I wouldn’t have put my hand up to do a 40k time trial (twice), nor try and see how far I can ride and run in a week, but the Winter Series has got us off our sofas and in better shape to get the most of the upcoming good weather. I’ve enjoyed being part of an inclusive, varied and interesting series, whilst finding out more about many club-mates who I haven’t had the pleasure of riding with (yet).

19 Wheelers have taken part in some or all of the 9 weeks’ worth of challenges. Performances have occasionally come from Gillingham and Shaftesbury whilst entries have also derived from Northumberland, Sussex, Gloucestershire,
Catalonia, The Alps and even New Zealand. A couple have even used the recently acquired GDW bike boxes to take bikes for efforts in Lanzarote and Cyprus.

The final week was a big challenge – 400m swim, 40k bike, 5k run (not all at the same time, phew). We had done each one of the efforts previously so we could also assess and reward improvements.

Vince Hounsome maintained his number 1 slot in the swim (6:18), whilst James Little was most improved (I’m guessing he injected some front crawl this time). There was a 2 seconds improvement by Clare Coward whilst Sarah Wheeler
reproduced her same time to be the swim lead in the Women’s series.

James Little won the first round of the 40k TT and then went faster this time with an excellent 55:10 to retain the TT title. Our chairman, Mark Harvey, retained his second spot after 57 minutes of pain. However, our IRL stalwart, Michael Sleeman, chose a better route and weather this time and shaved 23 minutes off his time and was clearly the most improved. Clare maintained her
first spot in the Women’s TT on some lovely tarmac in Cyprus.

Three members had the same idea – use the Blandford parkrun to secure a good time. Sarah Wheeler had an 11 second improvement for 23:11, Nick Hall managed his effort perfectly to exactly match his previous attempt at 1 second under 20
minutes and Rob Gale’s 26 second improvement surprisingly didn’t win the most improved. The big find of the series, Michael Sleeman, did a solo effort to be the only one to dip below 19 minutes (and with a 2:19 improvement). James Little’s competitive spirit took over so his previous walk turned into a run this time (his knees will still be feeling it) for a 12-minute improvement
(Rich White would have required a world record time in his second 5k to have beaten that percentage improvement).

So what does it all mean for the series?

Women – 1. Clare Coward (155)  2. Sarah Wheeler (124)  3. Angie Barlow (88)

Open – 1. James Little (126)  2. Michael Sleeman (124)  3. Vince Hounsome (122)

Let’s do it all again next year.

See the final results here