UCI World Championships

Four Acme members made the long journey to Yorkshire aiming to enjoy the spectacle of the UCI World Championships.  After a trouble free journey and a quick case drop off in Leeds, it was straight on to Harrogate to catch the end of the Junior Men’s Championship.  The weather conditions had improved from earlier in the week but the riders, and spectators, had to contend with constant showers. Dean, Jeff, Kerry and Mark caught the final circuits around Harrogate to see the American, Quinn Simmons win after a long solo breakaway.

At the end of the race a visit to the Fan Zone gave an indication of what was to come in this large field as the weather would deteriorate.  Although there were walkways set down, the grass areas were very wet making it difficult to walk around freely.

The centre of Harrogate is quite small and was easy to get around and a Weatherspoons was soon found as the likely venue for food that evening.  Before then a meeting with other spectators in a pub on the circuit clearly demonstrated the pulling power of the event as there were supporters from all over Europe, many of whom were veterans of the event.  Celebrity spotting in Weatherspoons was easy as we sat on the table next to David Millar and Peter Kennaugh, who were very happy to have a photo with us.

Friday morning began with breakfast while watching TV coverage of the Junior Women as they raced from Doncaster to Harrogate.  After a short train ride we were on the finishing circuit to see American Megan Jastrad win a hard fought battle over the tough final kilometre.  Not long after she was riding back to her hotel all alone and very willing to talk to spectators and have her photo taken with them.

The American theme continued during the day as we struck up a friendship with Wisconsin residents Matt and Gretchen Harr who shared our company during the day and even had their first taste of Weatherspoons with us.

Later in the day the Under 23 Men also started from Doncaster though the course was much longer. Local rider Tom Pidcock was well supported on the route though a recent serious fall off the bike only a month earlier would surely take its toll. The Dutch rider first over the line was deemed to have drafted behind his team car for too long earlier in the race and was disqualified and, much to the local supporters delight, the British rider was awarded the Bronze Medal.

At last the weather improved on the Saturday for the Elite Women who started in Bradford. The sun shone as we ventured into the Fan Zone which had dried up a little and the stall and exhibitions were full. Accompanied by Matt and Gretchen we took up our favoured position in the Hales Arms just inside the kilometre mark where we could view the race at several points on the circuit and get to the TV to see the finish.  The Dutch were rewarded after the previous day’s disappointment with Gold and Silver.

Sunday morning the forecast was horrendous, luckily the rain held off for the start, just five minutes from our hotel on Leeds.  As soon as the peleton rolled out it was back to the hotel for Mark and Jeff to watch Wales beat Australia.  By the time the race reached the circuit the rain had really set in but this did not deter us from walking the last few kilometres to watch the race unfold through the wet leaf strewn streets.  The break away was strong and never looked like getting caught with Pedersen saving just enough to win the gold in the last 500 metres.

Even though we were all soaked through on the Sunday, it had been a fantastic experience and an extremely well organised series of races.  We met supporters from all over Europe and UK and hopefully struck up a lasting friendship with our Wisconsin friends Matt and Gretchen.

More Photos @ http://acme-wheelers.co.uk/news/gallery-2/gallery-2019/nggallery/2019/world-road-championships-harrogate-2019

Singleton’s Summer Races

After his exertions on west Wales Dave Singleton returned closer to home and reduced the race distance for the remainder of July, a deserved “rest” for him.  First up was the PTW 10m TT organised on the R10/22A, an out and back course starting and finishing in Resolven.  This Tuesday evening event was designated as number 6 in the 10 event Celtic Series, and after a day’s work  Dave had a start time of 18.52 on a fine evening.  In spite of his efforts only 10 days earlier Dave’s time of 22.47 was only just outside his PB.

Just four days later the Ross-on-Wye 10m TT used the popular R10/17 course on the A40 from Abergavenny to Raglan. Although conditions were fine there was a wind affecting the riders.  Perhaps the long ride earlier in the month and the wind on the day adversely affect Dave as  he posted a time of 22.50. It would be fair to say that Dave was less than happy with his results in both these events.

To finish off his July programme the distance was increased and a return to the familiar R25/3H in the Neath Valley.  In cloudy conditions with a headwind up to the turn there was not much help for the Acme member. By his own standards, another disappointing time for Dave as he clocked in at 57.30. Determined to improve his form Dave’s next target is a 100 mile event.

Tony’s Travel Diary

I left home on Sunday morning with “Shirley the Surly” and caught a train from Treherbert to Cardiff and then on to Reading. I picked up National Cycle Route 4 and followed the Kennet and Avon canal to my first stop, The Pelican at Froxley. The canal was quite pretty with lots of kingfishers, swans and hundreds of very colourful barges. 

