Flat out in the Fens: Trials and Tribulations 
in the Tour of Cambridgeshire

19/06/2018 Paul Newson

Flat out in the Fens: Trials and Tribulations 
in the Tour of Cambridgeshire

Bryan Steel Racing went on mass to the Tour of Cambridge to see how many riders we could qualify for the Amateur Road Racing Worlds Championships, aka Grand Fondo World finals in Italy later this year. All the riders doing this event are members of the Bryan Steel Racing team https://bryansteel.co.uk/advance/#raceteam and team manager Bryan Steel reports on the eventful weekend.

Time trial

The Chrono on the Saturday started well with 3 of the team riding in their age groups. In the youngest age group, we had Jack who went to France last year, and with a stinking cold he still manged to get qualification – seeing him at the end I would still wanted to have been following him. Ian was in the 60-65 category and managed to finish in the worst position of 4th in his age group. He is already planning where we can make up 10 second for 2019. Simon Inman was our third rider, who didn’t have the best ride with his mind being focused on Sundays Grand Fondo and his first time doing this event but gained some valuable experience for next year.

Grand Fondo

The main focus was Sunday’s 78 miles across the Fenland in the Grand Fondo and in the morning we were very happy to see that there was no wind unlike last year. With most Sportives staring very early in the morning it felt very strange to be starting at mid-day, but as the package with Bryan Steel Racing included access to the Club Kermesse VIP facilities we were able to take full advantage of the hospitality on offer.

For this year all the Bryan Steel Racing riders was in the race pens, albeit split into our respective age groups.

Brook Pitchford was the first to go in 35-40 group but as soon as he went myself, Simon, Lee and Martin were taken to the start line with the other 196 riders. For me the was like old times when I used to race in big races but for the other riders it can be a daunting experience with so many other competitors, and as we started the goal was for me to keep them out of trouble. This was OK for the first 10km but then once we moved onto narrow lanes and even with the roads closed to other motorists was hard to keep in the right place all the time.

The riders were going very well but after an hour we hit the rough roads of the Fens. Along with the twisting and turning nature of the route the riders were starting to find it hard to be in the right place in the group and the race started to break up with the pressure of the riders on the front.

I was in my element like old times and even had the chance to catch up with some old racing mates before we hit the last 20km where things got serious. My first priority was to qualify for the World Championships and stay safe but as we got near to the finish I was finding I was able to hold the right line, going into the last corner in around 10th place… until an untimely crash caused me to swerve off my line and kill my speed. I ended the race in 27th place.

Once through the finish I found Brook who had done a brilliant ride, finishing in the front of his group. Simon was the next through, also finishing within the time limit. Martin Pearcy was the next of our team to finish, just outside the qualification time due to a puncture out on the route. He lost 6 minutes changing his inner tube (amazing time) and missed the limit by 4 minutes. Next in was Lee who had struggled after getting caught up behind several crashes but I also think the hot weather had got to him which didn’t help.

Of the older riders, Paul Newson achieved a massive personal best, but just missed the qualification time in his 50-55 age group. Last but not least was Steve Wright, who was in the 60-65 age group, however he was somewhat at a disadvantage as his group had to wait until all the sportive riders had left before his group started. Steve hasn’t done anything like this before but did a great job finishing just outside his time limit.

All in all, we had a good weekend with 5 riders able to book their place in Italy in September.

If you are interested to hear about the Bryan Steel racing team programme or another of the programmes we run at Bryan Steel Cycling, please visit www.bryansteel.co.uk or contact me at bryan@bryansteel.co.uk to find out more.

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