At the end of March group rides returned, for up to a maximum of 15 riders. The first MCC Tuesday Hills on 30th March coincided with some unseasonably great weather, so it was pasty white guns out and smiles all round. The weather quickly turned rubbish again, and I was struck down with Achillles tendinitis and could only watch from the side-lines. But there has been plenty of watching to do, with open time trials on most weekends and plenty of Muckles pinning on a number (most of them in the correct CTT-legal way) and representing the club by smashing up and down a dual carriageway somewhere in Northumberland. Here are some highlights...
Shaun Brannan knows aero is everything - photo by Adam Hope
April 3rd was the Barnsbury CC Hilly 21 and Lee Cuthbertson won the road bike category, coming 15th overall in the process and covered the lumpy course in over 42kmph average speed. Even more remarkable, was that he seemed happy enough with his ride to the extent that there was no lengthy complaint about something or other in his Strava ride description. Andrew Duggan was 7th overall and John Bowman and Matty Smith were 2nd and 3rd respectively behind Lee in the road bike category.
The following weekend on April 10th, John Bowman and Peter Hawkins took the win in the road bike category at the Blaydon CC 2up 19mile TTT - coming 11th overall, in a strong field. Eye witness reports spoke of being treated to a display of poetry in motion, the likes of which have never been seen, from someone wrapped up in full winter kit and a bloke with a mullet.
At this point I’ll give a shout out to the Pride of Teesside, Les Evans, who, on April 13th had a successful Everesting attempt up Castlelaw Hill in the Pentlands just outside of Edinburgh. I’m still undecided as to whether Everesting is either completely pointless or a landmark in human sporting achievement. In any case, I’m hooked on the idea and it’s always good to see another Muckle and fellow former sesh enthusiast taking on and smashing the challenge.
Lee Cuthbertson going full gas past Rothley Crags - photo by Adam Hope
April 17th was the NTR 10 which saw Shaun Brannan placing 9th in a time of 20:39, and John Bowman winning the road bike category in a time of 21:09. The next day John was back in action at the Stockton Wheelers 23 where he was 6th overall and 4th in the roadbike category.
Team Kirkley Cycles held their 10-mile time trial on April 25th and again, it was another strong showing from the Muckles, the standout results coming from Andrew Duggan who took 7th overall, and John Bowman who was 1st in the road bike category. On the same day James Wilkins was racing the Derwent Duathlon. No one really understands what this strange and obscure sport known as ‘duathlon’ is all about, we believe it involves that dark art known as 'running', but other than that it’s largely shrouded in mystery. Anyway, it looked tough and James won the race which is pretty cool, so well done James.
Gary Lawless at the Team Kirkley Cycles 10 (photo by Sarah-Louise Pringle)
Paddy Blundell immaculately dressed at the Kirkly Cycles 10 (photo by Adam Hope)
On May 1st GS Metro ran their Hilly 26 mile time trial and Shaun Brannan and Daniel Kane ensured MCC made up 20% of the top ten with 7th and 8th place respectively. The road bike category was won by none other than John Bowman who came 11th overall and Matty Smith was 3rd fastest road bike and 14th overall. John attributes his current run of good form as being primarily the result of a surge in motivation stemming from repressed guilt he was holding around too many late nights and sausage rolls in a former life. Whatever it is, it seems to be working well for him.
John at the M105 - photo by Lee Cuthbertson
On May 15th Tyne and Wear Fire Services CC held their own race on the classic Stamfordham course. Real life fireman Darren Williamson was 11th and John Bowman was 12th overall, but once again snatched 1st place in the road bike category. Michael Noble was 10th roadman, just about– he nearly crashed out when he overshot a corner or something but at least he didn’t get lost on the course like he did at the Barnsbury 10 the week before! I am being careful not to take the piss too much, as I’m still hopeful that one day, he can achieve the impossible and find a company that will actually sell me life insurance.
May 16th was the Teesdale Mountain Timetrial – a tough 65km course with nearly 1,400m climbing, starting and ending in Barnard Castle. John Bowman was 6th overall and 2nd Road bike, and Colin Atkinson 11th overall, 2nd in the vets category, and 1st in the v50 category, so amazingly he’s managed to get himself 3 results for doing just one race. To be fair that's actually fairly standard stuff where Colin is concerned I'd say. Bravo Colin, putting us youngsters to shame as usual!
Michael Noble (photo by Sarah Louis Pringle)
Phil Parsley in top form (photo by John Routledge)
Andrew Duggan (photo by Adam Hope)