Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Run and Sunday 3rd March

What a superb day, when the weather is like it has been today there can be no better place in the world to cycle than Yorkshire. There was an attendance of 14 for today's ride, with the best weather coming in from the east we he headed out to Knaresborough for lunch and in addition to blue skies and clear views we also enjoyed a helping wind on the way home.
Our return journey was made via the Beryl Burton Way to Bilton and then Penny Pot Lane, Timble, Low Snowdon and Askwith, up the Chevin and down through Esholt before hitting the busy roads round Bradford.

Sunday 3rd March
I'm meeting Paul Daly at 9am outside the Ritz at Brighouse next Sunday for a 'Ronde van Calderdale' Recce. We're not doing the full route, joining the route up at the top of Rastrick then following it as far as the top of Old Lane after Luddenden village then missing Jowler, Fly Flatt and Cock Hill and going down to Hebden Bridge for a cafe stop (Paul needs frequent injections of tea). Then we'll pick up the route again and follow it through to the top of Trooper Lane where you will be allowed to go home and lie down.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Halifax Imps Reliability Rides 2013

Imps Reliability

J.K. promised us a  new route for his annual pain-fest, and it didn't disappoint in the pain department. There seemed to be a big turnout in the dry but very cold conditions with a good flock of Condors for the long & shorter routes, although many jerseys I never saw again, notably the Star Wheelers ?
The mass was already fragmented by Queensbury with several traffic lights, junctions and the gradient helping to split things up. We had a fairly large group at the front and kept a steady tempo to Hetton when young Polish Pete (19) thought he was on the Saturday cafe race and ripped it up towards Gargrave. I tried to calm things by suggesting a toilet break at Gargrave (necessary for the more senior riders) but inevitably not everyone stopped which meant a chase over to Broughton and Elslack. We were all back together for just a moment before the long climb inflicted its damage, an out of condition Robin one of the first to raise the white flag.
Around 10 of us started on the Herders and my legs were starting to complain, especially at the thought of what we still had to come. Except Sean, the older riders like myself (and some younger) were sliding back on the climbs but we were all back together at Oxenhope where Andy Marshall said he'd had enough (only to re-think and carry on alone). At the top of Cragg Vale we were down to 8 (Blair Buss vanished) but predictably the final selection took place on Ripponden Bank with Polish Pete, Paul Ward, V.S. Carl (who had won a fell race the day before !?), Sean and a suddenly rejuvenated Mick Collins, who had been sliding back with the old ones earlier, charging over the top not to be seen until the Pub. Myself, 3RT Mark & Dave Leckenby  nursed our weary legs up Exley Bank not long after.
Good beer and a nice fire were our reward as riders trickled in, Paul Daly not long behind.
It was a tough but enjoyable day out (Thanks John & Janice).
Now, how about a steady club run with a leisurely cafe stop next Sunday for a change ?  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reliability Ride - 24 Feb 2013

Halifax Imperial Wheelers

Would like to invite you to join them for their

Annual Early Season Reliability Ride

Taking place on

Sunday 24th February, 2013

Start Point: The Ritz Ballroom, Brighouse

Finish Point: Cross Keys, Siddal

Meet at 8.30am to register your details
for a scheduled 9.00am start

2013 Reliability Ride      80 in 6      Start at 9.00am

Start Ritz in Brighouse

Odsal Top - Queensbury - Keighley - Skipton - Rylstone (duck pond) - Gargrave - Broughton - Elslack - Laneshaw Bridge - Stanbury - Oxenhope -  Hebden Bridge - Mytholmroyd - Cragg Vale - Ripponden - Barkisland - Elland to finish at the Cross Keys  Siddal

Last section of route as per 2014 Tour de France !

A shorter easier 60 miles also available

Odsal Top - Queensbury - Keighley - Crosshills - Cowling - Laneshaw Bridge - Wycoller (option) - Laneshaw Bridge - Stanbury - Howarth - Oxenhope - Hebden Bridge - Luddenden Foot - King Cross - Siddal - Cross Keys.

Entry Fee of £2.00 per person payable on the day in exchange for a route sheet


NWP - The Short One

As requested, a few words about the short version of North West Passage. This was my first tour of the easy route, having previously flogged round the long one or stayed safely at home. And it was good. Especially at a pace where we rarely, if ever, got out of breath. There was time to chat, and to enjoy the pleasant countryside. I might do that again.

Our group of about a dozen riders formed as the 9am massed start got broken up by various sets of lights. We trundled and never really considered trying to close the gap on the next group. Brian however decided that the pace was a touch too easy and took off at high speed toward Summit, not to be seen again. According to my trip computer we were about 5 minutes slower up Blacko than the VS fast lads doing the full route, but the cafe at Gisburn was still open and we made ourselves comfortable over tea and butties for quite a long time.

