Thursday, September 29, 2011

Simon's Paris-Brest-Paris Report

Simon & Mick looking a little aprehensive before the start

Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

Michael Collins and I went to the starting line (last minute as usual) for 16.00 on Sunday 21st August 2011 at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris to be met by 500 other riders in the vedettes group (80 hour time limit). Baking hot in 38-degree sunny weather we waited to be called forward to the first on many timing mats and the first stamp in our Brevet cards. We got away in the second wave just 20 minutes after the first group and didn’t the excitement of the event trigger an immense pace doing 40kph on the flats to keep in a group – you would have been excused to misjudge the event for a 100 mile sportive not 1230km Audax. I then settled into a well paced group and managed to ride to the first control without hitting any of the traffic furniture described as serious hazards by the organizers averaging just over 27km per hour.
As darkness fell, I found myself riding in a small group with chaps from the other Condor (Rapha) and despite the immaculately expensive kit was riding at a sensibly conservative rhythm. As the kilometers passed we picked up more and more riders and rode through the first night comfortably. The next 300km were pretty uneventful just trying to click off the controls through Fourgres, Tintiniac before crossing over a bridge for me to recognize the town of Loudeac (Mark Cavendish won here a month earlier on apparently a flattish finish in the Tour). I managed to skip ahead of Mr. Collins as he was treating himself to a restaurant dinner whilst I had a splash and dash of cake and a can of coke.
I arrived at Carhaix (@ 525km’s) hoping for the Baxter’s support coach to be waiting and only to be told by Bob Johnson that they were still travelling from Paris – being unable to change my clothes would proof to be painful later in the ride. Whilst looking for the coach Mick had got back with me and we would ride to Brest together. Knowing I was going to have a sleep in Brest at a booked hotel, I decided to press on at the front of our group and shedded two guys (1 from Oxford and 1 from Cambridge). As we dropped over “the Rock” into Brest, a certain Mr. Collins likened the pace of the decent and lines undertaken to those not seen since his pro days in France a few years ago. Tremendous fun and would love to do that again sometime!
In Brest (618 km’s) I left Mick to continue on without sleep and relaxed in my hotel for a well deserved 6-hour sleep. Rejuvenated and ready to go, I left the hotel at 2.30 in the morning feeling great and I was halfway already. The next 300km’s was quite a strange experience as I was riding through the later waves of riders who’d caught me whilst I’d been sleeping. I was riding through these riders at about 5km per hour faster and rode on my own through the next day (Tuesday). As I left Fourgres, I caught up with the minis PBP held for youngest under 16 who were riding a decent distance of 200km. 2 Spaniards decided to take-over this group and I hooked up to their back wheels. We did the next 60km’s bit and bit flat out until we overtook a Dutch chap who decided he could go even faster with our small group and we all sat on his wheel. I had to ask myself if we were riding 800 miles or just 80? It was all fun though whilst my legs were feeling good. I arrived into VILLAINES-LA-JUHEL to a rapturous applause from the cheering crowds and we were all treated like cycling stars – what a sensational party atmosphere!
As we hit the night I was starting to tire and was relieved to get to MORTAGNE-AU-PERCHE and fell asleep at a table for 10 mins or so after eating my supper. I left into the darkness thinking just 140km’s to go but sitting down was starting to take its toll. Riding out of the saddle was to become more and more frequent despite me catching a group from Switzerland. I was alittle shocked when we’d ridden through a small town for one rider at the front to put his arm in the air followed by everyone except me peel off for a call of nature! I hadn’t realized we were still at school.
On leaving the last control point in Dreux at 4.30 in the morning, I was feeling great just a couple of hours to complete the ride, at which I point I hit a cateye and punctured - the Swiss group left me in the middle of nowhere. With limited light I walked to a nearby village and wasted the best part of an hour in doing so – perhaps my mind wasn’t just in the right place at this time and being alone was best! After riding about 10km’s gently, I was caught by 2 Irish guys and a chap from Loughborough who I would ride with to the finish. I arrived back in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris to just a handful of spectators and the ride was done!
In a nutshell; 3 years of endurance audax preparation, 6 hours and 10 minutes sleep in 3 days, 63 hours total ride time and a sore backside, hands and feet. Would I do it again – probably yes but maybe single speed next time. The one thing us Brit’s can take from this experience was the enthusiasm and respect given to all riders by the French spectators. I don’t think I went through a village without clapping and cheering and it didn’t seem to make any difference what time of day it was

Danial looks relaxed as he is well into the kilometres, PBP 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend Report

First of all congratulations to Adrian and Richard for another successful completion of the Three Peaks, the hardest cyclo-cross in the world.
As can be seen from the above photo, the less competitive among us chose the undisputed delights of Feizor Cafe for a relaxed feed before making our way to Helwith Bridge to clap in the leading riders and sample the variety of fine hand pumped ales on offer at the race HQ. There is no disputing that the homeward journey didn't flow quite so effortlessly as the wind assisted outward leg (Dom will certainly agree with that).
It's the Autumn Classic, Seasons of Mists Audax next Sunday, 9am from the Salem Community Centre, Hebden Bridge. As with all Chris Crossland's events, a ride not to be missed.
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Sunday 25th September

Meet 0830hrs Denholmgate or 15 minutes later at Oxenhope (junc. Hebden Bridge/Stanbury Rd) for an exciting route to Helwith Bridge to watch the finish of the 3 Peaks Cross. Intended route is via Laneshaw Bridge, Fanny Grey's, Paythorne and Feizor Cafe.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ride Report 18/9/11

