Monday, September 28, 2015

3 Peaks & 4 Climbs

Excellent result from Robin in the Peaks, especially considering the puncture and the fact he was 'taking it easy and enjoying himself '. Can't wait to see how he goes on next year when he's going to prepare properly. Congratulations also to Adrian Lord who completed the race for the 5th time recording 5.24.16, 10 minutes faster than his partner Nerys Rolinson who was representing Tod Harriers. Todmordens Stu Horsfall, who several Condors will remember from our ride round the Mills & Hills route a few months ago had an excellent ride recording a time of 3.58.35 despite falling victim to 3 punctures. It really was a perfect day for the event, competitors and spectators alike.
On the hill climb scene Chris' preparation for the National Champs at Jackson Bridge at the end of October continues at a pace. He kicked off his Saturday on the Rivington Pike climb near Bolton with a 3rd place overall before making his way back to Luddenden for the Halifax Imperial Wheelers climb up Stocks Lane.
Chris, off number 17 in a 32 strong entry powered up towards Mount Tabor in a time of 5min 51secs and finally had to settle for 9th place overall behind the winning time of 4.57 recorded by Tom Bell of Fluid Fin Race Team (whoever they are).
On Sunday he chose the Lancaster CC 2 Stage Climb on Conder Bottoms and Jubilee Tower where he returned to the podium with 3rd overall.  Well done Chris, the mere thought of riding 4 hill climb races over one weekend tires me.

3 Peaks report

Peak is oft used as an adjective for performance, but yesterday it just meant the end-point of steep slopes of grass, or of rock, or of a rock/grass mix, all of which shared the common quality of being interminably long.

I set off with Jamie (from that there down South with all its well appointed refinements) in what must be one of the warmest ever starts of the event. With admirable restraint, showing the wisdom of my years, I took the start as a prelude not a finale. Jamie shot off, and was next seen going down Pen y ghent as I was ascending, still in my 'prelude' mode, though now apparently knackered despite having been assiduous in my commitment to easy rider-dom. Strange that.

In between I had managed to take some time off the 'racing' to look over the inversions marking the valleys beneath Ingleborough. The restful mist felt quite alluring in contrast to my gel-fuelled, stuttering movement. Then down over soggy turf, watching riders take 'headers' into hidden sink holes and somehow avoiding such myself, up the steps of Whernside whose differently spaced risers were clearly there just to piss you off, down the rocky drainage ditches and along sneaky pathways to one side or other that avoided all the sharp edges and sharp tongued expletives, along the road to the foot of Pen - y - Ghent having been gathered into what seemed like an Ilkley Club cycling train complete with a very clean engine, then, after seeing Jamie coming down, pretty much coming to a halt myself as cramp (first time ever) set in.

More gels sorted that out, then descending up top at a rocky bottle neck I got a rear puncture (tired rider error of course) which at least meant I could rest a few minutes whilst fumbling with canisters that stuck to the skin (forgot about them being so cold). A rather too cautious descent down the remainder of the hill (the slight paranoia of a repeat puncture) found me coming into Helwith Bridge at 4hrs and 20 seconds, 156th.

Jamie had been 'in' a good while, but had the patience to be waiting to introduce me to his mates who had a picnic hamper at the finish replete with olives, stuffed sun dried tomatoes, knäckebrød and mackerel paté, which was pretty empty by the time we finished with it. I guess any watching Condors had long since flown by then. Onto next year now, where I will have, I think, a different strategy from 'taking it easy'; advice welcome as to what it should be: 'train for it properly'; 'don't bother ...'; 'ride with a smile'; etc. etc..


We were there. And have a picture to prove it. You were even seen and noted at the finish, Robin, but looking rather a wizened and hollow husk. You went straight past your cheering clubmates, pints in their hands so unable to applaud, perhaps headed toward the promise of olive-stuffed tomatoes and whatever else it was you mentioned - I don't even have those fancy foreign letters on my keyboard. Anyway it was a fantastic warm dry day for this time of year and we all had a lovely time. Ian.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Helwith Bridge - the second wave

For anyone who feels that Peter's proposed ride is a tad too early and/or a smidge too far we'll be setting off an hour behind - 9:30 from Keighley - for a more direct route.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th

