Monday, March 31, 2014

Wheelbase Spring Classic

Go to for photos from the event.

What a difference from last year when event was postponed due to snow and then run later in mist and heavy rain. This year with the temperature up and the prospect of sunshine the shorts were out for Chris Smith who joined myself and John Doherty. (Peter had sent his apologies due to a fight with the road surface somewhere - of which I hope we hear the full story soon.) I chose knee-lengths and gloves but was soon overheating as John set off like a scalded cat, with Chris struggling to hold a wheel through the twists and turns in the lanes around Kendal towards Kirby Lonsdale.
We got to Barbon with an average speed above 20mph and re-grouped for the climb of Barbondale which uncharacteristically was into a stiff headwind which made a usually fairly easy climb quite a battle. The climb was electronically timed and our time of 20 minutes was about the fastest.
A right turn on the cobbles in Dent takes us up Deepdale where the wind is helpful but as the road steepens John announces he has a puncture so we agree to wait for him at the Ingleton feed - after enjoying a wonderful wind assisted ride down Kingsdale.
After tea and fig rolls we head for Ribblehead into the headwind and sharing the work we pick up a couple of strong blokes to help us and we duly catch another group at Chapel le Dale. At this point 'white van man' performs a foolish overtaking manoevre attempting to turn left across us into the pub. The ensuing chaos sees Chris split off behind John and me and not aware of this we weren't to see him again till the finish.
Our legs started complaining on the fast run down Dentdale and then after Sedburgh it gets really painfull on the lanes around the Howgill Fells - but at least I could see the beauty of the fells this year.
We were back to Staveley in 4 hours 49 mins, for 81 miles, stalwart Chris just 5 mins later and soon reflecting on a grand day out, sat in the sun enjoying a pint from the Hawkshead Brewery and fine fare from the artisan bakery next door. It doesn't get much better.        

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Day We Met Bernard Hinault

A few more pictures - plus link to Planet X report - link below

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Badger meets The Condor and The Imps

Many thanks to Jonathan for the invitation and to the Robin Hood for providing a magnificent spread. We had a good turn out when we met at our usual Wednesday time and place, 10am at Shelf Roundabout. A decision was made to make our way to Cragg Vale's Robin Hood via the Spen Valley then the Calder Valley Greenways intending, rather over-ambitiously, to get there via Ripponden, Rochdale Road and down the Cragg.  However a puncture stop at Mirfield delayed us and it became evident that a quicker route was needed to get us there for 12.30, so from Ainley Top we dropped down through Blackley to West Vale and were then towed at great speed by Paul Daly and Phil Haigh along Wakefield Road to Sowerby Bridge.
By the time we got to Sowerby Bridge the peloton was spread far and wide but a sensiblle decision had been made that it was better for some of us to get there at the promised time than all of us be late so we pressed on along the canal bank and cycleway to Mytholmroyd and got up to the pub just after the great man had arrived.

Naturally Bernard asked where Paul Gower was, Paul, who is not yet fully recovered from a recent bought of flu had been discarded somewhere en-route but a friendly Imp had waited and paced him up the Cragg.

Once he had taken refreshments we were ready to put the show on the road and the worlds press and TV gathered on the B6138 to witness Bernard, Russ and Dean Downing, Paul and an assortment of Condors, Imps and miscellaneous others promenade up to Blackstone Edge Reservoir.

See for some TV coverage.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Wednesday 26th - Badger to be seen in Cragg Vale

From Cragg Velo's Jonathan Emberton - Le Tour Yorkshire and ASO representatives, including 5 times Tour winner Bernard Hinault , plus Yorkshire pro's Russ & Dean Downing will be in Cragg Vale this coming Wednesday together with press and TV.  They are looking for a group of cyclists to ride with up Cragg - if you fancy getting involved be at the Robin Hood at 12.30.

Todmorden Loops - Around the Border Rose

Todmorden Loops - Around the Border Rose

Many thanks to Danial Webb and his dedicated team for organising and running this great local route. Taking in some of the best climbs available in Calderdale, its easy to forget about and take for granted. 3 loops around the boundary between the red and white rose counties.  
Described as gratuitously hilly, its not a route for the faint-hearted. Looking around, Condors included Ian, Nigel, Paul Daley Richard and myself. 

