Event Report: Euan Robertson

Event – Paris-Roubaix Challenge
Date – 6th April 2024

Riders – 4500 riders
Bike – Road/Gravel/MTB

This is a sportive event the day before the pro riders take on the “Hell of the North!” There are 3 route options – 70km / 145km / 170km. The 170km route requires a 4am bus to the start so I sensibly opted for the 145km route which starts and finishes in the same place.

I rode to the event from Calais – bike on the ferry was easy and the riding was very flat and scenic in northern France! The day of the event was great – first 50km were flat and was easy group riding on good roads until you then hit the first cobbles – the Arenberg Forest. This is the first of 19 cobbles sections varying in difficulty. When you get on it – it hurts!!! And it is hard to even keep hold of the handlebars. It gives you a true appreciation for how hard it is which really cannot be explained until you experience it yourself. On the Arenberg you can ride down the side and skip the cobbles if it is too much – but not on many of the other sections. This really is a baptism of fire because it is definitely the hardest sector. I used my gravel bike but many were on road bikes or on MTBs for the event.

As the day goes on and you hit more cobbles you start to ease your grip and find your technique, so in some ways it gets a bit easier as you go on but it is still hard going. The tarmac between the cobbles is essentially rest time for the next cobbles.

After 163km and just over 6 hours of riding I arrived in the famous Velodrome. It is a huge sense of achievement when you get there and a great atmosphere. Most of the Belgians heading straight to the beer and chips stands!

One of the best things about the event is then having the pleasure of watching the pro riders on the Sunday. The atmosphere is fantastic. I saw them from 2 locations and rode between them quickly – in Cysoing just as they hit the cobbles there and then at the end of the Carrefour de l’Abre which is the last 5* section. The Carrefour de l’Abre had a big screen up to watch but it was packed so arguably I got a better view in Cysoing where it was much quieter.

All in all a fantastic event and if you make a weekend out of it – you really will love it! Can’t recommend it enough.

Ps. If you wanted a longer trip you could also combine with some of the classic Flanders climbs too. Koppenberg, Pattenberg and Oude de Kwaremont are all close by.

Event Report: Lexie Williamson

Event – The Spring Onion 
Date – 14th April 2024

A group of Viceroys gathered on Sunday, April 14th to ride one of the staple events on the Pink’s calendar: the Spring Onion sportive.

This early season event is in its 15th year and didn’t disappoint. We rode 106.95 kms across Surrey and Sussex roads under blue skies and tackled over 1000m of climbing.

Most roads were lovely and quiet but a few smaller ones were better suited to the gravel bike! A couple of punctures, free orange halves (interesting half orange techniques observed) and a good few wees in fields. Happy days!

Entries to the 2025 event are already live, click here.

Event Report: Clint & Gary Parker-Ticehurst

Event – The New Forest Classic
Date – 14th April 2024

A unique ride through the beautiful New Forest National Park. The ride starts in Fawley and traverses some of the most stunning countryside in the UK.

Your choice of 4 distances; Rook 17km, Short 53km, middle 92km or long 127km. We decided on the middle distance.

We arrived early and found ample parking onsite. Registration was simple and once we had gathered all our kit we headed to the small event village before making our way to the start line. Each distance had its own starting wave and ours was 08:45 to 09:30. Just after 08:45 we started our ride and headed into the National Park.

The ride really does have it all. You descend to Lepe and ride a short distance along the coast with spectacular views over The Solent and the Isle of Wight. Following on from this you then head into the heart of the New Forest traversing villages and country roads.

It’s a great atmosphere as you are joined by riders of all abilities and ages. Some riders will stop to take in the ambience of their surroundings while others will push on to beat their PBs.

What really makes this ride special is the abundance of wildlife. From beautiful bird song to pigs, cows, ponies and donkeys. The animals roam free across the park and will often be in or close to the road so you will need to keep your eyes open. We all know what being stuck behind a cyclist is like but try being stuck behind a donkey. I must say though the animals have more road sense than me and as long as you pass wide and slow they are not a problem.

