23rd June

Dean Cummings made a late start to his season due to work committments. However, he was quite busy in May with a circuit race at Llandow, George Greaves Memorial road race, Ramin Minovi Memorial RR organised by the LVRC [League of Veteran Racing Cyclists] and the President’s Handicap RR. He says the only outcome was pain and suffering but he felt his form coming by the end of the month. This led him into the 2-day Dragon Two road race on 1st and 2nd of June which he describes here :

A 3.5 mile TT , followed by a 48 mile RR around a shortened version of the Presidents Course ,then the following day a 58 mile RR on the full course the following morning .The TT at 13.00hrs went well and was within a minute of the leader at the start of the afternoon stage which took us up the Rock and Fountain 5 times A bit tricky to get your fluids , food and energy right between events but thats all part of the competition . The RR of ABC age cats 40 to 59yrs with a quality field included a number of ex pros started at 14.30hrs with various attacks throught the event . 5 times up the climb was going to take its toll and on the last time around cramp was becoming an issue , but with screaming quads finished the race just a few seconds behind the bunch . The main prority now was recovering for the next day . Drastic measures were required and decided to sit in an ice cold bath to get rid of the lactic in my legs ,it wasn’t just my legs were painful after that , followed my a self massage (on my legs) and then more ice packs ,great sport this cycling .

Any way it seemed to have helped and after a good warm up started the next day knowing that most of the others were in the same boat , Another fast start up to 37mph before the first climb, followed by various attacks and changes of speed and after four and half laps and only 4 times up the climb the bunch were together to the end revving up to a massive sprint to the finish which was just prior to the small bridge that links the both roads . Sadly the race was halted in the last mile and half as the road needed to be closed following a serious crash in the EFG group when several riders came down . so we all had the same finishing time . Picture the scene 40 or so riders in a bunch travelling at 30mph towards a Police Support Officer waving his yellow jacket frantically in the air .

In total 110 racing miles both RR averaged over 23mph reaching speeds of well over 35, i`ve calculated my total time to have been arround 4hrs 40 gave or take . Then went to work till midnight shattered !!!!

Maybe some other Acme vets who should be racing will enter next year it really is an event not to be missed . A couple of Llandow events next ,the Aber handicap which will be great preparation for the Police & Fire Worlds in August .

Also in May was the Club 25 Championship, incorporated in the Welsh Champs. The 64 riders in the overflow event, which included three Acme riders, faced the toughest conditions of the day. Paul Griffiths forced his way around in 1-06-17 while younger veteran Kevin Bartlemore finished in 1-00-05, wishing he had gone six seconds faster. Fastest Acme rider on the day was Neale Lewis who, in one of his infrequent forays into racing did an excellent 59-11 to take 20th place [5th Welsh rider] and become our Club 25 mile Champion for 2013. Congratulations Neale.

Recently, Gary Flower [or should it be Flier] has been using his new TT bike to good effect, chasing faster times in Merthyr CC club events in the Vale of Neath. Having reduced his time to 1-00-58 in the Ogmore 25 in May, he comprehensively broke the hour in a mid-week event with 57-48 and followed it with 22-59 for 10 miles. In his first year of membership he has now beaten the club silver standard at 10 and 25 miles. His second 50 mile TT is today’s Club, Welsh and British Championship near Abergavenny where he hopes to improve on his 2-15-48.

Breaking News : Gary just texted to say he recorded 2-09-10 this morning in very windy conditions. Paul Griffiths 2-37-54, Kevin Bartlemore DNS. Congratulations Gary on becoming our Club 50 mile Champion for 2013. Look out for more good performances from him as the year progresses.

3rd June

Gary Flower pictured here competing in the second of the 2013 hill climb series recorded an excellent 1 hour 2 minutes 50 seconds in our open 25 mile time trial earlier this year. It was his first attempt at the distance and he beat the bronze standard. Since then Gary travelled to Majorca to compete in a half ironman triathlon so he is obviously a tough character. Riding in the Ogmore Valley Wheelers 25 on 22nd May he went on to record 1-00-58 and beat the club silver standard in very windy conditions. Keen to compete over as many distances as possible, he rode the Bynea 50 on Sunday and took 16th place with a very good ride over a tough emergency course. He finished in 2-15-48 beating the bronze standard soundly and less than two minutes slower than the silver. Older veteran Paul Griffiths also rode, finishing in 2-45-15. They will be joined by Kevin Bartlemore in the Club 50 Championship, incorporated in the Welsh and British Championship on 23rd June when they will battle for our title.

