Kathryn Fairhust and Steve Jones took part in this years Brompton World Championships and…. they did rather well. Here’s Kathryn’s report, with a post script from Steve.
Miles Back 26 Aug 11
It was a really fun day out – part of the big ‘Bike Blenheim’ event. Last year I did the proper time trial – I couldn’t decide what to do this year, I sort of wanted to do both, but never got round to signing up for the time trial so that decided that. Sarah Storey won the ladies’ time trial very impressively. Michael Hutchinson won both the men’s time trial and the Brompton World Championships – whoosh! Seriously speedy.
Anyhow the Brompton World Championships is held every year, and has a few feeder National Championships (in America, Taiwan, Japan and Spain I think). I’m not sure if it’s the only World Championships that anybody can enter provided that they can pay and they have the right equipment and the right attire – but seems a good way to get in to me!
Both Steven and I signed up – we had to make a guess at our finishing times for the 2 laps of a 6.5k (hilly and bendy and of course slightly distractingly scenic) course – we both went for 25-30 mins which put us in the start wave behind the super elite chaps. And proved to be accurate – though only just for Steven so I think he should be promoted next year.
Like the Smithfield race it’s a running start where you dash to your bike and have to unfold it and then jump on but in this one the clock doesn’t start until you pass a start line a bit further on – though there’s obviously an advantage in trying to get ahead of the rest of your wave. You also have to be dressed appropriately in something like you might wear to work – which includes a tie for women which is a little strange.
I had a flying start – way ahead of Steven who promptly caught me up on the first big incline. A good first lap though but at the start of the second I felt really quite grim – being folded up double on a Brompton maybe isn’t the best position or I’m just not fit enough for it. I had a bit of a second wind near the finishing line and headed past quite a few people.
No idea where you’ve placed though until the next day, though we both knew we’d done okay-ish. Steven ended up finishing 39th overall (34th in the male open) in 25:02 and I was 5th in the female open (one female vet placed higher so 6th of all the women in the world!) – which is a slightly less impressive 154th overall in 28:06. Annoying the third placed woman (champion of America) was only 27:34 so something to aim for next time.
There were about 700 people ‘racing’ of whom I think about 125 were women and one was dressed as Big Ben and another as Rupert the Bear.
For a while my very antique Brompton has been giving me grief as when you fold it up and then pick it up it promptly unfolds itself, which isn’t the point. I’ve had a few mechanics look at it, and on Wednesday I took it in again as it’s got worse, and it has now been condemned as not safe by the bike mechanic. The main hinge on the frame is bent and corroded, so could break and then I’d end up going over the handlebars and straight down, which clearly is a bad idea, so I’m hunting for a new one. I’m thinking this might be an opportunity to get a better one in a prettier colour…
There’s a lovely little video at (see below), which if you look closely enough I make a starring appearance. Steven may well also but the men are harder to distinguish from each other.
PS. I was particularly happy as I narrowly won a good battle
with another, obviously experienced, rider who I later found out was the
Ludlow CC champion for the past few years!