During our ride we had one feed station which was sponsored by High-Five. Providing drinks, cake, crisps, gels and bars. Toilets were also available.

This is a brilliant event for all ages and abilities. It’s a rolling course with 3 main climbs. Nothing too challenging. Alongside the climbs are some fairly fast downhill sections. Just keep your eye out for potholes. Some of the roads are narrow with blind bends so be aware of your positioning.

We returned to the finish line content after a lovely morning ride and were greeted by a beer and medal, which rounded the morning off nicely. Would definitely do this event again.

Race Report – Gary & Clint 14 April 2024
Race Report – Gary & Clint 14 April 2024
Race Report – Gary & Clint 14 April 2024
Race Report – Gary & Clint 14 April 2024
Race Report – Gary & Clint 14 April 2024

Meet Your 2024 Swim, Bike and Run Captains

Our captains are here to support and encourage you over the season, so don’t be shy to ask them any questions you may have via the VTC app or in person at a training session.


Name: Rachel Hall

With gills in her genes and fins on her feet, she’s been swimming since she could rock a rubber ducky.

Her happy place? Anywhere wetter than a sponge in a monsoon! 🏊‍♀️

It’s all about fun and being a tube of toothpaste!

Rachel Hall - Swim Captain
Rachel Hall – Swim Captain


Name: Nick Christian

When Nick’s not dressed as a Christmas tree on a Naughty Elf ride, he enjoys long rides with ET and calling home.

Nick has loved anything on two wheels since he threw his stabilisers away at the age of four.

That includes racing motorbikes back in the 90s before turning back to mountain biking.

Nick turned to road riding in 2014 and joined Viceroys Triathlon Club the same year.

Nick loves riding, quite enjoys swimming . . . . . . . hates running!

As far as he is concerned, it’s all about having fun with likeminded people. And if that helps you with your training plan, even better!

Nick’s mantra:
Nick: “Never show weakness”
Also Nick: “Wait, hang on, where now?”

Nick Christian - Bike Captain
Nick Christian – Bike Captain


Name: Chris Williams

Chris first joined Viceroys back in 2014 as having two young kids in the house who wanted to play all the time quickly exposed how woefully unfit he had become. 

Chris comes from a background in swimming as a youth, followed by some running to keep fit but that had tapered off in his late 20s so was essentially starting from scratch. 

Of course this coincided with the post 2012 cycling boom which he discovered he loved, so combining all three was the logical choice. 

“I’ve regularly competed in events covering all three disciplines and in full triathlons up to Olympic distance and usually found a number of Viceroys taking part for encouragement and logistical support. 

“This club and its members have supported me in my goals and now I’m here to help others with theirs.”

Chris Williams - Run Captain
Chris Williams – Run Captain

Coach’s Corner

Coach’s Corner

In this article, my first as Head Coach at Viceroys, I want to kick off the season with advice not to scare newbies off but equally not to be too light on those of you that are seasoned hard triathletes.  So where do we start?  There is so much information out there now about how to train, what equipment you should have and what races to do.

The thing I see most often when training people is how little preparation they have done before the session.  I am not talking about warming up or what you are wearing, although these are important considerations and we can maybe talk about these things in another post, but planning what the session will involve and what you are going to get out of it!

Some sessions especially club or group sessions you may go into them a bit blind i.e. you aren’t really sure what you are going to be doing other than riding for a certain period of time, or running at the track, or even swimming at the lake.  But having a bit of a plan of what you are aiming to achieve during the session and some quick checks to do before the session will make you get so much more from each session.

One of the most common fails, is checking your bike before each ride. 

How many of you do a M Check before each ride? Why is this important? 

For many they just grab their bike and may press on the tyres to see if the tyres feel a bit soft, before heading out.  Whilst this is part of the M check, if that is all you do then you are winging it every time you go out on a ride.  You could be setting yourself up for an incident.  Also, just because you think your bike is fine or you did a M check on your last ride (so you don’t need to do one again), you need to do it as things do loosen over time and use, especially if you are transporting your bike in a car.

