ACME at the Tour de France

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Fans from all over the world head to France during July to watch the greatest free sporting event in the world. Many Acme members have joined the millions of fans on the road side over the years on mountain stages, Time Trials and the finale on the Champs Elysees. In 2017 the focus for four Acme members was the “Queen Stage” which circled the Alpe d’Huez massif in the Department of Isere. There was no climb up Alpe d’Huez this year but there was still plenty of action to watch both at the side of the road and on the television.

An early start for Bristol Airport with cases and bike boxes and a two hour flight to Geneva marked the beginning of the trip for Chris Thomas, Jeff Matthews, Kerry Lewis and Mark Nichols. A very efficient transfer to Bourg d’Oisan and everyone was ready eat and have an early night after the long day of travelling.DSCN2586

The Sunday morning was spent putting the bikes back together ready for the road, Mark was acting as consultant ashe had not recovered from a fall earlier in the year and did not take his bike. The start was delayed as Kerry tried to work out why the water bottles would not fit on Jeff’s bike. After much “technical” work it was discovered that Jeff had put them on upside down. The first ride was to the village of Allemond, where the sprint would take place on the Wednesday Stage and had been chosen as the spectator spot for the day. An easy flat ride to the village led to a short climb up a barrage and after circling the dam a sharp climb into the forest to return to Allemond and then back to Bourg.

Monday’s ride was up to Deux Alpes, though the plan was to take the less arduous route via the cable car. DSCN2634Though it was a beautiful sunny day at the top of the mountain, there were dozens of people using the lifts to ski on the glacier high above the resort. After a quick snack it was a “easy” ride down the main road, stopping at intervals to enjoy the view and give aching hands a rest from the brakes. Though we only covered 30 miles in the day it was a very interesting ride with many photo opportunities.

The first big climb of the week came on Tuesday, it was back to Allemond andDSCN2674 the short climb up the barrage. This time the camper vans had started to gather in the village, even though it has two campsites, the spaces along the road side where used wherever possible. After the barrage it was right turn towards the village of Villard-Reculas. This winding climb was 5 miles long and involved just under 2000 feet of climbing. It led to one of the “balcony roads” above the Romanche valley and then the high point of Pas de la Confession at 1542m (4500ft). Chris Thomas’ effort on this climb belied his seventy years as he showed great determination to get to the top. The road to Huez village was largely down and from there to Bourg d’Oisan was definitely down with a few stops to allow the wheels to cool.

The Tour had arrived, not in Bourg d’Oisan, but not too far away. Mark and Jeff drove to the agreed vantage pointDSC00143 while Chris and Kerry were on their bikes. An early start for the car journey to ensure a parking space, and somewhere for breakfast. The lads on the bike left it a little late and had to argue with a gendarme who had closed the road to everything, even cyclists. Fortunately we were all able to meet up on the barrage and have a great day. We met people from all over the world, even had a guy from Hirwaun take our photo. To top it all Bernard Thevenet stopped by for a chat and photo. We were close enough to Bourg to get back to watch the second half of the stage on TV with a few drinks.

TON54692 tidied upThursday was the day for Alpe d’Huez, but Jeff was out of sorts and Chris felt it was one ride too many. So it was left to Kerry to carry the Acme jersey around the 21 bends. On a fine day with little wind Kerry made the ride in one go even going back at one point to have his photo re-taken.

On the last day we only had half a day on the bike as they had to be taken apart and boxed ready to for the return the next day. Chris decide to pack early and have a wander around Bourg. Kerry had his eye on another “balcony road” so Jeff joined him on the climb to the Col de Notre Dame. This four mile climb included three tunnels, one almost 400 mts long and very dark, and 2491 feet of height gain. It was a stunning ride with views up and down the valley offering endless photo opportunities.DSC02128

All that was left now was to get the bikes back into the boxes, pack the cases and enjoy the last night. Unfortunately this was spoilt by a thunder storm and heavy rain which lasted from the late afternoon to late in the evening. So it was a TV meal for Chris and Mark while Jeff and Kerry covered up and made the walk to the restaurant. A great week was had by all.

More pictures from the week:- Click Here

HILL CLIMB CHAMPIONSHIP 2017


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The Final ACME Road, Club Championship recently took place on Barn Hill – Tonyrefail to decide the Club Hill Climb Champion. The chosen climb to decide the title consists of a half mile climb, with an average gradient of 8% then a quarter mile flat sprint to the finish, a familiar tough section of road to many ACME members.

Four members took up the challenge for the Championship with Dean Cummings the 2016 Champion hoping to defend the title. Talented TT specialists Chris DSCN3032Woolley and Dave singleton both in good form could be a threat to Dean over the distance, the final rider to tackle the climb was Kerry Lewis who be an outsider for the title after his special Alpine training weeks earlier.

