Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Etape du Dales or '80 miles of headwind'

That's how most riders described this years event, and bloody cold as well. It was the hardest edition I can remember or perhaps it was just that I suffered more than usual. I started with a local friend but I suspected he would be too strong for me and I waved goodbye to him at the start of Buttertubs. As he rode away with the fast lads I settled down to chewing my handlebars for the next 5 hours or so.
The wind whisked us down Swaledale but Low Row is always painful and after turning for Tan Hill it was almost down to walking speed. I wasn't for hanging around in the freezing gale at Tan Hill to queue for a bottle re-fill so carried on towards Keld where the cross wind threatened to whip the bike away. I passed Chris Smith on the climb over to Nateby as he loyally shepherded his mate 'Stu' round, pity because I could have really done with some help from him !
I re-fuelled at the Moorcock after a vociferous reception from one of the West Pennine lads who was manning the feed station and then ground my way over the Coal Road, finding I still had to pedal hard on the descent to make any progress.
At Stainforth the wind got behind us making the run-in quite enjoyable but I was very relieved to get my sausage butty and a pint in my hand. I also met Chris Sylge, the only other Condor who had braved the day as well as VS's John Doherty and Eric. My time was exactly one hour behind my best, which seemed to be the norm for most. Tough, but a bit of an epic.

Times: Chris Sylge 8.11.27,   Chris Smith & Stu' 8.13.32 (I think),      
Mel 7.12.20.  

(I found some pictures but they are too distressing to publish !)    

Fred Whitton report

It has been a quiet couple of weeks on the blog, but that's probably down to it being 'sportive season' and time to put all of that early season mileage into action. Hopefully this post will encourage a flood of further news reports. I see that Chris was in action mid-week after this ride and again on Sunday for the Etape. Does he ever get tired?

On 10 May we had the Fred Whitton Challenge where I saw Chris at the start for about 5 miles, until we got to the start of Kirkstone Pass and he shot off like a rocket on target for a time of 6:49:23. My scouts at the finish reported a minor fall during the ride but Chris was still smiling at the end. Here are a couple of shots of the youngster in action, which I trust will also encourage a legitimate purchase from Steve Flemming!

This first one is taken on the way up to Hardknott, on a bit of road that normally would be considered a tough climb. Looking up you can then see the 'wall' section ahead, and Chris seems to be wearing an appropriate expression of 'were going up there?'

The second shows our man successfully riding the steep bit. The photo just doesn't quite capture the 33% angle, or the way that this comes after 98.6 miles of hard riding.

Of course, some riders simply  took it sitting down. But a bottom gear of around 30" does make that easier.

And finally, flying the Condor flag but rather over-geared (or under-powered) I made it up. With Robin doing the hard work all the way round and waiting for me at various times we made it back in a reasonable 07:45. Though I'm sure it could have been faster if we'd been served quicker in the cafe ...

Saturday, May 02, 2015


I add my thanks to Mr. Ginley's for the helpers last Saturday at the Imps road race. It did threaten to be a grimmer day than it turned out but I'm sure it was pretty cold stood on the roadside marshaling. A consolation for the guys was some fine pie & peas and good cheap ale in the All Rounders bar ! Hope Johns knee soon recovers - I'm still nursing my knee injury from Boxing Day !
I came across some good pics of the event on Facebook but unfortunately can't recall who to credit them to - Thanks anyway.    

Thursday, April 30, 2015


Imps road race, big thank you to the great condor support. We had PG, Alan, myself and Sandy at Barkisland plus John Lumb and his mate is it Mr White? Simon + son elsewhere on the course. Hope I haven't missed anyone? Its strange but when Sandy indicates STOP motorists obey whilst in my case they can elect to run me down.
Organiser Martin Gargett has also expressed his gratitude for our fine marshalling.
Race wise unfortunately i had a doggy knee so i had to withdraw but Brian and Mel in the inclement
conditions put in solid performances. Brian finished first in the O70's whilst Mel completed the event with John Galway who finished 3rd in the O55 cat which age group Mel will join in time for our Buckstone event in July. Thanks again.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

26 Apr - Slaidburn

I hope the racing lads had a good time today. For the club run this week I'm proposing Hebden Bridge 9am heading out to Slaidburn.

