Matlock Cycling Club’s annual ten-mile ‘Grouse’ time-trial took place on Tuesday night, with a very strong field including the current National Hill Climb Champion.
The course is slightly different from the usual ‘club 10’ event, as it starts on the A6 itself near Darley Dale. A turn round the roundabout at Bakewell with a finish back near the start means it is usually slightly faster than the club course.
Scratch man for the event was Chesterfield RC’s Alan Cooke, who was to set off last. However, pre-race favourite and National Hill Climb Champion Gunnar Gronlund was whose everyone’s eye was on with a real chance of a new course record being set, in the mild and still conditions.
Gronlund didn’t disappoint as he came in to the clubhouse with a new course record time of 20 minutes and 43 seconds, averaging just under 29mph.
Everyone thought that would have been enough for a very credible win, but South Pennine RC’s James Tucker had other ideas.
Tucker, locally known as one of the fastest ‘non-professional’ riders around, hadn’t competed in many local events prior to the event, but pulled off one of his best ever wins as he set a truly outstanding time of 20 minutes and 23 seconds to take the win, and with it the new course record which Gronlund had held for all but a few minutes.
Third place, and first Matlock rider, was Peter Colledge. Colledge recorded a time of 22 minutes and 11 seconds, showing just how impressive the top two riders’ performances were.
Matlock’s Gareth Ferguson also had a notable ride, as he went under 23 minutes for the first time on the course, recording 22:53 to finish in 9th place overall.
Marianne Heffron was once again the fastest female rider, recording a time of 26:56.
The Grouse event also incorporates the Medium Gear Competition, which sees riders compete on a Fixed Wheel bike with a gear of 72”.
Eight riders took part in this traditional event, with the win going to Paul McAllister in a superb time of 23:49, meaning an average of well over 110rpm for the distance.
Second place in the Medium Gear event went to Steven Wigglesworth (24:24) with Richard Birkin in third place (25:11).
Normal service resumed on Thursday for Matlock Cycling Club’s weekly 10.4-mile Long Hilly event held near Cromford.
With threatening-looking clouds and a strong wind, only eight riders took to the start line.
Chris Green had one of his most comfortable victories to date as he won by a huge margin of nearly five minutes.
Green clocked a time of 29:01, while second-placed rider Andrew Briggs finished in 33:59. Third place went to Marianne Heffron (first female) who set a new personal best time of 34:56.
Three of Matlock Cycling Club’s mountain bike riders took part in the Evening Race Series held at Sherwood Pines last week.
Marianne Heffron continues her superb season as she finished first in the female category by a huge margin.
Youth rider Will Gascoyne won his age group from a very impressive Gregg Booker, who finished in second. Such was the strength of Booker’s ride, he continued on for another 30 minutes to finish an incredible tenth overall in the seniors’ race.
Much of this year’s success in the Mountain Bike division comes down to the hard work of Matlock Cycling Club’s coaches, who have put on a huge number of sessions and events for riders of all ages to participate in.