Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reliability Ride 2012 - Thank you

On behalf of John and myself thank you for supporting what has now become known as 'JK's Early Season Reliability Ride '

I thought John had been kind in his route plan this year - but i'm getting snippets now that it was not so.
As I drove over to Keighley early afternoon I did see a few 'pained' faces at various stages of the Ingrow.

At least compared to the NWP the weather was kind to you

Also thank you to some of you for spreading the word to other clubs as I'm sure I was taking entry fees from members of 'clubs' that I don't have a contact for.

We had a record 92 entries who paid the entry to start out on their chosen distance and only a few didn't see it through to the end!

Best wishes

Monday, February 27, 2012

Halifax Imps Reliability Rides

As can be seen from Zappers video there was a good turn out at the Ritz for yesterdays Imps Reliability Rides. 92 riders including current GB internationals turned up on a dull but mild February morning and paid their £2 for the privilege of riding either the 82 mile or the 62 mile routes.
We were led out of Brighouse towards Bradford by the Condor's World 'X Champ, Grimpy and Condor's VTTA British record holder, Brian. The routes split at Bankfoot, the long route turning left along Bradfords ring road and up Thornton Road eventually fragmenting on the Dog & Gun road from Denholme to Oxenhope. Whilst we did re-group briefly splits occurred again over Penistone Hill and there appeared to be an unspoken understanding amongst most of the Condors that we would stick together as Moto 2.
Melv and Robin had gone on ahead with the lead group (although Robin soon decided that discretion would be the better part of valour and waited for us over the Herders). By Laneshaw Bridge we had a good little group including Brian, Neil, Robin, Pete Smith, Simon (who had made his road racing debut the previous day at the Velo 29 Pursuit Series on the Croft Circuit in North Yorks - and he says he enjoyed it!). Somewhere over the exposed moors we had lost Grimpy and Ian - we took it steady up Emmot Lane but seeing no sign of them we pressed on towards Colne Edge. Knowing the next significant land mark was Fanny Greys we went up to Foulridge and left onto the Fanny Greys road. Moto 1 had taken a more circuitous route - we had in fact taken over a kilometre off their route and were now in front of them, they caught up as we approached the A59 north of Barnoldswick, our comfortable world was shattered and it was back to sprinting up hills and fighting for space as we passed through Horton and north through Nappa towards Hellifield.
I was riding with Robin about 18 or 20 back from the 'tete de la course' who were rather too focused on keeping the speed high and missed the right turn to Hellifield, Robin and I being the first to turn we of course found ourselves leading the peloton so we had a good dig over to Otterburn and Airton. the bunch split again towards Winterburn and Hetton where our gruppetto of mainly Condor's re-formed stopping at Cracoe Cafe for a well earned snack (although Brian and Neil decided to press on without a break).
Whilst at the cafe Ian and Grimpy turned up - Grimpy rode straight past, Ian came in the cafe but decided not to continue with us so it was me, Pete S, Robin, Simon and Brenden from 3RT who continued the route through Linton and Grassington eventually teaming up with John at Hebden.
Appletreewick, Barden, Bolton Bridge and Addingham passed swiftly beneith our wheels. The route then took us over Cringles where we were priveledged to witness Robin having a bad day (sorry Robin - did'nt know you'd gone till well down the other side). On the road to Keighley Simon set a brisk pace but the previous days racing caught up with him as we hit Ingrow. I went to the front to keep the pace steady, Grimpy shouted to me that the group was splitting so I slowed - at which point he charged past me so Pete an I sat on him till he blew.
Our remaining trio pottered on towards the finish at the Pinebury catching several Condors nearing the end of the shorter route, Doreen valiantly pushing Trevor from the rear of their tandem and Paul G sprinting out of the saddle up the Keelam climb the smell of Black Sheep bitter already fortifying him.
An enjoyable hour or so re-hydrating and chatting ended a great day out - many thanks to the Imps John Kaye and Janice Saleem for organising the ride.
ps I heard a rumour that Melvin blew - is this true?

