ACME Life Member “Len Jenkins”

It was with great sadness that we heard, last week, that life member, Len Jenkins had passed away.

Len joined our club in the 1950’s. He became a renowned racing man over long distances and as part of his daily training would ride to his workplace at Beddau, complete his shift underground then ride home again to Clydach Vale.  A typical miner, he was lean, strong and tough, which made him the perfect endurance rider and he was soon attacking place to place records.

_dsc1095bIn 1956 he broke the record for Cardiff- Abergavenny- Brecon and back with a time of 4 hours 43 minutes 12 seconds and then the Welsh End to End, Holyhead to Cardiff in 10 hours 55 minutes 28 seconds. He held this record until 1983 !  IN 1960 he attacked another record. Partnering clubmate Neville Yeo on a tandem in pouring rain they just managed to beat the Cardiff – Swansea – Cardiff record in 3 hours 54 minutes 12 seconds and held it for twenty years.  The 50’s and 60’s were a golden period for Acme and Len played his part well, becoming Welsh 12 hour Champion and Welsh Best All-rounder in 1962. Training for these events required many long training rides such as Aberystwyth and back, Hereford and back  leaving little time for activities at home. He once said “ A cyclist’s perfect garden is a concrete one !”

Len must have acquired the right genes from somewhere and he and wife Lil ( also an img_20160924_0001_newactive Acme rider in the 50’s ) certainly passed them on. Daughter Carol set the first female record for Holyhead – Cardiff while son, Paul went on to take the men’s record as well as becoming Welsh 12 hour Champion and Welsh Best All-rounder.  “Like father like son” could  never be more appropriate. Continuing to race well into later life, Len would join in long clubruns, sometimes just hanging on to the group but when everyone began to feel the bite of the hills around Margam and Porthcawl he would come into his own, maintaining the effort and putting everyone under pressure in the final miles.

Never a boastful man, Len was one of Rhondda’s sporting greats and those of us who knew him will cherish the mental image of him crouched in the drops with one shoulder gradually dropping further as the effort increased.

The Welsh Open 10 M TT Championship

The Welsh Open 10M TT was promoted by Pontypool RCC on Sunday 14th August on theimage1r R10/17 Course between Abergavenny and Raglan.  On a dry day with only light winds two Acme Wheelers members we on the start line.  Gary Flower gained his second Club Championship of the season with a very impressive 22:01 on the day. Gary was not particularly happy with his time, his goal was to go sub-21:45, as it fell in the middle of his training for an up-coming Ironman event.  Gary had put in a big training session the day before and this was still in his legs.  Nevertheless, it’s congratulations to Gary on this 10M Club Championship.

webNadine Cannon put herself into the elite of Welsh women time trialists with her efforts.  Again disappointed with her time of 24:14 Nadine felt that she had given everything she could, and at some points thought she might have been able to run faster – a la Chris Froome.  Her time put her in 7th place overall in the Ladies Event and, if we take out the visitors from over Offa’s Dyke, sets her as one of the top 3 or 4 Welsh Ladies. A very impressive season which gets better and better.

August Reports

With so many events to report in August this month’s report will take a different form. Instead  of reporting on races it will centre on Club Members, in no particular order.

Regular reporter Simon Kinsey has had a very busy and_DSC0053web hard month of time trialling and continues to seek improvement in both his times and in the way he approaches events.  Simon’s first event was the Cardiff 100 Mile RC   50M TT event on Sunday 8th. .

His main goal at this event was not time based but the check out the R50/1B Course which will be used for the Welsh 100 M Championships in September.  On a clear and sunny day with some breeze Simon missed a PB by 6 seconds, finishing in a time of 2h13m02s.  The following weekend Simon was back up in Usk on the R25/7 course chasing a time under the hour on a course which didn’t include the Glynneath Bank. On a breezy but bright sunny day Simon posted a 1h02m44s.  Perhaps if he hadn’t been rum tasting in a Cardiff bar until the early hours of the morning then that sub-60 time would have been there.  Simon will certainly learn from that one.

Another weekend and another trip to the Glynnneath Bank for the RealTeam 25 (overflow event) on the R25/3H Course.  Simon is well aware of the vagaries of the weather in this area and he feels that a hard effort does not always result in a good time.  Again he was looking for a sub-1h ride. The day started wet but did dry up although the wind on the way to the turn made it hard work.  So near but so far in the end with Simon posting a 1h 00m 07s.

 

As has been noted in these reports this summer Nadine Cannon is having a tremendous season on the bike, but August was a quieter time for her in terms of event entries. On the 21st August Nadine was on the R25/3H Course based at Hirwaun for the RealTeam promoted 25M TT.  On a wet and windy day, Nadine realised that good times were not on offer so changed her focus.  Nadine used this event to work on her aero position which would be of benefit to her in future events.  The outcome was still a good time of 57:58 which gave her 5th Lady on the day.

 

Veteran member Jeff Rees begins to look to the winter season when August comes around and some of his races are14068112_1056070314512923_6175227725269512414_n geared to events later in the year.  Firstly, though, on the 21st August Jeff was entered in the Real Team 25 (Over Flow Event) on the R25/3H course.  This was a disappointing ride for Jeff as he had been looking to improve upon his season’s best, but on an overcast day with a bit of a headwind on the out section Jeff eventually posted a 1h01m37s.  And so to thoughts of the winter as Jeff entered the Gower Riders – Go Ride CX event based at Penyrheol Leisure Centre, Swansea.  Different format from the TT races here, as this race was 30 minutes plus one lap with Jeff expressing disappointment that no other Acme Members had entered this event.  Jeff started his first off–road CX event since December on a dry overcast day with the atmosphere being “heavy and close”.    Jeff was testing his equipment at this event as well as seeing where his own fitness was compared to others.  In the end Jeff came out 6th out of the 8 V50 entered and 6th out of the 11 adults entered.

