Hard Riders Events – February 2017

Reporter: Nick Hickman

The Club’s Time Trial Schedule is just starting up, with the Spring Hilly on March 4th and the much anticipated 2-up Team Time Trial the following Saturday.  Some of the more eager Nomad Testers have been competing in early season “Hard Riders” events to check how their winter training has been going and to ensure their machines have woken up from the long hibernation.  First up was the Ely & District CC Hard Riders 25 miles event on 12th February.  On a bitterly cold and breezy Sunday morning Nick Hickman, Paul Riley and Ross Thomson were to be seen “warming up” in the pre-event snow showers, with the temperature climbing to a balmy 0.5°C during the ride.  The course featured pan flat, windswept fenland with some of the lanes dead straight as far as the eye could see and as rough as anything this side of Paris Roubaix (so Riley was very happy).  A recce having been carried out a couple of weeks before the event, none of the team were going to risk using their time trial bikes, opting instead for road bikes with clip-on aero bars or in Hickman’s case, his medium gear 72” fixed.  Thomson took the honours for the Club:

Felix Barker (Cambridge Uni CC) 00:56:27; Thomson 01:14:27; Hickman 01:19:59; Riley 01:20:53

Two weeks later it was the classic North Road Hard Riders event, which has been going since time immemorial and has featured such luminaries as Chris Boardman, Michael “Dr Hutch” Hutchinson and Sean Yates.  The Nomads team was boosted by the presence of Nigel Wilson on this occasion.  Conditions were mild but wet, and the course certainly not pan flat anywhere at all.  It was a ~22 miles test, the regular 25 miles course having been amended due to road works.  Riley and Wilson used road bikes with clip-ons again, while Thomson and Hickman opted for the full TT rig.  There were some battered and bloodied bodies at the HQ afterwards (very technical this course, with sharp gravelly turns on fast descents) but the Nomads all survived unscathed.  Thomson was once again fastest Nomad:

Lloyd Chapman (Banks/Catford CC Equipe) 00:51:15, Thomson 01:06:19; Hickman 01:10:04; Riley 01:11:29; Wilson 01:15:24

Good efforts by all, as seen in Davey Jones’ photos of the team gasping for oxygen on the ascent of Essendon Hill:


Boxing Day 10 – 26 Dec 2016

[A fuller collection of Davey Jones’ photos can be found in a DropBox, with just a selection given here.  Please add “courtesy Davey Jones” if you share]

The long standing tradition (since 1969 according to Club Records) of a Boxing Day 10 Miles Time Trial was continued in great style for another year, with bikes ranging from the previous day’s Christmas gift, through a delivery bicycle, to a machine dating back to 1898.

Several guest riders were in attendance including Darth Vader, Santa Claus, a Christmas pudding and a penguin.  Various modes of dress were also seen, with Madam Chairman looking most elegant in her evening wear; a friend of the Club from Team Trident showing off his very fetching new pink afro hairdo; a most attractive cross-dressing Club mate; and one or two testers actually in full TT rig.

A few family groups rode the course ahead of the event, with their children who are not yet old enough to compete at this discipline on an open road.  There were also several juniors >12yrs competing, together with a good mix  of seniors and veterans, men and women.  The start list had forty eight riders in total, which was more than for quite a few years.

A splendid buffet lunch with good banter was provided back at HQ.  Generous contributions from many Club Members and friends ensured that no one left hungry.

James McPherson was fastest Nomad on the day – both on actual time and final, handicapped time (but that was very close, with Chris Batt needing to have been either a year older or just 3 secs faster to have got this one).


There were several 2-up Teams, including father and daughter, brother and sister, husband and wife. Quickest were team mates from Stevenage CC, Neil Fraser and Mark Vooght, who are not related as far as your reporter is aware.

Overall fastest actual time was regular attendee on the Briercliffe 10 course, Lindz Barral from Equipe Velo.  Just  3 seconds back was 15 yrs old junior Cody Nelson from Beds Road CC, who was spotted warming up on rollers at HQ before the event (definitely one to watch, this one).

Colin Holmes from VTTA L&HC had the overall fastest final time on handicap, showing all the youngsters how it should be done.


Following a secret ballot of the Award Committee, the Alan Porter trophy for most meritorious performance was given to Sue Clifford-Smith, who took 20 mins off her previous best time at this event.  Her training base in the Netherlands is clearly working and in the 2018 edition she is expected to complete the distance before she starts.


Courtesy Mark Collins

Detailed results are shown below, listed in rider number order rather than competition placing (as befits an event that is mostly about having fun and not so much about the numbers).