 Setting off from The Fielden Center, a good number of keen audax riders (including J Emberton and a few Tod Harriers)  were treated to a slight alteration to the route. Instead of the almost vertical Doghouse Lane to get started on, we tackled the slightly easier Ewood Lane to ascend to Sourhall. Quickly this leg took us out towards Burnley, with sportive Emma powering the Peleton, picking up a stray Robin Holt en-route, over Crown Point and Deerplay Moor to Bacup. Sharneyford to descend to Tod and our first Check point and quick brew at Lumbutts Church. Brevet cards stamped and ready for the 2nd leg.

This loop took us white rose way to Hebden Bridge and a visit to God up Birchcliffe Road. A drop to Mytholmroyd and a chance to tackle England's longest continuous climb Cragg Road. A blast though Littleborough and Walsden to again pay a visit to Lumbutts Church this time for a sustaining spread of food laid on to a very high standard. Pete Horne and Lumby had ridden out here to the smell of soup!   Refueled and refreshed onward and upward to our 3rd and final leg.

Climbing Crosstone Road and The Long Drag in a heavy hail storm, Great Rock was a welcome sight. Next came Widdop Road where the sun reflected on the reservoir to lift the spirits, not necessarily the heavy miles yet to go. We whipped up and around Blakedean to take in the epic landscape. Outskirts of Briercliffe and the lumps and bumps which seem to be relentless wore tired legs. Last but by no means least came the ancient Long Causeway (the original trade route between Lancs and Yorks). Here a helpful wind assisted a mad dash over the rolling undulations to descend like demons past Tod golf club. Joining the main road for a brief sprint to HQ where yet again hot food and drink aplenty fed tired limbs. Condor colours decorated a non-competitive podium with myself rolling in first, quickly followed by Cragg Vale Josh and thirdly quickly pursued  by Paul Daley. Riders filtered in to discuss this challenging but truly beautiful ride on what had proved a great day. Testing and scenic. Many thanks guys!

Chris Smith

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sunday 23 March - Tod Loops

This weekend we have the Todmorden Loops - billed as "A gratuitously hilly, early season gasper" but don't let that put you off. For the indominatible Condor RC, that describes just about every ride we do.

Full details on the Audax website here.

The HQ at the Fielden Centre is on Burnley Road in Tod - map here. Get there in time to sign in for a 9am start

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Last Sunday's Ride

Diamonds in the Rough

With the Ronde Van Calderdale looming in a couple of weeks, we decided to give our teeth a good old chattering by concentrating on the cobbled parts, with our recce.
 Lead by a recently returned and fully primed  Paul Daly, we followed like lambs to the slaughter up (not in the correct order),
  • Brighousewood Lane
  • Staups Lane
  • Gibb Lane
  • Lee Lane (Shibden Wall)
  • Old Lane
  • Trooper Lane
Throwing in en-route Blackwoodhall Lane and Hand Carr Lane (not part of the RVC) just for a bit of extra bone rattling practice. Personally I was really chuffed with these 2 climbs as I've often debated their ride-ability. 
Damian, Oakworth Steve, Paul, J Emberton + his friend (appol. don't know name) and myself enjoyed refreshments at Gabrielles of Sowerby Bridge. Nothing too heavy as those there cobbles don't half shake your guts about!
 On-wards and upwards to enjoy the delights of the longest on the route Trooper Lane. With the previous climbs in the legs this, which on the day will be the final major climb, seemed to ascend to the heavens. Thats if Heaven is made of granite and busts your guts getting there! Here we discussed the mornings ride to split and make individual ways home.
Many thanks guys. 

Chris Smith

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekends Racing

Grimpy's report from yesterdays Fleche Wallone RR (somewhere near Leicester)

Myself and Brian got through our first event “Fl├Ęche Wallone” in one piece. Peter who looked to be in good form unfortunately punctured on the second lap explaining he got an impact puncture using his new mavic wheel tyre combi. 
Brian was missing for maybe 10 miles thought he was resting at the back avoiding the breeze turns out he got edged onto the grass first time up the hill. Result foot out then too high a gear to get going. 
Took him a few miles of real effort to get back to the peloton. On the last lap he came round and beat me in the sprint. A few of the younger ones were away, overall we were i think 10th & 11th out of a field of 35 and 1st & 2nd in the O70’s category.
Still i received £25 for having fun, anyway its nice to get the first event over and we can hopefully look forward to the next event with some more confidence?