Vicar started the long route at 8am but realised the error of his ways at Settle and turned back, finding us about ready to leave the cafe. The next part of the route is the best, through Bolton by Bowland, East and West Bradford and on to Whalley, where the lanes meandered and the afternoon sun gave a pleasant warmth. Haslingden Moor dragged a bit into the wind but Owd Betts gave no problems and we were soon on the last leg through Rochdale (and not, as I've always experienced previously, on our last legs). Pies, peas & pints were enjoyed back at the Spring Inn while waiting for the hard men to finish.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday & Sunday

A cold and damp east/north easterly wind was blowing today but although the skies were grey at least it was dry. To take advantage of a helping wind on the way home we headed out to Wharfedale where the weather was several degrees warmer with occasional blue sky breaking through the grey.  Peeps had come up with the idea of trying the relatively new tearooms at The Strid and it turned out to be an excellent suggestion. For some reason I hadn't expected it to be as good as it is; warm spacious and welcoming it will no doubt become a regular Wednesday venue.
The return journey was made over Eastby Brow which, as planned, was made far easier due to the tail wind and always worthwhile for the stunning views from the summit. All was going well up Ingrow with Paul D setting just the right pace, but unfortunately JK became possessed with that uncontrollable desire to inflict pain, it afflicts him each time he hits Hermit Hole Bends - after breaking up the peloton he died, but it was too late, the adrenalin was now pumping round Peeps legs and he attempted to finish off what John had started, all to no avail however as Paul D reigned supreme as King of the Tip Top.

Sunday 24th February
Its the Imps Reliability Race Ride this Sunday, sets off at 9am from outside the Ritz in Brighouse but you will need to get there at least 15 minutes earlier to sign up - £2 - bring correct change. Basic details for the long route route can be seen on the Imps Blog (link from this blog).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

North West Passage

When I logged on a few minutes ago I was disappointed to find that no one else had beaten me and already  blogged a report for last Saturday's North West Passage. I usually like to add a few photos when I add a report to the blog - helps pad things out and sometimes people find them quite entertaining such as when I get a shot of one of our members riding through deep floods or pushing there bike through snow drifts. Alas, although I lugged my faithful Lumix (290 grams) around the 130 miles I had no time to think about photos (although that's not quite true - I thought about photos several times but unfortunately a sense of urgency always takes over when you've paid your 5 quid to enter an Audax - if this just happened to me I would be worried but the same appears to happen to 90% of people who enter these non-competitive tourist events).

There were about 60 or 70 cyclists lined up for the 8am start of the long course, the weather was spot on and most of the usual faces were there. The VS boys looking fit and fast, VC167's attempting to look like they weren't planning to get out of breath and a good turn out from the Condor, Melvin looking relaxed and confident, Vicar looking a bit anxious, Single Simon on the bike that gave him his nickname,  Padiham Chris, a NWP virgin bursting with anticipation and enthusiasm, notable absentees being Brian and Robin. The Imps had sent along their top roadman Sean Smith to keep Mel in check and Paul Daly had filled his pannier with ham sandwiches to make sure there was no repeat of 6 days earlier.

I first rode this event in the 70's, possibly before AudaxUK existed and have learned that it is safer and easier to go straight to the head of the bunch whilst the pecking order sorts itself out behind. However its the first time Iv'e had the pleasure of being at the front of the NWP with Chris at my side (or half a wheel in front) and by Todmorden I decided it would be expedient to let someone else set the pace. However Chris told me he was staying at the front, he preferred being at the front would not be comfortable sat in, which I thought was a rather over  magnanimous gesture considering that there were 50 or so cyclists sat behind us who had so far been having a gentle tap.

Sean was the lucky man to replace me at the head of affairs and together with Chris they did a sterling job winding up the pace through Cornholme and  Cliviger scattering distressed cyclists throughout the valley as they spun their pedals towards Damians Drop Roundabout just before Nelson where a feeling of deja vu came over me as I witnessed the Padiham Peddler together with several others including Mel, hit the deck. Fortunately all were able to get up with no serious injuries or damage to bikes and we were soon on our way again although the once large (too large?) bunch was now split into small groups. Simon and I were pottering up through Blacko on the climb over Greystone when we were passed by Chris who assured us he was okay and set off up the road looking for Mel who he informed me was ahead. Mel and Sean then passed us and before long had caught and left Chris and once Paul Daly had rejoined us we got down to some hard work once again passing riders and catching Chris and staying together taking turns at the front till Settle.

