Anatomy Of A Classic: Vignettes From The Rutland- Melton CiCLECLASSIC 2015

Photo credits to Shawn Ryan ( & ‘Ciclissimo!’ unless otherwise stated.RibinouThe race endlessly criss-crosses around and through the villages of Somerby and Owston, the pack crashing into view from any given direction like a crazed Chinese Dragon in what seems to be an attempt to out-manoeuvre race chasers and soigneurs. The overhanging, blossoming arbour of the previously sleepy rural scene only serves  to amplify the tumult within the narrow dirt track sectors as the race absorbs it into its wrath

Classic race shot

“The first hour was 49.6 kph according to my Garmin data. As soon as we left the neutralized zone it was ridiculous, I barely left the 53/11, even on the hills around Rutland water. Our local races can often start just as quick, but only for a few minutes, tops. This was prolonged carnage for over an hour.. it was brilliant” Joe Perkins, BRC Senior Squad (Riding the race in the East Mids Regional Team)
Josh Secteur
“I was comfortable…until we hit the off-road section Barrowberg. As soon as we hit it there were numerous punctures, crashes and bits of muck flying about everywhere. All I could think was, “I’m on a road bike, riding off road, through mud and rocks and other material that would be perfect for my cyclocross bike”. Then a rider fell off right in front of me causing me to quickly swerve out the way, therefore losing all momentum..” Josh Housley, BRC Junior Squad
Wills Farmyard
Joyce Jason Ghijs, CCT p/b Champion Systems; “..Our race tactics were to get Darijus Dzervus well placed in the front and help him if there would have been a group sprint to be amongst the main contenders. Darijus is our man in shape – he started a bit late his trainings due to heavy winter conditions in his home in Lithuania but he gets ready for the races in May.. and Ryan Wills, who was supposed to get in the break,according to the plan.. in which he succeed but that one didn’t last for a while..”

Destruction DerbyAP Sports Photography (@apsportsphoto)

Sector Bunch
“With the speed we were going at it was very difficult to move up at all. If you left a slight gap, say more than a wheel-length, then somebody would push or elbow themselves in there and in several minutes you could easily find yourself at the back. These guys were absolutely willing to risk crashing to maintain position. At the end of the second lap around Rutland Water, the top teams were fighting for position onto the first gravel segment which comes after a tight left-hander onto a narrow lane, no more than a car’s width wide..Once on the track, the peloton must have been 300m long and wheels were being lost everywhere..” Joe Perkins, Beeston RC


Joyce Jason Ghijs, CCT p/b Champion Systems; “For Tanzou Tokuda, it’s still a matter to get used at this type of racing. Even in Belgium it’s hard for him, but we do our best and he’s learning step by step..” Photo; Ciclissimo!

The School of hard-knocks had one more lesson that day for Tanzou after the mid-point time cut had claimed him: Trying to find your way back to the team vehicles from a tiny village in the middle of fields in a country you don’t know and whose language is new to you. I tried to call Andrew, the team Soigneur, but there was no signal. Tanzou decided to set off in search of Oakham, tagging along with BRC’s Joe & Ed who’d left their car there at the start. I hear Tanzou made it back to the team eventually..Drained 3MAP Sports Photography (@apsportsphoto)

The rider’s faces were studies in intense, desperate concentration as they hurtled full gas through the sectors, necks straining and torsos contorting to gain a split second’s more knowledge of the shifting, spitting surface. The rocks and debris ricocheted around the charging pack, sounding like the crack of bullets against the deep section rims, peppering my shins and the team car side panels as last ditch chasers swarmed and fish-tailed through the destruction derby convoy. He who blinked first was lost to the race..sector exit Wills

Mad-Gen ChargeAP Sports Photography (@apsportsphoto)

Madison -Genesis were dominant throughout, Tom Stewart seemingly floating as he forced the pace on his beloved dirt packed terrain..punctures saw them thwarted towards the end, however- like many. Ah well, at least they had Tom’s body weight in Prime Sprint prize beer to cushion the blow..

Ryan Wills Feed 1
Joyce Jason Ghijs, CCT p/b Champion Systems; “..When passing through the feeding for the third time, Ryan crashed. We were worried he would have broken something, but at the end he seemed to be ok. He has a fighters’ mentality and I’m convinced he will comeback stronger..”
“..It was fairly nerve-shredding to be honest because you cannot see anything ahead of you and so are totally reliant on the riders around you – whom you’ve never even met before! – to ride safely and avoid any potholes, road furniture etc.. Entering the first off-road sector where you had a 160-rider field smashing it down the A606 to pull a 90 degree left hander into a single-track road and then bodies everywhere on that section. On the laps of Rutland Water some of the ‘climbs’ which you would take steady on a training ride we hit at 50kph plus and then ‘rolled over’ in the 13 or 14..” Ed Pickard, BRC/ E. Mids Regional Team, Full Gas.

I took this right turn off the surfaced road here when I first arrived, seeing the advertising hoardings. I walked 20m further on and paused and nearly turned back, thinking I was merely heading into a race traffic parking area as they couldn’t possibly take a bike race along this scree field.. I was wrong.

Moda wheels

The soigneurs spent the day engaged in a lottery game of check-mate with punctures, Raleigh Swannyconstantly grabbing clutches of wheels and darting off through the lanes and sectors to try and outwit the rocks, pinch-flats and flints that lay gleefully in wait everytime the race dove into the chaos of the ribinou. Finding the right road-side position was needle in haystack stuff..  At the finish I overheard one swanny relaying to one of his rubble encrusted charges how much easier than expected the day had been, with not one spare wheel being required from him- through gulped breaths the rider informed him that he himself had needed four. Joyce Jason Ghijs of CCT p/b Champion Systems;“ far we punctured only once during road races this season. As of yesterday, it rose by 7….”


NFTO Job DonePhoto; Ciclissimo!

‘Ciclissimo!’ photographer, Shawn, and I missed the Money Shot by about 30 seconds, arriving at the finish line to find the riders slumped over bars and peeling off helmets from above filth covered, drained faces. Steele Von Hoff thought he had done likewise as he sprinted for what he believed was 5th place- until he was soon informed he had just taken the win..Leg IIPhoto; Ciclissimo!