www.dadswell.co.uk  Mostly cycling records, mostly on three wheels

Record Breaking, or maybe not...                  ....Raef again, June 1992          Back to Rides in 1992

Hot on the heels of Chris Ball's sensational 10 record, the tricycles were again dragged into action, in an attempt to keep the RTTC Competitions Secretary busy.

For several years, we've been looking for opportunities to attack the 25 and 50 records.  With Glenn able to go for the individual records, Nev and I needed to be up to a sufficient standard to beat the team times.

Previously, we (Glenn, Ralph & Tim) have tried the 50 records twice.  On both occasions, we were troubled by illness or blowing- up, and managed to miss out.  This time, though, we were better prepared - in some ways.

The Finsbury Park 50 has a special event for 10 tricyclists, separated from the “main” event for 110 bicyclists.  Nev was Number 1, Ralph No 6, and Glenn No 10.

I said we were better prepared, but this only really refers to training & fitness.  On the day, my organisation was a shambles, and Nev had already started by the time that I rode to the start.  When I saw Glenn, he was relieved that I'd arrived.  He said something to me.  Removing several carefully chosen 'emphatic' words, I quote: "You're late.  If you hadn't turned up, you would have been dead."  Add the extra words in the most suitable places.

We had to beat 6-37-26, which meant 2-12-28 each.  I started, aiming for a 2-5, which would have been a personal best.  At the first turn, I was about 1 minute up on Nev, but over 2 minutes down on Glenn.

At about 20 miles, Glenn caught me.  At that stage, I guessed that he could do a 1-55, and I would do my 2-5.  Shortly afterwards, I was surprised to catch Nev, who was then seemingly on for a 2-12.

In the remaining 25 miles, Glenn went faster than expected, to clobber Pitty's individual record with 1-53-13.  I came in with a 2-4-51, putting the pressure on Nev.  We waited (not bothering to hold our breaths) to see whether he could beat 2-39-22.

Of course he did, although wilting a little in the heat.  His solid 2-17-39 was enough to ease 21-43 off the required standard, which is now revised to 6-15-43.

Like a couple of old men, Glenn and Nev sat in garden chairs by the tea tent, and accepted congratulations as all the big shots collected their cups of tea.  A typical conversation might have been  "Well done Glenn", with a reply of "Not bad for an old 'un".  Actually, he said that to everyone.

A few days later, attention was focussed on the Polytechnic CC 25 at Oxford.  Nev was No 7, I was No 17, and Glenn was No 21.  Dave Pitt, however, had somehow contrived to be placed at No 18 (also on a trike).

The team record for 25 was 3-0-22, requiring 1-0-7 each.  Based on the previous Saturday, I guessed that the shape of our rides would be 0-54-30, 1-00-00 and 1-05-30, although Nev had said that he was much more suited to the 25 than the 50 - so we could expect a more competitive ride from him this time.

On this occasion, it was Glenn's turn to cut timings finely.  When I started, he hadn't collected his number!  However, I had faith in him, and set off down the gift hill at Cumnor.

Well, I say "gift hill".  It seemed like a climb, with the north- easterly headwind.  I managed the first two miles in 5 minutes.  Not promising, as this suggested a 1-2-30.  I looked behind, but Pitty was not in sight, yet.

After five miles, I was caught by Vic Haines, being caught by John Pritchard.  The sensation was as if a jet was landing on my head, as the disk wheels roared by.  Still no sign of Pitt, but someone was 100 yards behind.  Without my 'proper' glasses on, and in the heat of battle, I couldn't be sure whether the machine behind was a tricycle - but I presumed the worst, and redoubled my efforts.

As it turned out, the apparition behind was Dave.  He got to within 9 seconds of catching me, before cracking up.  He rapidly disappeared from the scene, ending up last with 1-9-43.

Meanwhile, as I left the 14 mile turn, I saw Glenn for the first time.  He had just been caught by Pete (on a bike), and was nearly three minutes up on me.  I needed to cover the last 10 miles in 25-30 to beat the hour, but there was a definite headwind.

After 17.5 miles, Pete came past - on his way to a 53-53.  At 20 miles Glenn caught me, and then we were into the last knockings.

The wind didn't ease up, and even the descending finish wasn't enough for me to ease under 60 minutes.  However, Glenn managed 55-40 to beat a second D Pitt time in five days.  My 1-0-40, when added to Nev's classy 1-3-6, was sufficient to push the team record under 3 hours with 2-59-26.

(after the 25 record)

Everyone seemed generally agreed that the day was not producing many exciting results.  However, that view was shot to pieces when Gethin came in with 47-57.

Prizes were handed out to anyone beating a competition record, and Chris Ball also got one for his 51-57 - on the grounds that on a better day, he would have beaten the junior record.  Strange logic, but I don't suppose it bothered Chris!

After all this excitement, we had to return to earth, and make the final preparations for the 24 hour, which was happening over the next weekend.


The "24" (or should that be 6, 7, 12 or 14?)

As far as I could see, we were all ready for the big race.  On the day, there was a brisk north-easterly breeze, which meant that the team record (1441 miles) looked rather tight.

We all started on time (Pete 30, Ralph 45, Mark 53, Glenn 60), and were immediately in the teeth of a headwind.  Personally, I was slower than evens for the first 4 miles, and was caught for a minute.  Impressive, eh?

After the 4 mile turn, there was a good opportunity to sit up and twiddle 52x12 for a while, and I covered 10 miles in 27 mins.

