2016 Bryan Chapman Memorial (BCM) 600k

2016-08-19: I never got around to writing about this ride but here are some notes I’d made way back when. May as well post them and get rid of the draft email sitting around…

BCM 600k

Started out bit late and didn’t really ride hard enough to catch any fast groups.

Finish: 33.5 hours – 8hr stop time! Must improve, but easy to waste time at controls. Sleep stop was total waste of time, for example.

Sleep kit I tried was still far too cold to be useful – Hunka bivvy, silk liner, PHD down jacket not good enough in -3degC!

Later on Sunday morning I tried sleeping on grass in sun – maybe dozed off, not sure but felt a little better afterwards.

Rough mental patch from post-Kings YHA sleep attempt all the way into next day – need to sort head out! Probably better when competing because then I’m more focused on trying to win and not just trundling along.

Start – Fruit Pastelles bag
Honey Cafe @ ~70k – Beans on toast x 3, Coffee cake, Coffee
Llanidloes control at ~140k – Scone w/ j&c, some other cake, cappuccino, refill bottles

Stopped with Paul in some village – 2 Mars Bars, fruit pastelles? coke?
Kings1 – soup, cous cous mains, fruit salad, instant coffee and squash?
Menais Bridge @ ~300k – Whatever they were offering (mains, rice pud & pineapple) plus cake slice, Soreen pieces, biscuit, coffee, grabbed two rolls (cheese and ham&cheese?) and flapjack piece to carry during long night stage back to Kings.
Kings 2nd – soup, spicy cous cous mains, cake? instant coffee and squash?

Tried to sleep in bivvy outside, failed, just laid shivering

Newtown garage – egg & cress sandwich, 2 x apple turnovers, cappuccino.

2nd Cafe – chocolate cake, cappuccino

Cappuccino at train station cafe, needed toilet

Finished with large Soreen malt loaf, share pack fruit pastelles, Pepsi from service station.

Think I got through 8 or 10 bags of premixed 500ml Torq, 2-3 gels, 1 Torq bar.

Side-mount cages need to be swapped so I can use left hand.
Sunglasses would’ve been good and using sunscreen smart idea.

Need lower gears to make some steeper climbs less work (had 39/28T)

Comments on YACF:
I wondered why I didn’t see you. Though with my pace, it was equally likely you’d left at 6am and I never caught up with you. Hope it gets better soon.

Funny how I’d ‘planned’ to sleep and would’ve been better off if I kept moving instead of freezing in a bivvy and for once in my life I didn’t have a navigation issue (a Garmin device worked for over 24hrs – I know, I should buy a lottery ticket!) using your route. Is that irony? :)

If it wasn’t for another bloke I might’ve missed the Llanidloes? control at 160k. I write the control distances down on a cheat sheet so wasn’t planning on stopping until then but it appeared at ~140k. I think that was the only weirdness.

I think I rode past Aberhasefp. I was so slow it would’ve been open when I went past too. Next time…

I had a good day on day one – loved the scenery Wales had to offer and was surprised it was so warm. Would love to take the missus and explore the prettier bits a little more. Rode along chatting with a guy who wasn’t on the ride until Kings where he split to a B&B in the town.
After trying and failing to get any sleep in a bivvy at Kings (to the guys that asked it said -3degC on the Garmin) I went a bit down hill mentally and just kind of grovelled along for hours and hours feeling sorry for myself. Thought about bivvying again now the sun was out but in the end just laid down on a grassy corner somewhere and ‘reset’. That and some food helped for a while and then the sads came back later and I tried it again outside a pub and a female cyclist (not on BCM) asked if I was ok! We had a bit of a chat and rather than moving inside the pub fence I decided I should just ride. So thanks whoever you were, you cheered me up and got me home that much quicker.
After a final refill of food and drink at some service station I had a fast finish. Ended up pretty pink as I didn’t bother to put on any sunscreen. Weird event for me since I wasn’t racing and it was more of a test for TCR, I couldn’t quite get my head in the right place – since I was adding in sleep stops and I wasn’t pushing hard I just kept dwelling on stuff or getting annoyed when people passed me and I wasn’t keeping up and dumb stuff like that instead of enjoying the ride I was getting angry with myself for not competing! It’s not a race you idiot! Nevermind, I’m feeling better about the whole experience with some hindsight :)
Got some more good info about what works and what doesn’t so next long training ride, whatever it is, should go that much better. Things like Compact cranksets and putting my side-entry bottle cages on the other way around.. :)

Thanks to the organisers and the volunteers. Thanks to other riders who I shared a brief comments with about the cold or my crack cocaine or just a “got everything you need” or whatever.

