Hard-boiled Smith refuses to crack under pressure

Reigning champion wins Easter Egg Cup for second year in succession

Southend Wheelers’ time trial season rolled into action with two events held within a handful of days of each other.

Opening the Wednesday League calendar on 12th April, the ‘2-Up’ event saw teams of two riders take on the E10 course in the village of Steeple. Fifteen pairs took on the ten-mile route that takes the competitors out towards Bradwell-on-Sea, before turning round and heading back to Steeple.

Peter Stiff and Daniel McKenny set the fastest time with 23 minutes and 40 seconds in the chilly evening conditions, beating James Lonergan and Peter Berry by 33 seconds. David Pennington and Charmaine Sterling were the fastest all-Wheelers pairing, pipping Dan Jenkins and Adam Jones by just four seconds. The latter duo took some comfort from their victory in the ‘Veteran’ category. Carol Cartwright and Nicola Wright were the fastest all-female team with 33:36.

The first event of the club’s Sunday League (15th April) attracted 65 entries, with Southend Wheelers riders vying to win the annual Easter Egg Cup trophy and, of course, a large chocolate egg.

Chris Smith galloped round the Dengie roads in 22:24, setting a Personal Best time in the process, and beating his Southend Wheelers club-mate, David Pennington by a margin of 26 seconds. Team Vision’s Matt Saunders and Martin Cairns of Birchfield Cycling Club tied for 3rd place, after they both clocked 22:57 apiece.
The irrepressible Peter Stiff again set the standard in the Veteran class, with a fine 24:28, while Sinead Clark of Billericay’s Essex Roads club put many of the men to shame with a fantastic performance. Her time of 26:45 placed her 16th overall and a full minute clear of her closest rival in the women’s class, Southend Wheelers’ Katie-Ann Elliston.

Clearly delighted with his success, Smith explained that the cool, blustery conditions had given him cause for concern: “I’ve not a headwind on the outward leg before and wasn’t sure how that might affect things. I always had in my mind that if I pushed hard on the way out I could let the wind carry me back.”

He added: “I felt strong on the way out and could see from my Garmin (on-board computer) that by half-distance, I was where I wanted to be in terms of time. I realised that if I gave as much as I could on the run for home, I would achieve a PB (Personal Best). Last season it was 23:07, so with three miles to go I had to push through the pain. I could see a few riders ahead and that always gives you extra motivation to dig a little deeper. With one mile to go, I emptied myself of anything that might be left in the tank and as I crossed the line, I screamed. When I eventually saw the times, I was over the moon. I won it last year in only my second ever time trial with the club, so to retain it with my name engraved on it again means a lot.”

With his confidence further boosted, the 24-year old from Rochford said: “I would like to think that by the end of the season I can shave some more seconds off, so it’s just a question of whether I can now go under 22 minutes…”
For information and advice about time trialling visit our TT page here

Chris Smith III 24 minutes away from glory

Chris collects his trophy and special Easter prize


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