Race Reports

Isle of Wight Cycle Tour


At the end of April, Steve Mac, Ian Anderson, Brad Williams and Kev James headed out for two day epic to the Isle of Wight and back.

It started with a rendezvous at the dolphin pub at 8.30 then onto Hurst to pick up Steve by 9am. By the time we had left Steve's we now we all had our tales of lack of training and lack of miles all on record, so it was time for some hard graft.

We ditched the original plan to keep to the A272 on the insistence of Ian and were treated to a better ride as a result. The first part of the ride picked up the Sunday steyning run in reverse but we cut across via Spithandle lane to Washington then onto Storrington before hitting the country lanes properly.

The roads were fairly rough in places with a few lumps but nothing too strenuous but we were enjoying the chance to ride side by side and slowly eating up the miles with a helpful tailwind. With a few map checks we risked a road closed to road works and came across a stunning scene of a lake and open woodland. We all agreed that we'd be moving to the house overlooking the lake.

Much too our amusement at the next map check Brad seemed so overwhelmed by the name of the village (Cocking) that he had the first (and not last) wobble of the trip, We agreed to briefly picked up the A272 through Midhurst before heading south again to Elsted. The first killer climb of the day was realised at Harting.I think this features in the Chichester triathlon and at one point I was close to track standing I was going so slow. Ian was in turbo charged mode with Brad glued to his wheel. I only had the comfort that Steve was behind grinding it out. We topped out on the climb and had a fast decent heading south before we cut west again up another sharp climb.

With around 60 miles done, by now we were all thinking about food and in the small village of Chalton, we stopped at the excellent Red Lion pub, which had amazing views overlooking a valley of the Hampshire downs. The sun was shining brightly and we had a very leisurely lunch, with Brad seeming to fall asleep on a park bench at some point.

With stiff legs and full bellies we set off. And in classic form we were straight up another sharp hill which we could have anticipated having enjoyed the view of the said hill over lunch. Steve was having gear problems as well as feeling the effects of his meal. Up this hill we then bridged the A3 and then hit the Meon valley. I had never ridden this part of Hampshire before and it was a definite highlight. Virtually flat and with sweeping bends and a tailwind, I couldn't resist hitting the front and trying to up the pace. While this stretch was quite long, it was over far too soon.

Having treated ourselves to fast and flat roads, we decided it was time for some off-road fun. We had spotted a lane that looked quite small on the map but we thought it might be rideable - well kind of. Luckily we all managed to stay upright and puncture free and I enjoyed a few cyclo cross style moves over tree stumps and avoiding large rocks. My overconfidence was sharply brought back into balance as the back-end stepped out just as I hit the gravel as the track transitioned to rough road - but I managed to hold it together.

We had a few more map checks to do before we managed to pick up some of the road section fairly near the end of the South Downs Way. Having done this ride in reverse a few times I remembered a few landmarks and realised we would have a long drag up onto the downs again. We topped out the climb surrounded by open fields of rape in glorious sunshine and headed West again to Twyford, crossing the M3 just south of there.

We were starting to realise that time was ticking on. Luckily I had found my legs a bit more after struggling most of the early morning. We pushed it on a bit via busier roads and found the Hampshire drivers were not cycling fans. Admittedly, in a break neck run through Romsey, just north of the New Forest, Ian decided to test the breaks of a car turning right on a roundabout, which meant that we weren't complete angel cyclists. I had no choice but to keep going having been glued to Ian's wheel but had to flick the bike at speed and I was amazed that Brad - behind me - also opted for the same option. Steve had the sense and foresight to see that stopping was a better option. A bit too close for my comfort.

From therein we were keeping a reasonable pace, but were not too sure if it was going to be close for the ferry. It was at this point that the 100 mile mark started to bite us all. Steve had a brief moment on his own but as the road went up he somehow saw the end crawling slowly towards him and stopped the elastic snapping. I can't say that the New Forest was much of a highight as the roads were heavy with stressed out bank holiday drivers. And mysteriously, a long grind up through the Forest was not rewarded with a decent into Lymington - how does that work hill and sea level anyone?. Still we were happy to make it to the ferry with a ½ hour to spare.

