21st October

The Annual Club Social Trip took place on the weekend of 12/13 October. Eighteen members met in Porth for the start of the event which, once again, had been superbly organised by Eddie Blayney. Club Chairman, Jeff Matthews, started the riders on their way before providing support and photography duties with his ‘sidekick’ Chris Thomas. Additional support was once again carried out by ‘The Blayney Crew’ who always manage to cheer everyone up with comments on how difficult it is to drive up the hills!

After riding down to Ponty and up the Cynon Valley the group descended to Glynneath before negotiating the climb towards Onllwyn. The route went through the Swansea valley before climbing again through Brynamman and the foot of the Black Mountain. The group enjoyed a ‘longer than expected’ pub lunch in Ammanford before pushing on towards Gorseinon.

Due to the long lunch break it was decided to ‘CUT OFF THE CORNER’ of the intended route. At this point the riders found themselves at the mercy of a very dangerous entity – a club chairman with a map!!!

Jeff managed to find a little climb that our recently departed ‘Mr 20 per cent’ Ian Humphries would have loved. After a ‘gentle mile or so’ he received lots of quiet ‘gratitude and praise’ for his route selection. Gerald, in particular, really seemed to enjoy the diversion. Chris later reassured everyone that they had not laughed once while driving up this climb.

After seventy miles (from Porth) the day’s ride ended at ‘The Dragon Hotel’ in Swansea. The riders and support group enjoyed a fantastic three course meal before engaging in some ‘serious rehydration’ in the big city.

On Sunday morning the group enjoyed breakfast before heading for home on a shorter route. After negotiating the busy roads towards Port Talbot it was a left turn to the Afan valley and the constant and steady climb to the bottom of the Bwlch. By this time, the weather had closed in and the group splintered on the climb as riders found the pace which their legs (and hangovers) allowed them to ascend.

All the riders would like to thank Eddie for organising this trip. The route, accommodation and food were excellent. Many thanks also to Darren and crew who carried the luggage and provided welcome support and encouragement. Thanks to Chris and Jeff for the photographs – and for the little diversion ‘NOT’…………

The Photo Gallery has lots of photos of the event.

12th October

Long-standing club members were recently saddened to hear that Glyndwr Lewis is seriously ill. Glyndwr was a hard working committee member at one period and until recently a very keen and fast time-triallist. In the early 1960’s he was one of Acme’s “Lewis Brothers” a well known trio of fast, short distance riders who were able to win team awards for Acme in open time trials. You are in all our thoughts, Glyndwr.

Eleven members of the club took part in the Valleys Velo Sportive on Sunday 29th September. The event was organised by The Bicycle Doctor, Porth and promised to be a feast of climbing. (2,200 meters) Over 300 riders, including former welsh rugby internationals Colin Charvis and Huw Bennett , set off from Aberdare Country Park towards Hirwaun and on to the first climb – The Rhigos. The Acme group soon split up with Paul Harries, Anthony and Ethan Derrick, Phil Andrews and Steve Williams setting the pace at the head of the event.

Tavis Rees, Kevin Millard and Tony Rees maintained a steadier pace that allowed them to stay together throughout the day. The other Acme riders were Roddy Wood, Andrew Sheldon and Simon Kinsey. Simon has recently made a return to cycling after undergoing knee surgery. He certainly picked a tough event in which to make his comeback!

After the short ride through Treorchy the route took the riders up the Bwlch and into the Ogmore valley. The third climb came between Blackmill and Gilfach before ‘a surprise’ (to some people), climb of Barn Hill. A number of riders resorted to pushing their bikes up Penrhys where the feed station proved to be very popular.

After the descent into the Rhondda Fach came the only flat section of the event – down to Ponty -before the long and tortuous ascent of Graigwen took riders towards LLanwonno. It was great to take advantage of the ‘closed road’ descent into Blaenllechau – in fact it was just great to be descending anywhere.

Even the moderate climb up to Maerdy was now proving difficult for some, before final climb of Maerdy Mountain saw an end to the ‘enjoyment’.

With the exception of Ethan, who made some lame excuse about bearings in his ears!!!, all members completed the 58 mile route. Paul Harries set a fantastic time of 3 hrs 29 min to finish in sixth place with Anthony, Phil and Steve all coming in well under four hours. Simon, Tavis, Kevin and Tony all finished around the 4hrs 30 mark with Roddy and Andrew just over 5 hours.

Congratulations to Jamie and all at The Bicycle Doctor.

Everyone who participated agreed it was an awesome event with excellent organisation, marshalling and signing. While the route was a tough test, it certainly ‘showcased’ the area. Many ‘foreign’ riders commented on the scenery and great cycling roads – luckily the weather could not have been kinder, which certainly helped.

The ‘Acme Crew’ were once again cheered on at various points of the course by Roger, Margaret and Sharon (who also provided some of the photos). Hopefully, this ride will become an established event on the sportive calendar. It certainly has all the ingredients to be a success.

See the Photo Gallery for more pictures of the event.

29th September

World Police and Fire Games Belfast 2013

1st to the 10th of August 2013 the WPFG were held in Belfast Northern Ireland with 6,500 competitors from all over the World taking part in 56 different sports.

