Strada riders step up preparations for new season

Velo Club Baracchi's re-arranged 100km reliability ride on Sunday, organised by John Thompson, was well supported.

The riders were mostly from other clubs, with a good showing from Gt Yarmouth CC and a strong squad from Strada RT.

There was a stiff north-westerly wind and any puddles by the roads had frozen over in the cold weather.

The four-hour group had 14 riders. They included Mike Wood, John Dupen Steve Summons and second-claim member Paul Cackett from Southwold. The Gt Yarmouth riders made up the remainder.

Strada RT riders Liam Gentry, Mark Westrup, Dieter Rowe, Matthew Thwaites and Nick Esser formed the 3.5-hour group. Keen to get in the mileage before the racing season, Esser and Gentry had ridden a 25-mile loop first aiming for a 90-mile total by the end and Westrup rode out and back eight miles to get his total up too.

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Esser said: 'The course from Oulton, through Mutford, Stoven, Uggeshall, Halesworth, Laxfield, Fressingfield, Harleston, Bungay, Haddiscoe, St Olaves seemed to have a headwind wherever we rode and this showed with the 20.4mph average speed stated by Liam at the end of the ride.'

Esser had a mechanical problem after 64 miles when his rear gear hanger came away in a touch of bikes and he had to beg a lift home. When the others could leave him they finished the 100km at three hours exactly. Thompson said: 'I think if anything overall it was harder than last year's ride. If I remember correctly, the direct headwind last year was stronger but there was more tailwind.'

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As organiser he set off when everyone else had started and his lone ride was inside 4.5 hours, which he was happy with in the circumstances, riding alone against the wind.

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