Saturday, April 30, 2011

mtb heaven

With apologies to Pete, we've been having a great time on the mountain bikes recently. We'd better stay off any footpaths though.
The western section took to the knobbly tyres on Wednesday for an evening run. Setting off in sunshine and finishing well after sunset. Actually we sat waiting and watching the setting sun from the trig point on High Brown Knoll while Robin whizzed back and forth looking for the rest of our small group (we'd sneaked a shortcut while he had bombed ahead like an excitable spaniel). Then down Limer's Gate, Grain Water Bridge, Poo Barn, Walshaw, Gibson Mill, Sandy Gate and back to Old Town as night approached. That just left Midgley Moor in the deep gloom and Catherine House descent by less than candlelight. I'll have to get some decent lights ...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Sunday - mtb

The plan is a mountain bike ride this Sunday, because the trails are so dry and fast. So far it is me & Nigel meeting 9am in Wainstalls but headed probably across Sowerby to explore some less familiar routes. All welcome. ring me if you are interested and we can choose our route to meet up as suits you. Ian

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring has Sprung

I liked the GPS plot of the route here by "Mr Blood" which shows Cock Hill as the major challenge on this ride, and of course that hill is so good we did it twice. My ride was "steady" all day. Setting off right at the back I had to work my way up through the impressively large bunch. I found the Vicar and thought that a good pace to settle into, while Melv headed on up the road to catch the front group. That was the last I saw of Mr Hartley until we met again while he was descending Cock Hill going the "wrong" direction on his way home (so a third time for him) while I was still toiling toward the finish. Maybe Melv can complete the tale with a posting of the "real" ride, while I give you the social version.

Some wheels caught and passed myself and Richard coming out of Pecket Well going just 1/2 mile faster than we were and so, feeling a slight headwind, I hooked onto them. Sadly Richard didn't stay on so I left him and went with my new friends in a truly loyal Condor style. Taking this shelter to the top of Cock Hill, I then dropped away to Oxenhope with a couple of West Pennine lads and we thought we'd made good progress - that is until we caught "Bob" by Stanbury in his purple carpet slippers who'd obviously beaten us over Cock Hill (and in the end would beat me to the finish!).
Pete Horne was just up the road so I bridged across, and then Pete saw Everard just ahead so we flogged ourselves up to him too. Peeps was hanging in the wind at Laneshaw Bride to complete a quartet of Condors. Thus were bananas consumed and cards stamped at Earby. 
Stuart from Hebden Bridge (nee Bristol), being unfamiliar with these parts, made the fatal mistake of leaving his bike for five seconds while we clipped in and clipped up the road, so we had to wait and reunite at West Marton, which also gave Vicar a chance to make contact again. So on to Bank Newton for a short stop in the sunshine while Stuart fixed a puncture, while Everard and Peeps "pottered on". We caught them again just after Cracoe, and took the lanes of Thorpe at a leisurely pace. Thus to Burnsall for a very slow cafe stop, while other riders passed us by.
That just left the daunting Draughton climb, Cringles and into Keighley for the final control. Paul Hickey was outside taking sustenance but we were eager now for the finish and swiftly departed. On Ingrow I went too hard at the bottom and had to wait for my companions, and then I set the pace back down to Oxenhope. The early stages of Cock Hill were my glory too. But I'd done too much. The spirit willing while the legs weak. And no mercy was shown as, within sight of the top, these older and wiser heads rode past me. Smiling. The buggers.
Still, a fierce descent (with a tow from a tandem) meant that we four finished together back in Hebden Bridge for 2:45 or thereabouts. I understand that the front group had finished more like 1:15, but maybe they had been served quicker in their cafe stop ...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sunday 17th April

Don't forget - Spring into the Dales - tomorrow 9am from Salem Community Centre, Hebden Bridge - 111 hilly Km - entry £4
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where is everyone?

Ian was wondering where some of the regulars were last Sunday so I thought I would update the blog with the result of my investigations. Enquiries have revealed that Brian, Grimpy & Pete Smith had opted for the easy option, instead of going on the club run they rode the Lindale Road Race at Grange-over-Sands. All three were in the over 60's race (Pete making his debut in the 'E' category - belated birthday greetings). I understand that they were caught and passed by the young vets but Brian and a few more over 60's re-caught the youngsters with Brian taking =1st in his category. When I spoke to Grimpy he didn't know his actual finishing position but he finished in the same bunch and just behind Pete who I'm told was working hard and had made several attempts to bridge the gap to Brian. I understand that Sean Smith won the 'B' age group in the same event. I was riding an Audax down in the Peak District but the less said about that the better.

Mr Sunter had warmed up for the road race by riding the Hull Thursday 10 the previous day clocking 21min 31secs (yes, thats almost 30mph).