Dean Cummings and Barrie Mcgregor (Cwmcarn) were representing the SWP Cycling Section in the Road Race and Criterium in 50-54yrs age group. Following our arrival we registered at the event HQ near the Titanic Quarters and were given our Athletes Travel Pass and other documents to assist us in our visit. Our accommodation was the Queens University Halls of residence situated 3 miles south of the City which was full of International Athletes. There was the real feeling that we were part of a major event.

The RR was held on Saturday 3rd August at Carrick Fergus using a regular RR circuit used by local Cycling Clubs .The 18 mile route had all the ingredients for a good race but disappointingly the US organizers had restricted the events to one lap for the over 45 and two for the under 45 `s .

A special train was put on for the Athletes to travel the 12miles North the event HQ which left Belfast at 07.15 hrs packed with 161 male and 15 Female riders’ bikes and all. An early opportunity to see what we may be up against..

The Race HQ was the local Leisure Centre, early on we could see that we could be up against some class riders .All the big cycling nations were represented Spain , France , Germany ,Netherlands USA, Colombia, Australia as well as Russia ,Norway ,Sweden ,Brazil and Mexico a real international feel. Also present were riders from several different Fire departments from the U.S and Canada . Chicago, Arizona, New York, New Jersey the list is endless.

The Race started with a roll out of over 90 riders from the HQ into the main streets where a large crowd had started to gather, past the start /finish line and off. An uphill section to start followed by a long slightly down hill flat section along the Coastal Road, boosted by a stiff tailwind. Surprisingly the pace was quick but quite steady it seemed that everyone was “keeping their powder dry “before the big climb.

A speedy left fork in the Road was negotiated and a couple of riders put the hammer down on the start of a one and a half mile steady climb but the race stayed together. A short time later a stinging little climb followed by sharp ninety degree left hand turn stretched the bunch out but moments later it was all back together at the start of the long five mile climb. A couple of attacks came from the front of the bunch and as the road gradually kicked up and up it started to cause a few problems in the bunch . In-form Barrie Mcgregor went over the top in a strong position in the main group of 13 riders I was in a second group which fractured going over the next rise. I chased hard along the two to three mile undulating Top Road pulling in the group of Four Riders .The main bunch were making progress and pulled away ,followed by the group of four. I almost bridged the gap before this group went over the final rise and onto a long fast descent. I chased down at speeds of over 40mph but was unable to close the gap before the final left hand turn and into the finishing straight. As I approached the final bend I could see and hear the crowds cheering the other riders, with the road closed I took the sweeping left hander at full speed and onto the finishing straight, as I crossed the line just seconds behind the group in front I sat up and applauded the large crowd who had made the effort to attend.

Barrie Mcgregor had just missed out in the sprint and came in 4th in our age group and I finished 10th with both in the top 20 of the main Race.

The Criterium was held on the evening of Monday 5th August and the magnificent setting of Stormont Castle was the backdrop to the circuit that included Ten 90 degree turns a downhill and uphill section passing the start finish line. The races were age catagorised and we were in the 50-59 event.

During the preparation and warm up before the Race we started to get the feel for the event with a large crowd gathering behind the barriers who had been to view other sports at the venue earlier that day ,it was quite a spectacle .

Having already met some of our competitors in the previous event we had an idea who to keep an eye on. We lined up at the monument and received our instructions of 25 minutes and 3 laps and having seen the 60 to 69 yrs group I knew it was going to be fast.

We followed the motorcycle for one neutralized lap and as we passed the start finish line we were off to a blistering pace started by a Spanish and Northern Ireland rider who created a gap very quickly .Early on I heard to commentator saying “The race is on for 3rd Place “ and right he was ,it was flat out with another strong Spanish Rider pushing the pace ,positions chopped and changed as the riders on maximum effort were lifted by the cheering crowds and our names being called out by the commentator ,with 10minutes to go I was in 5th spot behind a German and the Spaniard praying I could keep it there to the end .I kept this position as long as I could the. The Race continued at max effort and as time went on stronger riders created gaps on the tight bends and uphill sections .Spurred on by the crowds we sprinted up the Hill the last time and finished exhausted. We both agreed that we couldn’t have given any more.

Later while sharing a Guinness with our new friends the official results were relayed. A German rider came in 3rd Barrie finished 8th and I was 10th once again. A truly great event

Later that evening we shared more Guinness, Irish whiskey and more Guinness with some of the other riders reliving the competitions of the day.

More photos from the Games can be seen in the Photo Gallery.

The next Games are to be held in

Arizona 2015

Montreal 2017

China 2019

Photos of both events can be found on Flickr.com

Search under …..

Wpfg 2013 road race

Wpfg 2013 road race criterium

Wpfg 2013 road race –criterium

24th September

On Sunday 1st September, thirteen members of the club joined around 150 riders in the inaugural edition of ‘The 5 Valleys Gran Fondo’. The event was organised by Prostate Cancer Wales to raise funds for lifesaving equipment that at present is not available in the principality. Glorious weather greeted participants at the start in Margam Park where the riders were set off in groups at 3 minute intervals. While not a race, the presence of riders from four other local clubs ensured that there was plenty of friendly banter and no small amount of competition.

