I’m up in
to carry out my first team duty for Rapha Condor Sharp; picking up Casey Munro,(one of the three Australian riders on the team) who is arriving back from overwintering in the South. They have made Bristol their summer residency, along of course with Tom S. I also hear Dan Craven, the Namibian on the team, is in the process of moving to the City. The City also boasts Simon Richardson of Sigma Sport and Ollie Beckinsdale of Endura. All these pro riders make up the elite membership of the Barrow Gurney CC. A club I’m hoping to be made an honorary member of as between races I’ll be spending quite a lot of time in the city myself this year. Bristol
Most of the riders actually train on their own, Dean Windsor being the exception; he enjoys the local chain gangs. The others all slip out, usually in ones but occasionally twos, into the Mendips or across the bridge into mid-Wales to while away their hours on the saddle. I was astounded though to discover that last year Casey peddled the streets of
and Montpellier City Road where he had discovered a number of short sharp climbs that he used for his training. It was peculiar to be taken around and shown your home city by him, especially some of the pubs that he had passed by and now insisted on visiting. It seems he just loves exploring. He knew my home city better than I did. The Barrow Gurney CC rides are mostly completed in a selection of cafes, many in Clifton, where on sunny days the riders bask outside, or at the Lido a beautifully restored Victorian lido with bar, restaurant and spa facilities I can personally recommend. Where I presume, they sit having coffees whilst watching the attractive ladies in the pool.
Some of the team have been starting the new season at the Tour of South Africa and have kicked off the campaign with two wins. On stage one, Kristan House went for a long one in a two man break, dropping his companion with 50km to go, soloing in to win by a margin of 2.22 minutes over the rest of the field. With Dan Craven also taking the mountains jersey it was good day all round. A great start, getting that first win straight under the belt is a boost to any teams moral.
Rapha Condor Sharp now had the golden jersey to protect, so tactics changed, as they now had to switch from attack to defence mode. I scrolled down the start list: there were some good teams in the race and numerous South African riders - who all wanted to do well.
How did the team do?
Well, is the answer. I kept track of it all by (I am embarrassed to admit) following twitter and later the Cyclingnews results service. Each day I felt a little tightening of the stomach as I waited for news. The team did its job: controlling the race and daily delivering Kristan in the front group by the finish line.
I noted that Jon Tiernan-Locke (another Barrow Gurney CC member, known as JT, or JT2 between Tom and myself as I also have a friend called JT) rode well, ending up 8th overall and second in the Mountains competition, after Dan C having unfortunately crashed and lost ground. By the end of the race Kristan had only lost a handful of seconds so Rapha Condor Sharp won the overall. They can be pleased with their southern outing and I hope this promises well for the rest of the season.