Write Up: Searching for images of the Riverside cafe in Slaidburn brings up several entries for this blog in the top ten. Lots of other riders go there, though it seems that they manage not to feel the need to put it on the web. This time we found local rider Seb Ramsey enjoying a toasted teacake, fresh back from competing in the first round of the Enduro World Series in NZ: http://www.enduroworldseries.com/emba-rankings/men_master

For the ride itself I can very nearly recycle a previous trip report: http://condorroadclub.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/fun-in-sun.html. This time it was Oakworth Steve, Builder Steve and myself, with kind help from Dougie and Martin of VS Cycles for the first miles to Padiham into the cooling northwesterly. After that we enjoyed the quiet lanes of the Trough, though the road surface down from Brownsholme Heights is now shocking. Lunch in the Sun was taken as expected, with the return route via Paythorne Moor, Bank Newton, Elslack and Cowling Pinnacle adding plenty of climbing meters.

Friday, April 24, 2015

General Splather

Its been great MTBing weather out there for the last 2 Thursdays although several who have expressed enthusiasm have failed to make the startline. Don't be shy, join us next Thurs, 6pm Brighouse.

I've just been looking at the startsheet for the Imps RR on Saturday (see Imps blog). Brian, Mel & Grimpy are there representing the Condor plus many other familiar names. Report to Martin Gargett at Greetland Community Centre by 9.15am Sat for marshalling duties.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Few Reminders etc

A very enjoyable day out on last Sundays club run up to Wensleydale, Chris and I were joined by Richard, Ian, Oakworth Steve, Robin and Mel. Although there was a nip in the air in the morning its always a bonus when it stays dry. Giving respect to the north easterly wind we did the clockwise circuit from Buckden enjoying a helping breeze up Langstrothdale and sheltered from the worst of the head winds by the bulk of Fleet Moss although once over the summit the wind did prevent us from travelling at the usual silly speeds down towards Hawes.
We gave Hawes a miss, turning right at Gayle to take lunch in the excellent café at Bainbridge before heading to Aysgarth via the back road through Thornton Rust. Our route choice paid dividends as we enjoyed the rare pleasure of being blown up Bishopdale and over Kidstones.  From Kettlewell we took the back roads down to Grassington and Burnsall. At Bolton Bridge, being keen to avoid Ingrow Chris and I kept Mel company on the back road down to Ilkley and Menston whilst the others took the Cringles option. A great day out conducted at a very respectable pace.
Today the Wednesday Vets Ride took us over Buckstones and down to Saddleworth before Paul Gower lead us into new territories round Castleshaw Reservoirs and Bleak Hey Nook to return to Yorkshire over Standedge.  and down to Marsden from where we sought out even more cols over to Meltham and then to Holmfirth for lunch via Upperthong.

Once refreshed we returned to our home roads through Netherthong and Blackmoorfoot, dropping down to Slaithwaite and in homage to the forthcoming Tour de Yorkshire attacking the Col de Scapegoat Hill before taking a look at Grimpy's LVRC road race route over Scammonden. Shorts and short sleeves - may there be many more similar days !
Hoppy, Brian & Grimpy lead the way on the Pennine Bridleway
Thursday evening MTB ride is on again tomorrow - 6pm Brighouse.

Reminder - Saturday 25th - Imps Road Race, Norland, as usual Condor's required to help with marshalling - be at Greetland Community Centre 9 to 9.15 , more details on sidebar.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sunday 19th - Wensleydale

I've arranged to meet Chris at Keighley roundabout at 8.30am for a wander up to Wharfedale and Wensleydale. All welcome.

From Ian:
As usual the full tale of the day will already have been relaid via Strava. I used up the maximum waiting time at the start but luckily the Condor sextet were still in sight as I arrived and were soon chased down. A strong and nagging nor'easterly kept the pace steady. It's worth noting that Richard kindly lead the way out of Skipton and hopefully that extra effort wasn't the cause of him trailing off later in the day.

With Nigel absent on holiday I had to pass some remarks on his behalf. These being '8:30! For a club run!' and 'Wensleydale in April!' Yep, far too early and far too ambitious mileage wise. But it worked, we had a great day, so I'll stand corrected.

Not having been over these roads since 'The other Fleet Moss Randonee' this was something of a rare treat. We had a nice bit of Wensleydale (Gromit) in this lovely valley, with the cafe stop at Bainbridge where bacon and egg baguettes were the order of the day. Then, at last, we turned for home and picked up the tail wind over Kidstones (first time for me over there). Well, we'd earned it by then, and took advantage all the way home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mountain Biking

I'm meeting Simon & Adam in Brighouse on Thursday for a couple of hours mountain biking. Meeting bottom on Hudds Rd outside Websters at 6pm - hoping to make it a regular ride - meeting time will move to 6.30 when daylight lengthens. This will be a social ride rather than a training session. All welcome.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring into / Circuit of the Dales

Well done to Chris who rode his new time trial bike in anger for the 1st time yesterday in the Circuit of the Dales 50 mile event taking 11th place overall in this classic event. I understand that the weather was pretty grim with strong winds, rain and hail ( all of which I suspect added to Chris' enjoyment of the event ). I look forward to hearing the full grizzly details from the man himself.