The ferry crossing was enjoyed with a strong coffee and a bit of chat, but it was amazingly short and we all lowered ourselves gingerly onto our bikes in Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight. Fortunately, we were still blessed with sunshine and the stand-out point was how quiet the roads were. A stark contrast to the New Forest. The road to where we were staying in Newport was rolling but not especially testing and we had a chance to ride two-abreast without too many traffic issues and soon made up the final few miles. With relief found the Travelodge we were staying at with 120 miles in the legs. The evening was then a story of a mega nosh up in a local Italian and the treat of a few ice cold lagers.

Day 2 - Isle of Wight and back again

The second day didn't start as brightly and we were all fairly saddle sore even sitting down for breakfast. Steve managed to use his charms to get us a breakfast deal of tea and toast to which we seem to add a number of other breakfast extras.

A very brief ride down the street was halted by Ian noticing a flat-ish tyre. In the waiting period Brad seemed to get a bit bored. Having remained cleated-in on one side he decided it was time for the second wobble of the trip. Again much to my amusement.

I think that I made a bit too much of the breakfast as I suffered in the first hour of the ride. We decided in the time available to make our way down to the Needles to do the sight seeing thing. This entailed riding up and over a series of long hills and topping out on what might have been the high point of Island.

We headed into Freshwater then took a bit of a detour around the coast to the north. I must admit at this point that I was feeling groggy from the beers the day before and tired and was not particularly enjoying myself, so the prospect of hills up and over the Needles was not welcome. We eventually found our way to the Needles and took a small single track road into the face of a mental head wind that had us all in the small chainring. At the top we still couldn't see the Needles, but we watched the alarming sight of Ian descending offroad towards the cliff's edge. Ian was apparently quite confident that his brakes were quite good. We had visions of air-sea rescue.

Photo opportunity in the bag we headed back to the Needles visitor centre where I had to change a puncture. While waiting, Brad spent time looking in the gift shop, but was heart broken that the sand in test tubes was no longer available in the gift shop, clearly this had left a lasting impression on him!

Once again we were concerned about the time of the ferry and the distances we had to cover. The slow progress in the morning was only going to get worse as we now had a strong westerly headwind to deal with. On this basis, we headed back on the main road (hardly busy) and ate up the miles with Ian on the front and the rest of us sitting in. Fortunately, we all stuck together so it was fairly fast going and we got through Yarmouth again to see a load of cyclist starting an Isle of Wight sportive event. We made the ferry in Fishbourne with time to spare and just missed the earlier Ferry by a few minutes.

Across the sea we were soon rolling out of Portsmouth, which was not the nicest welcome back to the mainland. Busy roads and head winds were the order of the day. These miles passed without much excitement. Ian was happy to be on the front, which he had been most of the day, reinforcing his nickname of "The Ox" even more. We eventually picked up another rider coming out of Havant towards Chichester. He was kind enough to show us the way around Chichester and past Goodwood House. We left him to head back South, and agreed to do a brief stint on the A27 so that we could pick up the Slindon valley. Once again I was feeling much better at the 60 mile point (the same as the day before), so I led us up the climb up the valley (although Brad was happy to sprint for the last 50 metres at the top!!).

The reward at the top of the valley was the ride down into Amberley at good speed then the three hills that step up towards Storrington. We all stopped at the garage for the final energy and water refills. As always the road from Storrington towards Steyning and back home via Ashbourne was pretty kind to us. We managed to keep it together most of the time and we were all pleased that we had enough in the legs to keep it going to Steve's. It was there that we bid adieu and then the final short leg up Isaac's lane with 220 miles + logged.

Overall, it was a great trip with everyone at a similar level in terms of fitness and everyone in good spirits. The beers in the evening were a welcome treat as was getting off the saddle after some mega miles (both Steve and I found that it was a good two days before we could sit properly again!) It also worked out pretty cheap - £50 for the accommodation and ferry - and we agreed that it would be a good ride to try to repeat in future.

Author: Kev James

BAR Race 2 Norwood Paragon 25m


Unfortunately only 13 started with Pete Harris worried to test out his new TT steed in wet and windy conditions, whilst Mark Jordan proved that it is just as dangerous doing a training ride. He cycled into a stationary car, fortunately quite slowly, and no significant injuries.

Due to recent roadworks on the original course we were riding a modified course, with the start some 5 miles away. This caught out Trevor who missed his start time by 2 ½ minutes, but was nothing to Colin Chambers who got to the start early then wandered off aimlessly, thus joining Ant Grey in that specialist sport - the Time Trial for people with no sense of direction. He eventually found his way back over 20 minutes late! Mind you, he also missed his start last year!

