Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Long One

We (well most of us) had a great day on Saturday at the North West Passage. There were over 100 pre-entries for the long event plus more who entered on the day. At 8am on a chilly day six Condors lined up on the start line in the car park of the Spring Inn, Mel, Paul D, Padiham Chris, Single Simon (on gears), Oakworth Steve and myself.

Exercising well used tactics Chris and I rolled out at the head of the peloton with our team mates and associates in close attendance. The Condors shared the work through to the first big test, the climb from Barrowford through Blacko over Greystone to Gisburn when Mel and his buddies from Ilkley failed to slow down for the incline. I was expecting to go off the back here and had earlier instructed Chris and Paul not to wait for me. However they chose to ignore this instruction and we got over this lump as Gruppo 2.

Once over the summit we soon settled down and became an efficient machine. Simon had disappeared over Greystone and Steve, who had so far been quieter than usual (I suspect an early foray at the front with Paul had done for him), was saying that he was having problems sustaining the pace.

Before Settle he was gone, I knew Simon wouldn't be far behind and said to Paul that I expected the 2 to team up. Mel and the Ilkley lads had just left Settle when we got there. I was expecting Mel to stop for a butty at the caravan at Kirby Lonsdale so was planning to catch him there, but there was no time to waste. Simon came in to Settle alone and quickly got his card stamped. A group of 8 of us left Settle together and once we hit the A65 we organised a very successful through and off with the pace rarely dropping below 20mph despite a cross head wind. We soon reeled in Flat Earth Bob who joined our working party which left just 4 on the road ahead of us. We lost one or two on the journey up to Devils Bridge but arrived just as Mel's group were hitting the road again.

After a quick bite to eat and a drink we were soon tapping down the Lune Valley towards Lancaster. Once through Lancaster we were picking up a helping wind which blew us down the A6 and into our next check at Scorton. I felt as if we had taken it quite easy down from the last check and was a little surprised to find Mel's group still loitering there, however they soon swallowed their bananas, jumped on their bikes and were away before we had chance to attach a tow rope.

We left Scorton as a bunch of 3 Condors, Paul, Chris and myself, one Huddersfield Star Wheeler, Ed Wolstenholme and one VC167, Bob Johnston. I usually suffer most on this section down to Longridge but the predominantly helpful winds ensured that the section was easier than normal, a rare phenomenon that continued round Blackburn and even over the feared cols of Oswaldtwistle Moors and Owd Betts; the only casualty being Bob who was having a rare off day.

We booked in back at the Spring Inn at 3.50pm, I'm not sure how far we were behind Mel but all had really enjoyed the ride and the weather was not too bad, certainly compared with the following day if what I hear about the Imps RR conditions are correct. Simon was'nt too far behind us, a great show of strength from someone who has been 'resting' for some time; PBP here he comes. The tragedy of the day was Steve's, he had punctured shortly after dropping off the back, Steve's a man not afraid to ride on his own but the mapping on his GPS was unobtainable and had no route sheet. Not having ridden the event before he turned at Settle and kept to roads he is familiar with.

Next Sunday Chris and I have entered the Delightful Dales Audax, Steve will probably be joining us but Paul's busy packing up his NZ bags.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The short version

Here is a quick report on the 'short version' - firstly of the NW Passage on Saturday and then the Imps Reliability Ride on Sunday. I suspect that Strava will already have given most of this away. We got round both rides at a reasonable but not quick pace and other than having perhaps a few miles too many of busy main roads overall it was a satisfying weekend.

We didn't see any other Condors for the short NWP setting off at 9am. At least by then it had warmed up a little bit. I guess the 8am hard men may have been a tad chilled for the first few miles. Our bunch sadly thinned out quite quickly leaving us with just three lads who rode well but were on best bikes with naked wheels - there was a notable absence of clubman's extensions to their (non-existent) mudguards.

This select group stayed together to the cafe checkpoint at Waddington where, as Pete will be glad to hear, the butties were up to scratch and the tea was served in plentiful quantity. After that we were on our own and for a while I feared for a tough time getting home, until the food worked through to the legs and I could settle into a steady pace in the sunshine with a tailwind over Hasslingden Moor and Owd Betts. Also, fortunately, uncle Nigel was on hand to navigate round various busy motorway roundabouts and dismal mill towns. Back for 2 and off home well before the long-uns came in to tell their tales of 200k heroics.

On Sunday the legs were somewhat reluctant to get going but they did and contrary to my usual excuses I managed to find Brighouse unaided and even get there in plenty of time to hand over my 40 shillings and sign up for JK's 2015 torture fest. Grimpy, Brian, Phil, Richard all joined us there and formed the core of our group, with the occasional guest rider sitting on. On paper this seems like an easy route of 55 gentle miles. On the road it was hard going and especially tough at the end into the snow. That bit from Keelham Farm Shop to Northowram, some 4 miles that could pass in a flash in summer, instead seemed interminable - and it just wouldn't end either. The pub promised "a warm welcome and a roaring fire" and sadly disappointed on both counts. Sodden and freezing I needed a welcome lift home in a warm car and didn't thaw through until Monday!

