We ride with Go­dric CC

Owen Rogers meets a lively Suf­folk set-up that’s as busy as ever

Cycling Weekly - - Contents -

toke Holy Cross vil­lage hall is buzzing with chat­ter oc­ca­sion­ally punc­tu­ated by the chink of teacups or plates loaded with food. Amongst the laugh­ter there are also a few curses and coughs as Go­dric Cy­cling Club mem­bers re­cover from the ef­forts of their an­nual hill-climb. The spe­cial at­mos­phere brings a smile to al­most ev­ery face.

De­cent chal­lenge

East Anglia may be largely flat, but Long Lane is tough enough to pro­vide a de­cent chal­lenge and fuel plenty of post-race ban­ter. Add the ride out from the club’s home town of Bun­gay and the cake is well earned, es­pe­cially as there is still the ride back to be dealt with be­fore the Suf­folk club’s mem­bers go their sep­a­rate ways.

They won’t be apart for long though — Go­dric is one of the busiest clubs around, with rides on most days of the week through­out the sea­son.

“We do have a pretty full cal­en­dar,” says club sec­re­tary Al­lan Bell. “We run train­ing rides on Wed­nes­days where we do a mix­ture of chain­gang and sprints aimed at the mid­dle peo­ple who want to get quicker. Thurs­day nights is the fast chain­gang, and the other train­ing ride we do is on Satur­day morn­ing. They're named after train times be­cause the first route they did was to Eus­ton near Thet­ford. So we have the 7.55 and the 7.57, which is very pop­u­lar with the lady mem­bers,” Bell con­cludes.

There are also Fri­day rides for some of the club’s older mem­bers, the 50-80 mile Sun­day club runs, and of course the Tues­day evening time tri­als.

Time trial her­itage

When they formed dur­ing one of British cy­cling’s hey­days, time tri­alling was a sta­ple for Go­dric’s com­pet­i­tive young­sters. They started with 10, 25 and 50-mile races and still run open events at each of those dis­tances.

Barry Minns was present at the first, then won the se­cond and third be­fore ris­ing to become one of East Anglia’s best. “When I first joined the club we were all 15 years old,” he says after rid­ing to the hill-climb. “When we started get­ting into open events we re­alised how bad we were, but we grad­u­ally built up. We were rac­ing three times a week, a grass track on Satur­day, a road race on Sun­day and a time trial in the week.”

Though the time tri­als re­main im­por­tant to the club, and some mem­bers race the crit se­ries at the nearby Lo­tus test track, a re­cent surge in mem­ber­ship has not brought more com­pe­ti­tion.

“The Go­drics have a his­tory of time tri­alling and we mustn’t ever lose that,” Bell says. “We have a good rep­u­ta­tion from our rac­ing pedi­gree, but I think it helps to try to pro­mote a more mod­ern im­age, make it a lit­tle more in­clu­sive, and spread the range of ac­tiv­i­ties.”

With a woman as a found­ing mem­ber, in­clu­siv­ity is part of the Go­dric tra­di­tion. “There were about 10 women when I joined,” ex­plains Nikki Hol­land-glad­wish, one of

nearly 30 fe­male mem­bers. “We do things to­gether and we are quite com­pet­i­tive, but in a sup­port­ive way. And when we meet peo­ple we ask them to come along with the Go­drics, so it is self-ful­fill­ing.”

From its head­quar­ters in ru­ral Suf­folk, Go­dric has become a thor­oughly mod­ern out­fit while man­ag­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ously to re­tain tra­di­tion and older mem­bers. Mar­shalling events, cater­ing for races, even of­fer­ing to or­gan­ise a road race, the older rid­ers hap­pily lead the club.

Plac­ing his cup back on its saucer, 79-year-old Minns con­cludes, “It’s a big part of me; it’s one of the best things I have done in my life.”

Kings of Anglia talk hill-climbs

Heav­enly cater­ing at Stoke Holy Cross vil­lage hall

Post-ride re­fresh­ments are well-earned

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