After a gap of ten years a revitalised Tour of Longwick took place on Sunday 30 September. The aim of the day was to provide a competitive event to enable those who would not normally take part in some of the disciplines to try their hand, as training day for all the riders and most importantly as a social event for the whole club to enjoy. Thirty two riders registered with 24 turning up on the day.
Based at the village hall in Longwick the ‘Tour’ consisted of four events; a short prologue time trial, a hill climb, a sportive event and a team time trial, all to be carried out on road bikes.
Due to expected heavy traffic on the Kingsey roundabout in Thame the prologue time trial was rerouted and reduced in length from six to three miles. However, this did not reduce the amount of effort put in by all the riders and in some ways measuring effort over such a short distance seeming to be more difficult than over the usual ten mile course. There were a number of sub 8 minute times with Lee Goward leading the way at 7:23, Andy Davis and Lyndon Ferguson at 07:51, Ben Marcu at 7:55 and Adam Henley at 07:79.
Following a cup of tea and some cake or more serious nutrition for the more serious riders the next event was the hill climb against everyone’s favourite local nightmare; Kop Hill. There were a few discussions on strategy; go hard and hold on, go easy and ramp it up or just pray you don’t collapse. At the end the only thing that most riders agreed with was that it was horrible and that the last ramp at 20% was particularly grim. The usual mountain goats; Ben Marcu, Ben Nichols, Andy Davis, Adam Henley Norbet Hoessl, Gareth Anderson (yes really) and Lyndon Ferguson all posted sub four minute rides but again Lee Goward came out top with a 3:00 ride. Lunch followed this event with a fantastic spread of sandwiches and snacks being provided and of course more tea and cakes.
Next up, the sportive event, which due to safety concerns replaced the road race held in earlier formats. The circuit, twice around an eleven mile course starting and finishing near Owlswick, offered a flat and quick (except when battling the headwind) route. Riders were sent off at four minute intervals in small groups, some strong, some not, who either rode as a team to try to stay away from the pursuing group or went off as individuals to go for it; a bit like Wednesday chain gang but more cut-throat! The first group of three (one got dropped on the first hill) got caught with less than a mile from the finish and settled in with Cipo at the back having apparently soft tapped around the first 21 miles. Not surprisingly the first attack for the line was chased down, then a majestic (and fully rested) Club Captain stole the win on the line from Chris Dalton, to come in at 58:50. The remaining groups who were somewhat stronger than the first two were not too far behind at this stage and in groups and ones and twos proceeded to have their own sprint competitions. Again, rides from Lee Goward and Andy Davis stood out with Lee beating Andy in a sprint (the time keepers made it a second so they must have been moving because the winning distance was at least ten bike lengths) to finish in 50:33.
The final event was the TTT. This was run over the 11 mile TT course and involved four teams of six(ish). Times were counted on the fourth person in the team finishing with time bonuses for teams finishing with five or more. Again strategy was important; do you finish as a complete team and rely on time bonuses or do you throw a couple of riders under the bus (metaphorically speaking) and get round as quick as you can with four. Not knowing how the final scores would be tallied most tried to keep the teams as complete as possible although a few individuals were sacrificed. In the end times without bonuses were used to calculate the overall times and whilst this benefited some it didn’t affect the final placings.
Not surprisingly the top three individuals came from the usual suspects with Lee Goward in first place with an overall time of 1.28:32, Gareth Anderson in second with 1.30.59 and Andy Davis in third with 1.31.11. The highest finishing lady was Dena Ford at 1.37:20.
Again, not surprisingly the quickest team in the TTT included Lee and Dena together with Paul Squires, Norbert Hoessl, Adam Henley, and Martin Fisher.
Of course none of this happens by accident so many thanks to Gordon Wright for conceiving and delivering such an excellent event and to all the time keepers, spotters and pushers off who made the racing happen. Finally a huge thanks to the ladies and gents who provided food and refreshments before, during and after the racing; the club owes you a massive vote of thanks.
Overall the day was considered an outstanding success and all those who took part thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to race, train and socialise. The intention is to run the same event, maybe in a slightly differ format next year; put it in your diary it is the most fun you can have (even the hill climb) for £5.