LVRC report -


Race Report and Results E F G Race.
Thirty riders set off in the fantastic conditions.
The race was soon spread far ands wide in the strong north westerly wind.
Don Parry lead the main break of the day from Ken Corbett , Dick Naylor , Alistair Cameron , 
and Steve Bunn (Bunny) from the promoting Welland Valley Cycling Club.

These five forged ahead and were well clear going into the last lap.
On the finish line , we all tried to predict the finish order, me personally going for Don from  Ken and the rest.However, Ken Corbett put in a storming last ascent of the hill to distance Don Parry and the rest before the finish. Dick Naylor, a very welcome visitor from way down South, finished 1st in the F category , and from the opposite end of the country , Brian Sunter and John Ginley both rode strongly to finish 1st and 2nd in the G category race.
RESULT E F G race.

1st Ken Corbett E
2nd Don Parry E
3rd Dick Naylor F
4th Alistair Cameron E
5th  Bunny E
6th Chris Gunter E
7th Joe Rowe E
8th Barrie Mitchell F
9th Kevin Wilson F
10th Dave Terry  E
11th Brian Sunter G
12th John Ginley G

Circuit of Ingleborough TT, Sat 15th

Padiham Chris continued his adventures into the world of time trialling last Saturday. A longer course than recent weeks and challenging conditions (strong cold winds).  The day suited Chris who climbed up towards the top 3rd of the field. See for excellent report and full results.

Sunday Ronde recce'

Didn't make it myself due to chest infection but hoping that Chris is going to blog a report.  (looking at Damian's Stava details the 1st half of the route was omitted) 

Condor Road Race Reminder


Saturday 17TH MAY 2014 start 10.00

Headquarters: Greetland Community Centre HALIFAX HX4 8JG

Entries open 22nd March 2014 via riderhq full details on lvrc website- just google lvrc
Followed by racing/racing calendar.
New road course 8.25 miles /lap includes 0.5 miles on unsurfaced road across scammonden reservoir followed by short steep climb up concrete ramp back onto open roads. Your chance to ride and support a flanders type event.

3 Separate events:
Race 1 age 40  + cats A & B  distance 5 laps 41 miles
Race 2 age 50  + cats C & D distance 5 laps 41 miles
Race 3 age 60  + cats EFGH  distance 4 laps 33 miles

Prizers for each category

Entry fee for event £10.00 subject to having an lvrc licence at £20.00 which allows access in 2014 to over 200 uk vets events.

Field 50 riders per race, 150 in total don’t delay get your entry in early.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sunday 16th March

Ronde van Calderdale recce' this Sunday, meet 9am Brighouse - bottom of Huddersfield Road (Sainsbury's roundabout).  A steady potter round the main climbs for the education of those not familiar with the route. We'll be missing out the Fly Flatt and Cock Hill section and having a cafe stop at Hebden Bridge.

Imminent Events -
Sunday 23rd March  Todmorden Loops 100k Audax. One for the hardriders, catering 2nd to none, enter on-line via the Audax UK website      Note that if you intend entering in the day the HQ has moved to the Fielden Centre

Sunday 30th March  Wheelbase Spring Classic. Excellent and popular sportive route from Staveley, a reasonable entry fee and good feed station.

Sunday 6th April  Ronde van Calderdale - need I say more - a classic sportive on our doorstep promoted by our friends from Kirklees Cycling Academy and 3RT. You can relax for the rest of the year after finishing this. Enter on-line

Sunday 13th April  Spring into the Dales, 110k Audax. A perpetual favorite brought to us by CTC Calderdale, enter here  Who will have the honor of breaking the skin on the rice pudding?

Saturday 26th April  Imps LVRC road race. Condor will be helping with marshaling so if you're not riding the race your assistance is required.