Club Competition

# Rider Pre-1950 machine Rider Age >40 Actual Time Final Time
18 Ross Thomson 32:09 32:09
19 Meliné Fletcher 53 39:29 36:47
26 Mark Young 53 44:21 41:39
27 Luke Senechal (jnr) 38:56 38:56
28 David Rossall 57 38:37 35:01
29 James Bainbridge 29:39 29:39
30 Nick Senechal 56 31:31 28:09
31 Paul Riley 51 37:26 35:10
33 Catherine Jones 50 34:24 32:21
34 Stephen Oliver 50 37:58 35:55
37 Nigel Wilson 53 31:36 28:54
38 James McPherson 49 29:07 27:17
39 Chris Batt 60 31:37 27:19
47 James Gomm 34:17 34:17
48 Steve King 39:26 39:26
49 Chris Jones 33:35 33:35

2-up Teams (HNCC and Private Time Trials)

# Rider Club / Team Actual Time
1 Roger Bamberough HNCC
2 Scott Horwood HNCC 33:27
3 Sue Clifford-Smith HNCC
4 Mark Collins HNCC 47:19
5 Ella Ruggles (jnr) HNCC
6 Brian Ruggles HNCC 38:40
7 Karen Pegg not attached
8 Julian Pegg HNCC 35:38
9 Hannah Wilson not attached
10 Ben Wilson not attached 42:24
15 Neil Fraser SCC
16 Mark Vooght SCC 28:27

Private Time Trials (solo riders)

# Rider Pre-1950 machine Rider Age >40 Club / Team Actual Time Final Time
13 Ray Miller 1898 63 VCC 42:52 30:56
14 Mike Kitchen 1914 69 VCC 40:12 28:54
17 Cody Nelson (jnr) BRCC 27:20 27:20
20 Morris Burton 75 VCC 44:21 36:17
21 Matt Price IRC 32:30 32:30
22 Lindz Barral 40 EV 27:17 27:17
23 Mark Greenhow 48 SNCC 29:21 27:44
24 Dave Wilson SNCC 33:53 33:53
25 Poppy Young not attached 45:21 45:21
32 Andy Stuart 41 VCSR 27:47 27:35
35 Peter McIntyre IRC 35:07 35:07
36 Simon Young 46 TT 40:47 39:35
40 Colin Holmes 73 VTTA L&HC 34:33 27:01
41 Roy Porter 75 IRC 39:11 31:07
42 Chris Tovey IRC 39:17 39:17
43 Martin Webb 61 IRC 39:27 34:55
44 Su-Ann Bullock 1946 IRC 37:22 36:50
45 Matt Prince 58 IRC DNF
46 Paul Richardson 48 IRC 36:10 34:33
50 Brian Foran 56 LRC 34:13 30:51

Clubs / Teams:

  • BRCC – Bedforshire Road Cycling Club
  • HNCC – Hitchin Nomads Cycling Club
  • IRC – Icknield Road Club
  • LRC – Lampard Road Club
  • SNC – Stevenage Cycling Club
  • SNCC – St Neots Cycling Club
  • TT – Team Trident
  • VCC – Veteran Cycle Club
  • VCSR – Velo Club St Raphael
  • VTTA L&HC – Veteran Time Trial Association, London & Home Counties

Note on Handicaps to give Final Time

  • Solid Tyres: -13.5% (none this year)
  • Pre-1950 Machine: 8 secs per year
  • Rider Age: 12 secs per year >40 + 1 sec per year >47 + 1 sec per year >55 + 1 sec per year >63 + 1 sec per year >71 (age handicaps are missing for those not declaring age at sign on nor responding to Event Organiser’s subsequent queries)


  • Event Organiser & Reporter: Nick Hickman
  • Time Keeper: Frank Turner
  • Assistant Time Keeper: Tony Furby
  • Results Board: Ann Collins
    Number Spotters: Leanne Cutler, Nigel Wilson
  • Props: Mark Loosely, Chris Jones
  • Kitchen Captain: Meli Fletcher
  • Kitchen Crew: Helen Ruggles, Jean Furby, Denise Pegg, Jane Hickman
  • Photography: Davey Jones

* for Club Members these count as a “help” in the tally for the Geoff Denny Memorial Trophy award for person who has assisted at most events run by HNCC


Charlton Hill Climb – 16 October 2016


Course: 6Y/H
Event Organiser: Nick Hickman
Time keeper: Frank Turner
Assistant time keeper: James Spence
Holding up: Ross Thompson, James McPherson

