This year’s annual Berwick Wheelers Awards took place in the cosy and atmospheric setting of the Cross Inn at Paxton, where the club welcomed members and guests to reflect upon another bumper year. As the club continues to grow into a diverse and successful community, there was something waiting to be picked up by many of the evening’s 54 attendees.
Chair Jami Blythe thanked the committee for their hard work and commitment throughout the year, and Malcolm Wright for his consistent contribution in his voluntary role on Thursday evenings. Members and partners were also praised for the continuing support of the club’s vision. On the awards front Harry Armstrong and Joyce Mark continued to dominate proceedings, but there was still plenty of room for upcoming riders to show that they could be snapping at the pairs heel’s in the season to come
The club’s time trial championships are held over three distances; 10, 15 and 25 miles. For the 10 mile discipline, this year’s winners were: Joyce Mark (25.51), Michelle Highfield (26.09) and Rachel Crowe (28.11), with the Men’s winners being: Harry Armstrong (22.26), Rob Moscrop (22.54) and Chris Cowe (23.25).
Over 15 miles; M Highfield (40.18), pipped J Mark (40.19) by a tantalising single second, Vicki Lee (43.05) claiming third. The Men’s win was taken by Jim Blythe (38.41); Andrew Dickson (38.52) and Mark Birkett (38.58) rounding off the podium.
Over 25 miles; J Mark (1.08.47), M Highfield (1.10.06) and R Crowe (1.16.56) made up the top three. The men’s winners were the same as last year; H Armstrong beating the hour with over a minute to spare (58.52) and making this his fifth 25 mile championship win. For Darren Lindsay (1.02.12), and (1.10.18) for David Cairns, were good enough for second and third respectively.
The Time Trial League is held across eight evenings throughout the summer season, over a distance of 10 miles, with riders quickest six times counting towards their points total. This allows for the odd instance of unfavourable weather conditions or unconditioned legs to be discounted. The handicap for each rider changes throughout the year as their times vary. Points are awarded to the top ten riders who beat their personal bests and come closest to the 20 minute mark. This year’s winner was Robert Moscrop (57 points) who is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. Mark Birkett came second with 45 points and Harry Armstrong third with 42 points. Joyce Mark picked up the trophy for first Lady with 30 points, and Harry also scooped first Veteran.
Last year, Berwick Wheelers created a new set of age group awards intended to reflect the growing diversity of riders on Thursday evenings. Using each riders quickest time over the 10 mile course, the winners were as follows: Junior Benjamin Johnston (25.35), Senior male M Birkett (24.42), Senior female Ellen Wood (31.22), Master male R Moscrop (22.32), Master female R Crowe (28.11), Veteran male H Armstrong (22.15), Veteran female Victoria Curry (28.18), Grand Veteran male Ian Forysth (25.49), Grand Veteran J Mark (25.32), and, knocking a massive 2 minutes and 5 seconds from his quickest time last year, Super Veteran Jim Blythe (25.29).
The Best All Round (BAR) trophies were once again an assorted mix. Michelle Highfield claimed the Open BAR Ladies trophy having completed 10 mile and 25 mile Open Time Trials at Barnesbury and Knockhill, accumulating a time of 1.34.58. The ladies Short BAR saw Joyce better Michelle’s cumulative time over the 10, 15 and 25 time trials by just over 2 minutes (2.13.34 and 2.15.17) with one to watch Rachel Crowe making great gains in her first full season with 2.30.36.
Harry Armstrong continued to dominate the men’s awards, winning the Short BAR 10, 15 and 25 mile trophy with a cumulative total of 1.56.07 – his time over the 25 mile course falling the better side of the hour, allowing him a gap of 7 minutes in front of Chris Cowe who cumulated 2.03.08. Andrew Dickson breezed in third with 2.08.03.
For the first time in a few years, the club saw a tie in an award. The Short BAR Vets Standard, calculated using a national standard handicapping system, played to Joyce and Harry’s time served experience in the tuck position. Picking up joint first with a +4.03, Michelle was awarded third with +3.25. This will be an interesting situation to watch in future as Michelle’s experience begins to grow and her times potentially quicken to squeeze the pressure on her counterparts.
The Vets Standard over 15 miles was won by Joyce with +5.38, Harry this time coming second to her with +4.00 and Jim Blythe only 3 seconds behind in third with +3.57. Refusing to relinquish their crowns, Harry and Joyce remained in top spots with Harry’s 25 Standard winning first in the mixed competition (+7.39). Joyce this time sat second with +6.56 and Chris Cowe not too far behind with a +5.41. The Short BAR Vets Standard over 10, 15 and 25 miles was merely a case of swapping the top two once again, with Joyce bringing a +16.37 and Harry a +15.42. Chris Cowe came third once again with an +11.35, no doubt stirring a competitive spark which may see him push even harder for the line next season.
