As the academic year draws to a close, we take a look back at a very successful year. The year started with OUCC welcoming some new sponsors on board: Peleton Espresso, Beeline Bicycles, Cycloanalysts, Mission Burrito and Tactic Sport joined title sponsor HMT Hospitals and we again say thank-you for the support this year.
As always, the first BUCS event of the year was the hill climb, closely followed by the track event. Solid performances in both set the tone for a strong season. With preparations already underway for the 2018 editions, podiums are the aim for the squad in the 2018 editions.
After what seemed like an eternal winter, the road season got underway in late February. Thirty riders braved sub zero conditions at the annual Cuppers time trial. A week later, after many months of racing in horrible conditions, the mountain bike squad headed to Essex for their varsity match. Despite mechanical problems ending any hopes of a varsity victory, there were some stellar individual performances.
Over the Easter vac, the road squad travelled far and wide to find any race which would actually go ahead, to get some race experience before the road season reached an early peak in April with four BUCS races (10 mile TT, TTT, 25 mile TT and road race) across four consecutive weekends. The first of these was hosted by Cambridge; a successful day out saw OUCC return from the ‘other place’ with bronze in both the men’s and women’s team events. A week later in the team time trial, the women’s squad improved their position on the podium to second, whilst the men were unfortunate to suffer mechanical problems which derailed what was looking like a podium ride.
On the third of these weekends, OUCC hosted the BUCS 25 mile time trial, which doubled up as the Varsity match. Fast conditions and good form resulted in team BUCS records being broken by both the men’s and women’s teams. Notably, each of the riders making up the women’s team went under the hour for the first time ever and took a massive eight minutes off the previous club record set two years ago, and a comprehensive victory in the varsity match as well as team bronze on the day. Unfortunately, the men’s record breaking ride was not enough to take the varsity match – a phenomenal ride from Cambridge took both the BUCS and varsity win on the day (chapeau!) – but did secure another BUCS bronze.
Seven days later, OUCC sent a squad of six up to the BUCS road race in Yorkshire. Despite illness in the men’s squad, James was able to make the final selection and take a hard-fought sixth place. The OUCC ride of the weekend surely went to Tamara Davenne, who took a brilliant third place in her final BUCS road race. Tamara will be sorely missed by OUCC next year; during her four years with OUCC she has amassed a ridiculous amount of BUCS medals, three full blues and five half blues as well as being a great influence off the bike and has overseen huge growth of the ladies side of the club.
The two remaining Varsity races (track, as part of the World Cycling Revival weekend at Herne Hill, and criterium, as part of the Stafford GP) take place over the next few weeks; the men will be looking to overturn the defeat at the Varsity time trial, whilst the women will probably do what they do best – crush the tabs.