Jeff wants to encourage more members to enter events during the winter for what are safe and good fun activities for winter Sundays.

 

Fiona Davies enters rather longer events than the “normal” time trials. Fiona’s preference is the hard world of _dsc0161-2triathlon and she entered two during the month of August. First up was the BRAT Triathlon (Birmingham Running Athletics and Triathlon Club) at Kingsbury in the West Midlands on 7th August.  This event was 47.2Km with 36.7Km of cycling, and is the Olympic distance event.  Fiona was using this event are preparation for a middle distance event later in the month. On a beautiful sunny day, her overall time of 3h02m10s gave Fiona much encouragement for the next event. While she felt that the swim was a little slow she was pleased with her run and the 1h23m59s bike ride. The venue, Cliff Lakes Water Park (http://www.clifflakes.org/) gets a big thumbs up from Fiona because of its beautiful surroundings, water based activities and a caravan site.  The Park is also near to the Warwickshire Cycleway.

 

Next was the 113Km Cotswold Classic Triathlon based at the Cotswold Water Park (http://www.waterpark.org/) which included a 90Km cycle ride. On this day, 21st August, the weather in Rhondda was wet and windy but in Wiltshire Fiona was enjoying warm, sunny conditions.  Fiona had competed on this course in June and was hoping to use this event to improve her time over the course.  It was a long day with the event taking 6h21m48s to complete, Fiona was delighted with this result not least because the bike leg of 3h20m47s was 6 minutes faster than the June effort.

Fiona plans to put her bike and wet suit to one side for the rest of the year and concentrate on ultra runs starting with the Cumbria Way 73 mile run in September. We wish you well in that.

July Comes to an End

 

The final two race reports for July come from, firstly, the RealTeam 25TT  held on the R25/3H Course based at Hirwaun.  This took place on the 24th July in very unseasonal wet weather. Simon Kinsey rode this event in the knowledge that he had the following weekend off from racing so that he could give this race everything.  Simon was hoping that his PB of 57:59 would be bettered.  In the event the mysterious wind took its toll on him and maybe he held too much back for the final few miles, he posted a 58:26.

_dsc0743Jeff Rees  was not feeling at his best so was just keen to get around the course.  While it was wet Jeff seemed unaffected by what wind there was.  His 58:03 was not bad given that he was just “looking to get around”.

 

The final July report is the Bynea 25TT  held on the R25/3 Course, again based in Hirwaun.  Amid swirling winds Nadine Cannon achieved a very creditable 57:20 which is a PB at the time of writing this report.  On Nadine’s current form this could change in the coming weeks.  This PB comfortably achieves the Club Gold Standard for Nadine.  What a season she is having.

Lady Members Assault on Club Standards

On the first Saturday of July Cardiff 100 Milers  promoted a 25mTT  on the  R25/7 course. Nadine Cannon  chooseweb (2) this event to gain some experience of a new course between Usk and Monmouth.  In the end she gained more than just experience by placing as 2nd Lady in a time of 1:03:07.  Nadine was extremely pleased with her performance but warns other members who ride this course to save some energy for the return effort.  Mitchel Troy village is very undulating and the road surface is poor and saps energy.

The Port Talbot Wheelers promoted the last round of the Celtic Series on 12th July using the R10/22a  Course in Resolven.  Yet again Acme Wheelers were well represented.  On a warm evening with a slight breeze, Nadine Cannon was a chasing a PB, while she didn’t quite get that after a hard ride from the turn Nadine was very happy with her 24:15 time and her season gets better with every race.

Simon Kinsey was looking to keep up his recent momentum and aimed to beat his course record.  Simon sees this course and the 10 at Raglan as the fastest local courses and was delighted with his course best time of 23.19 which was also a PB for the distance.  Well done Simon.

A new name enters our reports as_DSC0737 Emily Kinsey tries her hand in an Open Event for the first time.  Only having completed Club events up to this point Emily was entering the unknown and trying to gain some experience of the event.  A finishing time of 29.31 gains her the Club Bronze Standard and with her determination the Silver Standard is beckoning.

The weekend of 16/17th July saw two events promoted by Ross-on-Wye CC.  On the Saturday Nadine Cannon was again chasing that PB on the R10/17 Course.  After some difficulties negotiating the Heads of the Valleys road improvements just to get to the event Nadine settled into her ride in the warm but windy conditions.  Nadine was absolutely delighted with her time of 24.01 which gave her the PB she has been working so hard for. Nadine has previously comfortably achieved the Club Gold Standard for a 10 and we look forward to see her times tumbling.

Also looking for a good time on a course he set his best time last year, Jeff Rees found the conditions very hot and windy.  In the end Jeff was extremely disappointed with his time of 24.11 though he was very complimentary of the organisation of the event.

Sunday and the same club promoted a 25m TT on the R25/7 Course.  Nadine Cannon took on the Heads of the Valleys roads works once again just to get to the HQ.   In what she describes as perfect weather conditions Nadine made her assault on the course to and was determined to improve on her best time on this course.  As she had done the previous day Nadine gave her self a 10/10 for how she felt about her performance, and who would argue with that.  Nadine posted a time of 1:01:26, getting ever closer to going under the hour and, yet again, took the prize for 1st Lady.  What a season she is having, well done Nadine.

Simon Kinsey entered the same event but unfortunately after negotiating the road works to get to the event he took a wrong turn after six miles.  This ended his chances of going under the hour on this fast course. Simon and Nadine warns other members who enter races on this course to watch out for signs as there are many turn-offs along the route