Brompton World Championship Race 2014

Goodwood Race Circuit in Southern England was the venue for the 2014 Brompton World Championship Race, an event that captures many of the things that make people think the English are a little odd at times.

For anyone not aware the Brompton Bicycle is a folding bike with small wheels that is often the favourite vehicle of the cycling commuter who has to combine the bike with bus or train. For even more info go to the Brompton website.

On the day, there are actually 3 events, the meander, a ride in the countryside on your Brompton, then the sprint, a 500m sprint and finally the world championship race.

The race takes place over 4 laps of the Goodwod motor racing circuit and is 9.6 miles (15.2 km) and is basically a time trial.

However, as this is a world championship race there are rules, and these rules have to be adhered to. Firstly, the start, all bikes have to be left folded up, and at the sound of the horn you run to your bike, Le Mans style, unfold it and away you go.

Secondly, the dress code, all competitors must wear a shirt, tie and jacket, style is important.

Finally, and possibly most importantly, have fun!

This was my third time doing the race, my previous two entries were at the previous venue of Blenheim Palace, so this was a new circuit for me.

My race went pretty well, the horn went and I got to my folded bike, unfolded and was away, the timing chip only starts when you cross the timing mat at the start/finish line, early on you I was trying to get a bit o momentum to pass people to make progress. There is one very important tactic in this race, and that is you have to draft people, without drafting you are really fighting. About halfway round my first lap I got onto a good wheel and was pulled along for a while. Unfortunately, I lost the wheel when I was baulked getting out of the chicane. From then on it was a case of trying to tag onto either a faster wheel or just use slower riders for a bit of wind protection.

It is worth pointing out that towards the end of the race I was passed by a pack of 10-12 riders who were all working together, I tried to hang onto them for a while but didn’t have the speed to hold on for too long.

All too soon the race was over I crossed the finish, dripping with sweat and wondering if I had done a reasonable performance. I picked up my medal, a nice metal affair, and the bottle of water, which was very welcome.

Well, in terms of my performance, I finished 112 out of over 500 in a time of 28:01 for the 9.6 miles, so a decent performance, could it have been better, of course it could, but if I was totally satisfied would I be a racer?

If you want to see what the event is all abut, have a look at the official Brompton video, it does a good job of showing the fun and games of the day.


Bicycle Racing

Over the next few weeks I have two bikes events to take part in. Firstly the Brompton World Championships at Goodwood Racing circuit and then the Ride 100 London.

The Brompton race is probably the most fun even tI have done in the past, you get about 800 people with Bromptons, provide them with a proper racing circuit, make them fold up their bikes and have a Le Mans style start, and then you have fun. Oh yes, there is one more very important factor, the event has a very strict dress code, for the gentlemen a shirt, tie and jacket are required, yes really a jacket and tie!

For those who are thinking this event is a bit of a joke, the past winner winners included Roberto Herras and more recently Michael Hutchinson, the former elite time trial list (I think he may still be racing just perhaps not quite so fast!).

For me, the Goodwood circuit is a new event for me, as previously I took part when it was held at Blenheim, so I am really looking forward to it.

The second event is the Ride 100 London, I got a place in this event via the ballot and for those who don’t know it takes place on closed roads starting in the Olympic Park and going through Surrey before finishing on the Mall.

There are some downsides to this event, firstly it has a very early start, around 7:30am which means getting there around 7:00am, which in turns leaving home around 4:45am to get to the car park etc. Then after the finish there is the issue of finding my way back to the car park form the Mall, they say it will be sign posted, lets hope so!

I know a couple of people who did the event last year and they say it is really good, the crowds, the closed roads and the general atmosphere amongst the riders, I will see but hopefully it will live up to the expectations.

I will probably write reviews on both events so watch this space!

Evans – Chiltern Sportive

On sunday, myself and a couple of friends entered the Evans Ride It Chilterns Sportive, the medium 62.5 mile route.

The day dawned sunny with a beautiful blue sky, who would have thought October would have produced such a day?

We decided to meet at my house, and in the best tradition I served up a pre-ride breakfast of coffee and bacon rolls, how else would you start the day? After this we rode the 5 minutes to the start. Registration was simple and within a couple of minutes we had the timing sticker attached to our helmets.

We walked to the start funnel and then listened to the pre-ride briefing and then we were away. The early route was a bit of an oddity to me, as it was on roads I know well, but would never normally join them together in that order to get to the point, but there again I haven’t had to organise a route of certain distance either.

There were a couple of early hills and then we headed out into the small roads in the Chilterns, heading through Cholesbury towards Tring and onto Albury. At Albury we hit the first steep climb and after getting up here the we were treated to some great views.

There was a welcome drink and cake stop in Mentmore, some great free cake and both water and energy drink plus bananas and jelly babies!

Once we decided we had better go off we went again, more great views and out to the furtherest point of the loop. The return leg had several hills in it, including the climb up past Aston Hill, a long steep climb that makes you grovel your way up it, after this a good decent into the Hale.

Well it would have been a good decent, had I not got a front wheel puncture on the way down, this left me fighting to stay upright and also to stop the bike. I ended up using a combination of the back brake and the bank to slow me down enough to stop!

Once the repair was done it was just a climb into Dunsmore, followed by the return to the start.

All in all a really good ride, no a well thought out route on a simply lovely day, not sure there was a better way to spend a Sunday,