Although the first of the 5 mile TT’s was cancelled because of bad weather, the second hill climb was run off in sunny conditions again although there was a brisk and cold wind at the top. Winner on this occasion was Dan Taylor who eclipsed his fastest time last year of 11-48 with 11-23, winning by just over one minute. Twelve club riders meant plenty of competition and all those who rode the previous event managed to improve their times. Ethan improved from 13-53 to 13-16 but was unable to beat his Dad, Anthony, who was determined not to be outdone. He fought his bike all the way and finished in a state of collapse, collecting an excellent 3rd place with 13-06. Photos from the event have been added to the 2013 HillClimb Series in the Photo Gallery.

Glenn Waters has had to hang up his wheels for a while so is selling his 2011 Trek 6700 mountain bike. It cost him £ 1300 new and due to an injury soon afterwards has hardly been used. He is asking £700 and including some free extras. Check it out on eBay. He is holding onto his road bike in the hope of riding again at some time. Best wishes, Glenn. We hope to see you around at club events.

Finally, a warm welcome to our newest member, Kyle Adams from Pontypridd. Kyle is 16 years of age and looking forward to meeting up with us at the club 5 mile time trial on Thursday.

Many photos from the Bryn Griffiths 25 mile TT have finally been uploaded to the Gallery. Apologies to all for the delay and thanks to Kerry and Nic Forbes for the photos.

19th May

Last Thursday evening saw a brief spell of summer following a day of heavy rain and hail showers. It proved almost a perfect evening for the start of this year’s Hill Climb Series. Riders had to contend with a light wind on the climb but were able to recover in sunshine at the finish against a distant backdrop of Pen y Fan and Corn Du on the Brecon Beacons, both showing patches of snow.

Everyone was pleased to see Gwyn Humphreys and Carol Dietman acting as timekeepers once again and Simon Iles gave each rider a good, strong push-off at the start.

First rider away in the first competition of the year was young Ethan Derrick. The fitness gained from his circuit racing and track competitions [ 4th place in his age group and 5th overall in the Devil in the recent schools track championships] was soon obvious to all. He was first across the finish line and spent most of his recovery time watching other competitors fail to improve on his time of 13 minutes and 53 seconds. Eventually he was pipped by visitor John Hughes with 13-47 although Paul Harries [seen below] once again came out on top with 13-43 providing a very close finish.

All riders enjoyed the event and left looking forward to next week’s 5 mile time-trial. Steve Williams left to go to work but smiling, having gained fourth place. A few photos are in the Gallery and the full result in Results.

23rd April

The bitterly cold weather finally gave up its grip and the frozen streams and waterfalls above Llyn Fawr were flowing again on the day of the Bryn Griffiths 25 mile Time Trial. Unfortunately, the change in the weather also brought heavy overnight rain and strong winds which caused half of an already depleted field to stay in bed. Maybe they should have been more intrepid because Kieron Davies of Bynea CC still managed to win in the incredible time of 49 minutes and 56 seconds, closely followed by RAF CC’s Justyn Cannon, an Acme member in his youth, with a time of 50 mins 28 secs. Not to be outdone, the only junior entry, 17 year old Luke Davies riding for VC St Raphael, recorded an excellent 55-24.

Once again the Acme members showed how well they pull together with the event superbly marshalled and signposted. A great bunch of ladies in control of a vast supply of sandwiches and home-made cakes [ even some special Acme ones in club colours! ] kept riders and tired marshals well fed and watered. The atmosphere at HQ was of the usual friendly variety as riders gathered for the presentation of prizes by that good friend of our club, John Pritchard MBE, himself a former winner of the event on five occasions.

Organiser Tony Rees, taking the reins for the first time was more than pleased with the support he received from members, with even former organiser Chris Clements in charge of the result board and wife Caroline still overseeing the signing-on procedure. Riders once again commented on a well-run event and Tony’s friend Steve who kindly transported the result boards and accompanied him around the course said he had really enjoyed the whole experience.

Three of our riders competed in the event. Veterans Paul Griffiths and Kevin Bartlemore have been concentrating on endurance miles in their build-up to the longer BAR events so were happy enough with their times of 1-09-04 [Paul] and 1-03-45 [Kevin]. Gary Flower, off as first man, certainly did his Acme vest proud, recording 1-02-50 in his first ever 25 mile TT having recorded a 25-26 the previous weekend.

