The East London club for all kinds of sports cycling

ESL Spring Rumble #2

Both myself (Scarlett) and Ben Preston were due to race the 4th/novices race at the second Eastway Supporters' League Spring Rumble on Saturday 22nd April. It was a glorious afternoon, and I was feeling very confident about picking up some prize money... until I went to sign on and realized I'd left my licence at home. In no position to pay for a £10 day licence, I rode back home to pick it up, and resigned myself to a more gruelling ride in the 2nd/3rd/4th race an hour later.

When I got back to the circuit, I watched the last 5 laps of Ben's race. He was looking very strong, and even sprinted over the line with 3 laps to go, confusing all the spectators for a moment who wondered if it was actually the end. Next time round, recovering from the effort, Ben had drifted back to the middle of the bunch, but as they rounded the final bend, he was back on the front with his eyes firml
y on the finish line. With 50m to go, a number of riders began to ominously fan out across the track and nudge their front wheels up alongside Ben's bike, and it looked like he was going to get pipped at the post...

But no! Showing great determination, Ben found the energy for a final surge, and finished a bike length ahead of his rivals. A fantastic effort, and his first victory. Contrary to initial details on the BCF website, the race was classified as C+, which means he'll earn 10 points, making him a 3rd cat. Who knows, perhaps Ben and Trevor might enter the Lea Valley 1/2/3 road race next year and get some glory for the host club...

The top ten:

1 34 Ben Preston Lea Valley CC 59:47.9
2 8 Dan Schaffer Hardy Athlectics 59:48.0
3 12 Tony Whale PCA/Ciclos Uno 59:48.1 4
4 10 Pete Ruffhead Artic/Shorter 59:48.1
5 35 Chris Bracewell VC Londres 59:48.4
6 33 David Gardner London Dynamo 59:48.5
7 17 Ray Snow Southend Whlrs 59:48.5 4
8 6 Simon Constable Essex Roads CC 59:48.5
9 9 Jeff Tan Dulwich Paragon CC 59:48.6
10 36 Ian Cleverly Mosquito Bikes RT 59:48.7

The pace in the next race was too tough for many (averaging 42km/h), and I had been dropped by the bunch within 2 laps. I decided that there was no way I was going to pay £13 for 5mins riding round Eastway, so I suffered like a dog for 3 laps and finally got back on, dragging someone else with me. Yo-yoing off the back on every corner made it very difficult to recover, and I nearly packed quite a few times during the first 35mins of the race - many did.

There were a couple of crashes (one on the hairpin, and one at high speed on the bend that swoops down into the back straight) but luckily they happened a few bike lengths in front of me and I had time for evasive manoeuvres. With about 5 laps to go, the pace slowed a little as people at the front started to play games with each other (no-one had managed to escape the fast moving bunch for long) and I probably could've moved up towards the front. However, I wasn't feeling gung-ho enough, and decided to be satisfied with finishing in the bunch - good training for next week's 32 lap ECCA 3rd/4th race. In the end, Dominic Gabellini (Rapha/Condor) outsprinted a class field.

Congratulations again to Ben - his weekday residence in the land of Merckx and Boonen seems to be instilling him with a new found class and confidence.

Southend Shakedown (Pedal Powered Variety)

Lea Valley's intrepid bank holiday century team were faced with the spectacle of thousands of motorbikers when they arrived at Southend, the lunch stop and halfway point in their ride.

It was the annual Southend Shakedown, when bikers from all over the country set out from the famous Ace Café on the North Circular and head for the coast.

At 9am in Walthamstow, Sean, Anna, Dave, Wally and me (Scarlett) set out for Navestock Side where Gideon had arranged to hook up with us. The weather looked promising, and a moderate tailwind saw the group making double quick time along what was ostensibly the London-Southend charity ride route. The lanes were fairly deserted, the spring flowers were out, and we were in East Hanningfield at 11am, where Sean bid farewell, riding home for a social engagement and completing 70 miles as a chaser to his recent cycling (and ogling) binge in Italy.

The five of us pushed on, and apart from a grim stretch where we ended up on a busy A-road, we enjoyed quiet roads till the outskirts of Southend. There were a lot of motorbikes heading for the seafront, but the scale of their presence didn't become clear till we spilled onto the promenade at 1pm. It was quite a crush, trying to snake our way through the leather-clad throngs to find a café, but the sartorial elegance of my retro-Peugot jersey – replete with black and white chequered band – was not wasted on the bikers, including the odd Mod astride a scooter.