The previous weekend our road racing trio had ridden the Barton Wheelers Australian Pursuit, an event that Brian won in 2010 but he was unable to duplicate the win this year. He tells me that he had more or less blown by the finish after he and eventual winner Rob Stones had spent the event working very hard to avoid the younger riders catching them. Brian took 7th, Grimpy 8th, I haven't seen Pete so I can't report on how he felt on his first race for several decades, however I did hear a rather humorous anecdote about how he was looking round for the bike checker before the start.

There was a good turnout of 28 for the Ronde van Calderdale last Wednesday evening including 4 Condors, Steve Cavell, Ian Wellock, Robin & myself. Pedalsport's Jack Clarkson took the mountains jersey with a fine ascent of Trooper Lane but he was outwitted in the final sprint into Elland by Mick Collins.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Fun in the sun - Slaidburn via Bowland Knotts

And what a good day it was! Just three of us met at Denholme (Nigel, Ian, Neil) and were joined by a fourth (Robin) on the way. Where is everyone? Can it be that this warm sunshine is keeping you all indoors?

Keeping to the usual back roads we made our way north skirting Setttle and entering Eldroth then left from Keasden over Bowland Knotts. One of the Orbea riders engaged the lowest available gear and kept to a paced which (allegedly) engendered no pain or heavy breathing while the other Orbea soared away lightly. My new frame, while very pretty to look at, still has the same old transmission which chattered noisily and spoiled the ride somewhat. I assume that no-one else wanted to hear this clamer and hence I was left to climb alone. We regrouped at the top and even spent a second to look at the view, before plunging down toward The Riverbank Tearooms for butties in the baking heat of early April.

Robin had flown the nest (he went straight home missing out the cafe stop), which left the three of us making our way back by the flatest route known to Nigel and conserving energy at every opportunity. Coming over the old road to home feeling "rather tired" we found 98 miles or so on the clock and a still-decent average speed. I had neglected the sun cream and now have a cyclists sunburn to show for my day out, though it may have faded by the time we next ride in 20-odd degree heat.

(I've borrowed the image from - thanks!)
Meet Denholme 9am as usual, 9:30 at Keighley for one last desperate attempt to get fit before the Spring classic next weekend. That's S into the Dales of course

The route this week is up for grabs. Preferably somewhere we have heard of though and/or know how to get to. With a good cafe of course.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Ride Report - Blubberhouses

For those not lunching with mothers/wives/girlfriends (probably best not to let all three meet at once ...) there was the usual gathering in Denholme where Paul Hickey called in, being the sole representative of the Imps run, and where Neil & myself sheltered in the doorway of the deserted Whittakers just to let a shower pass over. Then quickly on our way we caught Paul again by Flappit and were joined by Robin on the descent into Keighley. The dry roads said that the showers were very localised, and Melv was sitting in sunshine chatting with a delegation form Paul Milnes cycles, including the man himself back on a bike for the first time in quite a while. A rattling good pace saw us over to Cringles and Mr Milnes was ejected backwards "thanks for waiting lads but don't bother waiting any more" were our instructions - so we didn't. Draughton and Bolton Bridge put us in mind of Blubberhouses - with a stonking tailwind. Oh no I thought, we're going to regret this later. However I quite like that climb, especially at my own pace, and then we bore left onto Greenhow, keeping our height and adding just a little more, to arrive at the Stump Cross Caverns. The teacakes were "greasy" and the service was slow, but Neil enthused about his sausages, giving 5/10 overall.
A sharp drop down lead us back to Appletreewick and on to Barden Tower, and up on the Embsay climb. Sadly our one main shower of the day caught us here with hail and wind, the leading trio of Neil, Melv and Robin had plenty of time at the top to cape up. I'd expected to see them instead in Skipton, if at all, but they waited for this slower rider with kindness above and beyond any normal Condor outing. That left a short battle though the traffic in town and,with the main road cracked off, we were back in Crosshills in no time, with possibly a bit of a tailwind still. It had veered from Southerly to Westerley just when we needed - how often does that happen?. The usual road led us back to gridlock in Keighley, and Ingrow passed in a blur. Oxenhope and the old road home for 60 miles in total and another grand day out.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Nine at usual, nine thirty Keighley roundabout ... Ian is still on his winter bike on account of the Pinarello being outed as an object of 'style over function' ... so its hard and fast on the lightest bikes you've got ............................................................................................................................................................................................PeteH writes - I'll have to give my apol's for tomorrow but want to advise you all about Wednesday evening - Mick Collins and his mates have organised a ride in celebration of The Tour of Flanders - its 6.45 for 7pm outside the Ritz in Brighouse. You will have guessed that the ride takes in several of the local cobbled climbs and finishes with chilli rice & chips at the Clough House at the top of Rastrick. Retro kit is the order of the day (but not compulsory). All Condors are invited - they had a similar event last year which I understand was very popular. ps. if you want to order supper let me know and I will contact organiser