Despite being affected by illness and injury, the OUCC Blues squad were in high spirits as we made our way to Cambridge on Saturday the 2nd of April, twenty-four hours out from BUCS 25 mile individual time-trial and our 2022 Varsity match against Cambridge. Vans parked and bikes constructed, we headed out on a recon of the course, encountering a number of hills, exposed sections and technical corners that would prove decisive in the final results.
Conditions were dry and sunny on the Sunday, with a cool north-westerly breeze that ensured that the temperatures remained in single digits throughout the entire race. The women were off first. Lucie Ayliffe-Daly posted a strong time of 1:03:22, enough for an impressive 8th overall BUCS placing on the day, and bringing home the Women’s Individual Varsity. Maisy Vasic and Izzy Leitch put in almost identical rides to cross the line only six seconds apart; this consistency in times from the Oxford saw them bring home the Women’s Overall Varsity, with an impressive winning margin of one minute and twenty-four seconds.
The men were off next, with the wind picking up a little as the day went along. As expected, Matthew Coulson put in an absolutely blistering ride, completing the course in a mere 51:48, coming 4th overall and securing the Men’s Individual Varsity by more than a minute. Harvey Weinberger put in a strong performance, edging out his brother Theo from Cambridge by a narrow eight seconds and placing 9th overall, while Ed Nicholson rounded out the top three for Oxford. Despite the Cambridge men putting in some good times, the stellar performances of Matthew, Harvey and Ed were enough to not only secure the Men’s Overall Varsity — a trophy that we have not won for 11 years! — but also come away with a silver medal in the BUCS team competition.
Solid rides from the rest of the squad (Katrina Tse, Alexander Herd, Toby Adkins, Adam Isherwood and Jack Churchill) saw Oxford well-represented in the overall field, while Angus Phillips ensured that there was always someone cheering the Dark Blues on from the side of the road. Overall, it was an excellent day out from Oxford, bringing home a clean-sweep of Varsity trophies, as well as a silver BUCS medal to boot; a thorough shoe’ing, if I ever saw one.
Race report by Toby Adkins