February’s segment provided a dual lesson in weather-judgement and power to weight ratio. The seemingly innocuous short hill not far from Kilmeston selected for this month’s challenge provided its share of frustration and celebration for the 18 brave club riders who ventured out to give it their best shot. Perhaps the lure of the newly announced monthly prize for winners, of a complimentary hot drink and cake at the South Downs Social bicycle café in Winchester, was incentive enough.
In the women’s competition, the results mirrored those of January, with Franie Ng again taking first place with a very rapid time of 2:23. Annie Dixey claimed another second spot with a time of 2:44 and last year’s champion Vanda Kyselicova again claimed third spot with a time of 3:13.
In the men’s competition, the initial time set right at the start of the month by Matt Gilmour of 01:51 into a block headwind, stood for a few weeks, as the unfavourable weather threatened to see the remainder of the competition tucked up warm at home. The last weekend of the month brought fine skies, (slightly) warmer temperature and perhaps more critically, a moderate tailwind to tempt riders outdoors.
Taking first place by a clear margin, along with the 15 points on offer was Aaron Cooper, with a blistering time of 01:38, only 3 seconds off the longstanding KoM. Last year’s champion Ben Gibbs showed some ominous improvement in form from January’s result, taking second place with a time of 01:43. Dave Morris closed out the podium with a time of 01:48.
In the Women’s GC competition, Franie Ng has already taken a firm grip of the top spot with a maximum 30 points. Annie Dixey sits in second on 24 points and Vanda Kyselicova is in third spot with 20 points.
In the Men’s GC competition, things are a lot tighter. Aaron Cooper holds the current lead by a relatively small margin on 27 points. Close on his heels is Matt Gilmour on 23 points. In third place by the finest of margins is Dave Morris on 22 points. Neither Matt nor Dave can relax, as last year’s champion Ben Gibbs is looming in fourth place on 20 points.
Congratulations to both Aaron and Franie who both win the complimentary hot drink and cake from the South Downs Social café.
March’s segment takes us North of the city to the aptly named Northington lane, where an extended (and painful) VO2Max effort will be needed to feature on the leader board.
Results and position for February segment challenge
Current GC Ranking