Various combinations of chips, baked potatoes, eggs, and beans, were washed down with sugary tea and coffee (and Fanta for Gideon), and we received VIP treatment from the staff who were 'impressed' with the fact we were going to ride another 50+ miles back to London.

Water bottles topped up, and sticks of Southend rock in jersey pockets, it was time to head home. We knew the headwind would take its toll, but the group stayed together, with everyone doing turns on the front, and soon we were winging our way back over the top of Hanningfield Reservoir. Anna reminded the group to stop for flapjack, marzipan and rock devouring sessions, and I kept Gideon in check as he was clearly keen to flex his tempo muscles at the front. In Ingatestone, Wally supplied each group member with a bottle of blue liquid (that set my teeth on edge despite me watering it down), and it was probably thanks to this that everyone sustained the 17mph average over the course of 105 miles (though thanks to living in the inner city ghetto, I managed 120!) – and everyone was hugely enamoured with my decision to chuck in some hill intervals as soon as we got near Chigwell, but this was my reward for doing the whole ride on an 81" fixed gear.

So, a fantastic day out, with 100+ miles feeling well within everyone's capabilities, which is quite impressive considering the lack of distance riding any of us had done of late. Dave is now spinning up hills like a retired geezer from Texas, and Gideon is rolling along on the flat like a German bloke with a penchant for pies.

Not sure where to go next. I'm still keen to do a route that goes up and down every climb bisecting the Pilgrims Way between Sevenoaks and Dorking, but we all know I've got issues...

(photo is by Natalie Emery, from the webpages)

Spring has Sprung: Dates for your Diary

All of a sudden it's not so dark at night, not quite so cold in the morning and (have you noticed?) there seems to be dozens of cyclists about.

It's diaries out time for an action packed few months of cycling for leisure, for pleasure, for glory and more…

With a major cycling festival on the way, bank holidays a plenty and the sheer bloody minded determination of some, there’s plenty of opportunity to get out there.

Wed April 12th, 7am – Walt Town Hall

The action starts with a 25 mile early morning training ride – the usual one a few LVCCers are crazy enough to attempt each week, but this week shifted to a day earlier. (Note: this ride is weekly, but usually occurs on a Thursday).

Good Friday, April 14th, 9.30am – Walt Town Hall
A special ‘extra’ club run this one, through the streets of London and finishing up at Herne Hill velodrome to watch the Good Friday races (£12 for adults, £6 for children, £30 for a family ticket, don’t forget your D-lock!). More details here. Be on time! (Same Friday, 8am, training circuits at the Eastway, for those who want to complement the Good Friday ride, or who can’t make the day trip).

Saturday, April 15th, time tbc, Walt Town Hall
Likely to be a 25-30 mile Essex jaunt/training ride with a reasonably early start. For full details, click on the Join/Organise a ride button to the right. This may not happen, so do click for confirmation and let us know if you’re up for it. Note: This rise is NOT happening, but a training ride at Richmond Park IS! See Join/Organise a ride.

Monday, April 17th, 9am sharp, Walt Town Hall - ride now confirmed
This time a longer ride – likely to be 80+ miles, getting fish and chips in Southend, then coming back on the train or on two wheels. Click on Join/Organise a ride to see what’s going on.
(Note: there is no weekly club night this Monday night, due to the Easter holidays)

Sunday, April 23rd, 8.30am, Club Race HQ
One for the Time Trialers this, it’s a 30 miler on the E1/30 course. Entry has passed, and half a dozen LVCCers are participating. Why not join in the fun and support fellow members?

Saturday, April 29th – Monday, 1st May, all over the area
This is the Big One! It’s the 2006 Eastern Counties Cycling Festival, with events ranging from a 10 mile Time Trial at Eastway (organised by us! Volunteers please!) on the Saturday, to an elite road race around the Essex Lanes the same afternoon. Sunday sees map reading contests, as well as a tandem and 2-up 25 mile time trial. Monday concludes with more time trials, and a 200k and 100k audax. Phew!

For more information on the cycling festival, visit the ECCA website by clicking here.

So, it’s going to be a busy few weeks, but lots of fun – with plenty of opportunities for beginners and experienced alike to get out spinning! Enjoy, and hey, don’t forget to post your comments, experiences and race reports at this website!

Remember: The ‘Join or Organise a Ride’ forum (click the button on the right) is your tool for organising a spin – for fun or training, so do use it! If you fancy a weekend ride to the Race HQ, maybe someone else does too! Getting up at 7am to do reps up Mott Street? Someone else might be that crazy as well. You’ll never know unless you look.