Tony Rees reports on his first sportive of the year.
The temperature gauge in the car was showing two degrees when I arrived in Pendine to register for my fifth start at The Daffodil Classic Sportive. I soon wished that this was an accurate reading because the biting wind certainly lowered this figure by a considerable number of degrees. I was encouraged however when I realised that it would be a tail wind for the first part of the course. As this contains the longest and steepest climbs I knew I would be grateful for the unexpected assistance.
I made sure that I warmed up well on the sea front before joining the 200+ participants for the 12 o’clock start. I knew how essential this was because, after just 100 meters, it was a right turn at the end of the beach and straight up the 20% climb out of the village towards Red Roses. As usual this reduced many people to pushing their bikes. I maintained a steady, even pace to get me to the top among the front half of the field.
I joined a group of around ten riders that worked well together towards the feed station at Trellech. While a few riders stopped here, the rest of us continued until the headwind caused a further reduction in our numbers. Shortly after this I joined another group which I stayed with to St Clears and over the undulating roads to Laugharne and back to Pendine.
I was really pleased to finish the ride in a personal best time time of 2 hrs 46 mins. This was particularly pleasing because, like everyone else, the weather has not allowed me to get as much time on the bike as I would have liked.
Steve Bennett also competed in his first race of the year on 10th March when he joined Dan, Simon, Steve Williams and Dai Long in the circuit races at Llandow. In the 3rd and 4th category event, club riders were in good positions through most of the race until a crash just in front of him stopped Simon. Checking on a fallen rider who broke his collarbone he lost contact and pulled out before the finish. Dan was in contention having ridden strongly but his finishing sprint was not fat enough to gain him any points. Steve Bennett, however, finished with a good sprint which gave him 5th place. Despite riding to and from the circuit on the coldest day yet, he decided to also compete in the following race for 2nd,3rd and 4th category riders where he gained even more points by finishing in 7th place.Steve is a 3rd cat while all six who inished in front of him were 2nd cat riders. We can expect to see more top ten places from Steve this year.
Welcome to several new members. Paul Rickards is young Evan’s dad and has been accompanying Evan to the clubroom and riding on the rollers at which he is now adept. This week they arrived with Evan’s new birthday presents. A track bike of his own for use at Newport Velodrome and a set of rollers for warming up, although Paul soon adjusted it to fit his own bike !
Callum Banwell is just 4 years old and now our youngest member. If he has inherited dad Carl’s genes he will be making peoples legs hurt in years to come. At the moment he seems more interested in the tea and biscuits at the clubroom.
Gary Flower is a triathlete and is so keen that on the day he joined he entered his first race, the Ross-on-Wye 25 mile TimeTrial later this month. Living in Llantrisant he will be able to get plenty of advice from fellow resident and ex Commonwealth Games rider, Gwyn Humphries.