Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Sunday & Bank Holiday Monday

Meet 8.30 Denholmgate/9am Keighley for club run - if weathers okay suggest, Kidstones/Wensleydale/Fleet Moss.

Another RVC report here -

Easter Monday mountain biking - as usual, 6.30pm Hipperholme Crossroads

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Unwound

Meanwhile, at the back of the peleton, the slower riders have their own potterings to report.
I'd no intention of going with the main Condor gang after a couple of weeks away from the bike. A very steady pace up Cock Hill saw me passing and then being caught again by various small groups of riders while watching the blue and white bunch stretch ever further ahead. Drawing on the years of being taught how to suffer round a ride, I settled in to my own pace.

Vicar caught me up in Oxenhope and we had a steady ride over to Earby in the pleasant company of a CTC chap and a couple of riders from Pendle Forest CC. Oakworth Steve joined us at the refreshments ready for the next leg to Gargrave. The little road through Thorpe is one of my favourites and was enjoyed with plenty of time to admire the view. A cafe stop at Burnsall had been planned and was duly executed, picking up Nigel there just finishing his sausage butty. Damien had taken sustenance too but declared felling unwell and was off straight home.
So the four Condors (Steve, Nigel, Richard, Ian) carried on and sprang from the dales back toward home. Personally I like the Draughton climb but the younger Hartley started to feel weary here and unclipped to stretch his legs. Steve looked like he was having a very easy time but was always happy to maintain just the right pace. We got back just in time for the second (maybe third?) round of rice pudding to be brought forward from the kitchens (the first lot having long since gone). Now I know that there is more rice pudding out the back in reserve, I'll never again race to be first back!

Comes a Time

Martyn Bury's pride & joy when purchased new in 1997. Admired for many years but hardly ever ridden he has decided its time it went to a better home.
COLNAGO SUPERISSIMO in Columbus steel tubing. 61cm from BB centre to top of top tube.
Campagnolo Athena 8 speed. Mavic rims & Cinelli bars/stem. Beautiful finish with lots of chrome.
Any retro loving interest contact Martyn: 01422 360270 / Mob. 07826 822855.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring into the Dales and Monday MTBing

A good turn out by the Condor for last Sunday's Spring into the Dales on a cool and windy day. I'd been a bit dis-organised and got to the start HQ at Mytholmroyd Community Centre with only minutes to spare before the start. Glancing round at the assembled hoards I saw President Robinson was there continuing his preparation for the Fred Whitton, also present were Mel and Padihan Chris looking like they meant business, Robin, Brian, Paul D and Grimpy (who should have points deducted for travelling to Mytholmroyd by car), Old Town Stewart, Nigel and Oakworth Steve were looking up for the challenge as were Lumby and The Vicar. I also caught sight of Damien toeing the start line although no one seems to know what fate befell him during the ride.

I must thank Paul Daly for dragging me round the route, I'd no legs for the climbs, was well off the pace by the top of Cock Hill and continued to be dropped on every subsequent climb, but with Paul's encouragement and pacing I was dragged back to the wheels of Brian & John. We found Robin loitering in Stanbury having been discarded by Mel and Chris who were long gone making light of the stiff head winds in the company of cyclo-cross star Chris Taylor and a schoolboy from Colden, Rob Scott.

After the Earby check the wind began to be a little more helpful and the miles began to pass beneath our wheels a little quicker as we passed through West Marton, Gargrave, Cracoe, Appletreewick and Bolton Abbey. Draughton Moor again had me grovelling and losing contact, but my super-domestique once again saved the day and we entered Keighley as a group of 5 Condor's and a couple of North Cheshire Clarions who had been astute enough to notice that the Condor's didn't need to waste time looking at the route sheet.

