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The Northumberland and Durham C.A. 100 mile time trial saw Craig, Howard and Paul battling it out for the club championship.

There is only one 100 mile time trial per year on the North eastern ‘M’ courses. This is important as only events on M courses count towards the club long distance championship. It is also the club 100 mile championship and the final qualifying distance ride needed for the N&DCA championship. The event is a must finish ride, this is it no second chances…

Before the event there had been some controversy regarding the course for the race. Last years four laps of the Ellington 25 course had been deemed too busy so a new course was needed. This proved to be a problem with a number of options ruled out due to traffic count issues. Finally it was decided to run the event over five laps of basically the M20 course. For those of you not fully familiar with time trialling the fastest courses are out and back flat affairs normally on a smooth dual carriageway. The M20 is more like a course you would choose to ‘potter’ round the lanes. However all the riders were on the same course so it was just expected that the times would be a bit muted compared to previous years.

The choice of bike is as always important, but for a longer time trial comfort has to be given some consideration. The correct ears/wheels etc also have to be selected. Team Vagabond had divided on this subject Craig opting for his usual ride, Howard going for the Saracen on Shamals and Paul opting for fixed wheel, normal wheels, with no tri bars. At the start it looked like Paul may have some inside knowledge as Brian Walker had also gone for fixed wheel, albeit with tri bars and carbon wheels.

The forecast had been for rain at 7.00 am clearing up later with a temperature of 20 degrees and a southerly wind. This proved to be totally wrong with no rain and after early overcast slightly misty conditions at the start it turned into one of the hottest days of the year. The field was reduced this year partly due to the course and partly the trend for people to ride club time trial and not open events. The field of 14 was weakened by three non-starters and two non-finishers. Out on the course the field concertinered up and then spread out.

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By the start of lap three Howard had been passed by David Bell and Brian Walker with Craig in sight. Brian appeared to be struggling on the hills with Howard overtaking him and dropping him! Brian later stopped. Craig was passed by David Bell on Well Hill and managed to up his pace. Howard got no nearer and dropped off the pace. Paul was riding steadily but was loosing time to the other two club riders.

The final laps of the race were quiet for most riders as the field had thinned out. The problem with a circuit event is that you do not see the other competitors at the turns. At the finish the event was won by Jon Sturman with a time of 4:07:47. The club members finished 4th Craig 4:20:48, 5th Howard 4:29:37 and 7th Paul 4:48:33. The club has retained the N&DCA team trophy, with Craig and Howard provisionally in the top three overall.

A special thanks has to go to the organiser for keeping faith and running the event with so few riders, the marshals and time keepers and the helpers who handed drink bottles up to the riders.