2017 saw the GS Metro team of Carl Donaldson, Danny Grieves and Ben Lane claim the accolade of the three-event British Best All-Round team.
This fact is not altogether surprising however, considering the trio registered two national competition records over the gruelling 100-mile and 12 hour competitions in the space of just two months.
In June, Donaldson, 37, Grieves, 29, and Lane, 46, all from the North East, combined for a time of 10 hours 26 minutes and 10 seconds at the Eastern Counties CA 100-mile event to slice exactly 16 minutes off the previous record held by Team Bottrill.
“The 100 was a really hard day, the forecast was for super-hot conditions and it was just that,” said 37-year-old Donaldson. “I can’t recall much of the race but I do recall cramping towards the end due to the heat.
“Danny had a great ride on that 100, he really delivered a cracking race. We had a great day afterwards also, sharing the result together whilst we had a long drive home.”
Grieves did indeed have a great ride, taking the individual national competition record, albeit for just a few minutes before Adam Duggleby completed his ride.
“I was quite confident of the individual competition record. Before the race I told a few close friends I'd break it,” Grieves recalled.
“We had wanted to target the 12 hour since last December, but it was Carl that put forward the idea of team competition record for the 100 in a group chat a few days before the race so we all knew what was at stake as a team.”
“The ECCA 100 weekend was great, we are all good friends in GS Metro and are close, I travelled down to the race with Tom Hooper [the team’s fourth counter] and that weekend in general was the highlight of my season,” Grieves added.
Six days beforehand, the Arctic Tacx RT team were also breaking long distance records with Jonathan Shubert, Michael Broadwith and Tim Bayley setting a new team 12-hour competition record at the Newbury Road Club event.
That record would last just two months because at the national 12 hour GS Metro were at it again, posting a cumulative distance of 882.79 miles, seizing top spot in the record books by 10 miles from their rivals.
“Throughout the BBAR campaign it has very much been a wider effort than the three counters,” said Ben Lane, 46. “We planned the attempt to win Team BBAR with a five-man squad: Carl, Danny, Tom Hooper, Andy Hall and myself.
“We knew that Arctic Tacx would present a very strong opposition and needed to have back up in case anyone had illness or mechanical issues. We were each only going to have one proper crack at the 100 and 12 hour so needed to limit risk.
“I’d like to highlight the fact that the Arctic Tacx lads were out on the circuit and gave us incredible support. We’d been in regular contact with them through the season and Mike [Broadwith] was always open to sharing his experiences in long distance testing, they’re true sportsmen,” Lane added.
As incredible an effort as the successes have been for GS Metro, the physical and mental strength - not to mention selflessness - required to put in record-breaking performances cannot be underestimated, as each member of the team recounts.
“I had not contemplated riding a 12 hour before last season,” said Lane. “Mentally it is hard to remain focused. I got to six hours in and I’m thinking ‘Christ, only half way’ but the main driver is not letting your team mates down.
“The 12 hour took me through so many emotions but all the while you’re thinking “I can’t quit, the team need this ride to count,” Lane said.
“I wanted to quit 20 minutes into the 12 but the drive for the competition record, team BBAR overall, team BBAR comp record kept me going. Carl and Ben put great rides in that day, it was great to be a part of!” Grieves added.
“I had a medical issue after the 12 hour and ended up in A&E in an ambulance after a blood sugar crash at the HQ so I knew I had given it my all.
“A short period on a drip and an ECG later I was ok but I’ve promised my wife no more 12 hour rides, I never mentioned anything about a 24 though!” Donaldson added.
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