It was a bit of a relief when the start of the Social Season only attracted three riders, Ian, Brian and myself. We had a very sociable outing making our way to Burnsall Cafe via Silsden and the back roads through Kildwick and Bradley and over Eastby Brow to get to Burnsall by 10.30. The cafe was already filling up with cyclists (including 1989 World Professional Pursuit Champion Colin Sturgess). After a leisurely break we returned via Appletreewick (surprised to see camping field full to capacity), Barden and Cavendish and then taking the gated road and up through Draughton, sticking to the unclassified roads down to Silsden.
We said goodbye to Brian at Steeton, Ian and I climbing over Steeton Moor and dropping down to Gooseye, an effort which required a refuelling stop at The Turkey (Cragg Vale bitter - highly recommended). Fortified we made our way to Oxenhope via Oakworth and Haworth Bottom. At Oxenhope, after being shouted at by a Sunday driver (sorry Nigel) we were lured into the Bay Horse by the thought of the Old Spot bitter, unfortunately we had to make do with Black Sheep and a chat with some of the mountain bikers who were finishing the Hospice MTB Challenge - not a great day for mountain biking by the look of many of the finishers.
The beer must have gone to my head because instead of heading straight home over the Dog & Gun climb I went with Ian over Fly Flat and was near death by the time I got home at 3pm.

Unfortunately the local Cyclo-Cross results are not being made available on the net so I havn't been able to track the results of our 3 Peaks aspirants, Richard and recent recruit (or re-recruit after 1st being in the Condor 20 years or so since), Adrian Lord. Good luck to you both next Sunday and remember, its the taking part that counts.
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sunday 18th

I'll be there, 8.30 Denholmgate tomorrow. I've been out of touch myself for weeks now but there are a few snippets of news that I've heard recently which I feel ought to released to the waiting world via the Blog.
The main news being the first ever success by Condor Road Club members at the (in)famous Paris-Breast-Paris 1200k Audax. Simon Fortune and Daniel Webb successfully completed the event. Simon, who completed the route in an astounding 61hrs, has promised to do a full report for the blog once he's woken up.
Brian ended his racing season with another win at last Sunday's East Coast Road Race on a circuit based at Burton Fleming. This was a counting event in the Percy Stallard National Series. Brian tells me that he has not got enough qualifying events to take the series overall and Grimpy, who I am led to believe was lying joint 1st in the series, must have fallen asleep during the race and failed to add to his points total.
I see that Robin was racing last Saturday, taking 2nd in the Up The Butress hillclimb at Hebden Bridge, that must have been even harder than going on a clubrun.

Sunday 17 Sept 2011

I'm thinking of 08:30 at Denholme and 09:00 at Keighley for Cringles, Draughton, Embsay, and coffee at Burnsall. The forecast for tomorrow is for better weather than today, though that wouldn't be hard ...
It feels like we've had a long off-season over the summer (well maybe you've been riding but I haven't done much). I'd better get back out there now before the snow starts falling again.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Brian Hanson

Sadly, I must report that our clubmate Brian Hanson has lost his fight against cancer and died last Monday.
Brian, who was in his early 70's, joined the Condor Road Club in the late 1950's and had unbroken membership to the present time. With his wife Muriel stoking the tandem many happy hours were spent touring the lanes especially on the Condor Friday evening social rides back in the 60's. A lover of the cycling social scene he was a noted after dinner speaker. Always a smile and time for a chat Brian will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
A service will be held at Park Wood Crematorium at 11.15am Monday 12th September.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

AGM - Wed 14 Sept 2011

The AGM has been organised (by Trevor Lever and Paul Gower - thanks chaps) for:
Wednesday 14 September 2011
Shepherd's Rest, Sowerby Bridge
prompt 9pm start - pie & peas ordered for 9:30
- please confirm to Trevor or Paul if you are coming so we order the right number of pie & peas
Secure parking for bikes at rear of pub through gate.
Apologies from John Lumb (el presedente will be in France) and from me (in Germany that day).

CONDOR CROSS - Wellholme park on Sunday 23rd October ( Yorkshire points event 6) - see
John Ginley would appreciate a hand setting up, marshalling & packing up on the Sunday + one really helpful volunteer on the Saturday morning too. Please see John for more details.


Saturday, September 03, 2011

MTB - last of the summer whine

Tomorrow morning ... 8am ... The Co-op carpark Hebden Bridge, on mountain bikes, ending up at Heptonstall cafe a few hours later.

Here are a couple of pictures from the ride. As you can see it was mostly flat and easy. A stalwart Condor friend Mr Dyson joined us, together with Graham, a whippet-thin young runner friend of Robins. In case you're in danger of getting them confused from that description, Neil is the one in the yellow Imps jersey.
From this hellishly early start we rose from the Co-Op to London Road and up to the Pike, through the rock garden and over the back to the White House at top of Blackstone Edge. The moorland crossing involves plenty of dips and dodges, and had us jumping off our bikes with joy & elation several times (see photo - it doesn't look so steep or boggy in a picture does it?). A fast & flowing descent dropped us down to the Canal at Littlebrough, though Robin insisted on a dead end detour to the local golf club first - maybe that's where every Volvo driver secretly wants to be on a Sunday morning? A butty stop at the lay-by was welcome, followed by a return ascent to London Road and a final thrilling descent  under our original wheel tracks to Hebden Br. (you go through a tiny arched bridge under track that we used on the outward leg, with the option of then off-piste riding through the woods to follow). Graham hadn't done this one before and was suitably impressed. Neil hadn't done this one before and was suitably and sensibly cautious by taking the on-road option for the last part. All happy and only three of us had any blood/wounds/scratches at all by the end so a good day in the hills.