 Busy weekend coming up, its the Imps Hill Climb on Saturday on Stocks Lane (2pm). I understand there are about 30 entries including 6 or 7 Imps and our own Chris Smith. I'm hoping to be on the hill to give Chris some verbal encouragement and joining him afterwards in the Lord Nelson for the usual formalities. Not content with one hill climb he's down for the Lancaster 2 stage climb on Sunday, Conder Bottoms at 10am and Jubilee Tower at noon. Good luck Chris, I hope you're having a few days rest beforehand.
On Sunday its also the Classic 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross. Adrian Lord is once again representing the Condor and is joined this year by Robin Holt.  Adrian had a great ride in the event last year so here's hoping it goes as well for him this year. Robin was talking down his ambitions when he was out on the club ride last Sunday saying he intends to take it easy and enjoy himself. Sounds like a good strategy but not easy to stick to when you're surrounded by 650 who are racing. May the Gods smile down on both of you. 

I can only think that the above photo must have been taken before the start of the 1995 event judging from the smiles and the clean kit. Lots of the same names can be seen on this years start sheet that were also taking part 20 years ago (but not the 3 in the photo who are not just older but also wiser). The 1995 event was won by Andy Peace in 3.08.00 (Andy also won the 3 Peaks Fell Race in 1995 in 2.52.52). A 20 year old Rob Jebb finished 5th in 3.21.43, Rob has since won the race a record 11 times and is favourite again this year.

As last year we are meeting at 8am Denholmgate or 8.30 Keighley to ride up to Cold Cotes to pick up the race. This worked well as we got there just as the leaders came down to the road from Ingleborough. We'll then be riding round to the finish via Chapel le Dale & Ribblehead giving us ample opportunities to admire the athletes in action and see the finish whilst enjoying a sandwich and a beverage at Helwith Bridge.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weekend Report

Chris rises to the challenge.
Above picture taken last Saturday evening at the Hardwick Hall Nocturne Hill Climb. Chris tells me it was a great event with floodlighting, loud music and cheering crowds. All sounds a bit too exciting for me. He says he felt strong recording a time of 1.46 against the winner Peter Cocker's time of 1.24.

Grimpy was also in race action at the weekend competing in the LVRC East Coast Road Race, the final counting event in the season long Percy Stallard Series. He finished 2nd in his age category to Bill Cotton, a result which means John has had to concede Series honours to the younger man.

The less competitive amongst us went on the Easyriders ride up to the superb café at How Stean Gorge. Due to the terrain it wasn't quite as easy as the previous weeks run up Wharfedale. The original plan had been to go straight up to Ripon and Masham on the fast but easy roads but the heavy traffic was spoiling the riding so at Pool we took a left and meandered up to Nidderdale on the back roads.
I'm delighted to report that Ian and Robin found their way to the start at Shelf to join Nigel, Richard, Oakworth Steve and myself. Mel joined in from the top of Pool Bank and we can blame him for leading us on a circumnavigation of Almscliffe Cragg through over a mile of fresh cow clap liberally coating the road surface (Robin was nearly in tears as he witnessed his beautiful new mauve coloured frame - and matching socks - and baby pink Rapha jersey, become splattered with blobs of brown). We even found a few lanes that Mel, our expert on that neck of the woods, hadn't been on before and arrived at the café well before mid day.
With 50 odd miles in before lunch we took a more direct route back to Calderdale choosing the lesser known Peat Lane to climb over to Wharfedale and thereby avoiding the dreaded Geenhow Hill. Richard, who had been lacking the super form of the previous Sunday, was unfortunate enough to puncture twice on the return journey but apart from that all once again enjoyed a super day in the Dales.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Easyriders - Sunday 20th Sept

 This coming Sunday, 20th Sept, as discussed on the easyriders ride last week, we're intending to go to How Stean Gorge Café for lunch. Meeting at Shelf Roundabout at 8.30am. The intention is to make our way out to Pool via Apperley Bridge & Yeadon, up to Masham and over the moors to Lofthouse.

