The bitterly cold weather finally gave up its grip and the frozen streams and waterfalls above Llyn Fawr were flowing again on the day of the Bryn Griffiths 25 mile Time Trial. Unfortunately, the change in the weather also brought heavy overnight rain and strong winds which caused half of an already depleted field to stay in bed. Maybe they should have been more intrepid because Kieron Davies of Bynea CC still managed to win in the incredible time of 49 minutes and 56 seconds, closely followed by RAF CC’s Justyn Cannon, an Acme member in his youth, with a time of 50 mins 28 secs. Not to be outdone, the only junior entry, 17 year old Luke Davies riding for VC St Raphael, recorded an excellent 55-24.
Once again the Acme members showed how well they pull together with the event superbly marshalled and signposted. A great bunch of ladies in control of a vast supply of sandwiches and home-made cakes [ even some special Acme ones in club colours! ] kept riders and tired marshals well fed and watered. The atmosphere at HQ was of the usual friendly variety as riders gathered for the presentation of prizes by that good friend of our club, John Pritchard MBE, himself a former winner of the event on five occasions.
Organiser Tony Rees, taking the reins for the first time was more than pleased with the support he received from members, with even former organiser Chris Clements in charge of the result board and wife Caroline still overseeing the signing-on procedure. Riders once again commented on a well-run event and Tony’s friend Steve who kindly transported the result boards and accompanied him around the course said he had really enjoyed the whole experience.
Three of our riders competed in the event. Veterans Paul Griffiths and Kevin Bartlemore have been concentrating on endurance miles in their build-up to the longer BAR events so were happy enough with their times of 1-09-04 [Paul] and 1-03-45 [Kevin]. Gary Flower, off as first man, certainly did his Acme vest proud, recording 1-02-50 in his first ever 25 mile TT having recorded a 25-26 the previous weekend.
Riding their first Time Trials in that West Wales Cycling League 10 mile event. were Dai Long and Dan Taylor, both taking a rest from the road racing scene. Dai recorded 28-27 while Dan did a 25-04, mentally kicking himself for not going five seconds faster! Gary and Dan beat their bronze club standards for 10 miles. Gary then did the same for 25 miles and was only fifty seconds outside the silver standard. That should soon be within his grasp.
Our club vest has been proudly displayed recently in the circuit races at Llandow too, with five senior members joined by juvenile riders Ethan and Evan in the freezing and windy conditions that have marred all the races so far this year. Switching circuits, Dai Long competed in the criterium at Maindy Stadium last Wednesday where he gained his first point with 9th place and is now keen to collect more.
The first of our Club Championships, the 30 mile Time Trial incorporated in the Bynea event was held on Sunday 21st. Road works and traffic lights due to subsidence near Llandovery caused a change of course, riders starting at Manordeilo and following the A40 to Abergwili roundabout near Carmarthen where they turned and re-traced. Early weather prospects were good with no wind and a temperature of nine degrees but by the time of the 09.01 start a breeze had sprung up which steadily strengthened and reduced the temperature considerably. Three members only, contested for the Championship over this very tough and hilly course which was typical of some of the continental professional races and definitely a strongman’s course. First of our riders to start was Gary Flower, keen to beat a club standard and challenge for the championship following his excellent showing in our Open 25 mile. He rode on his new TT machine but was uncomfortable in his new position although he still recorded 1hour 19 mins 09 secs, beating the bronze standard by almost five minutes. Our eldest rider, Paul Griffiths, as keen as ever, struggled on such a hilly course to record 1-33-22, slower than his 2012 ride on the usual course but is looking forward to the rest of the season, flatter courses and warmer weather. Dan Taylor, on his standard road bike, made a strong start and at the turn was only 45 secs behind his minute man, number 25, Dan Colman. His road race background was of value on this hilly course where he continued to claw back the seconds to finish just ten seconds behind his quarry in an excellent time of 1-15-23, beating the silver standard by just over a minute and securing the Championship trophy for 2013.
Photos from the events can be seen in the Photo Gallery.
On Sunday 7th April, nine members of the club met at The Welcome Inn to take part in the last of this year’s reliability trials – The Hilly Ride (45 miles). After the recent spell of cold and windy weather it was nice to start the event in reasonably calm and slightly warmer conditions. The riders were waved off by new club chairman, Jeff Matthews who was accompanied by his predecessor Roger Evans and supporting cameramen – Kerry Lewis and Chris Thomas.
