We are into the first few days of the DCC Bubble Pairs Challenge and we’ve had some strong showings from our teams. However, it’s early days and we all know the fable of the “Tortoise and the Hare”.
It nice to see some clear tactics from our teams with some choosing to go for a long single stint whilst other electing for numerous short rides. Others carrying out brake tests! One team decided to lark around off-road performing stunts into thorn bushes! Thankfully the well respected commissaire has seen the funny side and awarded 5 bonus miles to this hapless duo.
To complete the most miles during the 2nd lockdown
The challenge will run from Saturday 7th November to midnight Wednesday 2nd December (“the challenge period”)
Teams will consist of 2 riders (i.e. “Bubble Pairs”). The Bubble Pair must ride together at all times. Solo rides will not count.
Qualifying miles are those ridden outside (i.e. on real roads) and must be logged on STRAVA by both riders. Turbo miles do not qualify*
The commissaire will scrutinise STRAVA and determine qualifying miles. The commissaire ruling is final but he does like gifts in the form of alcohol.
Qualifying miles are those completed by the “Bubble Pair” during the challenge period. There is no combining of mileage for the 2 riders. Only one of the rider’s miles will be used as qualifying miles. In most cases this will be the lowest mileage of the two riders.
Bubble Pairs can ride whenever they wish and how often they wish. There are no limitations to the number of rides.
The commissaire has the discretions to award bonus miles to a deserving Bubble Pair. Bonus miles maybe awarded for example if a ride has taken place in inclement weather, a tough course ridden with lots of climbing, funny picture taken, or simply a bribe to the commissaire.
Time Trial Bars are permitted but deep rim carbon wheels are not!
Electric motors or E-bikes are not permitted!
Goes without saying but please ride within your capability and stay safe. Enjoy!
*The commissaire has granted an exception for Abi who needs to self-isolate and will look to match G on the turbo
The Bubble Pairs – new teams can join anytime during the challenge period
With the majority of riders completing the daunting Queen stage it is safe to say who our jersey holders will be for the inarguable and hopefully only Self Isolation tour. Stuart certainly did not crack when taking on Côte de Danbury and is the worthy overall holder of the Maillot jaune, completing his dominance with another stage win. Great rides from Nigel, Jamie, Paul and Steve with Graeme continuing his rich vein of form and securing both the KoM Polka Dot and Green Points jersey. George secures the QoM jersey.
With many of us just looking to survive there were many courageous rides (some so confused they completed it twice!!) but my Stage 5 combative Purple jersey goes to Katy. Katy has had a tremendous tour and is always one of the first riders to complete any tour stage and is the tour’s true baroudeur!
I’ve not added the 2-minute time bonuses out of respect to those riders in the grupetto still looking to complete the parcour and may set some best times (no pressure Ash)!
A brilliant ride from Graeme resulted in the International triathlete taking the stage win and keeping the KoM jersey whilst also eroding away some of Stuart’s commanding lead. With the Queen stage up next there is still plenty to ride for including those prestigious podium places or even jumping above your nearest rival.
Last week’s riders definitely experienced the worst of the weather with either extremely hot or windy riding conditions reflected in their slower times. Media Matt battled through Sahara Desert like temperatures and is rightly awarded the Purple combative jersey. Abi still continues to wear the Green jersey on behalf of Graeme.
In addition to Graeme’s ride the other stand out rides for me came from Robert, Simon and Paul. Modesty prevents me mentioning my ride (whoops I just did!!). However, with two thirds of the tour completed a big congratulations goes out to all riders who have complete the stages. Well done everyone!
As stage 4 nears completion and the last of the riders battle the very warm conditions thoughts are turning to the penultimate stage. Inspired by Ash and designed for maximum punishment this is a course befitting any tour’s Queen stage. Centred around Danbury’s gentle hills with over 1500 feet of climbing covering a mere 31 miles this up & down course will test your mental fortitude. The 5th stage parcour will also determine who finally gets to keep the Self Isolation Yellow and Polka Dot jerseys as the final 6th stage in true tradition will be a ceremonial ride based on an average time for all those that have completed the stage.