Mel says -
It is true !! I blew big time after spending most of the day outside my comfort zone and, as Uncle Neil keeps reminding me, not eating enough. My first cereal bar went under the following pack when I dropped it and the second bar had no effect on me, neither did a gel consumed at Addingham. I had been shot out on the drag from Winterburn - got back at Cracoe then out again from Hebden! Moto 1 then went the back way via the Cavendish so I got back to them at Bolton Bridge - only to decide on the Cringles that I didn't want to be there and dropped off again! By now I was light headed and needed to stop at the Co-op in Denholme for a sugar fix - and I wasn't alone! A much harder day than it should have been, but then this ride usually is !By Mel on Halifax Imps Reliability Rides on 28/02/12

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sunday 26th Feb

JK has devised a new routes for this Sundays Halifax Imps Reliability Rides - just over 80 miles for the longer ride and 20 miles or so less on the shorter route.
Signing on is 8.45am outside the Ritz in Brighouse for both events (£2, please have correct change). Both finish at the Pinebury, Queensbury.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

North West Passage - High Winds & Hailstones

There will be a tale to tell from each rider of this fine day out. My version has some highs and some lows, through the dark satanic hills of post-industrial Lancashire, some "gentle breezes" and a "light shower" just for good measure.

Leaving home I thought twice about my jacket. The glowing dawn sky promised a bright day ahead. But it was lying. I'd seen the forecast and threw a cape in the car. Chatter at the start still debated the merits of pocketing vs donning rainwear as the first drops started to fall. By 8am it was mildly damp. By Todmorden it was torrential. By Blacko the bucket-sized raindrops were bouncing back up to handlebar height. I decided that a jacket was probably a good idea after all.

Through all this, Pete Horne, who had grabbed the head of the peleton leaving Rochdale,  held grimly to that position for mile after mile until Gisburn, thankfully keeping VS Chris and others off the front and holding the pace to a manageable level. That all changed when "The Condor" forced his way forward after finally losing patience with a fluorescent pannier frame. He spread his wings to rid the flock of this irritant, and swiftly dumped Neil out the back on a series of little rises.

Now I was wavering between "uncomfortable" and "into the red" at this point, using well-rehearsed survival tricks to slip a few lengths back on each of the ups and regaining contact on the downs. The thing is, Neil is one of my riding heros, and he's been going very well recently, including nursing me home at the end of a recent club run. So if he is in trouble, I'm probably pushing too hard, considering the length of the ride, and it would be prudent to ease off & save something for later. Plus, if I slip back too, then maybe the message will go forward that the pace is just that smidgeon too hard.  

It didn't work. There was just me, Neil, and some wolves. It was a long, exposed 5 miles to Settle. I got my head down and dragged the Imp along. Maybe it was penance for the things I'd said earlier about his racing cape looking like a diaphanous negligee (see photo for details - I think an "empire waist" will be making a comeback soon for many professional cyclists, it seems so ordinary now to have the elastic around the hem of your jacket rather than round your lower chest).

At Settle we wrung water out of gloves and, letting the faster lads bugger off, formed 'Moto 2' to tackle Buck Haw Brow at a steady pace. Robin emerged from the pack, now minus his purple hooded anorak (yet another eccentric sartorial statement), to start our group over the next 20 miles to Kirby Lonsdale. We cheerily waved to the fast lads as we swept past them - they had stopped at the side of the road to admire Sean's broken chain and chat to the friendly locals in a white van who seemed to have a problem with dozens of cyclists being on the A65. Which gets us to the butty van for a welcome hot cup of tea - in the sunshine - while it was now Brian's turn to get busy with a chain tool.

[Sorry - these are the most boring photos ever on our blog. And the lads don't look happy do they?]

The scenery gets a little better in the Lune valley, even if we were now into the teeth of the wind. Sensibly hidden about 4 or 5 wheels from the front I was surprised when the VS crew suddenly, at a pre-arranged signal of "broken spoke", pulled off the road and left me unexpectedly exposed. There was no avoiding it and a pull had to be done, but thankfully not for long. It took a long time to remove a layer at the first set of lights we came to, they turned green, and now I was returned safely to the back of the pack.

Which was a mistake. Apparently a criterium had been organised through Lancaster town centre and being on the back gave the full concertina effect of sharp braking and hard accelerations, followed by a 25mph charge out of town on the A6. I'm not sure what we were racing for, but we were going to be there first.

And so to Scorton. The Priory has changed hands and taken against cyclists, so most carried straight on, hoping to catch up with Pete, single Simon and big Phil who had pottered on earlier. They were never to catch them though, because they were in the Barn cafe opposite - with Pete wresting with a super-size portion of soup and a gigantic fruit scone (eyes - belly - slightly hungry?).  At Robin's insistence we loitered for a pot of tea, just to be sociable. I think he's now strongly in favour of multiple cafe stops on each ride.

Which just left Longridge, Blackburn (where I suffered ten minutes of power failure, legs didn't want to turn at all, thankfully solved with a museli bar & a gel - I'm grateful that my companions waited here), Haslingden Moor and Owd Betts. I felt strong on the finish and we were led back without trouble, even if we did have to force Pete to the side of the road in order to let Simon get back on after some lights. The setting sun put out a red glow to highlight Rochdale's many scenic charms, while a black cloud lowered and then threw hail at us in the last 5 minutes to the finish. But we didn't care because we were back, in the pub, 130 miles, and its only February.