Burnmouth Brae was once again the backdrop for the Hill Climb Championships. In time honoured tradition, the brutal bank from shore to road was lined with spectators present to witness this annual spectacle. Michelle Highfield smashed her own time to be crowned Queen of the Hill with 3.28 and Shirley Cuthbertson gave her something to think about topping out a mere 27 seconds behind her. The men’s race quenched Rob Moscrop’s thirst once for winning once again. Less like a fish out of water he used his swimmer’s gills to draw in the oxygen needed to bring him home in a lung busting 2.11. George Johnston sat only 16 seconds behind him, his experience proving he is still to be watched. New rider to the club Garry Greenaway proved there is certainly no room for complacency in the fishing village, powering home in 2.38.
Benjamin Johnston became the first holder of the new Junior Hill Climb title in a more than impressive time of 2.20 which, short of him being in his own and rightful league, would have seen him grasp second place from his Dad.
Two up time trials were a new addition to Berwick Wheelers this year after a call for some variety on Thursday evenings. After a coaching session, riders paired themselves up with counterparts of similar speeds to take advantage of each other’s draft, switching from front to back over the 10-milecourse. The night was both popular and successful and created a new set of course records for different categories. Rob and Harry claimed victory with the quickest time of 23.06. Michelle and Jim set the standard for a Mixed Pair with 25.47, with the enthusiasm of the Ladies Pair Tracy Tyson and Claire Duff bringing a smile to everyone’s faces as they claimed the first ladies course record of 34.58.
The award for Most Improved, which recognises the biggest gains made in personal bests over ten miles since the previous season, was given to Mark Birkett. Mark is certainly another one to keep an eye on in future races as he seasons his legs to the streamlined position.
Each year the club also recognises someone who has shown an exceptional spirit towards the sport, in the aptly named award ‘Spirit of Cycling’. Having shown an extraordinary amount of commitment, travelling to different parts of the country, trying out more disciplines in the ever-growing list on offer using two wheels and good old-fashioned leg power, Michelle Highfield’s determination to finish what she started was greeted with a rapturous round of applause as she collected her trophy.
The night was rounded off with some joviality, proving it’s not always plain sailing for our riders. Incidents with deer were made mention, as well as Andrew Dickson’s mammoth effort in his 100-mile time trial – awarded with a specially made trophy by Dunbar based Belhaven Bikes. The seat sculpture creatively paid homage to the pain Andrew must have endured having sat in the saddle for a whole century of miles. Well done Andrew.
The Wheelers racing season of course continues with some riders such as Nigel Carrick turning to cyclocross over the winter. Others will rely on good weather to prime their legs for next season which begins in the lighter nights of April. The calendar is compiled after the turn of the year, so any prospective members are encouraged to keep an eye on the website for that. Other items on the agenda are a mini adventure cross and route planning day in Tweed Valley, and a ladies skills coaching day. As the women’s membership continues to blossom, anyone interested should get in touch via Facebook or the website. There is a particular gap in the junior female ranks so please feel free to enquire about this also.
4th September (by David Cairns)
This weekend’s adventures have seen Berwick Wheelers bag plenty
of miles across Scotland and the North East.
After a solid season on local roads, Andrew Dickson travelled down to Tyneside Vagabonds time trial course just outside Morpeth. After 4 hours 42 minutes, Andrew crossed the line to complete the 100 mile event. This is no mean feat for even the seasoned time trialist and a great achievement to tick off the list. A not entirely flat course provided a challenge for Andrew amongst a strong field of fellow competitors.
Having catapulted himself to a Category 3 licence this summer, Rob Moscrop tried his hand against some big names in the National Ten Mile Time Trial Championships in Irvine this weekend too. Rob once again did himself proud with a 22:43 on the unfamiliar out and back course. With the likes of national talents Harry Tanfield and John Archibald, a placing of 68th place was fantastic to hear of.
Elsewhere in Scotland, Nigel Carrick and Neil Wilson took part in what can only be described as an epic ‘X-duro’ race down the spine of Scotland known as the ‘Badger Divide’, linking The Great Glen Way, Corrieyairack Pass and the West Highland Way. The 330km race saw only 45 brave competitors from all over the world begin the self-supported and often remote route across gravel and glen. After 5 timed segments over both days, Nigel and Neil bagged 22 hours of riding over 17000ft elevation to place themselves 7th and 8th. Months of training and preparation have obviously paid off.
20th August (by David Cairns)
Last week saw another busy week for the Cyclists in Berwick area as the Time Trial season starts to enter the penultimate rounds before everyone’s favourite Hilly TT’s.
Thursday night was the club championship 15 mile time Trial and 19 cyclists signed on in hope of beating that elusive PB as usual on a Thursday night the wind didn’t fail to disappoint and a gruelling energy sapping westerly wind meant a hard slog out to the turn with a quick run back.
