CYCLING Wanderers travel far and wide

THE racing scene kicked into action last weekend with members of Lewes Wanderers Cycling club travelling far and wide in pursuit of honours.

The fun started with the Surrey League Cat 2/3-road race.

The route encircles a tough seven-mile loop centred on Barcombe featuring some challenging climbs. Jamie Lowden, fresh from his recent successes in France, teamed up with Pete Morris to form the Lewes team. Early in the race a group of six or so riders broke away from the main peloton and, despite persistent efforts, the chasers were not able to rein the leaders in.

Lowden and Morris both had strong rides and were in the main group finishing in 20th and 26th place respectively. The overall winner was Harold Evans of the VO2 Development Team.

On the time trialling scene Lewes had a very fruitful weekend. On Saturday Nick Dwyer posted a fast 20:56 to finish third in the Old Portlians 10, fast enough to see him claim the first Vet’s award.

A clutch of Wanderers posted rapid times, including Mark Frost (22:32), Duncan Fuller (22:49), and Mark Paton (23:33). Natasha Fuller had a fine ride and her time of 25:30 was an agonising one second too slow for her to claim the Ladies award. Overall winner was Pete Tadros of In-Gear with a time of 20:28.

On Sunday Natasha (right) and Duncan Fuller headed out to Bentley near Farnham to ride the fast Charloteville 50 course. Duncan had set his heart on breaking the two-hour mark for the 50-mile excursion, and, despite his bravest efforts, could not quite mange it, coming home a mere 40 seconds outside the magical figure.

Nevertheless this was a magnificent ride in which he smashed his PB by a considerable margin. Not to be outdone Natasha stormed around the course fighting against a considerable headwind to finish in a marvellous time of 2:12:53, slicing a massive 12 minutes off her PB. The fantastic news for Natasha is that she has captured the long standing club Lady’s 50 record which stood at 2:13:05, set in 1995 by club legend Heather Wimble.

There was more success over at Broadbridge Heath where the Wanderers pulled off a splendid team victory in the Norwood Paragon 25. Lead man Nick Dwyer put in a stellar performance to capture overall second position in an impossibly fast 53.50, which was only 49 seconds behind a back to form Steve Dennis of East Grinstead, who made light of his recent spate of cycling injuries to power to an impressive victory.

Teaming up with Nick to capture the team prize were Pete Morris (57:00) and the fast-improving Mark Frost, whose time of 57:36 was fast enough to secure second position in the Vet’s award. Other Lewes times were Tom Glandfield (narrowly missing team prize with 57:37), Dominic Lowden 1:00:23, Colin Harris 1:01:03, Mark Paton 1:01:14, Michael Valks 1:01:18, Neil Midgley 1:02:03, Micky Turner 1:02:20. Completing the weekend’s full programme of racing was your correspondent, who headed out to Ashford to take part in the Kent VTTA 30-mile event.

The 30 is seldom promoted as it is a non-standard distance; the ride itself is difficult to judge as most riders, used to riding a 25, tend to ride the 30 at a similar pace, only to be undone by the extra five miles which makes them realise that they have overcooked it in the first part of the race. The course itself is relatively flat and with the early morning chills the only negative factor on the day.

I completed the course in 1:15:54, knocking over two minutes off my PB placing me eight overall in the competition. Earlier in the week the Wanderers promoted the first of the evening ten series run out of East Hoathly. The first run saw some very fast times being set, with Jamie Lowden setting down an early season marker with a fast time of 21:52.