So, who will crack on Danbury’s gruelling hills? Will Stuart, the clear favourite, have Matt’s predicted Devon Loch moment even thou he has a 10-minute lead? Will Graeme attempt to ride the hilly course with his trusty TT bars? Will red traffic lights mysteriously pop-up around Danbury robing Steve of valuable time? Will the course’s complex navigational demands result in Diesel Dave getting lost again? So many deep thought provoking questions that will finally get answered on this stage. Remember “it isn’t over till the fat lady sings!!!
However, for many of us domestiques the Queen stage will be about survival, joining the virtual broom wagon and knowing that once this penultimate stage is completed, we will be able to enjoy the ceremonial last tour stage. When I came upon the idea of the SI tour, I was hoping that for the final stage we could’ve all ridden together perhaps stopping for a glass of something to congratulate ourselves on completing this solo virtual tour but alas we still have our social distancing restrictions.
Half way through the Self Isolation tour and with a week to go before Stage 4 closes we have 10 riders completing some great rides but there are still 11 riders yet to go! The wind looks like it’s picking up as we head towards the weekend. Don’t leave it too late guys!!!
Stand out rides over the weekend came from Paul and newcomer Simon with Steve being the first rider to go under 3 minutes for the dreaded Purleigh climb towards the end of the parcour. Robert showed us that class is forever!
Riders are starting to experience some mental fatigue as those solo miles build up and I would like to say that it going to get easier but with the Queen stage up next, it’s only going to get harder.
Who would’ve thought that after 20 riders completing Stage 3’s 40-mile course including the dreaded climb up North Hill (a maiden for Brian’s new hip!) that it would come down to such a small margin of 24 seconds? Did Steve’s red light at a temporary traffic cruelly deprive Team Hinault off victory? Did navigational or mechanicals play their part? The answer of cause is that Team Indurain were just too good! Led by Stuart, who completed a stupendous ride yesterday and ably supported by super-domestique Andy’s fine ride, it is clear this really was a great virtual team effort deserving of the win. All members of Team Indurain receive the 5-minute time bonus.
Suffice to say that Stuart remains in Yellow and is building a commanding lead!!
Stage 3 Purple Combative jersey passes to Shazza who braved up and stared down the unknown course. Graeme who produced another fine ride yesterday remains in the KoM jersey but we now have a new holder of the QoM Polka Dot Jersey! Step up George. Abi who remains in second place continues to wear the Green (Points) jersey on behalf of Graeme. A reminder that it’s one point per PR on a Strava segment. No time is involved.
Thoughts now turn to Stage 4 which will revert back to an individual ride effort with no time bonuses. A straight forward shoot out on plan flat course that should suit the power-houses (or those carrying extra pounds). Therefore, we will only have one KoM/QoM Strava segment which will be the Purleigh Climb (3% 0.77 miles) which is on “The Street” approaching the All Saints church approximately 37 miles into the ride. But don’t worry the Queen stage is coming and this will resolve who finally gets to keep the Polka Dot jerseys!!
This stage is ready to ride and needs to be completed by Saturday 23rd May. Good luck everyone. Enjoy but keep safe!!!
Another weekend of high drama on the Self Isolation tour with mechanicals and rider navigation issues potentially being decisive in which team wins Stage 3 virtual team trial and carries their leader into the Yellow jersey.
Great rides from George, Katy and Abi showing how strong the DCC ladies are on this tour!! Super domestique Nigel was like a bullet train until he suffered a mechanical denting Team Merckx’s hopes and Pete produced a steady ride cementing Team Hinault’s chances of a stage win. However, there are still 7 riders to complete the course including SI tour favourites Stuart and Graeme. Not sure why they are holding back? Is Stuart more interested in following weather forecasts? Is Graeme polishing his TT bars? Stage 3 closes this Saturday so time is running out.
Joking besides its great that the club is enjoying these fun rides and taking advantage of our 1 exercise a day. Stay safe everyone.