Chris Cowe was favourite on night for men’s event but suffered tyre damage at turn and couldn’t complete the course so leaving it wide open for rest of field. In a time of 38.41 Jim Blythe was quickest man on night, Andrew Dickson rode 38.52 for second and Mark Birkett took third with 38.58.
The ladies event saw Michelle Highfield and Joyce Mark separated by only 1 second with Michelle taking the honours with at time of 40.18 in third place was new member and TT debutant Vicki Lee who posted 43.05. The prizes were presented by Tweedmouth Salmon Queen and her attendants and money raised from entries was donated to Berwick Cancer Cars.
At the weekend it was the Ken Laidlaw sportive at Hawick one of the most challenging sportive on the circuit with 104 miles and 8500ft of climbing. Berwick wheelers had fantastic turnout of 14 riders all donning the blue and yellow to represent the club.
This Thursday is the last round of 10mile TT with Robert Moscrop firmly in the yellow jersey the minor places are still open and of course everyone will be looking to make sure they end the season with a good time to work on over close season. The week after takes the wheelers to Hardens Hill climb and then Burnmouth Brae.
16th July (by David Cairns)
The amazing summer weather is ensuring that the Wheelers are wracking up plenty of miles on their bikes with almost every weekend members partaking in Sportives or Challenge events all over north of England and Scotland. Regular club rides are happening with cyclists looking to push themselves and stay on the Train or enjoy a social cycle for the well-deserved coffee and cake at the end.
Club member David Fuller is cycle support for the amazing End to End run that Chirnside Chasers are undertaking and has amassed 600+ miles on his mountain bike in the week.
However Thursday night still is the regular Time Trial night and even Tour De France doesn’t get in the way so last Thursday saw a field of 10 riders taking on the slightly longer 15 mile course and with an almost perfect night for racing was going to ensure some quick times. Joyce mark led the field with an amazing 39.13 closely followed by Mark Birkett and George Johnson on 39.16. Jim Blythe put in a 39.35 and David Cairns also broke the 40 mins with 39.59. Michelle Highfield rode 40.32 despite being held up on course with some farm machinery and also she had ridden a PB of 24.44 on the Barnesbury 10 mile TT the previous evening in which Joyce Mark and Rachel Crowe also represented the club. Mark Lane put in a PB of 44.56 on the club 15 just ahead of David Stott on 45.20. Ellen wood and Jenny Astley posted 48.27 and 52.08 respectively as they are getting into Time Trial and improving week on week.
A notable absence from the TT was Robert Moscrop as he was racing at Prissick in a closed circuit Crit event. A field of 10 had entered and race started steady with a few trying to break but Robert kept them in sight and then mid race turned up the pace to drop some of the weaker riders then sat in the wheel for 8 laps before going for it on last lap and winning by 10-12 bike lengths. This is great reward for Robert who has been putting in some hard training this season and elevates him to a Category 3 rider in his first year of racing which the club are extremely proud.
This week sees the TT back to the league 10 mile with a lot of points still to be ridden for and Wheelers will be looking for the weather conditions to remain to crack those elusive PB’s.
Last Thursday saw the last round of the Border Trophy which is series of 10 mile Time Trials over May/June hosted by Hawick,Berwick,Kelso and Gala.
The fastest eight individual times from each club are taken on each leg and then cumulatively added together to give a total time for the event with 50 riders regularly turning out for each event. Berwick have pleasingly managed to get eight qualifying riders in to each leg this season with a lot of new faces putting in first time appearances away from the home course so gives a lot of promise for future years.
Kelso was the host club on Thursday and a nice evening greeted everyone on the fast course but the challenge of a stiff headwind on return would keep everyone honest. As has been the case all season Hawick were in form on the night with their fastest rider again going under 21 minutes this ensured they were fastest team for the Kelso leg and took the overall series with a collective time of 12:25:13 they were closely followed by Kelso and then Gala and Berwick were only separated by a minute for the series.
Kelso awarded some individual prizes for their event and Joyce Mark from Berwick collected the trophy for fastest individual women on the evening.
Overall the whole series has been a success for the Wheelers as it has brought riders together to encourage and work together as a team and already talk is about next season and how position can be improved with the pool of riders that are improving week on week at club.
Now the Thursday evenings turn back to the individual Time Trial league which is regularly seeing 20+ cyclists turn out and everyone looking to crack that illusive Personal Best.
Berwick Wheelers are regularly seen at Crit Races, Open TT’s and Sportives about the north and in Scotland as well as meeting for Social rides and with Puffin Cycling meeting on a Sunday as well something for anyone who wants to ride a bike in Berwick area.