The route wound its way to Pencoed and on to the first climb of the day at Smilog Woods, where club president, Gerald Clements and committee man Gwyn Humphries were on hand to ensure that nobody took the easy option. From there it was over to Blackmill via Gilfach and up the Ogmore Valley to The Bwlch. Acme riders received additional support at the top of this climb from Roger, Margaret , Carl and Sharon who handed out food from a ‘goody bag’ provided by Chris Thomas that could have fed an army.

The route split here with the shorter version heading into the Afan Valley and back to Margam while riders doing the longer route descended into the Rhondda then over the Rhigos to Glynneath. It continued to Neath then over the Cimla climb to Pontrhydyfen before an undulating final stretch back to Margam. All members completed the 75 mile event in times under five hours with Paul, Phil, Anthony and Ethan achieving the quickest times.

Everyone who took part can donate their sponsor money online at www.justgiving.com/fivevalleys. You do not have to return your sponsor forms.

(The only Acme rider not shown in the group photo is Chris Clements)

All our members wish to send their best wishes for the future to Ian and Katie Humphries who leave, tomorrow 25th September for their new home in Devon. Ian, we have all enjoyed your company and who knows, some of us may turn up on your doorstep one day and accompany you on one of your marathon hilly rides !

3rd September

Another Club Championship, the 10 mile Time Trial was held on 18th August, incorporated in the Welsh Championship. With a full field of 120 riders it was necessary to include an overflow event in which 58 year old Paul Griffiths competed, recording 27 minutes 56 seconds. Three other members were included in the main event for men, Neale Lewis completing the distance in a very good 22.40 for 59th overall. Dan Taylor recorded a personal best finishing in 45th place with 22.03 while Steve Bennett, in a good run of form recorded 21.42 to take 30th overall and our Club Championship for 2013.

Steve continued to notch up results, riding in the last of the JIF Summer Criterium races at Llandow on 28th August. Now riding with 2nd Category status he competed in the Cat 2/3/4/Vet event, finishing in 3rd place then also rode in the following Cat 2/3/4 race where he came away with 9th place against mostly fresh riders.

Dan Taylor, meanwhile, was completing his training for the Welsh 12 hour TT Championship on 1st September. Following a night of clear skies the 6 am start, shortly after dawn, had some riders donning gloves and extra clothes ready for the first leg out to Hereford. By late morning the helpers and riders on the Chainbridge circuit were bathed in hot sunshine but a stiff wind had developed, hindering riders on the dual carriageway from Raglan to Hardwick. Unfortunately for Dan, some muscle damage suffered in the Championship 10 began to cause serious pain, forcing him to pull out after 125 miles with just under half his allocated time remaining. Extremely disappointed because he still felt strong, he is already thinking ahead to the 2014 event where it looks as though he will be joined by several other Acme riders. On a day which saw seven other withdrawals, 38 riders and two tandem teams completed the course with veteran rider Jon Wynn taking the title with an astonishing 287.74 miles.

The final round of the 5 Mile Time Trial Series 2013 took place on 29th August on the Porth bypass. Seventeen members have competed in the six events which began in early June. Junior member Ethan Derrick claimed his second club title with a points total (Best 5 Results) of 94. Runner up was Tony Rees, 83 points and in third place was last year’s winner, Paul Harries, 76 points.

Ethan was presented with the Dudley Thomas Memorial Trophy by Gwyn Humphries. It is rumoured that his dad, Anthony, has been putting up extra shelves at home to cope with all the silverware ! Once again, the riders would like to thank everyone who has given up their time to officiate at these events. A special mention should go to Chris Thomas who has taken over the ‘event signing’ duties this year. It is to his credit that each event has been run safely and without incident.

Overall winner of the Hill Climb Series, Paul Harries receives his trophy from timekeeper Gwyn Humphreys, flanked by the runners-up and start timekeeper, Carole Dietman. Ethan Derrick was not able to beat dad Anthony in the final event but managed to overtake Jason Dodd in the points count to claim second place. Jason’s consistent high finishing saw him claim the last podium place over Tony Rees who had occupied this place until the last event.

A special mention should be made of former Series Winner, Ian Humphries who rode his last Hill Climb event with the club before moving back to his native Devon. All the riders wish to thank the club officials and members who marshalled and timed this year’s events. Without their help the series would not take place.

Chris Thomas has supplied some additional pictures taken at the club events which have now been added to the relevant sections of the Photo Gallery.

Several older club members recently attended the funeral of the mother of Nigel Evans. Nigel, a past member, moved to England many years ago in pursuit of his profession but keeps in touch with Andrew Leach. Some of our members met Nigel at this year’s Dragon Ride when he and other members of his current club, Coalville Wheelers, were training for a sponsored ‘End to End’ ride. On this ride from John o’Groats to Land’s End, Nigel’s son Tom, new to cycling, achieved the feat of completing the 930 miles and helping to raise £11,000 for their charity.