On the second day I followed Route 4 through traffic free country lanes that climbed away from the canal and passed through a number of pretty villages with thatched cottages and pubs. I rejoined the canal about 8 miles from Devizes and struggled along the rough path into the town. After a couple of pints (and lunch) it was a much better surface on the canal path into Bradford on Avon where I was staying that night. I was joined by my mate Ty who was going to ride back into Wales with me on Tuesday. 

After breakfast we followed the canal to Bath and after riding through the city we picked up the 15 mile railway path to Bristol. This included a working steam railway section and a ride through a refurbished tunnel (similar to the proposed cycle way at Blaencwm). It absolutely poured down while we were having a pub lunch on the wharf in Bristol and a second downpour nearly caught us out as we started cycling again. Luckily we took shelter under some trees until it stopped. It was a considerable climb out of the city and over the downs before a decent to Severn Beach. The ride over the old bridge was a bit wild with a really strong side wind. This turned into a very strong headwind all the way to Ty’s house near Magor. The undulating last few miles went past Geraint Thomas’s house (very nice too).

On Wednesday morning, Ty guided me into Newport where I picked up National Cycle Route 47. This followed the canal to Cross Keys before climbing the Sirhowy Valley along the lovely, wooded cycle track through the country park. I dropped down to Ystrad Mynach where unbelievably I lost the track and after adding a couple of miles trying to get back on course I took the main road across to Quakers Yard. Here I took the Taff Trail to Pontypridd before a final push up the valley and home. 

In all I covered 178 miles (all into a headwind) along a fantastic varied route that took me through some lovely countryside.

More Photos @ http://acme-wheelers.co.uk/news/gallery-2/gallery-2019/nggallery/2019/tony-rees-tour-2019-4

West Wales Long Course Event

Billed as the biggest multi-sport event in Europe, the Long Course Weekend Wales is based in Tenby, Pembrokeshire,  in early July. The event is run over three days based partly on the Wales Iron Man course.  On the Friday evening is the 2.4 miles open water swim, on Saturday the 112 mile Wales Sportive and finishes on Sunday with the full marathon distance.  Competitors can enter for all three events or just one of them. For those who enter all three the winner is the competitor with the fastest overall time.

2019 was the 10th anniversary of the event and to cater for the expected high numbers the organised have been able to arrange closed roads for the cyclist. A further addition to this year’s event was an entry from Acme member Dave Singleton in the 112 mile Wales Sportive.

Fortunately for Dave and the other cycling entrants the weather was kind to them, although an energy sapping warm humid day, it did stay dry for the riders.  This was a bonus after the changeable weather this summer. Dave time of 5hrs 42m was an excellent effort given the rolling nature of the Pembrokeshire lanes, this might encourage him to enter the WCA 100m Championships.

WCA/Club 100m Championships

AS with most of the longer distance courses in the South Wales District the profile of the R100/9 course between Monmouth and Abergavenny is like a lumberjack’s saw. The event was the WCA 100m Championships organised by Robin Field, WCA Secretary, held on a cold, wet windy day.  Riders travelled to the event from all over Wales and the Midlands and south of England to test themselves along these picturesque undulations.

Acme Wheelers were represented at the event by serial triathlete Gary Flower who has been determined to bag a PB on a course he knows well. With the first rider off at 7:07 the GE engineer didn’t have to wait long in the poor conditions for his start time of 7:43, certainly the writer and possibly many or the readers were still tucked up in bed.

Gary’s aim for the day was not only a PB but to break the elusive 4 hours.  On the face of it he didn’t have much work to do with his triathlon training and season’s results going well, his previous best of 4h 07m in 2016 looked under threat.  However, the conditions on the day did not give our 2019 50 mile Champion much encouragement. Gary described the conditions as a “proper British summer” and knew anything near 4 hours was going to be tough.

In the windy conditions it was important for the Acme rider to stay down on the aero bars as coming off them too often would create a cumulative effect over such a long distance. While not wanting to go too hard in the first thirty miles or so Gary needed to maintain a pace that he could maintain for his sub-4 hour target.  The last 10 miles were “grit your teeth and hang in there” time. Clearly Gary is in a rich vein of form at the moment as not only did he attain a PB but achieved his goal of a sub-4 hour ride.  His finishing time of 3h 57m 00s gained him 10th position overall in the WCA Championship event, a more than creditable morning’s riding.