Whilst Chris was enjoying himself time trialling many other Condors were battling the elements in the Spring into the Dales Audax. For once I'd taken notice of the forecast and put away my best bike choosing instead full guards and saddlebag containing spare winter hat and gloves along with food and overshoes. Riding out to the start at Mytholmroyd I was joined by Robin who was dressed ready for what a Spring day ought to be like and riding his new X bike with 11 speed Di2 and hydraulic discs - ah well he wasn't planning to be on the road as long as me.
Despite the weather forecast we had a reasonable turnout, Adrian Lord, Paul G, Lumby, Mick White, Oakworth Steve, Vicar & Phil Haigh joining Robin and myself toeing the start line, a notable absentee being Mel, who along with Cancellara and Boonan has been absent from the recent 'monuments'. After spending several months chasing NZ Paul and Padiham Chris on similar endeavours my plan was to have a less urgent ride, which with Phil for company is what I did. We enjoyed lunch at Burnsall's Wharfe View Cafe  before battling blustery head winds and icy rain for the final 30 mile stretch. A memorable day out - just ask Phil.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring into the Dales


       Pronunciation:  /sprɪŋ/
Forms:  OE– spring, ME–16 springe; OEen.15 spryng(e, ME sprung,  sprenge, 15 spreng.
a. A flow of water rising or issuing naturally out of the earth; a similar flow obtained by boring or other artificial means.
 b. A flow of water possessing special properties, esp. of a medicinal or curative nature. Usually with various distinguishing adjs., as chalybeate, hot, mineral, thermal, warm, etc.
 c.  pl. A place or locality having such springs to which invalids or pleasure-seekers resort.

As regards a) we can testify that springs also arise unnaturally out of the earth, notably atop Cock Hill where our boring away into a biblical headwind let loose uphill travelling flows

As regards b) we can testify that the special properties of said flow were far from curative, unless a full scale, heavenly enema into every orifice is on some list of medicinal properties

As regards c) we can testify that for the small minority of testers whose closest, life-long companion is their stem there might just have been some pleasure to be found up there, but the rest of came down thoroughly invalided

Up until Cock Hill though we had a grand day ... a mannered climb out of Hebden for a change, blown round to Stanbury where John and I found Ian doing a Pete Horne 'pottering on'  - having started his own route at his own time - so we gathered him up and persuaded him to stick with us in a small front bunch, which lasted until Thorpe, where we let a few crack on as we held back a little, ever wary of worsening weather. Cringles gave us notice of what was to come, the gels were consumed if only to have something other than road water in one's mouth (mine after my flippantly having told Ian I was not going to need them), then the calm of old Keighley road before the storm .... and then of course there was the rice pudding (skin still in tact by the time I got back this year ... yeah) and a knackered heater around which a gathering of clothing and cyclists grew damply. Soon after getting home the bloody sun came out. The Pennines heh. 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Ronde Report

The mile munchers amongst us have had a busy few weeks with the Chirk 200 being run off in heavy rain and strong winds the week before it was bliss to have dry roads and sunshine for last Sundays cobbled classic, the Ronde van Calderdale.  This event, the main organiser being our mate Mick Collins on behalf of Kirklees Cycling Academy,  is rightly growing in reputation, the 500 places disappearing quickly before the end of last year. However Mick had the foresight to have saved some places for the local lads and lasses to be able to enter on the day and
 I'm so glad he did.

Thanks to Jon Jolly for the above pics of our guys ascending Shibden Wall (plus Chris' mate Tod Stu who joined us for the day)

On Tuesday evening we said goodbye to Paul & Lynda Daly who today (Thurs) are flying away to start a new life in New Zealand. A few pints were consumed at the Cross Keys where we were joined by our good friends from the Imps. Unfortunately the photos taken on my old iPhone aren't worth posting.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Spring Into The Dales - 12 April 2015

Hopefully the good weather will hold for this coming Sunday 12 April and there'll be a good Condor turnout at the SITD/LITA ride - leaves 9am from Mytholmroyd Community Centre; allow a few minutes to sign in at the start and hand over your £4, and a few more for tea and a chat.

