Report: ‘Circuit of Longstone Edge’

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Record breaking ride by Gunnar Gronlund (RST clothing/Trigon Bikes) in the Peak Road Club time trial on June 20. Alex Deck wins the women’s for RST/Trigon too!

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Race report, Chris Myhill (Event secretary)

Following a run of disappointing results during the early months of the season, Gunnar Gronlund (RST cothing/Trigon Bikes) proved without any shadow of a doubt that he is back on top form with yet another record breaking performance in the Peak RC ‘Circuit of Longstone Edge’ time trial.

The RST Clothing-Trigon Bikes rider (last year’s winner and course record holder) covered the 17.2 challenging miles at an average speed in excess of 25mph and in the process destroyed his previous record by almost two minutes. This was to the dismay of James Tucker who, starting just five minutes in front of Gronlund, had already updated the record by the best part of a minute.

Picture Erica Bramhall.

The third edition of the Peak RC promotion was blessed with an evening of rare June sunshine and whilst the easterly wind helped the competitors up the main climbs, it did make the final climb to the finish particularly punishing.

A field of 42 riders, reduced by 8 non-starters, faced the time keeper and first off was Fee Womersley (Rutland CC) riding her first ever time trial. Fee was one of seven lady starters, and the credit for this high number goes to Denise Bayliss (Rutland CC) who encouraged many of her friends to ride. It was therefore unfortunate, and ironic, that Denise was unable to start on the night. However, her efforts were not in vain as both Fee and another entrant encouraged by Denise, Liz Barber-Lilley (Rutland CC), both walked away with prizes.

There were no junior riders this year, nevertheless, the younger generation was well represented by 18 year old James Ballie (Langsett Cycles RT) who not only finished in sixth place, but he also walked away with the ‘Athletes’ prize as fastest rider on a road bike with a time of 46.40.

Baillie’s time was 11 seconds faster than that of the improving Daryl May (Sheffrec), but his reign at the top of the leader board was short lived as right behind Baillie, was Sam Clarke (Buxton CC) who posted the first sub-46 minute ride of the night with 45.34. Sam is a regular rider and winner of hilly TT’s in the area and his effort was worth an eventual fifth place.

The 45 minute mark is seen as the barrier to beat on the Longstone Edge course and Danny Lowthorpe (Langsett Cycles RT) duly obliged with a time of 44.30 – a remarkably consistent effort to go with his 2011 time of 44.37. Charles Taylor (South Pennine CC) was the next seeded rider due and he was clearly hoping to finally win the event at his third attempt by posting his fastest time yet with 43.37. His wish though was soon scuppered when his team mate James Tucker roared over the line just three minutes after Taylor with a new course record of 41.39.


Alex Deck and another of the riders in the event. Photos: Erica Bramhall

Despite professing to feeling a bit tired before the event due to riding a 25 mile time trial the night before, Tucker has been enjoying a rich vein of form with a notable win in the previous weeks Matlock 10. The win was notable as he beat none other than Gunnar Gronlund into second place. Despite this, however, the general view was that Gronlund would reverse the result in the Peak RC race due to the hillier nature of the course; but Tucker’s astonishing time suggested that a major upset could be on the cards.

Gronlund, who has professed many times that the Peak RC event is his favourite TT, wasn’t going to give his crown away without a fight. And fight he did. Pounding up the finishing climb he flashed across the finish line to record a scarcely believable time of 40.33. Not only did he update the course record for the second time during the evening, but also recorded the first ride in excess of 25 mph; a speed thought barely possible on this tough Peak District course. Gronlund was clearly delighted, and relieved, to put in such a sensational performance as it clearly showed him to be in peak form just a week before the Swedish national TT championships – one of his key races of the season.

Although Tucker’s individual course record lasted for barely three minutes; the new team record he helped to establish, along with Taylor and Chris Storer, should stand the test of time. Their combined total of 2.16.03 removed no less than 5 minutes from the mark set the previous year by Buxton CC, who on this occasion finished just a minute outside of their 2011 time.

