This year for the first time since 2012 High Wycombe Cycling Club have sent a team of 4 riders to a grueling 5 day stage race Ras de Cymru. The race is made up of 6 stages based on the hilly roads around Cardiff and Chepstow. It comprises of; 4 road races, an Individual Time Trial and a Team Time Trial. The team of hardy racers is made of Ollie Hucks, Rob Walker, Johnathan Kingsbury and Steve James. The Team will also be supported by their most dedicated fans Andy Pearce, Paul Cope and Paul Morrissey, the latter may well bless us with his live race updates via the club facebook page over the weekend, so keep an eye out! Through out the weekend the riders will try and keep everyone updated with reports after the stages.
The report from yesterdays stage one, a 5.4mile TTT has been written for us by Rob Walker;
Having been preparing for the Ras for quite a long time, we approached the first stage with a few nerves but overall excited to get underway. We arrived in what we thought was plenty of time, although multiple punctures and rips in the tyres of our spare wheels to hand in to neutral service kept Andy Pearce busy (and rather frustrated!) for well over an hour! Having driven through driving rain all the way to Cardiff, we knew that the day's stage was not going to be a dry affair. Driving the course beforehand we could see there was a fair amount of surface water and broken road at the roundabouts so caution would be required to ensure we all made it through safely. We were off at ten to four so we're warming up nicely in a garden centre car park and eagerly eyeing up our competition (which includes the current 10 mile and Hill Climb national champ. Richard Bussell!). However we were then interrupted by the garden centre manager who told us we all had 5 minutes to clear off before he called the police! This promptly sent many teams with no helpers into chaos as they had bikes and cars to move as well as making sure they got to the start on time, however Doc came to the rescue again, throwing our Rollers in the van and moving whilst we headed out to the start. With the TTT being so short (5.4 miles) but also quite undulating it was a difficult effort to pace; we initially set off at a sensible pace before building the effort up over the length of the course. We rode well as a team, especially given how little riding we had been able to do as a four, although the spray off the road made for interesting visibility throughout the ride. We managed to hold it together as a four until the final drag up to the finish where Jonathan lost the wheel, but only finished 4 seconds down on the rest of us. Overall we finished in just under 12 minutes, placing us 20th out of 26 teams and just under a minute down on GC, albeit with very tight time gaps between ourselves and 12th place. Not our finest performance but off to a descent start and importantly we all made it round safely - the forthcoming stages will likely give a much larger shakeup to the GC so all is not lost!