After the Naked Man check Paul, Simon, Chris and myself set off together, Paul pulled away up Bukka' Brow and just on the brow of the hill Mel, Sean and the VS's overtook. Paul and I sat in for several miles,
unknown to us Simon had had to stop to make adjustments to his back wheel following an unfortunate touch of wheels earlier and Chris, who must have been suffering from a combination of working too hard at the front and falling off twice had become detached.

I Condor/Imp/VS train, more than ably assisted by Dave Leckenby of Ilkley CC was both organised and working very well, too well for me and I had to drop off up one of the many undulations en-route to Ingleton. Paul kindly dropped back to keep me company and we worked well together. We saw that Irish John had become detached and it inspired us to dig deep and catch him, trouble was I'd used so much energy to catch him I couldn't get past. We regrouped at the Kirby Lonsdale check where Paul and I decided not to loiter too long and set off down the Lune Valley, through the centre of Lancaster, with its magnificent displays of crocus' in full bloom and down the A6 to turn left to the Scorton check just before Garstang. We spent far too much time here, being the 1st riders at the check  the well oiled machine had not yet been started up and we wasted time queuing at wrong locations before being sent to the OIC of stamping cards. However this had given time for Simon, who had had to disconnect his rear brake to stop it rubbing, to rejoin us and we left with the addition of Dave Leckenby and VC 167's  Bob Johnson.

I always find the back roads between Garstang and Longridge sticky and Dave was setting a pace I knew I couldn't sustain so I drifted off the back, Simon stayed with me and Paul, who was looking comfortable, came back to us once he'd realised we had gone. The Condor/Imp/VS peloton caught us just after Longridge and we stayed together only untill the climb to Wilpshire and lost sight of them on the foothills of Oswaldtwistle Moor. Although this climb and the final climb, 'Owd Betts' could not be described as easy we all managed to keep the cadence going and were pleased to finish the event just after 4pm.

Best wishes to Mel and Chris who although battered and bruised still managed to be upbeat at the finish - hope it hasn't been too painful Sunday & Monday.

It appears that we had a very good turn out for the shorter route - I'm sure Ian or Nigel will update us.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Better weather on the way?

It was grey and sleety for the Wednesday ride today but I was surprised that the turnout was down to 2 - Paul D and myself. The roads were clear and the snow that had settled on the surface of the Greenway was wet stuff that presented no problems for cycling. It did look as if it may be getting heavier whilst we had lunch at Newmillerdam so we retraced our outward journey back to Calderdale - it didn't really get any worse so we could have comfortably taken a longer route home but as we're saving ourselves for this Saturdays North West Passage it was probably a good decision.

The weather forecast looks very reasonable for Saturday, temperatures up to 5 or 6 degrees and only light showers so lets hope we can get round without ice and snow.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Silverdale Report

Despite challenging weather conditions four of us met at Denholmgate for the 'B' run, Big Phil, Paul Daly, Richard and myself. A tail wind saw us make the 42 miles up to Halton Gill in fine style, the roads were clear, no dangers from black ice and occasional signs that the weather may improve. On climbing the side of Plover Hill towards Silverdale the weather did deteriorate somewhat although the snow on the road was  slushy rather than frozen.
It may not have been Pauls best ever day on a bike, puncturing on the Silverdale road in snow when the temperature is minus 3.5 wouldn't have been at the top of his list of fun things to do in retirement, neither would breaking a spoke or wearing out his brake blocks but hey! in every life a little sleet falls and at least the main worry didn't materialize - that of the 'A' team may catch us up before the cafe.  
We had just settled in the Naked Man cafe at Settle (minus Richard who showed his mettle by carrying straight on) when half the 'A' team arrived - Mel, the other half, former Condor, Dougie Burnside, arrived a little time later looking shell shocked after being thrown from his mount twice over Silverdale but after a coffee and flapjack he was his usual happy self - it was good to see him slumming with us unsponsored riders.
Once refreshed the A's and B's made our way home together at a brisk pace despite head winds. I managed disguise my distress as I did my turns at the front with Mel, but, and I may be wrong in this, it appeared to me that Paul was making the fatal mistake of not allowing Mel to dominate the pace at the front on the all too frequent inclines. I was also relieved to see that Dougie was not his usual self on the climbs although he was eager to make up for this shortfall on the flat.
Mel said goodbye at Kildwick and the rest of us worked in turn on the road to Keighley, although Paul, a man who never shirks hard work, didn't come through with his usual enthusiasm. Uncharitably I assumed he was keeping his powder dry for Ingrow.  I couldn't have been more wrong, we singled out with me doing my turn at the front at the bottom of the climb and there I remained until the last bend when Phil came past to immediately drop me (who was it who said he couldn't climb without the aid of a bottle of oxygen)  I turned round and to my surprise saw that both Dougie and Paul had gone. Dougie was next up with Paul a couple of hundred yards further back - the unthinkable had happened, Pauls legs had gone - he too has human frailties.
From hereon Big Phil's strength and enthusiasm appeared to increase more and more as the weather conditions deteriorated more and more, he was reveling in it - head wind and cold wet slushy snow battering your eye lids, it must have reminded him of last years holiday at the summit of Everest, in fact before we split up we both agreed that it had been the best day's cycling for ages.   