Starting 3 minutes in front of Gronlund, but finishing 3 minutes behind, was eventual vets winner Jimmy Froggatt (Wills Wheels CC) who prepared for the event the old fashioned by riding from his home in Stockport. Luckily his was a cash prize and therefore he wasn’t too weighed down on the long ride home.

Photo Erica Bramhall.

Other than the fight for the podium, the other stand out ride of the evening came from Alex Deck (RST Clothing-Trigon) who repeated her wins in 2010 and 2011 to once again bag the ladies prize with a time of 52.10 – just 10 seconds away from her own record and almost 6 minutes ahead of her nearest rival. Deck remains the sole winner of the ladies prize, and judging by her performances she will remain the ‘Queen of the Course’ for as long as she cares to compete. As a mark of this outstanding achievement a late addition was made to her ladies prize.

Once again the event benefitted from generous sponsorship from La Bicicletta and Continental. The result of this being over half of the riders left the car park with a prize. Gronlund, once again, lifted the Peak Road Club mug – an item hand-crafted by Iownajem Ceramics for the event winner each year – and as the owner of 2 mugs he now has the biggest collection in the world. The presentation was concluded with the drawing of the raffle prize of a bottle of wine. This was secured by James Baille who was relieved to have turned 18 a few months previously.

Clearly such a successful, and enjoyable, event would not be possible without help from club members, friends and family; to whom I give considerable thanks, along with thanks to the timekeepers John Clarke and Phil Williams.

The final word, however, must go to the generosity of the Hassop Bookstore and Café owner, Duncan, who generously provided the HQ for the event. Due to the regular HQ venue being unavailable a new location was needed, and at short notice Duncan came to the rescue and kept his café open exclusively for competitors and helpers. Everybody connected with the event was full of compliments for the new arrangement and, as such, the new venue will be used again for the foreseeable future.

1 Gunnar Gronlund RST Racing Team 40:33
2 James Tucker South Pennine RC 41:39
3 Charles Taylor South Pennine CC 43:37
4 Danny Lowthorpe Langsett Cycles RT 44:30
5 Sam Clark Buxton CC/Sett Valley Cycles 45:34
6 James Baillie Langsett Cycles RT 46:40
7 Jimmy Froggatt Wills Wheels CC 46:44
8 Daryl May Sheffrec CC 46:51
9 Nicholas Latimer Rutland CC 47:29
10 Thomas Thornley Buxton CC/Sett Valley Cycles 47:48
11 James Bell Rutland CC 48:00
12 Michael Brammall Sugarcane Creative 48:25
13 Chris Baines Buxton CC/Sett Valley Cycles 48:41
14 Alan Cooke VC Chesterfield 48:44
15 Neil Bentley Sheffrec CC 49:40
16 Nassim Koriba Sheffrec CC 50:16
17 Paul Armstrong Sheffrec CC 50:28
18 Thomas Webb Rutland CC 50:32
19 Chris Storer South Pennine CC 50:47
20 Matt Williams Fusion CC Dronfield 50:57
21 Richard Bramhall Fusion CC Dronfield 51:09
22 Micheal Lamb Kiveton Park CC 52:01
23 Alex Deck RST Racing Team 52:20
24 Robert Fowler Rutland CC 52:38
25 Thomas Taylor Sugarcane Creative 53:31
26 Steve Hollowood Kiveton Park CC 53:33
27 Steve Wood Stockbridge CC 53:38
28 Clara Sandelind Sheffrec CC 58:07
29 Kate Morris Rutland CC 59:18
30 Rob Ingle Sheffield Triathlon Club 01:01:45
31 Les Morton Fusion CC Dronfield 01:03:37
32 Jane Shields Fusion CC Dronfield 01:03:39
33 Fee Womersley Rutland CC 01:09:15
34 Liz Barber-Lilley Rutland CC 01:12:29


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