Last week it was just 3 for the Pateley Bridge ride but we enjoyed sunshine and temperatures in the high teens by mid afternoon.  It was very pleasant to stop for a restorative tonic at the Dick Hudsons pub looking at the windmills of home on the horizon, and a nice surprise at how quickly we crossed the valleys to get there. I'm sure Strava has already disclosed the rest of the tale.

Oh, and Oakworth Steve has threatened to conduct a weigh-in of the best bikes. There were some mutterings about UCI minimum weight limits also applying to Condor club rides and CTC events, but I'm sure that bike and rider combined I'm well over 6.8Kg.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Ravesthorpe CC - Invitation to 'A night with Brian' - 29 April 2015

Phillip Johnson‎
Dear fellow cyclist, my club ravensthorpe cc are honouring our favourite club member Brian robinson at gomersal park hotel on 29th April...".a night with Brian" 7pm kick off. Want to come? 5 quid a ticket with money going to the Dave Rayner fund which brian is president of. The idea is to heve brian reminiscent of his cycling days and take questions from the floor, im trying to sell tickets to local clubs 120 so far sold . Im quite happy to come over for those who wish some just add to this post.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Round and Ronde

I understand that it is the Ronde van Calderdale this Sunday 5 April.

For those who haven't entered we need to come up with another option. I'd suggest Keighley at 9:30 and a ride to Pateley Bridge.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

A Bit of a Doooooo

Paul and Lynda Daly will be flying off to start their new lives in New Zealand next Thursday and have invited everyone to come and say goodbye at the Cross Keys, Siddal, next Tuesday from 7.30pm.  Please spread the word (even Imps are welcome).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sunday 29 March - Heavy Weather

The suggested club run this week is 9:30 at Keighley - don't forget to reset your clocks, and to bring your cape.

Airton has been mentioned, but then so has Settle and Bolton-by-Bowland. Let's see how we feel and how the rain comes in. It would be good to get the westerly behind us at least for the homeward leg. I'll not be using the best bike.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Punishment Park (more punishing for some than others)

Good turn out for last Sunday's club run down to 'Punishment Park'. A great day for the classic circuit of Holme Moss, Snake and Strines, dry roads, sunshine and a temperature approaching 10 degrees. Robin's missing from the above pic, two café stops in one day was just too much for him so had ploughed along to enjoy Crowedge alone whilst we enjoyed the café stop and the back roads back to Calderdale.

This coming Sunday Simon, Paul, Chris and myself are riding the Chirk 200. Poynton down to Wales and back. Its described as a flat ride but with strong westerly winds forecast so it shouldn't be too easy.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sunday 22nd March and a bit more

A trip down to punishment park is proposed for this coming Sunday, meet 9am Sainsbury's Roundabout, Brighouse for Holme Moss, Snake & Strines.

Simon and I have entered the Chirk 200 Audax on Sunday 29th March, there are no entries on the day so if you fancy joining us get your entry in, on line, before 22nd.

Also on the itinerary is the Monyash Peak 100k Audax on Weds 8th April (Easter week), its challenging scenic route from Marple.   Paul D and myself rode it a couple of years ago in deep snow and were the only ones to finish so I'm hoping the weather will be kinder this year. I think its the following day that Paul boards the big bird in the sky to leave our shores pursuit of a better life in the antipodes so if you've promised yourself to give him some pain this may be your last chance.
For those looking for a flatter ride the Icecream Wensdae 100 is on the same day from the same location.

The following Sunday, the 12th April its our local Spring Classic, the Spring into the Dales 110k Audax from Mytholmroyd, organised by our friends from Halifax CTC.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Red Rose Ride Report

