Back in the autumn we introduced you to Tom Hutchinson, Planning Assistant in our Newcastle office and road cycling athlete. Well Tom is back with some rather exciting news!
Best British All-Rounder (BBAR) Champion
I’ve had a short break from training, allowing my mind and body to recover from what has been a ridiculously intense and fulfilling season. During this period, I have been able to confirm and reflect on my achievement of winning the BBAR competition.
For those who don’t know, BBAR is an annual British cycle-racing competition. It ranks riders by the average of their average speeds in individual time trials, over 50 and 100 miles and 12 hours for men, and over 25, 50 and 100 miles for women. The competition is run from April to September and riders travel to qualifying races, specifically to find the fastest courses and conditions to post their personal best times over the set distances. BBAR has been running since 1930 and was first introduced as a reliable way of seeing who the best all-rounder in the country was.
The BBAR is something I’ve had my eye on completing for a number of years, particularly after a good friend of mine took the title last year and having followed his journey this inspired me to give it a go. I’ve always favoured the longer distances and combined with UK lockdowns I was able to focus on training hard, especially over the winter months. I found the whole process more difficult than I ever imagined. All the planning and travel up and down the country to find the fastest courses, alongside training and working a full-time job was more draining than I ever expected. But I kept faith in the process and the advice I was receiving from my coaches and team.
Racing started for me in April and come mid-May I was racing every weekend away from my hometown of Newcastle. I had precisely planned my race calendar earlier in the year and knew what I needed to do to race a selection of National Championships events and also open qualifying events that count towards the BBAR competition. My campaign started with a 50mile event in Breckland, however, this was supposed to be a backup event but stupidly the event I thought would be fastest of the year turned out to be a different much slower course than what I was expecting. I put all my eggs in this basket so consequently I missed another fast course in Derby, entry had already closed when I realised. Despite this I still posted a reasonable time of 1:37.29 (30.8mph average) which was a new course record.
Due to missing arguably the fastest 50mile event of the year, I thought the BBAR overall win was unattainable when rival Tim McEvoy of FTP Racing beat me by over a minute. Tim proceeded to win the National 12-hour championships, again beating me by 1.639miles. Everything therefore hung on the last ‘fast’ event, the BCDA 100mile. I had roughly worked out that I needed to beat Tim by over 2 minutes in order to overtake him on the BBAR standings taking into account his much faster 50 time. I knew it would be close as there was less than 2 minutes between us on the National 100-mile Championships earlier in the year. Tim started 3minutes ahead of me, I knew exactly what I needed to do.
Tim had a cracking ride clocking 3:20:06 (just shy of a 30mph average), however, on this occasion I was successful in putting over 2 minutes into Tim. For this event I managed to record the 2nd fastest time ever recorded in British competition history, with a 3:14:50 (30.8 mph average), a fitting end to the season! This meant I took the top spot in the BBAR leader board alongside a plethora of other strong athletes. I still can’t quite believe it!
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank my coaches who I look up to, Matthew Bottrill and Simon Beldon and my team, Team Bottrill, for helping execute the BBAR project. These guys can absolutely get the best out of me, and I look forward to resuming training again with them ahead of preparation for next season. Also, many thanks to everyone who has continued to play a part in my journey, from my employer (YoungsRPS) who continue to wholly support me both professionally and outside of work to those who cheer me on the side of a road in a random part of the country! This can all be a bit overwhelming at times and I am forever indebted to the people who enable me to be the best I can possibly be.
You can follow Tom's endeavours over on Instagram at @tom.whut