Sunday 27th April  Red Rose 200k Audax. Another CTC Calderdale day out with lunch at Glasson Dock,

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Please see below details of a charity time trial up Cragg Road on 3 April.
Only £12 and the money goes to help local young people get apprenticeships with local companies.
Full details belo


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

5. 4. 3. 2. 1 - My First Impressions Of Time Trialing

After taking advice from Melvin and Peter, my need for speed has led me to entering a few local SPOCO (hilly sporting course) style time trials, which run similarly to standard T Ts but test riders over hilly non-standard distances, much like Continental T Ts.

They call time trialing the "race of truth" and how true this seems to be. First impressions are of a very "pure" form of racing, where there are no excuses and its just man against man. Everyone is equal.
With riders racing alone, starting at 1 min intervals, over a set route and distance. Its just YOU, along with the bike, the road with the ticking of the clock in the back of your mind.

Sign on, collect your number then its time to warm up. The hum and buzz of rollers and turbos fill the air.

Riders roll up to the time-keeper and wait for their numbers to be called. Breathing heavily and sweating lightly from the warm up ready for action. Ideally arriving with just over a minute before your start time.

Held up by the "pusher", this is your moment to compose yourself in readiness for the road ahead.
Select a suitable gear for your starting effort, you need to get up to speed quickly but without over-cooking it. Gaining speed you can shift up a couple of gears, settling into a rhythm and pace for the event. Tucking into a good aerodynamic position, being able to harness more muscular power.

Aim at an even effort over the whole distance. If you can, pick up pace in the last couple of miles. You should cross the line exhausted with no energy left.

For many the aim is to beat personal best times or to perhaps beat a club mate or rival. An excellent way to test and measure fitness throughout the season.

Aerodynamics, position, style, it all counts. Trying to iron off those split second differences, which add up to a position on the finishing board. Also knowing whats in your legs and tank, easy to go hard at the start and die half-way, better to read the feelings your body gives you and let your mind fight the pain.

I've enjoyed the events I've done so far and look forward to many more this year. For now realistic and reasonable goals are my aim, with a better performance and representation for the club.
I need a good conversation with Brian if I'm ever to perform anything like him. 

Chris Smith

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Sunter & Smith Test the Legs

Rapha Condor-JLT notched up a one-two in Saturday’s Border City Wheelers 29-mile event at Dalston in Cumbria.
19-year-old Hugh Carthy led the way with a superb time of 1-07-44, but that was just two seconds quicker than team-mate Richard Handley, while the best of the rest was vet Jon Sturman (Activ Cycles) who was another two and a half minutes back with 1-10-14.
Nigel Haigh (Strategic Lions) was 50 seconds quicker than anyone else in the Manchester and District TTA 10 at Allostock in Cheshire. The 43-year-old clocked 21-38 for the J4/17 course, while 48-year-old Barry Charlton (Swinnerton Cycles) was second with 22-28.
All Terrain Racing rider Zack Williamson flew the flag for the younger riders, the 18-year-old covering the distance in 22-55 to take third and push 50-year-old Paul Robinson into fourth.
Also flying the flag for evergreen riders was Brian Sunter, the 70-year-old member of Condor Road Club who won the Veterans TTA (North Midlands) 18km race at Ranby in North Nottinghamshire.
He clocked 26-23 to record a plus on age standard on 6:09, which was 12 seconds better than Ian Dalton (Cherry Valley RT). Actual fastest non VTTA rider was former British Best All-Rounder Kevin Dawson who clocked 23-16


Its only a few days since Brian was saying that he was wasting his time racing this year as he felt that he was a spent force; he no longer had the strength and fitness to compete for the win and it was about time he hung up his race wheels.  On Saturday he showed us once again the transformation which occurs once a number is pinned on his back and probably surprised even himself by conquering all before him on age standard in his usual season opener in North Nottinghamshire.

On Sunday Nigel, Lumby, Damian and myself had a potter over to Whalley to witness Padiham Chris in full flight in the Circuit of Pendle time trial. Due to roadworks the course had been shortened to 24 miles and it had also started 20 minutes later than scheduled which gave us time for tea and cakes at the event HQ.

We then positioned ourselves about half a mile from the finish to witness Chris in full flight, how on earth he didn't win going at the speed he was displaying when he flashed past us I will never know but he was without doubt finishing strongly.

