Elmet 12hr Time Trial
Sunday 27th July

An aggressive strategy aimed at victory did not quite pay of for Paul Holdsworth (Hounslow & District Wheelers) in the Elmet 12 last Sunday.

Pushing big gears through the windless early morning air the Hounslow rider covered 25 miles in the first hour, and his helpers were able to tell him that he was 30 seconds up on the scratchman and eventual winner Carl Ruebotham (Team Swift Allsports).

Paul Holdsworth

Progress was maintained for the next hour with 50 miles reached in two hours two minutes, but a time check at two and a half hours showed that no. 58, Colin Parkinson (South Western R.C.) was now only a minute behind Holdsworth (No.55). Parkinson had also started fast, but the Hounslow helpers had noticed that his face seemed to be a mask of pain even in the early stages; they thought he was trying too hard and would not last the distance. This proved to be wrong; the SWRC man still had the same expression and speed in the twelfth hour, and, worse he caught Holdsworth after about three and a half hours damaging his morale. Even so Paul covered the first 100 miles inside 4 hours 8 minutes which still held the promise of a good final mileage.

However, conditions did not get easier. The early morning calm gave way to a brisk wind which bent the trees and made one leg of the triangular circuit particularly tough. By mid afternoon Holdsworth had been caught for five minutes by the eventual winner Ruebotham, and the odd light showers of the morning had become consistent and troubling steady rain. Perhaps worst of all at about 1.30 pm Holdsworth's gear cable broke leaving him permanently on his 11 tooth top sprocket. His front changer still worked and this gave him a choice of 55 or 39 teeth on the front (gears of 132.9" and 94.2"). The helpers tried to persuade their man to stop to change his back wheel and screw the gear mechanism down to reduce the gearing, but Holdsworth refused help fearing that once he broke his rhythm it would be hard to get going again.

Paul Holdsworth

These factors together gave the Hounslow man a definite “bad patch” in the afternoon, but, as usual, this suffering did not last for ever. Before the last hour he seemed cheerful and was moving fast on the easy sections. His time ran out with 270.87 miles covered, a distance which should help him to a high position in the British Best All Rounder table again this year.

Back at the HQ the winner, Carl Ruebotham, looked fresh and not much affected by his 285 miles of effort, a personal best for him by a mile and a half in spite of losing at least two minutes with a puncture.

“I was really riding for the team prize (which his club won comfortably). I can't hope for a good BBAR placing because I was relying on the ECCA event for a good 100 time and this has been cancelled. The only other 100 left is the Team Swift event and I can't ride because I've got a holiday booked. I always used to think of myself as a roadman, and I didn't care much about time trials until about four years ago - I'm surprised to find myself taking an interest in the BBAR!” he said.

View the full results on the CTT website

Chris Lovibond