Sunday Morning outside the Oddfellows Rooms

The Red Rose Ride
Another brilliant day was had this Sunday with a large number of riders attending The Red Rose Ride 200km Audax. Condor colours were a little thinly spread with only myself, Simon and Paul (who only threatened to ride to the Whalley control.
An 8am start through Halifax meant we were soon clear of town centre traffic and making swift progress with the early climbs sorting the wheat from the chaff. 
Paul and I lead the front group down to Keighley and over Cowling, Laneshawbridge and over The Moss. A strong group including
 Mick Collins, Simon Mayfield and Paul Ward.
We climbed over Padiham Heights, descending to Whalley and bidding adieu to Paul. Within moments Simon had caught us at the control and from here I rolled up the road with Mick and Simon navigating, at a steady pace.
Mick had told me that no-one could moan about a ride quiet as much as him, and this was surely true, as we approached The Trough Of Bowland. With a tailwind and the pleasant babble of Langden Brook, what could be better?
The descent to Abbeystead is one of my favorites. Simon said he was pleased he had conquered  The Trough and Mick just couldnt wait to sample the WHOLE new menu at The Lantern o Lune, which is now a bistro.
With only a brief rest-bite myself and Simon battled the headwind section to Longridge. Simon seemed thankful for my wheel which I gladly provided, but insisted that I press on now that we were on familiar roads. The road to Whalley was more undulating than I remember, but head down, ass up, I passed the few audaxers who had slipped us at the controls.
The climb up through Padiham and Burnley came and went, after all its one that's ingrained in my legs over the years. The Calder Valley was a sight to behold, with the bright afternoon sun reflecting off its steep rocky sides.
I arrived back to the HQ alone as the first finisher at 4.10pm, 5 mins before Chris Crossland had estimated me to arrive. As always a lovely spread of refreshments including the legendary trophy rice pudding was waiting. 10 mins passed when Simon arrived, having battled it alone, showing good form for his Paris - Brest -Paris lead up. Another 10 mins until the strong group we had ridden with earlier. I later passed Mick as I rode home still riding strongly as he approached Halifax.
Well done to all and thank-you to the organisers for another great route.  

Chris Smith

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sunday 15th March - Red Rose Ride

This coming Sunday its the Red Rose 200k Audax, 8am from the Oddfellows Rooms, Halifax. Unfortunately I can't ride it myself this year but I'm sure it will as usual be well supported by the Condor.
Chris and I had an excellent day out last Sunday on the Yorkshire Gallop Audax, a good write up and photos can be found at http://balancingontwowheels.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/yorkshire-gallop-200km-audax.html

Monday, March 02, 2015

(No So) Delightful Dales

Chris and the author on The Old Coal Road

It was never  a great forecast for yesterdays Delightful Dales 200k ride but in my experience the weather is usually far better than the forecast - this is what I told Steve T when he let me know on Saturday that, after seeing the weather report, he had decided to give it a miss. However Padiham Chris and Irish John were not dissuaded by the possibilities of snow showers in the high Pennines and joined me and about 40 others to set out from Pendleton Village Hall at 7.30am on a dry but windy Sunday morning.

With a south westerly wind it was a pleasure to be blown up to Kettlewell and over Park Rash, there were even short intervals of blue sky in between hail showers as we raced down to the 1st check at Middleham. The ride over to Swaledale from Leyburn was not as hard as expected but once we turned west in Grinton we began to feel the full force of the westerly gale. However cycling in Swaledale can never be anything other than a beautiful experience although the undulations made sure I couldn't shelter behind Chris and John and I was happy to watch them disappear up the road, settling in to my own constant effort.

Towards the head of the dale I was caught and passed by the 5 times National Hill Climb Champion, Jim Henderson, he'd set off 10 minutes late from the start and was ploughing through the field, it was interesting to watch him in the distance pulling back Chris and John over Birkdale Common on the road to Nateby.

Jim Henderson accepting his Hill Climb trophy from Eddy Merckx following his 2003 victory on Halifax Lane, Luddenden.

The 2nd and last checkpoint was at the pub in Nateby where after battling headwinds and hail I joined Chris, John and Jim. Unfortunately they not doing sandwiches but did a grand sticky toffee pudding and custard - I'm not sure I would have survived the next section without it. Jim declined to partake in the pudding fest and set off alone as we sat there, dessert spoons at the ready.

The hail was just beginning to turn to snow as we left he pub and it was surprising just how quickly it settled. By the time we got to the Moorcock junction at Garsdale, Chris and John were 100 yds ahead of me so any thoughts of taking what may have been an easier and lower level but slightly longer route to Ribblehead via Hawes were thwarted. The Old Coal Road over to Dentdale lived up to its reputation, I'd put a pair of new tires on the bike a few days earlier and they refused to offer traction even after letting some air out to reduce the pressure, this together with the cassette being jammed up with snow causing the chain to jump (excuses! excuses!) slowed progress.

However we battled on, I had to walk up Newby Head but was still making faster progress than several cars. Once back on the bike I had a couple of falls which began to make me ultra cautious. I was expecting conditions to improve as we dropped down towards Horton, they did, but only a little. John and Chris had a pint mug of tea and a toasted teacake ready for me when I got to the Pen y Gent café at Horton and once consumed we were off again. By Settle the roads had improved and by Wigglesworth we were on wet rather than snow packed roads making good progress again. It was good to get back to Pendleon. A few more observations of the days Audaxing can be seen here -

An ever smiling Chris waits for his team mate at Ribblehead
Thanks to John and his iPhone for the photos

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.