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2012 Season

Time Trialling Continues to Flourish in VCGH
Roger Scott's review of the 2012 season

Well what a fabulous year 2012 was for time trialling! With his two brilliant time trial stage victories in the Tour de France, followed by his amazing gold medal performance in the Olympics, Bradley Wiggins was an inspiration to us all. Incredible that Britain produces so many of the world’s top time triallists. We had the one and only Chris Boardman, now we have Bradley with Chris Froome and Alex Dowsett not far behind. Those of us in VCGH who love our time trialling are not short of role models!

We now have more VCGH members than ever participating in time trials and what a great year many of them have experienced. Let’s start with team time trials. Special mention must be made of the fantastic ride by Peter Phipps, Karl Chandler and Rob Marcus in the a3crg 3up Jubilee 25miles TTT on 5th June. Our three guys recorded 57.14 and won the silver medal against some very strong opposition. 

Pete Phipps, Karl Chandler and Rob Marcus
Peter Phipps, Karl Chandler and Rob Marcus in the a3crg 3-up
Jubilee 25 mile TTT on 5th June 2012
 - photo Warren Peters

We had two teams riding this year in the UCI’s highly prestigious Duo Normand. The incredibly talented pairing of Steve Williamson and Lara Taylor came 6th in the mixed category in the awesomely fast time of  1.23.19 ( significantly beating their last year’s winning time) while Peter Phipps and Rob Marcus came 14th out of 39 teams in the vets category with a time of 1.27.29 for the 54.3k course. The quality and class of the event is illustrated by the fact that in the mixed event the British international Wendy Houvenaghel and her partner could only come second while the men’s open category was won by Luke Durbridge and Svein Tuft of Orica GreeneEDGE with Team Sky’s Alex Dowsett and Luke Rowe coming second. Big, big names indeed! Great to have club members competing in such illustrious company.

Steve Williamson and Lara Taylor
Steve Williamson and Lara Taylor came 6th in the mixed
category of the Duo Normand on 30th September 2012
- photo Régis Garnier, Velofotopro

Big Steve Williamson is now up there among the stars of our time trialling scene. I love to see Steve going flat out in an event, he is a real picture of beautifully controlled power and strength and very much looks the part of the top TT rider he has become. Steve won several of the evening 10’s run by Farnham RC and by Alton CC but perhaps the highlight of his season was when he recorded a new personal best 25miles time of 54.25 (an average speed of no less than 27.6mph!) beating his previous best by a minute.

Steve Williamson
Steve Williamson

Our club’s other big TT star is of course Lara Taylor who is now a major name on the national TT scene and rode in this year’s national championships at the 10, 25 and 50 miles distances. Lara came 7th in the British Time Trials Championships (Women) and was also third in this year’s highly prestigious Beryl Burton Trophy. At a more local level, Lara won the North Hampshire RC Open 25 in September with a time of 59.08. Lara has the perfect low and flat-backed riding position and always looks every inch the top class rider she has now become. Sheer poetry in motion!

Lara Taylor
Lara Taylor - 4th in the women's category at
Blenheim Palace TT on 18th August 2012
- photo Phil O'Connor

Another very talented rider is Peter Phipps - a real class act. As well as his great rides in team time trials Peter also did some outstanding individual rides. He loves the courses on the A31 and this is where he did his fastest rides of the season. His PBs for the year were 22.34 for 10miles, 47.20 for 20 miles and 59.41 for 25miles. As we all know, time trialling can be very frustrating and no one knows this better than Peter.  On 26th June he was riding a 25 on the A31(of course!). It was a seriously fast float day and there were lots of riders doing PB’s. Peter was on the ride of his life heading for an all time best 57 when with a couple of miles to go disaster struck and he punctured. Dreadful luck but such is the life of a time trialler!! No doubt you will have better luck and do that elusive 57 next year Peter.