From the Keighley check the hammer went down, Robin begged a gel from Grimpy, it went straight to his legs, he jumped on the bike with Grimpy on his wheel, and ignoring all obsacles they were up the road before Brian and I knew what was happening. Brian displayed immense fortitude, eventually, just before Oxenhope, catching up. Paul once again waited for me although I was beyond being paced we rode together to finish a minute before 2 o'clock and enjoy the renowned CTC hospitality and a chat with Mel and Chris who had finished over half an hour earlier.

I think Mel should give us a report as to how the ride developed at the head of the field and who had the honor of breaking the skin on the rice pudding.

With just the 4 of us by Stanbury it meant a well disciplined and enjoyable ride with no-one attempting any heroics. Young Rob (almost 16) was strong but I was expecting him to fade later in the ride however when Chris Taylor expired at Oxenhope the youth took off and was next seen at Mytholmroyd ! I clung on to Padiham Chris & battled painfully over Cock Hill. We insisted that Rob deservedly performed the 'rite of passage' on the rice pud ! Surely a talent for the future.
Great to see so many on the ride - a grand annual day out.

We were again blessed with good weather for our 2nd  of our summer social mountain bike rides on Monday evening. There were 11 hitting the trails round Brighouse, Southowram, Claremount, Ploughcroft and Ambler Thorn with a couple of us calling at the Cock o' the North shed on the way home. 6.30pm Monday evenings at Hipperholme Xroads should anyone fancy joining us.

Monday, April 14, 2014

IMPS Road Race Saturday 26th April

Having just recovered from sitting on Robins wheel in the 'skip into the dales addax on Sunday' ( i'm sure Pete and/ or Mel will have the details up soon) my thoughts turn to the Imps RR ( Derek Smith Memorial) on Saturday 26th April.

Martin Gargett needs your marshalling skills. Trust you can kindly help. This year its on Saturday from around 9.00 again at the Greetland Community centre HX4 8JG. Using the norland moor circuit. Your help will i'm sure be reciprocated at our event on May 17th. 
Many Thanks 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sunday 13th April

Spring into the Dales this Sunday, 115k of pure joy, the usual circuit taking us from the South Pennines up into the Dales and back. Good weather is guaranteed by Chris Crossland and his CTC Calderdale team, always a Spring highlight. If you haven't pre-entered get down to Mytholmroyd Community Centre with your £4.50 and an Audax entry form in time for a 9am start.

If you can't get there for 9am then ride the Leap into the Aire, half the distance and a 10am start.

Note the change of HQ - its Mytholmroyd Community Centre not Salem Community Centre,

Race reports - Grimpy began the defence of his LVRC Percy Stallard National Road Race Series in the best possible way near Worcester last Sunday by claiming maximum points.
Brian was away holidaying last weekend but put in a 27mph ave speed 10mile time trial the previous weekend.
Chris Smith's keeping it quiet but he rode the Working Wonders Cragg Vale Time Trial on the evening of the 3rd of April, he won the event with a 17 minute ride and now has the fastest ascent on the Robin Hood blackboard.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Ronde 3 - Chris Smith's report

A Crave for the Pave'

Old Lane

I had been looking forward to the Ronde Van Calderdale with its "novel"cobbled climbs for months. Id been told what a hard challenge it was and this made me even keener. But it turned out to be a very eventful event for me.

Less than 1 mile into the route I had a complete blow out to my rear rim. I knew it was irreparable at the roadside so I decided to jog back to the HQ, bike on shoulder, hoping some kind soul would have a spare rear wheel to lend.

I owe a massive thank you to Mark Saddler who not only lent me a wheel, but his cyclocross bike to carry on and tackle the epic course.

Armed with this trusty steed (complete with pannier racks) I knew I was well out of the front bunch but decided to plough on regardless. The cobbles were calling!