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Weds 6th & Sunday 10th Feb

The turnout for the Wednesday ride was down to 10 today - I can only think that the weather was too good for some of the regulars. It was well worth the mornings head wind for the clear, sun lit views of the snow capped peaks up in the Dales as we made our way to the excellent cafe at Gisburn.
We made our way there over the Moss from Cowling and via Fanny Greys, returning, with the help of a tail wind on the Roman Road to Thornton in Craven, then Elslack and over to Cross Hills. A grand day out.

SUNDAY RUN - Its that time of year again - time for the Silverdale run, unless there's strong south westerly winds its anticlockwise - Halton Gill - Stainforth - Settle.  Main training ride 9am Denholmgate or 9.30 Keighley.   I'm setting off with the sexagenarian section half an hour earlier than the above times to see if we can get as far as Littondale before Mel, Sean and co. come storming past us. Paul Daly's joining me plus Everest Phil (who's successfully applied for temporary membership).

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Club Dinner

Our annual dinner and prize presentation took place on Saturday evening at Bailiff Bridge Community Centre. We were delighted to welcome Chris Crossland as guest of honour, Chris told us how he first started cycling and how he became involved in the CTC and Audax both as a rider and much respected event organiser. Paul Gower, in his own inimitable style, welcomed the guests and our president, Ian Robinson announced the prize winners, ably assisted by JD Smith, trophy's were presented by Chris.

I apologise for the quality of the photos, my compact seems unable to cope with indoors photography. 
Off-Road Trophy - more names vying for this trophy than any of the others - Adrian Lord, Richard Burnham, Steve Cavell & Robin Holt. But the winner is the only person it could be, the dominant force in his age group in the UK - the 2012 World Champion  John Ginley - who only a couple of days earlier took the 2013 silver medal in the UCI Masters World Championships in Louisville, USA, to add to his gold medal at the recent British Championships plus his age group win in atrocious conditions at the classic 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross, the hardest Cross in the world, and many more outstanding performances in 2012.
25 Mile Time Trial Trophy - This is the only time trial trophy to be awarded this year, it goes to the 2012 Veterans National 50 Mile champion (I believe its the 3rd time he's won at that particular distance). He was also the bronze medal winner in the national 30 mile championship and a standard winner at several other time trials despite the new rules which favor younger riders, and is still the man they all wait for to make the decisive moves in age related road racing, it is of course the man who has won the trophy for an astounding 29th time, Brian Sunter.

Road Race - A new name on this trophy for 2012, a man new to racing who won his first race at the beginning of the season and put in a solid season riding road races and flying a lonely Condor Road Club flag in British Cycling events, one of the few non veterans we have in the Condor and an enthusiastic Audaxer and supporter of the Sunday club run, Simon Fortune.

Audax/Sportive - Greatest total distance in organised non-competitive events.  Thats me (with Mel 2nd although I concede he may have achieved a faster average speed).
Swinging Crank - This wasn't awarded last year - no one came up to the required level - but in 2012 we had the fastest rider in the Condor, a lifelong cyclist who, although now in his 50's is enjoying great form, who has achieved outstanding performances (frequently recording fastest times - although we must remember that they are not races) in classic Sportives such as Etape du Dales and the White Rose and Audax's such as the North West Passage, Spring into the Dales and Season of Mists and he's been mixing it with the best in age related road racing and the occasional enter on the line time trial, but has somehow managed not to be good enough to win any of the other club trophy's - Melvin Hartley. 
Clubman of the Year - The loudest applause of the evening went to our Clubman of the year, voted for on the night by club members it went to the ever youthful, hard cycling and hard working Paul Gower. 
Raffle - Unfortunately the star prize in the raffle was taken by a VS Cycles' rider (but formally a Condor so that did ease the pain) Mick Lever 

Friday, February 01, 2013

Sunday 3rd February

Usual times, Denholmgate 9am/Keighley 9.30 for Halton Gill and back round to Airton cafe - those who don't make the above starts due to morning-after-the-night-before-itus may exercise the option of going straight to the cafe - sounds like a good idea!