Roubaix 28 hours and 24 hour relay
the 59th ediiton of the classic Roubaix 28 hours : 15th-16th September 2012.
This year there was a record number of entries - for individuals and teams. As usual there are a sprinkling of Centurions taking part, either in the individual 28 hours or the 24 hour relay.
28 hours individual race
2012 also saw a rather large team from the Isle of Man descend on Roubaix. In order to get there, they managed to move the End to End fixture so it wouldn't clash - one of the reasons why they haven't been to Roubaix before.
Knowing that many of them had not competed in France before and in a race of this distance, there were a few of us who wondered whether they would last 28 hours. Had they gone out too fast? Most of IoM walkers had competed (and won) the Parish walk - but that is only 85 miles. Well, 85 miles came and went... would they still hang on? Increduously, they were up there in the fiirst dozen or so on the leader board. Could they beat Ossipov and Letissier? Well yes they could and a couple of them did. Lunchtime on Sunday saw Jean Cecillion come over to the GB camp and declare that invitations to the prestigious Paris Colmar race would be forthcoming. What an achievement - and with five hours still to go! It seemed that the French were a tad bemused... nothing like this had happened to them before....
Centurions in the 28 hours:
GB: Bob Watts, Ken Watts. IoM: Chris Cale C1050, Andrew Titley C1038, Jock Waddington C1034.
24 hour relay race
wites Cath Duhig in Enfield Walker:
Two “GB” teams once again featured in the 24 hour relay event which has become established as part of the 28 Heures walking event over the past few years. Once again the teams were named “The Lightning Ladies”(Les Femmes Éclair) and “The Thunderbolts” (Les Femmes du Foudre), though this year their composition brought wry smile or two as at least one of the “Femmes” was, in fact, un homme. Chris Flint joined Serena Queeney and Sue Rey in The Thunderbolts, while The Lightning Ladies were, as in the previous two years, Kathy Crilley, Norma Grimsey and Cath Duhig.
The main target for both teams was to exceed last year’s total of kilometres covered in the 24 hours, though as the course had been re-measured, it was more of a case of covering more laps. The Lightnings covered 20 laps apiece, taking it turn on turn over the 3.05kms for the whole period (except the last hour, when the course is shortened to 1km and only one team member can complete the event) to accrue a total in excess of 185kms. The Thunderbolts achieved about 10kms less. Compared with last year, when the heavens opened for most of the event and the abiding memory was of huddling in a leaking tent, this time there were bright skies and plentiful sunshine, making it an altogether more pleasant experience.
Next year will be the 60th anniversary of the Roubaix 28 heures. It would be great if we could “flash mob" the event with GB walkers, either individuals or relay teams – the latter being great fun and highly recommended for a great weekend a la francaise. (Travel with Cath and a visit to the wine warehouse is guaranteed!)