Herrod wins action-packed Mid Suffolk Road Race
PUBLISHED: 14:29 15 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:29 15 August 2019
Zac Herrod won an action-packed Mid-Suffolk Road Race, finally outdistancing Stephen Fuller (Cambridge CC) on the long climb to the finish through Willisham Tye.
In a strong south-westerly the triangular Ringshall circuit was at its most challenging - competitors found themselves dreadfully exposed to the wind on the "B" road near Wattisham aerodrome and any hopes they might have had of help on Willisham Hill were thwarted by high hedges thick with summer vegetation. Such conditions sort out the field wonderfully.
The first serious break came when Dan Drury of the locally-based Fast Test RT, and James Sherwood (Orwell Velo) forged ahead off the front of the bunch. Next, Fuller and Herrod set out to bridge the gap, while Andy Proffitt (Ipswich BC) chased on his own.
Proffitt was tantalizingly close to making contact when the two pairs ahead joined forces and the resulting four-man break proved just too strong, Proffitt retreating to the main field
Halfway through the 54 mile race, the bunch was showing little enthusiasm for the chase and, while Drury had dropped back, Fuller, Sherwood and Herrod built up over two minutes lead.
Then Sherwood punctured - but luckily encountered clubmate Chris Crabtree spectating on his bike, Sherwood begged a wheel, regained the bunch and still had enough oomph to team up with Proffitt in a final break which secured third place for Proffitt and fourth for Sherwood.
The last climb scattered the bunch with Calvert Churchill (Strada Sport) first to the top to claim fifth.
In the National Championship 12 Hour time trial, with much of the course on roads between Thetford and Wymondham, Vicky Gill (Drag2Zero) took the women's title covering a provisional 276.4 miles, well clear of Army rider Christina Murray (266.4) with Wisbech Wheeler Becky Taylor third with 262 miles.
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Top men's distance on the provisional result board was 309 miles from international triathlete Joe Skipper who was brought up in Lowestoft. Skipper is believed to have actually ridden around 324 miles, but unfortunately did not follow the prescribed course.
He has posted on the event Facebook page: "Sorry I managed to take a wrong turn. I mapped out what I thought was the route and uploaded it to my wahoo... and wasn't looking for signs at where I thought the turn was. My fault."
Best distance from a current Suffolk resident was 262.2 miles from Chris Tye (Plomesgate CC).
West Suffolk Wheelers competitors set a new club team record with Paul Vickers covering 253.9, Dale Sturman 241.0 and Malcolm Borg 199.0. For Borg this was just a warm up - later this month he rides the 750 mile Paris-Brest-Paris Audax.
This isn't a race, but with an 80 hour time limit, there is no time to hang about either.
All the 12 hour distances are provisional - Dan Bromilow (Ely & District) is believed to have covered around 253 miles, but will have to wait for the final results to be sure.
In the Event HQ afterwards comments about the wind dominated every competitor's story.
Perhaps the most penetrating comment came from David Sheppard, (290.1 miles) who has experience of Breckland 12 hour events going back over 20 years: "Yes the wind can really be a problem for mind and body when it blows so hard.. Last year was real hard due to the heat - 32 degrees!! "Any 12 hour will hurt if you push yourself to the limit...can destroy you mentally if you let it."
Colchester Rovers 50 on the sporting Little Bromley-Weeley-Great Clacton course was won by Paul Hart of Southend Wheelers in 1:48:48 from Timothy Chilvers (Maldon & District,1:51:36) and Colin Lewin (Velo Schils, 2:04:16)
Finally, the East Anglian cycling community has suffered a sad loss with the death of Geoff Allum of the King's Lynn CC who served many years as a wise, patient and pragmatic treasurer of the East District Cycling Association.