Chairman Jeff Matthews organised the first rider to line up against the Timekeeper, DSCN3035Chris set off on the lower part of the climb at an impressive pace as the road reared upwards, followed by Dave who is used to pushing himself in TT events as we’ve  seen this season to record some great times, so a steady fast pace up and over the climb then take full advantage of the flat final section. Third rider to face the start timekeeper Roger Evans was Dean determined to repeat another win knowing a high pace was necessary as the gradient of the climb increased towards the top. Final rider to face the Barn Hill challenge was Kerry who planned to give it 100% on the climb to hopefully have a chance to challenge the stronger riders.

Margaret Evans timed the riders over the finish line as everyone gave every last effort past the finish line to hopefully win the R + M Trophy….

Result

In fourth place came Chris Woolley 3mins 40 seconds, third was secured DSC_0164by Kerry Lewis 3.23,  defending champion Dean Cummings took second with a great time of 3 minutes.

Congratulation on the day went to Dave Singleton 2.45 to win his first ACME championship to claim the title of 2017 Hill Climb Champion, an impressive win in this difficult events and a rider to watch in 2018 as more titles could be coming his way.

More Photographs from the Day –Click Here

Dave Singleton Comes to the End of his Season

 

DSCN3042 rsizedHis first season in Acme colours has been very successful for Dave Singleton, gaining valuable experience and achieving P.B. on the way.  His final two races before the WCA 50 were the Sportzmad 10 on the R10/17 course on the A40 between Abergavenny and Raglan followed by the PTW 25 on the R25/3H course in the Neath Valley.  Two quite different events in very different conditions, the good weather for the 10 event encouraged Dave to go for a PB for the distance.  He finished very pleased with himself, posting a PB of 23m04s, a Silver Standard achievement for this distance.   

The 25 mile event the following week took place under quite different conditions with the weather being wet and windy.  Dave’s advice to other members is to make sure you wear weather appropriate clothing for events.  Dave suggests that he was not properly kitted out and was just happy to get around the course.  His time of 58m34s indicates what he is capable of achieving when he gets everything right.  This Silver Standard time is only a few minutes short of Gold Standard and surely Dave will set his sights in this goal next season

End of Season 100 Miler

The WCA 100 Mile Championships takes place at the beginning of September and as with all WCA Championships serves as the Club Championship. The Jim Lendon Challenge has been contested since 1949 with a variety of names inscribed on the trophy and several members winning it many times.  This year was certain to see a new name take the trophy, all Simon Kinsey had to do was to finish the event.  This, of course, is much easier said than done.

_DSC0053webThe weather conditions certainly played their part in trying to stop Simon completing the event.  At the start of his ride the weather was wet but this soon turned into much heavier rain to add to the windy conditions. No one would have blamed any rider for deciding to pack in with such difficult conditions and Simon wanted to quit after 20 miles.  Even though there were numerous opportunities for him to quit on the three lap course his determination won out and he finished to event. His pace gradually slowed down as the miles ticked by but the upper Rhondda computer expert was set on gaining a qualifying BAR result.

4hr 52m 28s of misery is how Simon saw this and urges others who are looking for a long distance TT to aim for a 12 hour event which he sees as just a long day own rather than the “misery” of the 100 miles.  Despite his misery Simon’s  rewarded is to be the Club 100 Mile Champion 2017 and BAR Champion 2017.

WCA/Club 10 Mile Championship

August is busy months for our TT Club members with races and Club Championships coming thick and fast.  The second week of August, as usual, is the WCA 10 Mile Championship, this year promoted by the Pontypool RCC on the R10/17 course based at Raglan.  This is a very popular course and well known by our members.  Four Club members had entered this event which also serves as the Club 10 Mile Championship Event.  In warm and dry conditions Dave Singleton, Gary Flower together with Committee Members  Jeff Rees and Simon Kinsey, were at the start line to compete for the Emlyn Jones Memorial  Bowl 

First off, just after 9 am, Dave Singleton’s target was a PB for the distance and Dave Singleton1 (2)DSCN2515although he found that the HQ was some distance from the Start Line he had time it well to arrive on time. The conditions were to his liking and he finished in a time of 23:36 which proved to be a PB for him.  Jeff Rees had to wait a further 40 minutes for his start, but the weather was holding up so there was no disadvantage to later riders.  Recovering from a bout of sciatica earlier in the season Jeff was happy to be racing again.  His time of 24:22 was creditable given his disrupted training.  

DSCN2524Gary Flower’s start time was 10:52, fortunately he made this to finish in a time of 22:19, giving him the Club 10 Mile Championship for 2017.  With only a little over 2 minutes separating our top three riders and Simon coming in a further minute behind in race time, without a warm up, this was a very successful event for the four Acme entrants