Every single ride I have done with groups this year there has been an issue with a bike.  Normally, someone gets a puncture, but there have been many other issues that are totally preventable which a simple M Check, which takes 2 minutes or less, could have solved.

For those of you that don’t know what a M Check is, it literally is a check over the bike in the shape of the letter M which checks all the major parts of the bike to see if everything is working and in good order. 

M Check Guide

  • You start with the front wheel skewer (the axle that runs through the front wheel that connects your wheel to the front forks of your bike).  Check to see that it is tight.  Ideally the skewer should be locked tight in alignment with the forks.  However, I like to have the skewer facing backwards towards the pedals at 90 degrees so you can get your hand in it easy and quickly release should you get a puncture, and it is easy to then get the wheel off.  If you have disk brakes, then just lifting the front wheel and banging on the top of the tyre to ensure the axle is tight will suffice.
  • Next check the tyre firmness.  Notice I didn’t say pressure, as without a gauge no one will know what the tyre pressure is just by pressing.  What you are looking for is it to be firm.  Any softness you should then maybe get a track pump and apply some air to whatever tyre pressure you are comfortable to ride on and what the tyres can take.  (Clue the air pressure the tyres should be is written in embossed print on the side of the tyre).
  • Next check that the front brake is working by spinning the front wheel forwards and pulling the brake. 
  • Then put both hands on the hoods of the handlebars and press your bodyweight through the hoods.  What you are checking for here is to see whether the handlebars are tight.  You don’t want to find out that they are loose when you are going down a hill!

You have now completed the first part of the M shape – basically a straight line from the skewer to the handlebars.  This should have taken about 20 seconds!

  • Next you are going to move downwards diagonally following the downtube of the bike.  Are the water bottle cages loose?  Just give them a wiggle and check the screws to make sure that they are tight.  Do you have water or electrolyte in your water bottles?  I see many people who don’t go out with a bottle!
  • Then check the cranks (the bits that the pedals attach to).  Just see if you can move them laterally as you shouldn’t be able to.  Then check the pedals are finger tight.  You would not believe how many times peoples pedals come off on rides.  This should be unusual as when you pedal you are tightening the pedals as to loosen you must go backwards, but it does happen.
  • Then we are moving back up the seat tube to the saddle.  Push down on the nose of the saddle whilst pulling up on the rear of the saddle.  Then try moving the saddle side to side.  Any looseness will result in the saddle moving and if it does you need to obviously tighten it.  Once again this is quite a common occurrence for the saddle to move during a ride.  Check any saddle bags are zipped up or lights are tight and are working.
  • Now we are moving down the last part of the M Shape.  Check the rear tyre firmness.  Lift the rear wheel and spin it forwards and check the back brake works and finally check the rear skewer.

This is the M check; however, a few more quick checks will also help you have a hopefully nonissue ride!

Check the bolts on the outside of the large chain ring.  Some people won’t have any depending upon the type of chain rings, but if you can see five bolts on the chain ring just put the end of your finger onto them and see if you can twist them.  You will be able to tell if they are loose and if they are, use an allen key to tighten. 

Check the tyres for any glass, flint, or cracks by gently running your gloved palm (make sure you have gloves on), over the top of the wheel whilst spinning it forwards and closely inspect the tyre as you do so for any debris or cracks.  If you have anything, see if you can fish out the offending material and you could put a bit of superglue in any cracks. 

Finally, check the chain and make sure it is not too loose or worn.  Apply some oil if it is dry, squeaking or you haven’t used your bike for a while. 

All of this should have taken you about 1 – 2 minutes but will ensure you are less likely to have an issue and make your ride smoother and more fun.

In the next coaching tip, I will explore what you should be asking yourself about each training session to get the most out of it.  If you have any questions or ideas of what you would like to be included in the future, please let me know.

Happy training!