4th June (by David Cairns)
It has been a busy start to season again for the local cycling club with again an increase in members who are partaking in all disciplines of cycling socially, challenging and competitive.
Michelle Highfield took the honours of first vet Female in the Derwentside CC Time Trial on bank holiday weekend then followed that up with 3rd placed lady in the Alnwick CC M13 TT on Saturday.
Over the Bank Holiday weekend Berwick were represented at various sportive events massing up the miles and climbs. Darren Lindsay and David Cairns completed the 3-day Tour of The Highlands taking in some of the highest roads in the UK riding 315 miles each with 19,500 feet elevation over the 3 days. David Fuller and Richard Mole rode the “Struggle” in the Yorkshire dales completing 107miles with 10,300 feet of climbing. So, some tired legs headed in to the working week with the phrases of “it will be a while before I’m on a bike again” all forgotten about by Wednesday as the 4 cyclists had been out again!!
Thursday brought the club 10-mile Time Trial with a perfectly still night some quick times were anticipated with only the pot holes to worry about. The long-standing course record had been broken the week before in the Border Trophy with Liam Beaty from Hawick riding the 10 miles in 20 Minutes 48 Seconds. First rider of the night off was Jacqui Carrick completing the course in (34.20), Daughter Ellen Wood started next chasing Mum down to ride (31.45). Claire Duff showed great improvement and with lots of encouragement came in on (36.09). One of the performances of the night came from Rachel Crowe as in her words was feeling rough then messed the start up and also the turn but then pulled out a PB to finish in (28.59). Joyce Mark and Michelle Highfield completed the ladies section continuing their challenge with each other posting times of (26.12) and (26.04) but Rachel is now hot on the heels so an interesting battle brewing amongst the Wheelers ladies.
Harry Armstrong posted the quickest time of night in (22.15) continuing his form of last year and also rode a (28.49) in the Alnwick M13 on Saturday. Robert Moscrop has been improving hugely this year with solid winter training and a new TT bike broke the 23 min barrier in a very quick (22.57)with a new PB. Chris Cowe was next on (23.56) followed by Andrew Dickson (25.29) Andrew also completed the Alnwick 13 on Saturday in (32.37). New members Richard Mole and David Fuller were only separated by 27 seconds (27.24) and (26.57) to give them a match to pick up with each other. Brian Cowe was very pleased to put in (28.17) in his first ride of season and Mark Lane also achieved a PB of (28.44). A very satisfying night for a lot of cyclists with some very good personal goals broken and competition gathering pace as riders keep an eye on the next time ahead of them to challenge.
To show the diversity of cycling disciplines within the club Neil Wilson took part in the Enjoyro which was an off road event at Glentress and he finished a very credible 8th in the competitive veteran’s category.
Finishing the Weekend saw Darren Lindsay competing in the Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial at Forfar and Darren breaking the hour posting a very creditable time of 58.29.
As always new members are welcome to the club anytime no matter how you want to ride a bike.
Being named Dirty Reivers may sound like an insult, but on this occasion the meaning is cause for a celebration of quite literally grit and endurance.
Berwick Wheelers Neil Wilson, Nigel Carrick and Darren Lindsay took part in the Dirty Reiver 200km event at Kielder Forest this weekend, taking in a spectacle of forest tracks and grit roads to tot up an impressive mileage. Becoming known as the ultimate gravel race in the UK, this event is not for the feint hearted or untrained. 900 competitors began their day in chilly temperatures, kitted in arm warmers and on specially adapted bikes in the shadows of Kielder Castle.
Pre ride fuelling the day before ensured riders were given their best chances of tackling at least one deep river crossing, over 3300m elevation and the many miles of dirt roads to come. As temperatures began to increase, so did the enormity of the task at hand.
A timely visit from Bananaman and his Chicken side kick added a little humour and motivation to the riders darkest hours.
A huge variety of cycle races means riders can test themselves in different ways. Be it mental, physical, terrain, speed or power, endurance riding at this level requires all of the above. The loneliness of these long distance riders reaped their rewards at the finish line after 11 hours of pedalling, with Darren completing half an hour earlier.
.A well deserved chapeau to our three Dirty Reivers - titles which will no doubt raise a smile for them in years to come. Cycling is made of the fondest of memories, but none more so than those made of the truest dirt and grit.
Congratulations must also be passed to Michelle Highfield who claimed the Super Vet female title at this weekend's Scottish National Time Trial Olympic championship at the Tour of the Meldons near Peebles. The 25 mile course which swoops amongst the Meldon Hills and challenges riders patience over winter worn roads was the setting for Michelle's latest accomplishment. Becoming an established name in the racing scene, Michelle can rightfully be pleased with a solid winters training in order to make more room in her trophy cabinet. Well done.
See the 2018 Reivers tab for a race report from Andrew Leigh on the 2018 Reivers Road Race.