Be a part of Beacon history!

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George
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Joined: 18 Nov 2006 10:21
Real Name: George Barker
Location: Worcestershire

Be a part of Beacon history!

Post by George » 30 Mar 2023 16:09

The 75th anniversary edition of the Beacon's Little Mountain Time Trial takes place on Sunday 23 April. And we're hoping for a good turnout from the club.

No doubt lots of you will have read those two sentences and will already be thinking, "that's not for me". But, before you count yourself out, please do read the Q&As below. If you really can't ride, please volunteer to help or come along to watch and encourage. No club runs take place on LMTT day, so there'll be nothing else to do!

We've also put a fantastic historical video on our Vimeo site. More about that at the end.


What's the LMTT?
The Beacon was founded in November 1946. It was a time of huge social change in the UK, as the dust settled on WW2. Cycling was changing too, with the arrival of radical ideas from the Continent, like derailleur gears, coloured jerseys and road racing. Beacon was at the forefront of that revolution. Just about 18 months after coming into being, we ran the first edition of the Mountain Time Trial. Almost all UK TTs had previously been standard-distance, out-and-home races on fast, flattish roads. The MTT was a circuit, over a non-standard distance, which went up hill and down dale, testing riders in ways reminiscent of the famous European races. It was a huge success, attracting all the top riders of the day, including Olympic hero Bob Maitland, who won the first two editions. Since then, many great riders have followed in Bob's wheel tracks, including the legendary Ray Booty and Beryl Burton, World Champion Graham Webb, serial winner Stuart Dangerfield and everyone's favourite dame, Sarah Storey.

What's 'Little' about it?
The MTT used to be contested over a course of roughly 62 miles. As road conditions and rider preferences changed, we later switched the event to a course of roughly 39 miles: the 'little' version of the race. That's why it's the L-MTT.

Mountains? WTF?!
Well… maybe 'mountains' is over-egging it a bit. But there are several steep hills. Plus sweeping descents, flattish sections and rolling undulations. A bit of everything, really. Scary? Only if you go daft. If you can manage a club run to Wyre Forest or a sportive like the Mad March Hare, you can do the LMTT.

Why would a non-racer like me do the LMTT?
Because it's there. Because it's a fun challenge, like doing an audax, or sportive over a famous classics course. And because it's woven into the soul of the club, and once you've done it, you'll feel that you too are a part of club history.

Do I need a racing licence or anything?
Nope. The event is organised under CTT rules. So you just need to be a member of an affiliated club (e.g. Beacon) and pay the entry fee. CTT have rules about using helmets and lights, which you should take a look at, but they aren't anything out of the ordinary. Check out https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/

What if I don't have a TT bike?
You don't need one. Lots of people ride 'ordinary' road bikes. In fact, there are special prizes for road bikes. Besides, the advantage that you get riding a TT bike is less on a course like the LMTT.

Is everyone else going to be really fast and make me look stupid?
One or two of them probably will. But, ten years from now, you'll be telling tall tales about the day you raced against the best, and basking in their reflected glory. Besides, it's really just a minority who are screaming fast. The field usually includes lots of older riders and people who are just having a go. Anyone who can do a respectable ride in an audax or can keep up with the A or B group on a Beacon club run will find lots of others of a similar standard. Even if you're just a pootler, the worst-case scenario doesn't involve coming last, because your club president intends to ride on a bike nearly as old as the event itself, which will probably have to be pushed up the hills. (Always assuming he can get the blessed thing built in time.)

What about the traffic?
Sadly, riding in traffic always involves an element of risk. But the LMTT isn't one of those TTs that takes place on a terrifying dual carriageway that you share with half-asleep truckers and people who feel it's imperative to do 90 on their way to Sunday lunch. The course is all rural, single-carriageway roads, mostly Bs, with sections of A and unclassified. You will meet traffic, but relatively light traffic by modern standards.

How do I enter?
Go to http://beaconrcc.org.uk/racing/little-m ... ime-trial/ Entries close on Easter Sunday.

What's all this about a video?
Aha! Yes, we've got something that most of you have probably never seen. Pull up an armchair, pour yourself a drink and settle down this evening with your other half (or the dog/cat/hamster/whatever) for 42 minutes of very special entertainment. Back in 1961, a cinefilm was made of the event. Then, in 1996, to celebrate the club's 50th anniversary, a 'modern' video of the LMTT was made. Charles White later packaged the recordings into one digitised whole, and arranged for Eurosport commentator and Beacon legend Dave Duffield to provide commentary, ably assisted by Tony Webb. The film is a wonderful historical record, a real insight into what our countryside, society and cycling culture looked like sixty-plus years ago. It's worth a look, if only to see John Hitchcock with hair. Please do watch it, and get inspired! You'll find it here: https://vimeo.com/813142410
(If you're not a Vimeo member, you'll be prompted to join, but you can simply click that away.)

So, there you are. Thanks for bearing with me. And, come on, GIVE IT A GO!

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