Reading has a double National Masters Champion in the form of Reading Cycling Club’s Nicholas English.
Nick was competing this Sunday in the A category (for riders aged 30-34) at the Masters National Track Championship at the Newport track on Sunday. He participated in the individual pursuit and points races. In the former event, an initial second placing was subsequently raised to the gold medal position when the event leader’s position on his pursuit bike was found to be illegal under the UCI’s stringent and complicated rules.
Nick had a far more satisfying win in the points race. An eye witness to a great ride describes the event, which lasted for 120 high-speed laps:
“It was a quality field with some very experienced riders. Nick ‘sat in’ the race watching for the first 20-30 laps, timing his move to perfection. Two riders had already tried to get away; he had helped to bring them back, then he made his own solo break. I don’t think any of the other riders took enough notice of him, because he is virtually unknown as a track rider. That was their big mistake! Some experienced onlookers thought Nick was being a bit reckless, but as the race went on, he was absolutely awesome. It took him nine kilometers on his own to lap the field, he looked totally composed for each of those kilometers, whilst the rest of the field were fighting it out amongst themselves for second, third and fourth in each points sprint – and looking more and more frustrated. There was a huge cheer from the watchers when Nick got back on to the back of the bunch. Then he smoothly made his way back through to the front just in case anyone had forgotten about him. Absolute domination!”
Nick still had about forty laps to go after gaining his lap on the bunch. Throughout his solo effort, he had picked up points as first rider through the designated sprints, and gaining his lap on the bunch gave him twenty more. The result was his, but to make doubly sure, he still found strength left to escape again and gain another half lap on the bunch, picking up more points. Nick himself modestly thinks that he gained these additional points with more ease than might have been the case, because the other riders had more chance to do their sums, and knew that the total he had already accrued could not be beaten.
Nick was also in team action at the Palmer Park track on Tuesday last, in the divisional team pursuit. He writes that “Reading CC entered two teams, who were up against teams Twickenham CC, Palmer Park Velo, GS Henley, and the AW Cycles team. The Reading team I was riding with consisted of me, Jun Aishima, Steve Bale, and Trevor Bradbury. The format was a heat, and then the two fastest teams through to the final. In the heat we worked together to make the best use of the team’s strengths, and managed to get though, I think we rode 5:17. AW Cycles were the other finalists with 5:01. We knew it was going to be a big ask to close that gap in the final, but we used some novel tactics in the final to try to close it, Trevor pulling a massive first turn before pulling off and not trying to finish the ride (in a team pursuit the time is taken on the 3rd rider). We produced a faster time, with 5:14, but AW Cycles also upped their game with a 4:59 – possibly the first sub 5 min ride in this championship. We were pleased to match our time from last year.”
In time trial news, last Tuesday night (29th June) was also the club’s popular “Athletes” club championship. This is a time trial event open (as far as placings are concerned) only to riders on standard road bikes, the idea being that nobody gains critical advantage from expensive wheels, aerodynamic helmets, or bikes specifically made for time trialling.
Fastest on the night was Ken Buckley with 24:10 for the 10 mile course, just three seconds behind was road racer Joe Harris, and third was Simon Notley with 24:45.
Meanwhile, other Reading CC riders are currently abroad to see the Tour de France in the Belgian Ardennes, while a large home contingent are preparing themselves for what they hope will be gold and silver standard rides in our Anthony Maynard Sportive on July 18th.