RTTC National 24 hour review

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Michael Broadwith (Arctic Tacx RT) added a second RTTC National 24-Hour Championship to his calling card while for Lynne Biddulph (Born to Bike-Bridgtown Cycles) it was her seventh Championship in the day-long challenge.

More to the point Broadwith, 38, led Arctic-Taxc RT to a new Championship and Competition Team Record of 1,547.50 miles adding 115.91 miles to the 36 year-old record set by the North Staffs St Christophers CCC's Cahill, Coupe and Finney. All three Arctic-Tacx riders covered more than 500 miles, Broadwith with the event winning 532.82 miles, Jonathan Shubert 508.01 miles in second and Tim Bayley, 506.68 miles in fourth place. 


Biddulph was best of the women riders with her 418.07 miles while Emma Richardson (Audlem CC) on 407.78 miles and Janet Fairclough (St Helens CRC) on 376.25 miles completed the top three.

The Mersey Roads Club promoted Championship was as efficient as usual and was blessed with better weather than last year, although many of the riders would have prefered it to have not been so hot.


Battle was quickly joined and the leading contendors were soon making the running. At around the 100-mile mark Tim Bayley was through in 4-10-31; Shubert 4-05-32; Broadwith 4-08-33. Victor Chetta (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) was virtually level with Broadwith with his 4-08-33, laying the foundation for his eventual third place, and George Marshall (Rapha CC) was credited with a 4-18-00 the start of his move to finishing in fifth.Lynne Biddulph led the women with a 4-53-56.


Night time and the Prees Heath-Epsley-Prees Heath circuit saw the riders pushing their way forward in to the hundreds of miles with 12 hours behind them. Bayley was holding up well with an estimated 272.846 miles. Broadwith was on equal terms while Shubert was finding it hard going some five miles back on 267.098 miles, a couple of miles up on Chetta.


Through the night and in to the new day with the second 12 hours to be faced and it was now that mental strength counted as much as physical ability. On to the finishing circuit and the leaders were well over the 400 miles mark. On the circuit they were all encouraged by spectators and helpers alike as they rode past the event headquarters at Farndon Sports and Social Club. The countdown began. Broadwith looked in control, helmet removed and riding strongly. Shubert looked fine enough, Chetta was rising to the encouragement and riding hard every time he passed by. Lynne Biddulph looked her usual unruffled self. Bayley was first of the leaders to finish having given his all and looked it.

Time was running out and by 2.30pm on Sunday it was all over. It was now up to the timekeepers and Mersey Roads officials to give us the verdict. Broadwith was top man with 532.82 miles ahead of Shubert, 508.01 miles, and Chetta on 507.45 miles.


"It was too hot for me, I was getting over heated and I found the night time riding very tough. That's when I had my worst moments emotionally, I nearly threw it all in but I kept going and came good again," schoolteacher Broadwith said. "I haven't done much racing this season a `50` and a `100` everything was aimed at the `24` and going for the team record and that came off, the boys all dug very deep and we achieved our goal," Broadwith added. What's next? "Well we have talked about going for the BBAR next year."

Jonathan Shubert is also a teacher. "I teach science in Oman," Shubert said. "Michael only asked me four months ago to ride the `24` and go for the record. Its too hot to go out in the day time in Oman so most of my riding was done in the middle of the night, 30- 40 miles at a time. I injured my leg recently so for the last two weeks I've done no cycling. For the last two and a half hours today I was riding with one leg but I had to keep going for the team. In fact we (Bayley and Broadwith) had all had trouble recently, Tim was involved in a road traffic accident that damaged his shoulder while Michael had a run in with a cat that brought him down. So we are over the moon and proud of each other today," Shubert said.


"I thought I'd done my collarbone in that RTA," Bayley said. "But happily it wasn't. I'd only done a couple of time trials this year I was concentrating on training for today. I was doing 160-170 miles on Saturdays and Sundays. I really dug deep today and feel pretty rough now," Bayley added. "I don't think I'll be doing this again any time soon."

Victor Chetta


Third placed Victor Chetta admitted the crowds had "lifted him."
 In last year's Mersey Roads event he covered 417 miles. "It was so cold and wet I stopped in a cafe for a good while before getting going again. It was a lot better today with the warmth but I feel terrible now, my arms and feet are killing me. I was surprised to finish third," Chetta said.

"I had a fall at work and hurt my shin and today it was really hurting," Lynne Biddulph said. "I was also suffering in the heat, I had thought about stopping but had to keep going for our team," she added.


Thanking the organisers for all their efforts Broadwith pointed out the support he had during the event was mind boggling. "I tried to smile at everyone but it probably looked more like a grimace," he said. Grimace or not he brought a smile to most people's faces as he took the Championship.