A long report anyone?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Saturday & Sunday 21st & 22nd Feb

Busy weekend ahead with the North West Passage Audax on Saturday and the Imps Reliability Ride on Sunday.
The NW Passage follows its well established routes of either 200k or 120k. Several Condors will be missing from the start line this year, saving themselves for Sunday but I know that Chris, Paul D, Mel, Steve T, Simon and myself are up for the long route and Nigel & Ian are down for the not quite so long route. Entries on the day accepted, see Audax website for full details.

The Imps Reliability Ride will be kicking off from outside the Ritz in Brighouse at 9am on Sunday but you will need to be there earlier to sign on.

 55 miles in 6 hours

75 miles in 6 hours
NOTE:  The route planner JK, tells me that he has recce'd the route this week and found out that the road from Barden over Halton Moor (aka Eastby Brow) will be closed due to bridge repairs so he intends to take the route down to Bolton Abbey from Barden and over the gated road to Embsey.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ride Out Lunch & Presentation

Sundays Ride-Out Lunch and Presentation was well attended, here's a few pictures, thanks to Kevin Brown.   Founder member Gordon Turner was on hand to award trophies.
Brian once won the 25mile trophy with a time of 54min 33seconds, a time he achieved whilst taking 3rd place overall in the Vets National Championships in Cambridgeshire.
Brian had a great 2014 setting National age records at 10 miles with a time of 21min 12secs and at 50 miles with a time of 1hr 52min 13secs.
He was 3rd overall in the Vets National Short Distance Best All Rounder and 1st in the Yorkshire Vets Short Distance BAR.
He also won the Vets National 50 miles Championships and took bronze in the National 10mile Champs whilst also performing to his usual high standard in age related road racing.

Chris Smith retained the Audax/Sportive trophy with Melvin and Steve Thewlis 2nd & third respectively.

 John Ginley also had a very successful 2014, he is pictured here accepting the Off-Road Trophy and the Road Race Trophy.

John wonhis age categories in both the British Cycling and the LVRC versions of the 2014 National Cyclo X Championships. He took the bronze medal in the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in Switzerland and won the Yorkshire CX Winter Series.

In road racing he was overall championin his age category in the LVRC Percy Stallard National Road Race Series winning all 5 of his qualifying events.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ride-out Lunch & Presentation, Sunday 15th

Just a reminder the food has been booked for 1pm at the Robin Hood. We have a good number who are riding there, meeting Denholmgate 9am or Keighley 9.30 for a steady loop out to Crosshills/ Laneshaw Bridge/ Heretage Centre café, Barrowford/Clivinger/Tod.   However you can make your way there however you wish, Kev Brown is intending to walk there from Brighouse on the Calderdale Way and Paul G and Temp are catching the bus to Mytholmroyd and walking up.

The cost of the buffet is £10 per head (not this is not just a sausage roll and a potted meat sandwich) and Phil Sanderson will be collecting money's at the pub.

There's still time to reserve a place; I've been a little concerned that it has been said that the 'do' is only for members of the Condor, this is not correct, friends, male or female are very welcome to join us.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Last Sunday and Next Sunday

We left behind sunny Yorkshire yesterday for the freezing fog of Lancashire. A great  turnout of nine (Nigel, Ian, Steve B, Paul D, Chris, Richard, Damien, Dave Woodhead and mysef) left Hebden Bridge at just turned 9am when it became apparent that Brian and Grimpy had chosen the warmth of their beds over the crisp minus 4 degrees that was the reality of life on the Valley road.

Ian and Chris led the peloton at a civilised pace up through Cornholme and Portsmouth but at Holme Chapel Ian moved over and when Paul joined Chris at the sharp end the pace shot up, on the plus side my hands did thaw out.

We thought we were about to climb into the sunshine but how wrong we were, we entered a Lancashire enveloped in freezing mist and haw frost. From Padiham we took the back roads towards Whalley and then the icy single track through Wiswell and Pendleton to our destination of The Green Jersey bike shop and café at Clitheroe.

It was our 1st visit to this establishment and although it was a little disappointing to discover that there were no bacon, sausage and egg butties or beans on toast on offer (not yet anyway although the proprietor is intending to rectify the situation soon) the coffee, flapjack and general 'Je ne sais quoi' more than made up for the omission.

We spent a good hour loitering there, a very productive hour in that I managed to collect four lots of 2015 club subs including the important new signing of a replacement for Paul Daly (recently sold to Tauranga Bay of Plenty Wheelers, NZ) when Dave Woodhead signed on the dotted line (hope he can push bonked club members as well as Paul).