The group rode together up the valley and some way up The Bwlch before the first splits occurred. At the top junction there was no respite as the route turned right towards the Afan Valley. There was a very brief regroup at the mast, before the group split into two on the very cold (and icy) descent into Abergwynfi.
The front group - Paul Harries, Neil Lewis, Glen Waters, Phil Andrews, Simon Iles and Ian Humphries continued down the valley to the next climb from Cymmer, over the Bryn, into Maesteg. At this point the following group of Jason Dodd, Tavis Rees and Tony Rees were not that far behind. The pace increased in the Maesteg Valley before the route turned left towards Shwt.
This climb was surprisingly steep and made slightly more difficult by width restrictions on the road due to road works. It also had a little sting in the tail with the further climb to Llangeinor. It was on the descent into Ogmore Vale that Paul Harries strung out the front group into an order that stayed the same over the final climb of the Bwlch and back to The Welcome.
Jason, Tavis and Tony caught Ian on the climb to Shwt and this group stayed together until Nantymoel where Ian lost contact on the climb from the clock tower. He worked hard to rejoin on the descent to Treorchy and these riders stayed together to the finish.
Final finishing times were as follows. Paul Harries – 2 hrs 31 mins. Neil Lewis – 2.35, Phil Matthews – 2.36, Glen Waters – 2.40, Simon Iles – 2.42. Remaining Riders – 2 hrs 48 mins.
Because of their shift patterns, Dean and Hywel were unable to ride that Sunday but not wanting to miss the experience they rode the course on 30th March, completing the distance in 2 hours 48 minutes.
Many photos from the event can be seen in the Gallery.
The first event in the club calendar finally took place on Sunday 17th February after being delayed for a fortnight due to the atrocious weather we are (again) suffering this year. Sixteen members and two guests left The Welcome Inn at 9.30am in dry but cold conditions to complete the 50 Mile Reliability Trial. Recently retired Chairman Roger Evans deputised for his successor as ‘starter’ as Jeff Matthews was off relaxing in sunnier climes.
The group rode steadily through Pontypridd and on to Treforest Industrial Estate before the first climb at Nantgarw. After a bit of regrouping it was on through Bedwas and the rolling roads through Machen and Rhiwderen to Tredegar Park. At this point there was a diversion along the A48 to Marshfield, due to roadworks on the Newport Flats, before the usual route was rejoined. Ian Humphries provided the entertainment during a ‘natural break’ when he performed a ‘piked triple somersault’ down a grass embankment that resulted in some unfortunate brown stains on his shorts. (Always a crowd pleaser!).
The centre of Cardiff provided unwelcome disruption to the ride, with every set of lights changing against the group. A slight increase in pace at Old Llantrisant Road caused small gaps to appear on the undulations towards Groesfaen.This resulted in some riders being held at the traffic lights at The Castell Mynach pub while the majority rode together to the finish at the Royal Mint. All riders finished the ride in just over 3 hours – at least 20 minutes inside the allotted time for the distance.
Sunday 24th February saw Dai Long, Steve Williams and Dan Taylor competing in the first circuit race of the year at Llandow. A huge number of riders and supporters overflowed the car park and were greeted by a grey morning with a biting north-easterly wind on the riders left shoulders approaching the finish line on a clockwise circuit. All three of our riders were competing in their first ever race of this type. Their lack of experience didn't allow them to challenge for points but all rode strongly throughout, maintaining their effort to the line which bodes well for future races. It was especially pleasing to see the large number of juvenile riders of all ages taking part. With the amount of talking and shouting going on it was a wonder they had breath to race but were certainly enjoying themselves. Work commitments and health problems prevented a number of our riders from taking part on this occasion so it will be good to see a large number of Acme jerseys in the upcoming races. There are many others in the Club with the ability to compete in these events so why not join the current riders for a half hour race ?
More pictures from both events are in the Gallery. Thanks to Kerry and Chris for standing for so long in the freezing wind to provide the superb quality, Llandow photos.
|Question of the Week.|
Which Acme holder of a TDF climbers jersey tempted fate this week by asking a Llantwit Major butcher " Which stable did it come from ?"
Continuing the jersey theme, illustrated below is the new Club design chosen at the recent Annual General Meeting. The final details will be subject to approval by British Cycling and the production requirements of the manufacturer. At present, several manufacturers are being considered, with quality as well as cost being an important factor. It is intended that the new kit will be available to members in time for the 2014 racing season.
Welcome to new member, Dale Stollery from Nantymoel who, together with Colin Jones, also of Nantymoel is expanding our catchment area westwards. We look forward to seeing you both on clubruns and at the clubroom.