Riding their first Time Trials in that West Wales Cycling League 10 mile event. were Dai Long and Dan Taylor, both taking a rest from the road racing scene. Dai recorded 28-27 while Dan did a 25-04, mentally kicking himself for not going five seconds faster! Gary and Dan beat their bronze club standards for 10 miles. Gary then did the same for 25 miles and was only fifty seconds outside the silver standard. That should soon be within his grasp.

Our club vest has been proudly displayed recently in the circuit races at Llandow too, with five senior members joined by juvenile riders Ethan and Evan in the freezing and windy conditions that have marred all the races so far this year. Switching circuits, Dai Long competed in the criterium at Maindy Stadium last Wednesday where he gained his first point with 9th place and is now keen to collect more.

The first of our Club Championships, the 30 mile Time Trial incorporated in the Bynea event was held on Sunday 21st. Road works and traffic lights due to subsidence near Llandovery caused a change of course, riders starting at Manordeilo and following the A40 to Abergwili roundabout near Carmarthen where they turned and re-traced. Early weather prospects were good with no wind and a temperature of nine degrees but by the time of the 09.01 start a breeze had sprung up which steadily strengthened and reduced the temperature considerably. Three members only, contested for the Championship over this very tough and hilly course which was typical of some of the continental professional races and definitely a strongman’s course. First of our riders to start was Gary Flower, keen to beat a club standard and challenge for the championship following his excellent showing in our Open 25 mile. He rode on his new TT machine but was uncomfortable in his new position although he still recorded 1hour 19 mins 09 secs, beating the bronze standard by almost five minutes. Our eldest rider, Paul Griffiths, as keen as ever, struggled on such a hilly course to record 1-33-22, slower than his 2012 ride on the usual course but is looking forward to the rest of the season, flatter courses and warmer weather. Dan Taylor, on his standard road bike, made a strong start and at the turn was only 45 secs behind his minute man, number 25, Dan Colman. His road race background was of value on this hilly course where he continued to claw back the seconds to finish just ten seconds behind his quarry in an excellent time of 1-15-23, beating the silver standard by just over a minute and securing the Championship trophy for 2013.

Photos from the events can be seen in the Photo Gallery.

16th April

On Sunday 7th April, nine members of the club met at The Welcome Inn to take part in the last of this year’s reliability trials – The Hilly Ride (45 miles). After the recent spell of cold and windy weather it was nice to start the event in reasonably calm and slightly warmer conditions. The riders were waved off by new club chairman, Jeff Matthews who was accompanied by his predecessor Roger Evans and supporting cameramen – Kerry Lewis and Chris Thomas.

The group rode together up the valley and some way up The Bwlch before the first splits occurred. At the top junction there was no respite as the route turned right towards the Afan Valley. There was a very brief regroup at the mast, before the group split into two on the very cold (and icy) descent into Abergwynfi.

The front group – Paul Harries, Neil Lewis, Glen Waters, Phil Andrews, Simon Iles and Ian Humphries continued down the valley to the next climb from Cymmer, over the Bryn, into Maesteg. At this point the following group of Jason Dodd, Tavis Rees and Tony Rees were not that far behind. The pace increased in the Maesteg Valley before the route turned left towards Shwt.

This climb was surprisingly steep and made slightly more difficult by width restrictions on the road due to road works. It also had a little sting in the tail with the further climb to Llangeinor. It was on the descent into Ogmore Vale that Paul Harries strung out the front group into an order that stayed the same over the final climb of the Bwlch and back to The Welcome.

Jason, Tavis and Tony caught Ian on the climb to Shwt and this group stayed together until Nantymoel where Ian lost contact on the climb from the clock tower. He worked hard to rejoin on the descent to Treorchy and these riders stayed together to the finish.

Final finishing times were as follows. Paul Harries – 2 hrs 31 mins. Neil Lewis – 2.35, Phil Matthews – 2.36, Glen Waters – 2.40, Simon Iles – 2.42. Remaining Riders – 2 hrs 48 mins.

Because of their shift patterns, Dean and Hywel were unable to ride that Sunday but not wanting to miss the experience they rode the course on 30th March, completing the distance in 2 hours 48 minutes.

Many photos from the event can be seen in the Gallery.