CS Grupetto

We are a little bit different to most clubs in that we\'re primarily a group of friends who socialise off the bike, but we happen to share a common interest in cycling and cyclesport. We are based in Putney and have regular weekend rides out to Windsor and the Surrey Hills, as well as occasional trips elsewhere.

We have a wide variety of cycling interests amongst club members, from track riding to road racing, and sportives to bike polo. Several of our members have their race licences, and we\'re represented in every category including Elite

We regularly travel further afield to enjoy some of the classic races – this year quite a few of us have ridden the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix sportives, and then watched the pros follow our tyre tracks. We also try and get to see the Ghent and Berlin six day track events.

At the core of the club ethos is a desire to enjoy good rides with good friends.


Urban hill climb 2011 – report

Words by damo
Pictures by Monkey

I was still on paternity leave when I saw that the Urban hill climb competition was opening on the 7th July.

Thursday 7th saw a normal morning of nappies, vomit and a change of clothes. It got to 11:30 and I remembered there was something I needed to do, 11:55 saw me camped on the “other club” website pressing f5. Noon. Boom! out the gate, autocomplete was turned on in chrome, all details in, bang, boom! ouch, I mistyped CS grupetto as just Grupetto. Relax. Breathe. You can alter it later or they’ll sort it out themselves. It looked like I was in.

“Er, Alex, I think I’ve entered this competition”

I had about 2 weeks to prepare, I’ve not even seen my bike in a month. I organised a look at it with Rob, Dom and Tika. With no geared bike I was going to do it fixed.. 4 reps on a Sunday morning, saw all of us wondering what we’d said yes to.  48 x 19 wouldn’t be competitive. The cafe stop was competitive.

The Sunday before the event. I’ve dropped 4 teeth of the front and have met Steve P for a final last look. I get there early and do an effort on my own, starting and finishing where we think the course is. 2:30. Ok. I’m under 3 minutes I won’t embarrass myself. That much. A couple more nasty reps and back to the cafe.

The event
Thursday started dry. 5pm and it threw it down. I left work and pottered slowly up to the start point. After a brief interaction with the start crew I tried to find the registration point. Even though I had a map and some clear instructions to guide me, I turned one street to early. And was riding around Highgate shouting internally at myself “YOU IDIOT! TYPICAL!”. After consulting a builder, “the human tom tom” his mate called him. I got straight again. I was shitting it. I know it’s fun and not a real competition, but the desire to not make a massive fool of myself is still quite strong. I saw Tom (first rider off) who I know and Doug (2nd rider off) who I don’t. We have a chat and roll over to the start point.

It’s 6 and there’s still 30 minutes to go. Tom and Doug go for a practice run, I decide to climb West Hill. I don’t want to see Swain’s. I know what I have to do. Go fast, not too fast, save some for after the boneyard, dig in and keep going. Simples.

I know almost everyone on the start gate and get a bit of banter for being the first Grupetto rider. We’re all lined up. 1 minute intervals. Tom, Doug and I joke that we’ll all be in the top 3 for a couple of minutes.

“30 seconds”

Tom goes.

“30 seconds”

Doug’s off, bit of wheelspin over the timing mat.

“Watch out for that Damo. Lots of deep breaths, keep taking lots of deep breaths” That’s the starter.

I roll up, clip in, but the combination of not being used to that and the holder’s not being super confident makes me wobble and lose more confidence in my abilities to not embarrass myself. I leave one foot in and start with one unclipped and not being held.

Relax. Just relax. Take it easy. Relax Damo” That’s the starter again.

“30 seconds”
shit shit shit

Push. clip. and clip and clip. COME ON BLOODY CLIP.
Right stay calm.
Keep calm don’t go too fast.

I’m on the hoods, nice and light, up, up, up, there’s a family, they look happy, stay focused, who’s that?  ooh that’s Wayne, keep it going, a bit faster now, oh there’s the cemetery, that feels ok, I can definitely notice I’m working

COME ON DAMO!” That’ll be Ludwig then.

I can hear the commentator saying my name, that’s weird, this is a bit spooky, it feels like I’m watching myself, everything feels ok, calm quiet, collected. OH o. It’s just kicked up. DIG IN.

OW. come on, come on, this is going to happen, you’re not going to collapse before the gate, this much is certain

“COME ON BOBBY!” That’s Dov. He’s confused. He thinks I’m Rob. This is really weird now, but hearing someone cheering me (well not me but for me) picks me up and stops me watching myself.

ARGH ARGH ARGH ARGH keep going keep angry keep pushing.

Er. that’s it. I’m through the timing gate. Tom and Doug are there. Doug’s in bits. I get off my bike quickly, throw it down, lie down on the floor and ask what my time is. I have to go back down to get that. I get told off for swearing. I don’t feel as broken as I think I

“Tom. How was it?”
“I think I could have gone faster”
“Me too”


We roll back to the start line, I think I can taste blood. I’ve got that high impact aerobic cough.
Where’s my time? Here’s the timing chip, where’s my time? Where’s my time?


Two weeks and I’ve knocked almost a 50 seconds off my first time.

I think I can go faster!


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