Working my way from group to group I negotiated the first loop of this very well signed route. I soon realized that I wasn't the only Condor to have suffered mechanically that day. Mel had hit a patch of scattered glass, and was rapidly repairing. Back together we carried on to soon find that Mels tyre had shredded and was again quiet flat. Being close to the Brighouse feed he suggested I carry on while he did what he
could to patch, ( the same happened to him last year also )

I was soon to realize that Marks bike performed quite well on the rough stuff as I sent it up the cobblestones ( wider tyres, comfy for your ass! )

Counting down the cobbled climbs I was becoming impressed as I was able to ride were most had to resort to dismounting. Old Lane was greasy in places, but steering to the drier areas, maintained traction to get me onward and upward, where Mark Saddler handed over a bannana and commented how good his bike looked (sarcastically).

Jowler, Fly-Flats and Cock Hill. A descent to Sowerby Bridge and the last few of these granite beauties. Here I seemed to be passing riders from all over who had traveled from afar to ride the best of what Yorkshire had to throw at them.

Trooper Lane did what it should and dissolved all but a few of the strongest. 3RTs Dan spurred me on as I maintained some power "Good tempo lad! Keep it up!" The lungs rasped, the legs stabbed and even my voice wavered as I politely shouted at those pushing, simply "COMING THROUGH!" 

With not a lot left in the tank, but not far to go I caught some strong lads and went to the front where I stayed to the HQ.

Here I chatted to Mel who had managed the repair but decided to cut out the Fly-Flats and Cock Hill section. We enjoyed an array of food and drink provided kindly by Asda for the feed stations. And a specially brewed bottle of Ronde Van Calderdale ale. GRAND!

A very eventful event. Cheers Guys.

Chris Smith    

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Ronde 2

I was just getting over another bought of man flu when a crash left me nursing wounds, missing the Wheelbase Spring Classic and worrying all week about not really being up to the challenges of the Ronde van Calderdale when I realised that there was a shorter alternative on offer, where I could still qualify for my hat and finishers bottle of 'Ronde van Calderdale' ale.  Only the cobbled climbs of Brighouse Wood Lane, Staups Lane, The Hough, Lee Lane, Gibb Lane, Luddenden Old Lane, Woodhouse Lane, Wakefield Gate, Exley Bank and Trooper Lane rather than the more difficult full route.
It was a good decision and took the self imposed pressure away from me to attempt to go beyond my comfort zone but still enjoy the camaraderie that the Ronde generates.
I rode out to the start at Spen Valley High School with Paul Daly who had been unable to secure an entry but was happy to keep me company part way around the route. We joined up with Ian Wellock who was also riding the shorter route and Richard Burnham who, having to be home by mid day had ridden out to wish his Condor club mates bon-voyage.
We were able to offer our support to Mel and Chris at the start of the full route, I could see that Chris was really up for a good ride - he'd even removed the mudguards from his loan bike, Mike Darke's old turbo bike, his preferred mount for the day due to its triple chainset.
Unfortunately neither Mel or Chris had luck on their side, Mel, for the 2nd year running falling victim to a shredded tyre whilst looking good for a top finish and Chris blowing the rear rim only a mile or so into the challenge then jogging back to the HQ pushing and carrying the disabled bike.
Chapeau to Chris who once back at HQ borrowed Mark Saddler's winter bike (three cheers for Mark who was busy on official duties) and set off to catch many of those who must have then been miles ahead of him - lesser men would surely have thrown the bike over a wall and abandoned. Not only did he complete the route but he rode all the climbs, even Old Lane which had earlier had Paul, Ian and me declaring to be un-rideable due to its wet, mossy surface.

Many thanks to Mick Collins, Kelly and the rest of the team from KCA and 3RT

Ronde Van Calderdale

Some rather good shots from Sunday,

Peter has promised a write-up but I can tell you that the day wasn't without incident - I badly cut a tyre early on and after struggling to patch it up I didn't want to risk a repeat of last year when I destroyed a tyre over Haworth Old  Road so opted for the shorter route home. Poor young Chris needed a bike change before The Three Nuns, barely a mile after the start. Still a classic day out though.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Monday Mountain Biking

Tomorrow, 6.30pm Hipperholme crossroads for this seasons 1st MTB evening - a shortish, easy ride (I hope).   Ronde van Calderdale report to follow.

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.