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PO(CIS) 'Les' Dawson representing Dalriada at this years Combined Service Sportive

PO(C) Les Dawson at the Combined Service Event
 
PO(C) Les Dawson at the Combined Service Event  

PO(CIS) Les Dawson embarked on his final goal of the season. The inaugural Newbury Sportive Cycling Festival proved to be a big success for the Sportive riders and Combined Services who came to Newbury showground to take part.

550 riders of all levels of cycling abilities entered to take on the challenges of the Victor Ludorum 115mile and 75mile courses in dry and sunny conditions. The traffic-free Newbury showground with tarmac roadways made it very easy for riders to register and get to the start – much appreciated by all the cyclists. Britain by Bicycle was delighted to be hosting the first Combined Services sportive challenge. More than 100 Active Services personnel representing Royal Navy, Army and RAF took part to determine the Inter Services Victor Ludorum Challenge. Many of these cyclists will shortly be going on tour to Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
Sportives are becoming increasingly popular within the UK cycling community with regular events taking place throughout the year all over the country. They are not races, rather they are designed to be challenging rides over a predetermined course allowing riders to test their own levels of strength, stamina and technical ability. Most rides offer 2 distances giving riders of all abilities the chance to have a go and experience what must be one of the most rewarding aspects of the sport i.e. completing an event with several hundred other riders. All riders are given transponder-timing chips that way they are able to receive a detailed timing for their effort.
 
So the scene was set the 3 services began recruiting. From the RNRMCA perspective the numbers interested grew steadily with many new faces expressing an interest some even joining the association specifically to ride the event. The final numbers were amazing 98 Service Riders registered of which over half were from the RNRMCA. The day started early with many riders arriving as the sun was rising to what was a fresh start. However, the wind had dropped from earlier in the week and there was only a slight chance of rain. The RN Massive were first to start and at 0800 rolled out of the showground. Every riders had their own personal aim for the day and the results really do speak for themselves. Some riders really proved that they are capable of top level riding skills completing the course with considerable time in hand over the prescribed standard for their age groups.
 
Having been in the lead group for the first hour, I began to feel the pace, and after 30 miles I knew I had gone out to hard. I decided to cut my losses and leave the fast boys to do battle on their own. Dropping back to a smaller bunch, we painfully finished the 115 miles. 17th overall I was mildly satisfied with the days efforts, I left the Showground the words constantly echoing in my head, 'must train harder'.
 
If you are interested at representing the Navy/Reserves at cycling or just interested in getting fit, contact the website for further details: www.navycycling.org.uk