HPV Worlds 2013
Rewind one year and I’d be in the exact same situation leading up the 2012 HPV World Championships in Kent. In 2012 I came 8th however much has changed since…..Over the past year my trike legs have grown and with it my determination to better my position. This year equipped with a Vortex+ I was keen to battle for a top 3 position.
Although I was unsure what awaited us in Germany I did know that my colleague Ben Dickinson was most likely to be my biggest competition. When we arrived it was clear that the journey was worth making. The city was full of recumbent bikes, trikes, home builds and row bikes. It was going to be a great weekend to be a part of.
Race 1 was a 200m time trap with a 3k run up, “I got this” I thought. As it turned out I was 0.4 seconds short of “I got this”. As expected I was pipped to the post by a certain Ben Dickinson.
Race 2 was the 1hr race. Instantly it was clear I was now racing side by side with the big boys in their fairings. The track contained some great corners and for this weekend some great riders. 1hr later with no hiccups I came in 3rd yet again behind Ben and Wim Eggels, also on an ICE Trike.
Race 3 was a 100km race. Still feeling sore from the racing the day before it was clear today was going to be difficult. Instantly I caught sight of the rider positioned ahead of me (Wim Eggels) and tailed him. 1hr in and id given it my all, from here I knew that top 3 position was safe and that id loose nothing by pulling out 45mins from the end. The uncomfortable 7hr drive home was also a factor of my DNF.
After congratulating the other riders it was straight onto packing up the tents and hitting the road homeward bound.
Eagerly awaiting the final results at ICE HQ (thinking that I'd come in 3rd) it was a massive surprise I'd actually finished second. However in the end this mattered very little as the event was a huge success for all parties and yet again a driving force to look on towards the 2014 HPV World Championships in France.
Congratulations and a massive thanks to the organisers and the city of Leer for putting on such a great event.
Having been with ICE for just over a year in the role of Quality Assurance this was my first time at a recumbent gathering. I wasn’t sure what to expect but wanted to understand who our customers are and what the recumbent culture was like in practice. The HPV world championships seemed the ideal location to experience it all in a neat package.
I had intended turning up on the ICE Adventure with helping handles that I normally ride, but I’m so glad that Elliot wouldn’t let me. Instead I turned up on the start line for the 200m sprint on a Sprint X 26”. This was rather nice and very fast on the flat roads of Leer. And a world apart from the riding I do on the Adventure up and down the hills of Cornwall.
Though I had been in training for this event I was completely unprepared for just how dedicated (and fast) the competition was and so unsurprisingly didn’t come first. I was however in the top 100 and not last which was what I dreaded. The tiny flicker of competitiveness left in me didn’t want to have the title “slowest in the world”.
The diversity of engineering designs and technology on display was impressive and I learnt a lot about what recumbent riding means to so many people, the skills, training and striving for improving the weight power ratio.
For me however as a novice to this event the greatest part was the welcome from the people of Leer, who closed of their town centre and turned out to cheer us on.
We arrived in the picturesque town of Leer in the North West corner of Germany the day before the competition was to begin amid heavy showers, strong winds and ominous skies, but the Saturday morning dawned sunny and warm and it was off to the 200m flying start sprint. A 2.5mile stretch of immaculate smooth and level road had been specially closed for us. This event was trickier than it looked as unless you were in a fully faired machine and expected to go 45mph+ the 2mile run-up was longer than needed, so to do well you had to be putting in maximum effort from exactly the right place in the course as well as just being able to pedal hard. My first attempt was the better of two at 35mph, just enough to stay ahead of other un-faired trike riders. My team mate Elliot being just 1mph down was making it look like once again the real competition for us could be within the ICE team.
In the afternoon was the 1hour race on a 1.2mile circuit of closed off roads around the town centre. 150 Competitors travelling at a wide variety of speeds combined with a couple of tight corners made for very exciting and challenging race. I had to keep my wits about me as I was overtaking riders, but also being overtaken by just as many. I felt good throughout the race and finished with an average of 23.7 mph probably a personal best for an hour. On Sunday morning it was cold and damp when we started the 100km race. The pace was fast to begin with but I soon found I had to back off to a speed I could sustain. After an hour the fatigue really began to make itself felt and it was just a case of gritting my teeth and keeping the pedals turning. Heavy rain made things more interesting for a while with a few two wheeled riders sliding off, the trike was always fun though allowing corners to be taken at full speed with no more than a little sideways drift across the slippery bits.
In the final standings I was first among the un-faired trikes which was what I had set out to do, with a Dutch rider Wim Eggels (also on ICE) and team-mates Elliot, Ewen and Euan not far behind. We came out somewhere in the middle of the field overall though in performance terms we were all far behind Tim in his faired ICE trike.
It was a great weekend. We loved the location, and the German HPV club and people of Leer deserve congratulations and thanks for organising a memorable event.
I went to the worlds with no expectation apart from to take part and enjoy the weekend. Having not had much opportunity for training beforehand I was apprehensive as to whether my legs would hold up.