Thanks go to Neal Healey & West Pennine for organising and to the Spring Inn for a fine tea at the finish. 

ps Nigel sends his regards. He'd love to come out with us but his bikes all now have a SORN (statutory off-road notice) and he needs to contact DVLA (defunct velocipede licencing agency) ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Club run sunday 12th february

Thanks to Zapper for the above video - good quality as well - is photography now dead?
In the absence of Robin, Melv and Sean it was a nice steady ride up Wharfedale. I met Ian, Zapper, Pete Smith, Pete Whiteley, Neil and Brian at Denholmgate and we were joined by Steve at Keighley. We had originally been considering Halton Gill and Silverdale but with the temperature at zero and a report of cyclists having to walk 2 miles of the route a few days previously due to ice we decided to continue up Wharfedale, around Buckden triangle and back down to Madame Zarina's at Kettlewell for a bite to eat.
After lunch we headed home down the eastern side of the valley crossing the river at Bolton Abbey and returning to Calderdale over Cringles and Ingrow.
The temperature had improved considerably by mid day (5°) and a brisk pace was maintained.
Unfortunately Pete W felt the need to attack at the start of the Cringles climb just as Ian was beginning to feel the distance (35 miles a week's probably not quite enough preparation). The others chased after him whilst Ian and I took a more leisurely approach.
As Ian and I approached the lights at Steeton they changed to red so we nipped along a couple of back streets to avoid them, blissfully unaware that our club mates were waiting for us at the lights. A tail wind to Keighley helped keep the speed well above evens and we were rolling along nicely as we hit Ingrow.
I was expecting to have sight of our erstwhile colleagues once around Hermit Hole bends and was impressed that their obvious speed had already taken out of sight; that was until Pete W came up alongside me and explained what had happened (I'm ashamed to admit I was not a little amused). We were soon together again and the pace increased as we approached Cross Roads. The tension was intense as we passed the entrance to the tip, Pete W began to pull away from me but was no match for Zapper who went round him 50 metres to the summit to take a fine victory (making it 1 each as I understand Pete W took the Cringles climb).
I guess its all good preparation for next Saturdays North West Passage.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sunday 12th Feb

Robin - we waited till after 9.30 at Keighley - you must have been late - can't think why - surprised you didn't catch us on the road to Cracoe - looking at your miserable photos the weather must have taken a turn for the worse - either that or you need to ditch the phone and get a Lumix FT2 with Leica lens, guaranteed waterproof to 33ft and shockproof to 6.6ft (invaluable on any Condor clubrun).
Neil and I have Silverdale marked in our diary's for tomorrow but that's not written in stone and can be varied depending on the weather - I'm getting tired of having to dodge patches of ice.
Usual time then, 9.00am Denholmgate, 9.30 Keighley.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Well Pete there were some more of us out on Sunday, we waited at 9.30 at Keighley and nowt were seen of other Condor colours, so Steve and I went our lonely way whilst others stayed in bed, or, as in your case, spent their time taking pictures at the start of the ride rather than actually getting on their bikes in good time. We ended up at Cracoe in the end, after much meandering o'er back roads shrouded in mist. Your pictures look a little brighter than I remember it ... perhaps you have one of those filters on your camera where everything is pumped up to number 11? Or perhaps my phone camera has a melancholic filter, as befits current times, or it was simply compensating the light balance when confronted by the somewhat violent hue of orange being sported by Steve's latest piece of clothing, which somewhat surprisingly has lasted him more than a couple of months without being ripped or doused in Stihl Saw oil. I lost the competition for who can last the longest without complaining of cold hands, weak southerner that I am.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Sunday 5th Feb in pics.

I wasn't really surprised when no one else turned up at Denholmgate yesterday but as the roads were clear, the temperature was okay and no more snow was forecast I decided to have a gentle potter up into the Dales.

I wasn't expecting anyone in Keighley either but was joined by Richard and we agreed that Burnsall Cafe would be a good target to aim for (fast becoming a weekly destination for the Condor).

Not a lot of work had been done on the roads north of Cracoe but we were in no hurry and the snowscapes were more than worth the effort.

Its not often that we are the only cyclists in the Wharfe View on a Sunday morning.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Sunday 5th Feb

9.00 Denholmgate 9.30 Keighley, I was intending to suggest a bit longer ride tomorrow till I looked out of the window - unless there's some improvement it may be no ride at all.