5 minute read
How did you spend the extra hour when the clocks went back on Sunday? Snuggled up in bed? Out on a nice, relaxing walk? At Windsor Great Park this weekend a thousand riders made the most of the switch from daylight savings by taking on Red Bull Timelaps, a gruelling 25-hour race against time!
The world’s longest one-day cycling event sees teams of four (and for the first time this year solo riders) race through the day and night, trying to complete as many laps of the fast, closed 6.7km circuit as possible. At 0200 on Sunday the extra ‘Power Hour’ comes into play and riders shift to a shorter course where laps count as double.
Teams are only allowed one rider on the course at a time, and they must exchange a baton (armband) with their teammate in the transition area before they go back out. Each team is allowed a support crew of one (ideally a mechanic) to help them, and most teams had vans or tents to sleep or rest in on-site. This is not a race for the faint-hearted!
The race started at midday on Saturday and finished 25 hours later at midday on Sunday, conditions were brutal! Strong winds and driving rain made the first 10 hours of the race exceptionally tough. Debris blown onto the track caused a number of punctures, and some teams even had their pit lane gazebos swept away! The persistent rain and bitter wind meant dryrobes were essential to help keep riders warm and dry between laps.
As day turned to night, the darkness became another obstacle that riders would have to deal with. Racing in the dark is a completely different beast, competitors needed to remain focused and make the most of their experience of course earlier in the day. The temperature also dropped significantly, reaching a low of 2°C in the early hours.
Strategy varied from team to team. Some went for long stints on the track, meaning there was a longer resting time. Others opted for shorter riding shifts, for more intense, short bursts of energy, but with less time to recuperate in between. The most important strategy for anyone looking to take home the win was planning around the ‘Power Hour’. As the clocks went back at 0200 and we gained an extra hour, the racing shifted to a different, shorter course where for an hour laps would count double. This is when teams would want their strongest rider out there - fuelled up, well-rested and ready to smash out some impressive lap times!
Overnight the weather turned for the better. By the time dawn broke the wind and rain was long gone. As the morning progressed the sun came out and it even started to get hot out on the track, a huge difference for the previous day!
There were a lot of tired faces out on the track and in the transition area, but riders were pushing to get laps in until the very end, battling to be crowned champions.
Fierce competition continued to the very end with mere seconds separating some teams. The final riders received a great reception from supporters and spectators as they crossed the finishing line.
In the Men’s Team category Vitus Pro Cycling took 1st place completing 148 laps, 9 more than their nearest rivals Paria RT in second and Rush Hour 4 in third who both completed 139 laps and were only separated by their final lap times.
1. Vitus Pro Cycling (148 laps)
2. Paria RT (139 laps)
3. Rush Hour 4 (139 laps)
The competition in the Mixed team category was extremely tight, Clapham Chasers won by a lap, with We're All Wheely Tired taking 2nd over ActiveEdge Oldies by just two seconds!
1. Clapham Chasers (134 laps)
2. We're All Wheely Tired (133 laps)
3. ActiveEdge Oldies (133 laps)
Bianchi Dama brought home the win in the Women’s Team category, InternationalElles edged out Specialized UK Wmn by one lap, an extra power hour lap really making the difference between the two teams.
1. Bianchi Dama (126 laps)
2. InternationElles (121 laps)
3. Specialized UK Wmn (120 laps)
The Men’s Solo race was won by George Kirkpatrick who completed a phenomenal 101 laps in the 25 hours. Paul Gerber took 2nd with 98, followed by Steve Wykes in 3rd with 91.
1. George Kirkpatrick (101 laps)
2. Paul Gerber (98 laps)
3. Steve Wykes (91 laps)
Tamala Mcgee took the win in the Women’s Solo race with 79 laps, closely followed by Gemma Brierley-Rutter with 77 laps in 2nd and Chloe Trigg in 3rd.
1. Tamala Mcgee (79 laps)
2. Gemma Brierley-Rutter (77 laps)
3. Chloe Trigg (73 laps)
Check out the full results here. Bring on Red Bull Timelaps 2020!