It was a wet and windy day but both James dear and Rupert Robinson were comfortably under the hour, with James taking the win by just 4 seconds!

3 minutes down was Rob Hoodless in 62.26, with the ever improving Dave Lashbrook with his second PB over 25 miles in as many weeks, just 16 seconds behind in 62.42. Ant Grey also had a very strong ride to finish in 64.03 and Colin (I haven't been on my bike all winter) Chambers did his now expected 65.43 and Steve (I have trained quite hard and this is probably as fast as I can do) Alden managing 67.11

One of the strongest rides of the day came from Rachel Baker as she also lowered her PB to 69.27, comfortably ahead of Steve (I shouldn't have ridden so far last week)Mac in 71.02, although I heard a rumour that these long rides were called training, which ultimately will result in more speed!

Martin Sanwell also earned himself a PB with 73.00 but is sure to better this once he gets his new bike on the road. Trevor managed to get over his late start and also rode a PB  in 76.01, closely followed by Hazel Tuppen in 77.07 in another PB.

Rose Ryan may have been the last home in 95.56, but she entered it, worked hard all the way round and earned a PB. This is the true essence of Time Trialling, that you are racing against yourself, and to my mind, Rose earned the 'spirit of the race' award for her efforts.


James Dear         59.29   1st  11.28%  10pts
Rupert Robinson   59.33   2nd  11.41       9
Rob Hoodless       1.02.26 3rd  16.80       8
Dave Lashbrook    1.02.42 4th  17.31       7     PB
Ant Grey               1.04.03 5th  19.83       6
Colin Chambers    1.05.43 6th  22.94       5
Steve Alden          1.07.11 7th  25.69       4
Steve McMenamin  1.11.2  8th  32.89       3
Martin Sanwell       1.13.00 9th  36.58       2     PB
Trevor Moore        1.16.01 10th 42.21       1     PB


Rachel Baker      1.09.27  1st  7.34%    10pts   PB
Hazel Tuppen     1.17.07  2nd 19.18        9    PB
Rose Ryan         1.35.56  3rd 48.27        8    PB

Author - Steve Alden

Crawley Wheelers Death Ride

Every Wednesday night at 19:30 this aptly named ride takes place.


It is basically an hour's ride of multiple laps faster than is humanly possible going up every hill in Hayward's Heath, some of these guys were going up the hills quicker than I could go down and they truly were 'Riding like they stole it'


I thought I would start this week after most of the guys have either just got back from Wimereux or just competed in the Brighton Marathon, easy ride nice and gentle just to get the feel of it..12 Riders Started 10 finished the other 2 still have not been found. I got dropped on most laps but the secret is just to keep going as hard as possible and you will get back on the pack.


  • Was it one of the hardest rides I have done - Yes
  • Distance covered - approx 23 miles
  • Did I feel sick - Yes
  • Did I get dropped - Yes
  • Was it fun - Most defiantly
  • Will I do it again - Most defiantly

Great fun and I would recommend it to all, many MST members already do it (Ant, Dave, Kev and myself), if you don't think you can keep the pace or are significantly slower start your own group and do it.

Tour of Wimereux


Tour of Wimereux


The ride sets off from Plumpton and heads out to Dover where there is a slight rest and a ferry over to Calais then onto Wimereux, 100 - 120 miles. Day 2 Wimereux - Dieppe approx 100 miles dependant on the navigator.



Quote from one exhausted rider "It is by far the hardest I have ever cycled in my life"


We managed to stick together for the most part in one peloton, but some of us were literally clinging on for dear life at times!  When Steve Dennis (noted as the fastest rider in Sussex) got on the front, the pace really took off!  The hardest bits were cycling into a pumping headwind in Romney Marsh and along the Kent coast.  And then those long drag hills after about 60 miles on day 2.  We went up there at 20 miles an hour!  I think the average speed for the whole trip was about 20 miles an hour!


There was obviously lots of beautiful scenery along the way (e.g. wide open expanses of yellow rape fields), but these went past in a blur!  There wasn't much drinking on the Saturday night - we were all too shattered.


There is genuine concerned that we didn't get the balance right - too much cycling and not enough drinking!