Nichols and Miller in great duel
AS Andrew Nichols and Nathan Miller, both on mud-clogged bikes, duelled for the lead in the Davy Down cyclo-cross the big question was - would either risk a bike change?With increasingly heavy machines having to be carried up two long flights of steps, many in the race opted to swap to a clean bike, but for these closely matched leaders the likelihood, especially on such a windy day, that a bike-change could result in an unclose-able gap meant that neither rider took the chance.
By Fergus Muir
AS Andrew Nichols and Nathan Miller, both on mud-clogged bikes, duelled for the lead in the Davy Down cyclo-cross the big question was - would either risk a bike change?
With increasingly heavy machines having to be carried up two long flights of steps, many in the race opted to swap to a clean bike, but for these closely matched leaders the likelihood, especially on such a windy day, that a bike-change could result in an unclose-able gap meant that neither rider took the chance.
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Further down the field, decisions varied. “It was worth it to get rid of the weight (of mud) on the steps” said Ipswich Bicycle Club's Adam Keer. “The wheels were still going round” said Gavin Rumbles, reigning Elite Veteran champion, who did not change.
Nichols, of Cambridge University CC, and Miller (Lotto/Interbike) were together all through the race - Nichols mostly leading, and threatening to get away on a long wooded climb. Former champion Miller fighting back by using his experience in the mud and his long legs on the steps. In the last quarter-mile Nichols found a tiny bit extra, made no mistake up the steps and down a 45 degree descent and had two seconds in hand at the flag.
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Promoted by the Ford CC, that rare thing these days, a company club, the event was held in a country park by the Mardyke, a south Essex waterway. A big feature was the steps up to the grand buildings of the Stifford water pumping station.
Racing started in sunshine but conditions changed dramatically when the Under 12s were deluged by a rainsquall. Thereafter slippery mud tested rider's skills and afterwards the Lee Valley Youth CC did a roaring trade cleaning bikes with a pressure-washer at a pound a time.
Third in the senior race was current EADT League Champion Shaun Aldous (Extreme Sports Therapy), fourth, and junior winner, was Matt Cook (API/Metrow) while Ford CC's Clive Harrison took fifth place and was elite veteran winner. The ride put him back at the top of the elite veteran standings.
Alan Trolove of West Suffolk Wheelers scored his first EADT League win in the youth event. Trolove went straight into an early lead, but fell and was joined by Lewis Parker (Ipswich BC). For several laps these two raced in close company with David Fraser, whose veteran's race was on the circuit at the same time. Then Trolove attacked up a gravel climb. Fraser, in a different race, had no cause to chase. Lewis, on Fraser's wheel could not immediately get past and Trolove was clear on his way to a 26 second win.
In the race for veterans and women David Fraser opened a big lead at the start and was never challenged for maximum veteran's points. However Ironman triathlete Nikki Juniper soon came steaming past on her way to winning the women's event.
Second veteran was Go-Ride Coach Mark Wyer, who had his best result of the year, just ahead of Nick Webber (Colchester Rovers) on his flat handlebar bike. Webber overhauled clubmate Richard Jackson in the later stages, but Jackson was still the first 50+ rider home.
Tristan Price (PCA/Ciclos Uno) charged determinedly through the storm to win the rainswept Under 12s. Pierce Bacon (Ipswich BC), saying he liked the rain, won the Under 10s, 31 seconds up on U10 league leader Sophie Holmes (Diss & District), with Chelmer CC's Under 8 rider Aaron Freeman just 16 seconds further back.
The next round is on Sunday at Hempton, near Fakenham in Norfolk.
Result - EADT League round 8, Davy Down
Seniors, Juniors, Elite Veterans: 1 Andrew Nichols (Cambridge Uni) 9 laps in 57:13; 2 Nathan Miller (Interbike) +0:02; 3 Shaun Aldous (Extreme Sports Therapy) +1:01; 4 Matthew Cook 1st Jun (API Metrow) +2:35; 5 Clive Harrison 1st Elite Vet (Ford CC) +2:55; 6 Richard Dunnett (Diss & District CC) +3:45; 7 Ben Paton Elite Vet (Amis Velo RT) +4:10; 8 Gavin Rumbles Elite Vet (CC Luton) +4:23; 9 Julian Parker Elite Vet (Ipswich BC) +4:57; 10 Bruce Mackie Elite Vet (Lee Valley Youth CC) +5:14
Veterans, Women: 1 Nikki Juniper Woman (PCA Ciclos Uno) 7 laps in 44:43; 2 David Fraser 1st Vet +1:01; 3 Mark Wyer Vet (CC Ashwell) +2:33; 4 Nicholas Webber Vet (Colchester Rovers) +2:56; 5 Richard Jackson 1st Vet 50+ (Colchester Rovers) +3:02
Youth: 1 Alan Trolove (West Suffolk Whls) 5 laps in 35:48; 2 Lewis Parker (Ipswich BC) +0:26; 3 Sean Dunlea 1st U14 (PCA Ciclos Uno) +2:07; 4 Kieran Brady (Welwyn Whls CC) +3:11; 5 Archie Wishart U14 (Welwyn Whls CC) +4:31
Under 12: 1 Tristan Price (PCA Ciclos Uno) 5 laps in 14:52; 2 James Jackson (Colchester Rovers) +0:23; 8 Pierce Bacon 1st U10 (Ipswich BC) +1 lap +0:22; 9 Sophie Holmes U10 (Diss & District CC) +1 lap +0:53