checked in a minute or two after no.44 at each control. I guess no.44 is the pushy type.

Here are the turn times for the riders I have followed. Remember that they started at various times between 9.30pm and 11.10pm.

Sheila Simpson, a woman I met on the 2003 event. She is middle-aged and doesn’t look particularly athletic.  She has finished six times and is going like a train getting to Brest in 38 hrs 18 min. Well done Sheila.

Bob Harber, Brighton Excelsior rode in 2003 when he just beat 90 hrs. He got to Brest in 40hrs 46 min.

Ray Kelly, Willesden CC, has finished four or five times. In 2003 he rode on the back of a tandem but sadly the freehub packed up after 800 miles. This time he turned in 40hrs 45min. Don’t presume that Bob and Ray have been riding together as Ray started one hour after Bob.

Gino Goddard’s cousin from Texas Mike Butler turned in 41hrs 30min and seems to be slowing after a quickish start.

Finally Damon Peacock, Southport CC, who warmed up for the event by riding the 24hr TT championship took 40hrs 33min.  Of course it is not just speed on the road that matters but time in the controls is important. I think that they all had a kip at Loudeac after 450kms. There are many unknowns such as meal breaks but also unknown unknowns including mechanical problems and crashes. The good news is that they have all got longer to return than it took to do the outward leg so with luck they should qualify.

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