Sunday 28 August 2011

My Brompton World Championships 2011

Well it finally came.  I cannot begin to explain how excited I was getting up and heading off to my very first BWC.

I am so proud of getting this!
I dragged my wife and two young children out of bed (they didn't really want to come) and we headed off to Oxford. There was a mild disaster in that before departing I attempted to pump my tyres up with my foot pump. Much to my dismay the nozzle end wasn't working and all I ended up doing was defaulting the rear tyre! Despite this we headed off in the knowledge that someone at the other end must have a pump I could borrow or I could use the one that is attached to my Brompton (for the first time).

We arrived in good time. I was a small child, too keen, too eager. I went to registration and got the number to place on my bike with the time chip attached. I then put my bike on the grid and the long wait began.

My beloved Brompton on the starting grid.

The nearer things go to the start the more the anticipation built. At 11:40ish we assembled for the instructions and safety procedures.  That done it was time to get ready to go into the pens - the waiting area in which one would wait for the off, run to your bike and go.

Once in the pens I detected a nervous tension among many standing near me. A few people from the Brompton staff lightened the atmosphere my starting a Mexican wave. That done things became quiet. A silence descended over the pens like a sea fog creeping quickly out of nowhere. I felt nervous and could hear my heart beating. The first wave went off. The second wave. It was now my turn. The two minutes between each wave seemed like an age. The air horn sounded and we were off.

Many ran as quickly to their bikes as possible. I have always been taught that a gentleman does not run, so I walked to my bike, assembled it and was off. I raced through and overtook quite a few riders. As I approached the first steep climb I tempered this initial haste as there was such a long way to go.

By the second steep climb I started to feel the strain and found things heavy going but got through to the start / finish for the second lap. As I approached I think the second steep climb things took a distinct turn for the worse!

I do not know whether what happened to me can be what runners describe as, 'the wall' but believe me I hit something. I almost ground to a halt as I desperately searched for a gear to keep me going. I couldn't find it. My legs did not have the power to turn the peddles and I had a stitch (something I haven't had since I was 11). As I searched for a gear that would help I must have somehow kicked off my own chain as it was off and I had to stop to put it back on.  This was a kind omen as I say with all honesty, I would have had to stop and push if it hadn't.  I suspect that I should have gone through some sort of warm up beforehand and not regarded having a cup of tea as being sufficient! Chain back on as I reached the summit I mounted my bike and headed off.

The great, Ms Elliot on her way to her second win!
This event, race and day was a celebration of owning something quite unique. What other manufactuer put on an event like this? What other sport would allow a 40 year old, father of two to compete in its World Championships? My time for this race was just over 35 minutes, quite shocking but does it really matter? Upon receiving the Brompton medal I was tired but elated. Something I had looked forward to, for so long exceeded my expectations. I loved the Brompton World Championships

Some people make no effort al all!

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The great thing about having a time, is it is there to be beaten. BWC 2012 is only a year away. I can put in proper training, go on a diet and perform some sort of warm up. I even bought a pair of racing slick tyres to give me that extra edge for next time. I can't wait. After all, I am now a world class international cyclist and if you buy a Brompton, next year so could you!

Roll on 2012 when we can do it all over again!


  1. Congrats on participating in the exciting Brompton Race. I am sure you will do great next year. Go for it!

    Nice photos and a lovely report!

    Peace :)

  2. congratulations!!!
    Sounds a wonderful experience indeed .

  3. Many thanks. Yes I'll be there next year.

  4. I have for some reason only just found your blog. I can tell you now I will be a follower for sure as I too own an Orange Brompton. I competed in this event and reading your post I was there with you. I too am a 40 something father of 2, am not in the best shape but am getting there. This course took every ounce of energy I had and I too hit the wall on the steep climbs. Even still it was the best fun I have had in years. A truly great event.

    1. I already like you - you have an Orange Brompton! If you haven't already do so have a look at my entry for the 2012 BWC. I did all three events and put in a much better performance than 2011. Roll on 2013!


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