I tend to do the opposite and do things like maths around the distance remaining – so say it was 50k to go, I’d divide by 2 and that’s 25kph and as it ticked over I’d keep dividing. It gives me something to do and makes the distance to go smaller too. I think I’ll give your method a go. I used to do that in races some times – tape up the computer and ride on feel. Probably easier to do during an audax when it doesn’t matter if you slack off. I’ll add that into my bag of tricks for next long one. Cheers.

I’m sure I was warmer in the bivvy this time with the extra kit compared to last time although it was colder outside if the Garmin is to be believed (-3 vs. 0). I probably should’ve grabbed some cardboard or something from inside the hostel to use as a ground pad but I’m kind of trying to start minimal and add stuff until I can actually sleep. Kind of like trying to fly by jumping off a building first and then adding wings on the second attempt…

Cheers. I wasn’t really looking for a bivvy spot I just used the YHA because if it went badly (it did) I could go back inside have a coffee and leave.
In hindsight I wasn’t tired enough and probably should’ve left Kings after a feed and found a corner in a field somewhere.
I carried my sleeping bag around but didn’t use it because by the time I’d got the bivvy set up I didn’t want to get out and rearrange everything.
Next time I think I’ll try my sleeping bag cover (not bivvy) and sleeping bag along with a sleeping pad of some sort and maybe leave the silk liner and jacket at home.

I’m struggling to find a compact sleeping pad. I don’t like the idea of those crazy light cut-out ones and I think even chopped down, the yoga mat I have will be cumbersome.

2016-05-08 Charlotteville CC 50mi TT


16th place. This was grim. The day after PBing 10mi I was broken. Everything was tight and my left leg numbness came back hard so I was sitting up for a lot of the race. I thought I was way off the pace and had basically given up but then did some calculations and thought a PB might still be possible. I really upped the pace and got very close, only 30s down on my PB in Wales late last year but it wasn’t enough. Lesson learned – no 10s the day before. In happier news, Daniel, the organiser came good on his promise for a free bit of cake if I broke my course record. Since the last time I rode this was the day after a 100mi TT and my time was over 2hrs, I was pretty much guaranteed cake this time around! 🙂

Results: Charlotteville 2016 Open 50 Results

2016-05-01 Welsh 25mi Champs (R25/3H)


Extremely wet but it was a 3hr drive to the start of this R25/3H “cheat course” so I figured I best ride it anyway to at least see what the fuss was about and learn the course for a better day. Annoyed I didn’t do sub-50 (combination of taking it too easy due to wet roads on an unknown course and my valve cover came off causing a weird noise where I thought I’d broken something) but should be happy with my second fastest 25mi ride ever – 51:17 (11th place).

Results: WCA 25 2016 Result

2016-04-17 H25/2 25mi TT


Finally got back to this course to kill those 4 seconds in the face. I managed that easily but was still almost 5 min down on my new 25mi PB set last week on the E2/25. It was very cold today and there was far less traffic here than the E2 course. Even so, Andy Halliday said most riders were about 3min down on last week’s E2/25 race – I managed to be a whole 2 minutes extra shit on top of that! I think doing a bunch of gym work early morning Friday and then going clubbing that night until 5am (Hardfloor rocked the 303s btw!) was detrimental to my performance. “Oh, you think?!”

Anyway, long and short of it is – I won’t be doing any gym work close to an event I care about (or drinking my own bodyweight in beer) and I never have to ride the H25/2 course again.

If anyone has DA9000 56T, 57T or 58T chainring they want rid of, please get in contact!

Results: 20160417-H252

2016-03-19 MDCC Fifield 15mi TT H15/10

2016 MDCC Fifield H15/10 results
2016 MDCC Fifield 15 mile H15/10 results

35:43 (course and distance PB having never ridden a 15 mile before, potential club record since none is listed on the Willesden CC site for Men’s 15 mile)

Wasn’t taking this particularly seriously so I rode out to it – really just wanted to finish to set a club record for 15 mile and test the new Pro Missile stem I’d installed.

