May 18

Richard Bielby’s Spring time-trialling report

With a disappointing end to March, I was hoping for a good start to April. Unfortunately as it seems to be the case this year, the weather stepped in.


City Road Club’s Good Friday 10

I’d managed to get a ride in City Road Club’s Good Friday 10 (03/04/2015) and was hopeful of a good ride, the weather in the few days before had been good, but rain on Good Friday morning meant there was some standing water on the V718. The organiser, Geoff Backshall, did the only thing he could, in the interest of rider safety he made the correct decision and cancelled the event.

Skegness Wheelers 25

Thankfully, I didn’t have long to wait until my next event, on Easter Sunday (05/04/2015). I set off early to ride the Skegness Wheelers 25. The weather report appeared to be quite good, light wind and NO rain. A couple of weeks before when my visor had misted so bad, I decided if there were to be any more cold wet days I would use my old Bell Meteor helmet with no visor. But with no rain the forecast I didn’t pack this with my kit. When I left Hull it was sunny, but the deeper into Lincolnshire I got the darker the weather became and eventually the drizzle started.


When I received the start sheet for the event, for some reason the organiser put on all the usual info about wearing a helmet etc, but he also stated “check your brakes”, as I drove towards the headquarters, the reason for this became clear. ‘Hilly’ doesn’t do the course justice, an out and back course straight through the Lincolnshire Wolds, tough climbs and descents with some twists and turns, the wet roads also complicating the matter.


I knew I was in for a tough ride, but also knew that I needed to get some 25s under my belt to improve my strength. If anything it would be a good workout, but as ever I wanted to compare myself to other riders that I thought were similar to me and saw that former Hull Thursday rider Dave Percival was on the start sheet.
The race itself can be summed up in one word – ‘discomfort’.


With no real flat anywhere I was either blowing out of my backside going up hill, or crapping myself trying to control a TT bike on wet descents, with a visor that had once again misted to give me very little visibility. However, with all that said I managed to catch my fair share of riders, one of which sort of summed up how I am going. I caught my 2-minute-man at the bottom of one of the climbs, he then just rode away from me as my extra weight held me back and it took me another 3 miles to catch and pass him again.


In the end I finished with a time of 1-09-15. I was disappointed to find that Dave Percival had beaten me by over a minute and a half and was 13 minutes behind Joel who had won, but I knew that this course would probably be the hardest I would ride this year.

Ravensthorpe CC 10

The following week (11/04/2015) I rode the Ravensthorpe CC 10 on the V910, I had ridden this course back in 2010 and had recorded a short 27 minute ride. This course is again an out and back course which drags up towards the turn and in theory is easier on the way back. The other main feature of the course is the amount of roundabouts, 5, which means that you have to navigate 9 in total (you finish just before the 10th) over both legs.


The wind was back to being gale force and was blowing on the whole across the course, giving a very uncomfortable cross wind. Jim Trevor was riding along with John Savage, once again giving Hull Thursday a competing team.


The outward leg was very hard, the gradual uphill gradient and cross head wind meant that you really had to give it full gas. I made the turn in about 15 minutes catching my 2-minute-man (City Road Club’s Andrew Vaughan was once again my minute-man, but a no-show) and was just thankful to get some wind and gradient assistance. Whilst my speed was now good, even though I was totally knackered from the outward leg, the roundabouts broke your rhythm and it was more like interval training than a time trial. I pressed on and finished with a time of 25-40, a good minute-and-a-half better than I had done on this course before. I was also pleased given that I was half way through a set of night shifts, had closed the gap to Jim to 1-07 (he had beaten me by 1-30 at the Team Swift 10 in March) and had reversed my deficit from the week before to Dave Percival and had beaten him by 1-18. Improvement feels good.

Yorkshire Coast Clarion 24

As a result of work commitments, my last open of April was the Yorkshire Coast Clarion 24 on the Hardriders’ course between Beverley and Driffield. Anyone that rides a bike in this area knows how tough the roads and this course can be and I can only think this is why there were only 18 riders facing the start (there was also a 2-up event with more riders). Joel was the class act in the field and was chasing me for 3 minutes. He had taken 13 minutes out of me at Skegness so I knew I would see him soon, however I hoped to get to Driffield before he caught me.


I was also pleased to see Adam Jordan for the first time in years. Adam is another rider with a massive amount of class, sticking my neck out, in the mid 90s when Adam was a junior he had some good battles with Russell Downing and in my opinion was just as good. Whilst Downing went onto a pro career, Adam suffered serious injury after a car hit him in a time trial. It just makes you think how differently things could turn out for all of us with different turns of fate, but at least Adam is back doing something he loves.


Whilst the leg to Driffield would be the flattest, the wind which was once again “evil” was directly in our faces from the start. I was confident from my performance the week before that I would be able to battle through and started with a good pace. I could see my minute man getting ever closer and when Joel caught me a mile of so before Driffield, I was only about 20 seconds behind.


At Driffield we picked up the tailwind and whilst this was welcome, the start of roads going up was not. The minute-man I was close to catching now gradually got smaller and eventually went out of view. It also appeared that I had taken too much out of myself in the head wind, and was really suffering, I just did the only thing I could and battled onto the finish recording a time 1-02-54 which was good enough for 8th place. Improvement = motivation.



May sees me riding Barton Wheelers’ 10, Sheffrec CC 25, the Team Swift 10 League and the Bridlington 25.



Richard Bielby
Hull Thursday Road Club member