On the 200mtr sprint I took the 3km run up gently building up speed, however, on the first run I started sprinting too early and on the second too late, it’s harder than you think! I set a respectable time not at the top but by no means at the bottom. Then on to the hour race, the weather looked like it was going to hold and we were ready to go! Once the race started with the velomobiles streaking past I soon realised I was way off the pace! I knuckled down just wanting to finish and after an excruciating hour I was glad to hear the bell marking the penultimate lap. I slept well that night.
I decided to take part in the mornings 45 minute race instead of the 100km in the afternoon. Ewen had already entered and I decided to join him. Waiting on the start line surrounded by everyday cyclists I wasn’t sure what to expect. Thankfully when the race started I realised that my pace wasn’t far off and I could get down to enjoying the race. I finished within the top half but more importantly I really enjoyed myself.
The weekend was a blast, meeting likeminded people, enjoying some great food, and racing around the smooth roads of leer city centre. I look forward to being fitter for next year.
The highlights for me were the opening ceremony which was a bit weird but very memorable, and the "all you can eat" buffet with the other racers. This was way better than dads cooking last year.
The crowds lined the route and cheered us down the straights and around the bends, it was a fantastic feeling. I spent a little time relaxing to do the "tourist thing" in Leer, which so different from home (mainly eating cheese and pastries). All in all Leer was excellent fun with a great buffet, I love a good buffet...so much food!
Last year the Championships for me was about the racing. This year it was the atmosphere from the crowd, the camaraderie of being with so many friendly racers, Leer itself and the Food, so much delicious food.
Having had a ball at the World HPV Championships in the UK in 2012 I was keen to take a team out to Leer in northern Germany for this year’s event. My only concern was that after all the fun we had last year the numbers of people wishing to go from ICE might make it seem like we were trying to take over the event. As it happened I was helped out by Andy Tebbutt (ICE Mechanic) as he was persuaded to get married the same weekend. The ICE crew was split into two camps, “Friends of the Groom” and “Congratulations but, I’m going racing anyway”.
My son Tim clinched the World Junior title last year and was keen to defend his title. However I had overlooked a small issue; he is now several inches taller than last year and he does not really fit in the fairing we made for him. So in a mad rush we made a new fairing. As the racing was to be held around the city streets of Leer we elected an old ICE Micro built in 2001 as the trike inside this year’s machine, the Micro was designed as a street racer with speed through tight corners being its strongest feature. We took the opportunity to build a new shape for this year’s machine, greater ground clearance for exploring the city streets, smaller windows to reduce the greenhouse effect and shorter and tougher to better survive the trip to Germany. Initial roll-down tests on the almost finished fairing proved the new fairing to be just as efficient as the old one so we were ready. With days to spare!
The journey over was easy. One day to cross England, one night on the ferry to Holland, and half a day to drive to Leer. With our tents pitched at the event campsite in the grounds of a school the racers went off to explore Leer to find some hardware I needed to finish Tim’s fairing, join in with the opening ceremony and to fill up on food and drink (guess which was the priority).
Saturday morning was sunny and warm. Time for the 200 meter Sprint Rolling Start. A 3km run up along the smoothest straightest road you could ever wish for, sadly the gusting wind made it nearly as dangerous to be a spectator as a participant as the riders fought the gusts of wind to stay on the road and upright. Except for those on 3 wheels who were oblivious to the conditions.
Tim had never done a sprint before and he miss-timed his first run, his second however produced a smile and 41mph.
Saturday afternoon was spent in the rain watching the HPB’s on the river. Some amazing machines but unfortunately no pictures as my camera decided to wipe the memory card.
The evening was the 1 hour mass start criterium. 150 riders racing round the narrow streets of Leer. Words like well organised mayhem spring to mind when I remember the race. Tim sat it out as he was saving himself for the junior race the next day. I was glad he did to, the race no matter how experienced was scary, fun but definitely scary.
Sunday Morning 9:00 am in the city centre. The juniors were joined by those who considered themselves “everyday cyclists” to swell the numbers and make a bit more of a spectacle for the spectators. The circuit had been ravaged by the previous night’s wind and rain so everyone was delayed. A 14 year old boy in a fully faired ICE designed street racing trike was about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting Leer. Tim was like a coiled spring, 12 months of training screaming to be let loose, taped inside his fairing he waited. The Circuit was given the all clear and they were off. Tim’s plan was simple, ride the first lap as fast as possible, then hold that speed for one hour. If anyone wanted his title they were going to have to take it from him.
After 1 lap only a back to back tandem ridden by two very determined adults was within sight of Tim’s machine. Tim set about lapping the rest of the field troubled only by the heavy rain showers which hampered his visibility. For several laps he guessed where the corners were but to win not only do you have to be fit, but good fortune must follow you, he guessed right every time.
After one hour an exhausted Tim crossed the finish line. As I peeled him out of the fairing he left behind a sizable puddle of sweat, I have never seen anyone so wet from exercise (a little more ventilation in the fairing next time). He had given his all and he was very happy with his efforts, as was I and the rest of the ICE team.
More showers followed during the 100km race, ICE team members racing for glory against some stiff competition from ICE customers (Note to self: stop selling such fast trikes and our team will have an easier time winning).
Then the great drive home. As the only member of the team who had any energy left due to me being the team mechanic not a racer, The German Autobahn’s were all mine (I am sure that the company vans engine will recover in time).
Cannot wait until next year, All being well France!