Suddenly, Andy Wilkinson caught me for 5 minutes.  Normally, if someone had done that to me, I would have just grinned to myself, and waited for him to crack up.  However, having seem Andy in the Anfield 100, I had a feeling that he could 'last'.

At 50 miles, Pete was about 2 mins ahead of my 2-20.  Glenn was about 6 or 7 mins up, and Mark was fractionally ahead as well.  Wilkinson was leading by a couple of mins.

By 100 miles, Glenn had caught me for 15 mins, but didn't seem to be getting away.  I think, also, that I was a couple of minutes up on Pete.

I now know that this was start of Glenn's problems.  It seems that he was mixing his drinks.  We all know that you shouldn't follow a Guinness with a Pan-Galactic GargleBlaster, and then expect a swig of creosote to stay down.

As I approached the 120 mile turn at Downham Market, I was surprised to see an Antelope sloping along the road, wearing a waterproof top (in the sunshine).  As I caught up, the rider stopped, unclipped, laid his bike down, and fell into the grass.  Imagine my horror, to see that it was Glenn.  I asked (rather unnecessarily) whether he was alright.... he replied "No".

Knowing that his helpers were just behind I continued, in a bewildered state.  As I returned from the turn, he was riding again, but things didn't look good as there were 18 hours to go.

I stomped on to the next turn at about 140 miles.  Imagine my surprise then, to find that Pete was only 3 minutes up the road. As I was down on my schedule, I immediately realised that he must have been in trouble as well - that is to say, it wasn't a case of me going too fast.

When I caught up with Pete, he didn't look as if his heart was in the race.  I did what I could to convince him that we should continue for the team awards.  However, my spiel didn't sound very good to me, so it must have seemed hopeless to him.

I set off for the Newmarket turn, wondering what to do.  At the turn I saw Dave Pitt, Derek Panks and Chris Lacey.  Pitt shouted "Where's the Antelope Racing Team?".  Good question.

As it became clear that the team had evaporated, I then considered the possibility of an individual medal.  At 212 miles, I was about 10 minutes adrift of third place, but I felt that I could close that kind of gap.

I covered 242 miles in 12 hours, at which time I'm told that Mark abandoned ship.  Shortly afterwards, I was caught by Mick Gray (who was destined to claim the silver medal), and then by Ian Gray (bronze medallist).

Whilst being caught didn't necessarily prove that they would beat me, it did enhance the demoralization which I had been fighting against.  After 14.5 hours, I decided that the most sensible thing to do was to get off, while I still had no injuries etc.

Something in the back of my head kept telling me that I should finish the race, but I remembered advice received earlier, that I shouldn't try to do an End-to-End and a 24 in one season.  This really clinched the decision to stop, as I don't want any built-in problems for the "big ride".

Thus, my helpers (Mum, Dad, Tim, Est) were vaguely disappointed, but they accepted my decision.  We tipped loads of drink away, and threw out loadsa sandwiches.

For those of you who live on the moon, the final result was a win for Andy Wilkinson with 502.5 miles.



I haven't spoken to Glenn since the race, as he's taken off for an exotic Mediterranean holiday.  However, it seems that Maxim is the drink being hailed as the villain of the piece - ie the drink that screwed him up.  Whilst it may be true that the presence of Maxim in his array of drinks was a problem for him, I think that we shouldn't be too hasty in condemning it outright.

Personally, the only drink which I used was Maxim.  I suffered no ill effects at all, and will quite happily use it again in the End-to-End (as, if and when it happens).  I am not on commission from the manufacturers, but just don't want anyone to dismiss something too hastily.  Maxim has no taste (but flavours can be added), is not sickly, and was not giving me stomach-ache.

When I subsequently spoke to Pete, he informed me that he was recovering from a cold, which had been affecting him in the 24. He seemed to say that the 24 didn't feel like racing, and that the course was too boring.

My reaction to this is that tactics are as important in a 24 as they are in a road-race.  The main thing to remember for the first 12 hours is that you must complete it without really exerting yourself.  In the night, you need to be well insulated from the temperature drop, and need to have lighting which can cope with racing (ie almost certainly NOT Ever Ready Nightriders, unless they've improved immensely since I gave up with them).  After the break of dawn, you can expect to speed up, as your body moves away from the "I want to sleep" mode.  At this stage, you can think about racing - even if you don't do 25 mph, you can still rewrite the race order in the last few hours.

On the "boring" front, I would agree that there weren't many features to the course.  I will contend, however, that after 18 hours, you'd be bloody glad not to suddenly hit Poulner Hill.

Another try?

Obviously, anyone's reaction when being forced to abandon a 24, is "never again".  I would have been surprised if Glenn or Pete would have taken any other view in the heat of the moment.

However, it wasn't the "24" which made you stop, was it?  After all, you were still in theoretically familiar territory (ie less than 12 hours riding).  No, it was either bad luck or an unfortunate mistake that caught you out.

Next year, the Championship will be promoted by the Mersey Roads Club.  The course is just north of Shrewsbury, in Shropshire.  The countryside is more interesting than the Fens, without being as hilly as the New Forest.

The course uses the roads of the Anfield BC 100, and so this is an obvious race to do in preparation.  I rode the 100 this year, and am quite happy with the idea of riding another 24 on the same roads.

The distance to the start of the Mersey 24 is not significantly further than to Ely, and the race takes place later in the season. This fact certainly appeals to me, as I find it quite a struggle to be fully fit by June.

So, guys, what about riding the Anfield 100 and the Mersey 24.  Give it some thought, and decide "yes".

After all, we can succeed at this.  Having failed once, we don't want to be seen to give up.

Back to Rides in 1992

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