Peter Phipps
Peter Phipps

Rob Marcus is a fantastic all-round racing cyclist. For most of his cycling career he has been a successful road racer with many wins to his credit. Last year he began seriously doing time trials as well. Despite riding fixed gears and a modified road bike he did some very fast times and got extremely enthusiastic about this branch of bike racing. So much so he got himself fully equipped over the winter and began this year with a flash specialist TT bike complete with normal TT gears. In all, Rob rode 24 events during the year  and in so doing DNF’d once, went off-course twice and rode at least four events when it rained from the start to the finish of his rides – the joys of time trialling!  As well as fast drag strip courses, Rob also did 7 events on rolling/hilly sporting courses. I have already reported on Rob’s successes in team time trials but he also did some very fast solo rides. His best for 10 miles was 23.03, for 25 miles it was 59.55 and for 50 miles it was 2.04.46. Great season Rob, I know you are passionate about your road racing but I think and hope you are now equally committed to the TT scene – I do agree that TTs can seem grim and hurt a lot while you are doing them but remember the same goes for road racing especially when you get dropped (probably doesn’t happen to you but it certainly did to me whenever there was a big hill!) or get involved in a crash!

Rob Marcus
Rob Marcus

As we all know from our club runs, Charles Fletcher is a very experienced and classy bike rider. He is also an extremely talented triathlete having represented Great Britain in World Championships. He is however relatively new to time trialling. Charles did many of the a3crg Wednesday night 10’s and saved his best till last doing a PB of 24.03 in the last event of the season. There is clearly even better to come and I am sure 2013 will see Charles making still further improvements.

Mike Boyce, our Road Captain, is one of my heroes; such a considerate guy and such an excellent all-round rider. This was his second full time trial season. Allow me to let Mike tell you about his year in his own words  - "My goals for this season were set last year.....improve on my 10 and 25 mile times, get higher up the a3crg Summer League and beat Sarah Farmer from Team Axiom! All of these I achieved with the exception of the league; last year I came fourth and this year tenth...and my times are faster! It is an indication of the growing popularity of time trialling because when I signed on for the first ride on the A3 there were over seventy riders with the queue going out of the door, this compared to the average fifty or so last year. So after hitting the free weights in the gym from January Ist, I had a strong start to the early season and my times were coming down nicely - everything was on track for a good year. Then it rained and rained and rained, events were cancelled and the gym become a distant memory, and no matter what anyone says, riding at maximal level is difficult unless you're competing; no matter how hard you train it’s just not the same. The odd break in the weather saw some sunshine and times started to improve again and I finished the year with a 25 PB on Bentley.”  Mike , like Charles Fletcher, used to be a really good long distance runner and has outstanding athletic knowledge and prowess. He loves competing and having measurable targets and has taken to time trialling like a duck to water. It was great to see him competing so regularly and successfully improving his PB’s to 24.19 for 10 miles and 1.04.15 for 25 miles. Great work Mike!

Mike Boyce
Mike Boyce

And what about your reporter, Roger? Well I had a steady season. One thing I can tell you is that I was a model of consistency. I rode eleven 10’s and for nine of them my times were within a 17seconds span from a slowest of 23.54 to a fastest of 23.37. I was also consistent in that for all but one of the eleven events I rode I was fastest on vets' age standard. Sadly my ambition of getting below 23minutes did not come to pass (I was not even close) but as I seem to say at this time every year “there is always next year!”. Amazingly, after so many years at it, I still love the challenge and comradeship of time trialling and it is such a good feeling on those occasions when you know you have given it everything and done as well as you possibly can.

Roger Scott
Roger Scott

Other members who have ridden time trials during the year include Adam Denton, Stephen Donovan, Mark Herbert and Natasha Barry. All rode with great credit but maybe special mention should be made of Natasha. She continues to resist persuasion to get a proper TT bike and persists in riding a less than brilliant old road bike – despite this she still does 25minute tens! Just think how fast she would be with the right equipment!

Well the 2012 season is not long over but we are now already keenly anticipating and looking forward to 2013. We hope to welcome back some old faces: Brian, great you still have your TT bike, life is poorer for the rest of us without your friendly company. Matt we miss you and all your fast rides despite your frequent mechanical mishaps! Karl we also want to see more of you and your very speedy stylish riding in your flash GB/SKY skin suit. We also want to welcome lots of new riders next year – Chris you for one! Guys, I appreciate that when you have not done it before, the thought of doing your first time trial can seem a bit intimidating. It need not be, there are lots of us in the club with good knowledge and experience who will be only too pleased to give you all the help we can and warmly welcome you into the fold. Around March we will be publishing details of early season events so look forward to seeing you on the start line next year.

Roger Scott

November 2012