He was still bubbling with enthusiasm after the finish and looked like he could have managed another couple of circuits with ease. Results have not yet been made available on-line but I do know that Chris recorded a time of 64 minutes and will be blogging his own report and first observations on the world of British time trialing later in the week.

Once our spectating was over we headed back to gods own county via Pendleton, Worston and Downham,
taking a lunch break at the cafe at Barley (Downham cafe is no more). From Roughlee we picked up the Seasons of Mists route over to sunny Yorkshire where the temperature rose from 10 to 16 degrees.

No mechanical's even for me this week and home mid afternoon, hope its helped Nigel get over last Sundays ride and perhaps one day he and Ian may feel able to face Derbyshire once again.

Foreign Parts

Following the example of Paul Daly I thought that you might like a picture of a migrating Condor temporarily over in California and having a quick ride after work with the ocean in the background. They have a dedicated bike path for miles along the coast - parallel to and separate from the main road. Its a tough life.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Sunday 9th March

Chris is riding the Circuit of Pendle time trial on Sunday morning, it start/finishes somewhere near Whalley so I'm planning to have a ride out there and give him a shout of encouragement.
Meet 9am Hebden Bridge, probably return over Widdop or the Herders.

... my friend, we thought they'd never end.

Peter is being rather cryptic there about our day out in the high peak, so I'd better fill you in. Peter hasn't, for example, mentioned putting his cape on near the top of Holme Moss (when it then promptly stopped raining), while we gently pottered on. The forceful headwind though prevented his regrouping and our caped companion seemed to take ages descending down the southern side of the hill.
Eventually we reconvened and Peter immediately overruled our suggested shortcut, insisting instead that we gallop for Glossop. Well, the cafe there is just *so* nice, and I did welcome the 'fast breakfast'.
The Snake then called, again into a variable wind. Damien did a sterling service to pace me along when stronger legs (and lungs) took the remainder of our group a few yards ahead. Over the top we then delighted in a flowing descent toward Ladybower, though eventually realised that Pete and Steve had tailed off and were nowhere to be seen. Well they can't have taken any wrong turns - there aren't any. And the traffic was still flowing well so they weren't blocking the road with an accident. So it had to be a minor mechanical. If fact it was two, with Peter successfully repairing his front puncture on the 2nd attempt. Meanwhile, we'd taken solace at a tea van and were trying to stay warm.
Next came the Strines. Always a delight, though now we'd turned to put the breeze on our backs and were ready to make good steps toward home. But Pete had other ideas and promptly broke a spoke, thus suffering a further mechanical malady. Eventually the wheel could be made to *just about* run through the frame, though in a rather wobbly fashion and now with only one brake that left Pete understandably cautious especially on the downhill bits.
So that's how we then limped back to Huddersfield where, after having said our goodbyes, Damian apparently caught the same misaffection and promptly snapped a gear cable. The western section though had homes to go to while it was still Sunday. Little good it did us - 'blue van man' seemed intent on killing at least one of us on the narrow road up to Ainley Top. There you go. Same again next decade - its the Dales for me from now on!

I would have thought you were too young to remember Mary Hopkin

Monday, March 03, 2014

Those were the days

Thats enough about yesterdays club run other than we completed our circuit of Blackley, Holme Moss, Snake Pass and Strines - now lets just forget about it.

Great photo of the late John Cooke demonstrating the sort of riding we remember him for - long gone but never forgotten (being urged to the line by a youthful Clive Williamson - well he was only in his 40's).

  1. Enjoyed the nostalgia Pete - Cookie at full flight was a formidable force ! I think it was 1976 when I camped for the week at Harrogate Festival with John. It was an eventful week, John was never far from trouble - disqualified in a time trial after reports of draughting behind a hay wagon & blamed for putting someone through a shop window in the town centre crit ! Still, his 'win at any costs' attitude could have got him far in this sport.
  2. Yes, I remember John complaining about a hay wagon getting in his way going up Penny Pot Lane - if I remember correctly he recorded the fastest time, beating some of the country's top riders.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Sunday 2nd March

Tomorrow, meet Elland Bridge 9am, Le Tour in Yorkshire route through to Longdendale then the Snake and Strines.  Cafe stops at Glossop and Langsett.