Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up '25' 10th March 2024

In which Team Grumpy make a good impression by turning out in matching kit and bikes - but then disaster strikes!

Most years, Team Grumpy rides an early season 2-up team time trial to keep our hand in by brushing up our 2-up skills ahead of the autumn's Duo Normand. Since the apparent demise of the Duo Normand since the 2020 pandemic struck, these early season 2-up events have become an event in themselves, and this year was no exception. After a couple of evenings of food and beer we felt adequately provisioned for a 25 mile time trial. Maybe.

The Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up 25 was held (as usual) on a course that was about half on dual carriageway, and half on quite seriously undulating back roads. So it's never going to be astoundingly quick, but it's a fun course to ride.

Team Grumpy has generally tried to do our best to look like a bona fide 2-up team by wearing the same strip and helmets - we refer to this as our 'team uniform'. For 2024, we had improved on this. Gerry had obtained a secondhand Cervelo P3C frame of the same vintage (and therefore colours) as mine. And with both bikes fitted out with H3 trispokes front and rear, we were confident that even if our ageing legs wouldn't carry us to victory (or even a good placing), we'd at least look the part.

240310 PTW 01

 Team Grumpy looking the part and going fast.

In the run up to this event, many excuses were made for any poor performance that might ensue. This is something of a Team Grumpy tradition, but in fairness Gerry has had a tough start to the year, which followed from an equally tough period at work. So he had some concerns about whether he'd let the team down. As if. Gerry always steps up to the plate and this event demonstrated that.

We got changed, set the bikes up and went for a brief warm up. We were the third team to start, so we were expecting to be passed by some teams during the race - there were only 15 teams on the start sheet, and we thought all were younger than us. Lining up at the start, Gerry was happy to be held, while I chose to just start from standing - when both of us are held at the start I'm always convinced we'll bump into each other. It's never happened in 20 years of 2-up racing, but you never know...

After the customary looking back over his shoulder (I don't think he trusts me), Gerry led us out onto the dual carriageway, giving way to an oncoming car.Out on the dual carriageway, I took a spell at the front, then Gerry resumed duties. Just as I was coming through for another spell at the front, I felt the telltale thumping of a rim on tarmac.



My rear tyre had punctured. This was just two minutes into the race! With unexpected composure, Team Grumpy came to a stop. Gerry offered his rear wheel so I could get a solo time. Stuff that, I thought, he's not getting out of the race that easily! The other thought going through our minds was that we were going to have to ride at least 10 miles to get back to the HQ as we couldn't hop across the dual carriageway. We set about effecting a repair by replacing the tube. All in this took about 6 minutes, largely because of the embarrassingly small and ineffective pumps we carried with us. Clearly any chance of a decent time had now gone out of the window and from now on we were riding the event for training and to practice 2-up riding.

The Team Grumpy strategy for the event was that Gerry would lead us round the first turn as this is quite a complex roundabout. On the morning it was well signposted and marshalled, so really you'd have to be blind to go wrong (mind you...Gerry never lets me forget oaf corner where I nearly went off course once at the Duo Normand). As we were coming down the sliproad to the dual carriageway, the sixth team (numbers 11 and 12) came past us.



They didn't pull away from us for a long time, and indeed we kept gaining on them. Eventually, however, away they went. We kept on going, eventually turning left onto the back road section. Here we found the road surface much improved on the whole, but some section were indanger of rattling our teeth out. Plus there are a couple of 20mph section, but they seemed to be mostly in places with were weren't going particularly quickly.

240310 PTW 05

We were still riding well late in the race

Team Grumpy were still going pretty well, and taking turns through the second half of the race, though the road surface was poor enough in places that I feared my underinflated replacement tube would give up. But it held out, as did the ageing legs of Team Grumpy.

Back at the HQ, the results were read out. Sadly there was no category for best veteran composite team with a puncture! Here's the results table. We ended up with 1:10:07, and we reckon on a 1:04 without the puncture.

Entry ID CTT Number Race Number Team ID Name Machine Club Classification Category Ride Time Comment
1035784 8403 1 21373 Heath Williams TT Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Veteran 01:02:28  
1035785 33202 2 21373 Hugh Pascoe TT Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Veteran  
1038981 49574 3 21500 Huw Davies Road Bike Gower Riders Cycling Club Open Veteran 01:27:03 1st Club Team With Youth
1038982 49744 4 21500 Felix Davies Road Bike Gower Riders Cycling Club Open Youth
1038327 141 5 21479 Robert Saunders TT Bike North Bucks RC Open Veteran 01:10:07 Incl Puncture
1038328 2058 6 21479 Gerard Oram TT Bike Bynea Cycling Club Open Veteran
1037710 14595 7 21458 Hollie Labunsky TT Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Female Senior 01:09:39 1st Comp Team With Lady
1037711 46252 8 21458 Lizzy Felton TT Bike Team Zero-Allez Female Senior
1038969 14392 9 21498 Neil Lewis Road Bike Veloflow CC Open Veteran 01:01:32  
1038970 46064 10 21498 Julian Hughes Road Bike Veloflow CC Open Veteran  
1037154 15038 11 21439 John Aspell TT Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Veteran 01:03:00 1st Club Team With Lady
1037155 24527 12 21439 Emma Davies TT Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Female Veteran
1038900 22232 13 21495 Rony Seamons Road Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Veteran 01:11:52 1st Comp RB Team
1038901 34879 14 21495 Lewis Wasley Road Bike Thornbury Cycling Club Open Senior
1038600 1071 15 21482 Les Thomas TT Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Veteran DNSA  
1038601 46332 16 21482 Peter Hussain Road Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Veteran 01:14:19 Solo
1038033 38483 17 21470 John Brown Road Bike Veloflow CC Open Veteran 00:57:46 1st Club RB Team
1038034 49671 18 21470 Joss Poole  Road Bike Veloflow CC Open Veteran
1039036 33271 19 21503 Rhys Lloyd Road Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Senior 00:59:33  
1039037 25304 20 21503 Neil Seaward Road Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Veteran  
1037570 40742 21 21456 Michelle Lindley TT Bike Poole Wheelers Cycling Club Female Veteran 01:06:23  
1037571 42992 22 21456 Chris Jones TT Bike Poole Wheelers Cycling Club Open Veteran  
1036577 410 23 21407 Darren Edwards Road Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Veteran 01:03:47 Solo
1036578 17610 24 21407 Mike Hall Road Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Veteran DNSA  
1039079 4760 25 21509 Paul Hayward TT Bike Pontypool Road Cycling Club Open Veteran 00:56:11 1st Club TT Team
1039076 24663 26 21509 Frazer White TT Bike Pontypool Road Cycling Club Open Veteran
1037544 42416 27 21455 Graham Rogerson TT Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Veteran DNSA  
1037545 8175 28 21455 Neil Gregory TT Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Veteran 00:58:23 Solo
1037864 28783 29 21463 Sion Slyman TT Bike Swansea Vale Tri Open Veteran 00:53:05 1st Comp TT Team
1037863 23500 30 21463 Ben Jones TT Bike Port Talbot Whs CC Open Senior


Finally, here's some metrics from my Garmin. 

Screenshot 2024 03 12 at 10.08.33