Placing Rider (all HNCC members) # Result
1 Saunders, Andy 37 01:19.5
2 Bainbridge, James 19 01:24.2
3 Watson, John 30 01:29.3
4 McPherson, James 9 01:30.7
5 Morgan, Nick 24 01:31.0
6 Bulmer, Freddy 12 01:31.3
7 Thomson, Ross 39 01:34.6
8 Clarke, Thomas 14 01:35.6
9 Timms, Darren 36 01:36.3
10 Senechal, Nick 31 01:40.0
11 Maher, Patrick 23 01:42.5
12 Chirvasuta, Radu 10 01:43.3
13 Rickels, David 27 01:43.4
14 Horwood, Scott 20 01:43.7
15 Corney, Chris 16 01:48.0
16 Cornell, James 8 01:51.4
17 Jones, Catherine 21 01:52.4
18 Ruggles, Brian 28 01:55.1
19 Greenfield, Paul 18 01:58.3
20 Cleary, Thom 15 02:10.1
21 Stokes, Aaron 34 02:10.5
22 Bamberough, Roger 11 02:12.0
23 Stanbury, Steve 32 02:13.0
24 Plunckett, Russell 26 02:15.3
25 Tomlin, Jamie 35 02:20.9
26 Oliver, Stephen 25 02:27.4
27 George, Phil 17 02:28.0
28 Allen, Mike 22 02:33.5
29 Hickman, Nick 40 02:50.7
30 Young, Mark 13 03:15.7


Autumn Hilly TT – 8 October 2016

Reporter: James McPherson

On a cold and drizzly October morning 10 riders turned up for the Nigel Wilson challenge.  A murmur of excitement went round during sign-on, when it was realised Nigel had sacrificed the opportunity to defend his title and would instead help out marshalling and timekeeping.   This was an event that could now be won.

The sense that anything was possible was dampened somewhat when Mark Desborough turned up without his luggage rack, and Nick Morgan rolled into view with talk of this being a warm up for an open even later today and a 2-up with James Cornell tomorrow.

Chris Corney and Chris Brabrook arrived shaken but uninjured having met an out of control MX5 sliding on their side of the road, whilst riding down to the start.  Luckily no-one was hurt, but a mental note was made by all to take it easy on the greasy roads.

Despite this, very respectful times were achieved on this hilly course, with Nick Morgan posting an excellent sub-50 mins time.  Mark Desborough came second, missing a 49 by just 5 secs.   James McPherson was not far behind with a long 50.

Afterwards a warming coffee was had at Vanstone Park garden Centre, where as usual a number of claims were made.   To attempt to preserve the truth, these have subsequently been fully investigated by the authorities.

 1. Ross Thompson claim

“I won the non aero bike race”

Results of Investigation

BMC responded to the claim regarding the bike Thompson had chosen to ride that day: “Our ‘state-of-the-art, aero bike’ with deep section rim wheels, combines maximal aerodynamics, integration and stiffness – we didn’t just enter the aero category, we re-created it”.

However a number of riders did confirm that Thompson did ride his bike whilst in a near vertical position for most of the race “like a policeman”, providing drag advantage for anyone within half a mile of him, despite his aero Nomads top and “maximal” aero bike.

In the final judgement, the claim was rejected as James Bainbridge was riding a single speed and beat Thompson by nearly 2 minutes.

2. Nick Senechal claim

“I was only 3 seconds behind James McPherson and would have probably beaten him if I had not decided to turn my light on when I saw Nick Hickman’s light on ahead”.

Results of Investigation

Senechal was only behind Hickman on the first lap, and the splits show that Senechal went faster on his first lap, hence the claim was swiftly rejected (by James McPherson).

 3. David Summerell claim

“I have only just returned from Cyprus and was freezing!”

 It was confirmed that Summerell was wearing 4 tops and was still shivering, compared to a full aero onesie for Nick Morgan and James McPherson.  Claim accepted.

A huge thanks from all the riders to Chris Tribe, Nigel Wilson and Hannah Wilson for time-keeping, marshalling and providing excellent encouragement.

1st Lap 2nd lap Total
Nick Morgan 00:24:24 00:24:33 0:48:57
Mark Desborough 00:25:00 00:25:04 0:50:04
James McPherson 00:25:21 00:25:22 0:50:43
Nick Senechal 00:25:08 00:25:38 0:50:46
James Bainbridge 00:25:27 00:25:55 0:51:22
Nick Hickman 00:26:08 00:26:17 0:52:25
Chris Brabook 00:25:23 00:27:06 0:52:29
Ross Thompson 00:26:23 00:26:51 0:53:14
David Summerell 00:29:22 00:31:10 1:00:32
Chris Corney 00:31:21  DNF

Late Summer TT Series (3 of 3) – 3 September 2016

Reporter: Chris ‘Cleggy’ Corney


A beautiful late summer’s morning greeted the 9 riders who had ventured out for the final Briercliffe 10 TT of the summer. Clear, sunny skies bathed the Southill dales, and a mild southwesterly breeze made for a pleasant experience for both riders and officials. Your reporter was unfortunately unable to take part on his bike this week, due to a recent dry-stone walling injury down in t’ lower field.