On leaving the café/bike shop we made our way home via Chatburn and Downham, taking the old roman road from there to Barnoldswick and Elslack having a good laugh at Paul who the previous day had put a new chain on his bike, it was syncing okay with the almost new cassette but not with the little chainring  he was left with no option but to stay on the big ring.

From Elslack we took the steep road up towards Pinhaw Beacon with the intention of going down to Laneshaw Bridge and the Herders but by the time I got to the summit a decision had been made to turn left and go down to join the Cowling - Slippery Ford route home. It had been said that Nigel and Richard had opted in Elslack to give Pinhaw a miss and Steve seemed to think we may catch them up, we didn't - in fact it appears from Strava that Nigel was following us up the hill and no doubt chased us (or thought he was) towards Laneshaw Bridge.

I was hoping to get a photo of Paul having to walk up Earl Crag from Cowling or up the fiercely steep Tim Lane from Oakworth to Haworth but I was to be disappointed as, being restricted to the big ring, it  just seemed to make him go faster. 

Sunday 15th
About 30 or so have put there names down for next Sundays Ride-out buffet and Presentation (1pm Robin Hood, Cragg Vale).  All Condors and friends are welcome but please let me know if you are intending to come along so I can arrange the catering.
For those who want to a group of us are meeting 9am Denholmgate/9.30 Keighley for a ride round Crosshills, Laneshaw Bridge, Nelson & Tod en-route to the Robin Hood.

On l

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Sunday 8 Feb - The Green Jersey

I've heard good things about The Green Jersey cafe & bike shop. Sadly now that Whalley Abbey cafe is out of action we could go that way but travel on the extra few miles to Clitheroe.


Which means Hebden Bridge at 9am tomorrow. Going out along the valley and coming back by whichever route feels best at the time.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Ride Out Lunch/Presentation - Sunday 15th Feb

As you know I made a rod for my own back by suggesting at the AGM that due to attendance at the traditional annual dinner/dance & presentation falling off in recent years to unsustainable levels we should try a new formula for our annual presentation. Unfortunately for me just about everyone else at the AGM agreed so now I have to sort it.

Those who were there will know what a good buffet Joanne at Cragg Vale's Robin Hood prepared for the visit of Bernard Hinault prior to the Tour. Well I've asked her to do the same for the Condor Ride Out Do on Sunday 15th Feb (1pm for the buffet). It hasn't been easy finding a date when potential trophy winners are available and I appeal to members and friends to support this event.
I need to be able to give Joanne a rough guide to the numbers so please let me know if you are able to attend. You can text me on 07549821349 or e-mail me on petehorne@yahoo.co.uk

So I can sort out the winner of the Audax/Sportive/Reliability Ride Trophy I need details of distances covered by members during 2014 - please send details to me.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Paul's Final Wish

With Paul soon leaving for warmer coasts, what would he like to do best of all before leaving? Thats right, beat us mere mortals up around The Mary Townley Loop. A circuit he has trained on, raced on and has a great knowledge and fond memories of.
I met Paul along with Mick Collins and Jimmy Dyson 3RT at Callis Bridge. An 8am start meant we could use the best of the daylight although the mercury remained sub-zero all day. 
Peter had had this idea many months ago but today injury meant he couldn't join us on Pauls sufferfest. I was riding  Peters spare MTB, having not done much trail riding I hoped Paul wouldnt bash me up too badly.

From Callis Bridge we climbed up toward Stoodley Pike and quickly found that the flavour of the day would be frozen snow. Micks MONSTER tyres made mince meat of the ice, and both Jimmy and Pauls off-roading skills left me feeling quiet inadequate. Unfazed we pressed on enjoying the winter sunshine.
We were soon over the most technical section as we zoomed over ancient pack-horse routes enjoying all that Lady Mary had strived for, a full circular bridleway for horse-riders, cyclists and walkers alike.

The ice made riding tough with the rough and tumble only denting  pride not our spirits. Rooley Moor road with its cotton famine cobbles lead us into a headwind and the deepest of the snow which was difficult to negotiate.
We descended to Waterfoot to enjoy hot coffees but needing more sustenance we pressed on through the series of countless gates to top out on Deerplay Moor to descend to Holme Chapel where we enjoyed beer and butties at The Ram. From here we parted company with Jimmy to tackle the Widdop section.
I personally really enjoyed this, more uphill and less technical, and a little bit less snow bound section. Limestone Hushings looked like artic tundra and resorvoirs like glassy frozen lakes.
At Widdop we decided to be sensible and cut a little off the Orthodox route to avoid a technical descent in the fading light. We parted company at the bottom of Mytholm Steeps to the canal and home.

A BRILLIANT day Paul. Hope you enjoyed your wish! In your own words "We will miss you when youve gone!"
Chris Smith