Beds Police Officer Cycles With Olympic Champion

Tuesday, 06 September, 2011

Detective Chief Superintendent Clare Simon fought with the best this weekend (September 4) to come 18th out of more than 30 cyclists in the Women's British Time Trial Championship in Cambridgeshire.

Clare, aged 46, currently Head of Crime for the force, cycled the 20.9 miles through terrible wind and rain to produce a time of 55' 53".

A long career in policing has brought Clare up against some formidable opponents, but probably none as famous as Olympic hopefuls Wendy Houvenaghel (the winner with a time of 45'38"), Rebecca Romero (4th with 48'40")and current National Champion Julia Shaw (2nd with 46'32").

Speaking after the race Clare said: "It was a fantastic experience! In fact the rotten weather actually suited me as it puts some people off but I was able to keep going and came in with a time I am really proud of. It was fantastic to be able to compete against world class athletes who will go on to represent Britain at next year's Olympics."

Time trials feature at the start and end of the world's most famous bike race, the Tour de France, cycling time trials feature competitors setting off a few minutes apart from each other trying to make the best time over the short (ish!) course.

The course took Clare along the roads of villages from Great Gidding and Luddington. The men's trial took place on the same day and had a starting line up including Team Sky members Alex Dowsett and Steve Cummings.

Clare has spent 28 years chasing criminals rather than the clock and took up road cycling only a few years ago. So was delighted to just to be on the same start sheet as the professionals and says age is no barrier when it comes to cycling.

"There was a big age range of people competing in the time trials, most of whom were younger than me. But unlike a race directly against other cyclists, it's often an advantage to be older because stamina is the key in time trialling, rather than explosive power," said Clare.

"I was really exciting but hard work - all I've done for a while is work, train, eat and sleep!"

Clare is currently leading the season's Northamptonshire and District Time Trial Ladies Series which finishes in mid-September. She helps to run iCycle, a 130-strong cycling club based in Bedford which welcomes all ages and standards of cyclists - from the strictly social to the superfit. A third of iCycle members are women.

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The club particularly welcomes women cyclists

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