Whilst there were no old men wearing woolly hats, in tin baths on wheels, there was the usual mix of cutting edge TT machines, and regular road bikes. Mr ‘Compo’ Desborough proved one can go blisteringly fast on a bike laden with such items as retro frame fit pumps and luggage racks.

TT start 6

Nigel ‘Foggy’ Wilson was appearing slightly worse for wear. Apparently last night’s ‘pre-race protein’ drinks may have been spiked with a lethal shandy / babycham cocktail.  Nevertheless, he valiantly wobbled his way to the start line to post a very respectable time.

Fastest time of the morning went to Lindz Barral (Equipe Velo).  Fastest Nomad of the morning was Mark Desborough with a 25:21.  Father and son pair of Nick and Luke Senechal carried on the inter-generational 2-up tradition.

TT start 7

Thanks to Meli ‘Nora’ Fletcher and her assistant Chris Jones for time keeping duties, and Steve Smith for pushing off.

HNCC Competition

Mark Desborough 25:21; James Cornell 25:39; Nick Hickman 26:00; Nigel Wilson 27: 58; Catherine Jones 30:25; Nick Senechal + Luke Senechal (2-up) 31:18; John King DNF

Private Time Trials

Lindz Barral (Equipe Velo) 24:48

Late Summer TT Series (2 of 3) – 27 August 2016

Reporters: Hannah and Nigel Wilson
Timekeeper and cycling history expert: Frank Turner
Assistants: Leanne Cutler, Meli Fletcher, Ben Wilson

It may have been sunny in Hitchin when riders set off to the time trial on Saturday, but it was raining by the time they got up to Bedfordshire.

However by the time numbers had been pinned on riders’ backs, the sun was just about shining again. First  off were Father and Daughter 2-up pairing of Nigel and Hannah Wilson followed by six solo riders. They all looked pretty fast when they came past us but fastest of all was Lindz Barral and the quickest Nomad was Mark Desborough.

20160827_090108 (2)

Nigel was the weakest link in the Wilson 2-up team


Thank you to Leanne for arranging the event and to all the marshalling crew. We ended up at Southill Tea Rooms afterwards where Frank gave us the history of the cycling building in Letchworth.

Hitchin Nomads Event

M Desborough 25:26;  S Robinson 25:53; J Bainbridge 26:16; R Chirvasuta 29:04; S Oliver 31:30;  N and H Wilson 44:22.

Private Time Trials

Lindz Barral (Equipe Velo) 25:01

[Final event is same time, same course next week.  First rider off at 09:01, with sign on from 08:30 – 08:45.  Nick Hickman is Event Organiser]


Victoria CC 3-up TTT – 27 August 2016

Reporter: Nick Hickman
Photography: Davey Jones

Nomads Nick Hickman, Freddy Bulmer and Nick Senechal rose well ahead of sunrise to ride the Victoria CC 3-up 10.2 miles Team Time Trial near Audley End.  Senechal came off the bench as a reserve Nick – replacing Nick Morgan who had an unexpected real life matter to deal with.

The team matched the Club’s previous attempt on this course to the second, with a 23:30 leaving them missing out on 1st place by just three seconds.  Three seconds.  Could each team member have pushed just a fraction harder each time they took a turn on the front?  This question must remain unanswered until the four event series commences again next season. Three seconds …


Bulmer and Hickman enjoyed it so much they rode the solo event afterwards, coming in with 25:15 and 25:35 respectively.  Senechal, the far more experienced team time triallist  made his excuses and took an early bath (something about a prior commitment to take his boys to watch twenty two grown men kick an inflated bladder around a field for 90 minutes).

The event was organised by Christine Yareham who put on another superb event with her team of marshals and helpers at the HQ, the Victoria CC Club House in Ugley.  Large volumes of coffee and bread pudding were consumed in the sunshine at this historic location which has a handful of similar Club Houses (Shaftesbury CC, Eagle RC, etc.) close by.  The Nomads team owes Christine a big debt of gratitude for sorting out its last minute reserve and giving us such a warm welcome.

The series has 3-up, 2-up, solo and tandem events and is highly recommended.