The weather gods looked down fondly on Cyclothon UK 2016, as the teams arrived on site at 6.am. The sun was coming up, there was a little mist hanging in the air and there sense of anticipation and excitement – it was set to be another great day.
The 12 hour teams arrived early this year, keen to set up their garages, lay out their energy packs, arrange their chairs and pump their tyres. There was lycra as far as the eyes could see and much lunging and stretching.
Bristol Bike Centre also arrived early and were already fixing bikes before they barely had a chance to get their spanners out of the van.
Massage Therapists arranged beds, oils and towels and some cyclists even found the need to indulge in a little leg massage before their bottoms went onto the saddle for the first laps.
Team Bulldogs and Team Jocks eyed each other for the coveted Home Nations Cyclothon Trophy…..the cup which has never been won by the Bulldogs! (and nor did they win it this year!)
Matt Payne was the MC and he led the teams into a briefing before the riders went on to the track. DB Max ensured that each rider had a chip measuring every lap, and the VU Ltd staff ensured that all riders were properly fed and watered.
The day got off to a great start. Riders hit the track with much enthusiasm enjoying the sun and the team spirit. The rugby boys including Lee Mears, Duncan Bell and Victor Ubogu spent a good few hours contemplating why they hadn’t done any training and spent a good few sessions with the massage therapists. Victor was one of the only 2 riders to have minor fall. Luckily the photographer was there to capture it all…..
The team from J9 Foundation quickly took the lead hotly followed by Team Schwalbe, one of our sponsors, in the 12 hour challenge. The 8 hour challenge got underway as did the battle between Old Rubiconians and Team Lamex Foods. They stayed neck and neck until the very end. It was great to have the Matt Hampson Foundation guys back, who once again displayed such strength and endurance.
The afternoon saw the wind pick up and leg cramp for some of the riders. Energy levels were starting to weaken when, like of breath of fresh air and big dose of inspiration, Double Silver Olympic Swimmer Jazz Carlin arrived to hang out with the riders and spur them on. Jazz had only just recently returned from Rio and we were enormously grateful for her time. Thank you Jazz!
Many of the teams raised money for their chosen charities including Adbac and Serve Ladies. The Cyclothon UK has helped raise some £250k since the event started in 2011. It is an impressive effort from everyone.
The day ended with Old Rubiconian winning the 8 Hour Challenge by a whisper and J9 Foundation winning the 12 hour race just slightly ahead of Schwalbe. Our congratulations to Matt Ellis from Team Willis Towers Watson Stanley; to Anjela Ubogu from Team Swerve Ladies for their fastest lap wins and to Shaun Reed from Team Schwalbe for being King of the Hill. And many congratulations to all the riders who participated and made it another awesome day.
Cyclothon 2017 is booked for Thursday 7th September at Brands Hatch. Secure your team by booking here…. https://vultd.co.uk/cycling-events/cyclothon-uk-2017-brands-hatch