Neil & Phil & friends on Nick o' Pendle for the Tour of Britain

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Easyriders Report

Having an Easyriders ride proved to be very popular. Simon and I were joined at Denholmgate by Mick Collins, Martin Gargett and Damien, the latter having recently returned from Spain where he he's been putting in his final preparations for the social season. At Keighley we found Nigel and Richard sat on the bench by the roundabout sunning themselves. We dallied there a while acknowledging passing cyclists and enjoying the esprit de corps our sport enjoys before we gave up any hope of Ian turning up; although, once again, as soon as we got the pedals turning I caught the sound of his deep section carbons drumming along the road behind me. It seems we're all easyriders now.
It was a beautiful early autumn Sunday morning as we sped through Skipton, the church bells heralding our passage and the slight incline up Grassington Road a pleasure that only Easyriders can appreciate. No one dropped off the back and all took their turn at the front. We were up to Buckden, round the triangle and back down to Madame Zarina's by 11am having been joined by Mel on our return journey to Kettlewell and having covered about 45 miles at an average of just under 18½ mph.
I thought the timing of the café stop had been well planned, between the breakfast & lunchtime busy periods, however others had obviously been thinking along the same lines and it was bursting at the seams. We were accommodated in the back garden where bacon, sausage & egg sandwiches of average - not bad but not great quality and size were eventually delivered.
The return journey was made down the back roads through Conistone, Grassington, Hebden and Appletreewick to the Cavendish Pavillion and Bolton Bridge where again our new easyriding approach kept the peloton together.
Being unable to face Keighley twice on such a lovely day we took the back road through Beamsley down to Ilkley where we sampled a pint of Mary Jane at the Bah't At. Keighley Gate had been discussed for the route home but with Damien being concerned for the welfare of his expensive Zipp's and Mick having cracked yet another frame (bb on his Van Nick Ti) we erred on the side of caution and went up the Cow & Calf and on to Dick Hudsons - and an error it was, these roads being used as racetracks by weekend motorists eager to keep within a few feet of the car in front ignoring the narrow roads, blind dips and bends.
Mel said goodbye at Burley Woodhead, the rest of us going over to Bingley and Harden and up Bents Lane to Harecroft where Damien showed us just how successful his social season preparation has been by blowing up big time, however in the true spirit of easyriding we waited and offered encouragement rather than the usual tactic of just riding off.
More of the same next Sunday ? How Stean Gorge has been mentioned.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sunday Easyriders Section

I've arranged to meet Simon at Denholmegate at 8.30 tomorrow for an easy ride up to Buckden Triangle and back down to Zarina's for lunch. All welcome.

Well done to Chris who chose the Hull Thursday Hardriders 25 to debut his newly acquired disc wheel today. Despite windy conditions he recorded a time of 58.43 which gave him 5th place overall.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

6 Sept - Silverdale option

For those of us who don't know where Mirfield is, because it is way too far east from our home turf, we'll offer an alternative ride. Meet 9am in Keighley for a trundle up to Silverdale. I'd even suggest a lunch stop at the Falcon Inn in Arncliffe to get the social season off to a good start.

It looks like the Sutton Bank ride was well attended - looking forward to a full report. Meanwhile four more Condors met in Keighley at or about the appointed hour and took full advantage of the bright, sunny and warm conditions. The back roads to Settle were a pleasure and we had time for cofee in the sunshine, followed by scenic Silverdale. No pictures I'm afraid - there was no stopping these lads once they got going..

Then a rattle down Littondale with an increasing tailwind for a pint and lunch at the Falcon. Fuelled up for the ride home we even took in the pleasures of Addingham Moorside before tackling Keighley and the home roads. The picture below is in Arncliffe - I tried to get one outside the pub but then thought, for a change, of trying to show Condors on their bikes. As you can see, two of them tried to leap off again before the shot was taken.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Ravensthorpe Charity Challenge, Sun 6th Sept

This coming Sunday Ravensthorpe will be holding their annual Sutton Bank challenge ride. Its a 120 miler starting in Mirfield, 7.45 for 8.  The route can be seen at . There will be feed stations at Tadcaster on the way out and Wetherby on the return leg. A minimum donation of £5 is expected and all moneys raised will go to Kirklees Cycling Academy.  Condor's Simon Fortune (KCA Coach) will be there at 7.30 collecting donations.

Its always a well supported event with a wide range of speeds you're sure to find a group riding at the right speed for you. I'm hoping to get down to Mirfield but I'm not planning to do the full route.