It was very cold and I was a bit worried that in just a skinsuit I might have another wheezing asthma attack thing like I did at the Worlds last year. That didn’t happen, thankfully. Maybe the preventer they’ve put me on is working?

Once again I thought my pacing was a bit off but it turns out I was pretty decent 1.01 VI with some baulks at turns and slowing for some horses – plus some silly spikes when passing people and on some hills, but it was a technical circuit so this kind of thing is expected.

Actually made the same power over the 15 miles as I did setting my PB over 10 last year so perhaps I need to hit next week’s 10 a bit harder than I’d planned. Cue: snotty mess blowing up at 7 miles…

Wore my old Assos skinsuit (NoPinz) so I didn’t need to use pins, calf guards and aero gloves but didn’t bother with overshoes and I left on the stock 32h rear with touring tyres and didn’t bother with other aero tricks.

Left leg went numb again – really need to work out how to fix this!

1st Cat roadie, James Local, won the event with a 32:57.

2016-02-27 a3crg Hardriders Sporting 10mi TT – P886

27:21, 12th place road bike.

a3crg P886 Hardriders, image from Graham Robins
a3crg P886 Hardriders 10mi, image from Graham Robins

Thought I’d enter a sporting 10 to spice up an otherwise dull, 7hr training ride. I’d entered the road bike event and wasn’t taking it too seriously but left the 404s on the Tarmac and I arrived early enough that I bothered to take off all my audax-esque saddle packs and bottles.

It was freezing and the ride out took a bit longer than expected because of some interesting choices the Garmin made in combination with the largely ignored RideWithGPS route I’d planned. No, I don’t want to ride down muddy cycle paths but equally, did you have to route me down the bloody A3, only to turn up a hill and head backwards?! Sigh, will I ever come to terms with GPS tech?

The race itself went basically as expected. Although being told to take it easy on the way out I only have listened so that when I turned around into the headwind AND the long ass climb I was regretting not going a little easier. I thought I’d be caught by the rider(s) behind but I guess they did the same as me so I wasn’t caught and finished, probably with a bit left in the tank on 27:21. Rode back to the HQ for coffee, cake and presentations and then rode home – bit quicker with the tailwind back and quieter roads thanks to letting the Garmin do all the navigation rather than following RideWithGPS route and its stupid off road trails.

Results Hard Riders Ten

Graham Robin’s race photo gallery

2015-11-13 – World 24hr TT Championships, Borrego Springs

DNF @ ~8hrs/180mi

It seems each time I travel to the US to race the World 24hr TT Champs I come back with a different illness. This time I managed to avoid DVT but seem to have had some kind of asthma attack.

Shortish version of the race report is: it got very cold at night (I saw 3degC, someone else said -2degC) and I was only wearing a skinsuit in order to be competitive against Baloh. Around the 7hr point, I suffered some kind of asthma thing – wheezing, coughing, short of breathe – and if you can’t breathe you can’t ride. I couldn’t continue so dived into the car, cranked up the heating and put ALL my clothes on until my breathing got less raspy and I could take in a full lungful. I went back out and half a lap in, I couldn’t breathe properly again – even being covered in layers of clothes. That was it, my race was done. Back into the car and wheezed until I fell asleep. There was an idea of continuing at 10am when it would be much warmer but there were three guys still riding very strong and it seemed like a waste of time to start riding again for 11-12hrs just to get, say, 5th place. I was here to win, not fill minor places. So I officially quit the race, got some breakfast, packed up the bike and watched the remainder of the race.

We then had a lovely week in California driving from San Diego up to Santa Barbara then San Luis-Obispo via Solvang and a wine route Foxen Canyon road,  beautiful Big Sur and then flew out of San Francisco.

Shit race, great holiday. I’ve since been tested by my GP and have a poorer lung flow rate than my ‘proper’ asthmatic friend! Now I’ve been told I have to carry a little blue inhaler on all my rides and have to maintain a prescription for a preventer inhaler. Maybe all that crappy London air has finally started to kill me? Still haven’t got the tests back for my DVT since they lost the first lot! Bloody hell, falling apart…

Oh, as expected, Marko Baloh won the race but only managed just over 500 miles, where I was expecting a 520-530 mile ride, especially given there was almost no wind, compared to the year before when you could barely hang onto the bike! Maybe he also suffered from the cold? Meurig did well this year, adding another 10mi to his distance.