Thursday, March 26, 2015

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

(Peter) Paul & Mary - Next Sunday 1st Feb

Good turnout for last Sunday's club run with Paul D, Chris, Damien, Richard, Steve T, Steve B and myself joined by Martin from the Imps and the Bingley 2, Phil Rawnsley and Stephen Mattocks.

A clockwise route for the Darnbrook circuit was chosen in the hope of a tail wind over to Arncliffe from Malham and a steady start was made over to Connonley with the pace gradually increasing as first Paul and then Stevie Barker went to the front. Richard,  still searching for his late 2014 form and finding the pace uncomfortable, said au revoir at Eshton to ride up to Cracoe and meet up with us again in Littondale. 

By Airton Steve B decided that he had inflicted enough pain and turned for home as the rest of us attacked Malham Cove on the eastern road. As planned the wind blew us over to Arncliffe. We swept up Richard on the descent and flew down to Burnsall café via Conistone and Grassington. As usual the café, which was bursting at the seams with fellow cyclists, supplied us with a first class fare and service.

Once on the road again we made our way to Bolton Bridge via Appletreewick and Cav Pav. Addingham Moorside was chosen as our next challenge although the Bingley lads, Richard and a resurgent Damien all chose the less interesting Cringles route home.

Once over Moorside someone who will remain nameless (Paul) came up with the idea of turning left in Silsden and going over Robin Hood, once it was established that Chris had never had that pleasure previously there was no other alternative although I'm not sure Martin and Steve T were as enthusiastic as they could have been.

The climb up to Robin Hood Woods was just as enjoyable as ever and once we regrouped it was down to Bingley then Harden and Bents Lane, thereby making it back to Calderdale without having to plough up the boring Ingrow.

(Peter) Paul & Mary
As you are all aware Paul Daly will soon be leaving our green and pleasant land to start a new life terrorising cyclists in New Zealand. He has been granted one last last wish before he leaves our shores and that is to ride the Mary Townley Loop one more time before he goes. We're going have a nostalgic potter round the Loop this coming Sunday, the 1st of Feb. Meet Callis Bottom road crossing 8am - there's plenty of escape routes should you not want to do the full distance.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Messing about

As Pete was posting his suggested ride to Darnbrook while looking out at a few falling flakes it was already 4" deep in snow up at my house and getting worse. Hence we opted for mtb and a route which kept us up in the cold, clear and crisp morning air. A couple of photos here give a flavour of the day, though they don't convey the slip-sliding grin-inducing fun of it all.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sunday 18th & early season events

I was going to suggest the Darnbrook circuit for tomorrows ride, either Arncliffe first or Malham first depending on wind direction and strength but its been a pretty dire couple of days and upon looking out of the window now and seeing heavy dollops of wet snow steadily falling from the sky I'm not at all sure I even want to go out on the bike.
However I will suggest meeting 9am Denholmgate/9.30 Keighley although I'm not 100 per cent confident of being there myself.

The North West Passage will take place on Saturday 21st February (5 weeks today), unfortunately this year the 3rd Saturday in February is followed a day later by the last Sunday in February, which of course is the day of the Halifax Imps Reliability Ride (new route being planned), so its a busy weekend.
However this (almost) clash does afford us the opportunity to once again ride the Delightful Dales on Sunday 1st of March, a 200k Audax from Pendleton taking in the delights of Park Rash, Birkdale Common and the Coal Road.
Due to 2015 being PBP year, the Red Rose Ride is much earlier than usual, taking place on Sunday 15th March.

This years Ronde Van Calderdale is to be on Easter Sunday, the 5th April. Unfortunately all places on the long route were sold out before the end of 2014 which is a tragedy for those of us who ride it every year. However I thought we could go ahead with a Ronde Recce on Sunday 22nd March.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Congratulations to Grimpy & Sunday 11th Jan

A week after taking the bronze medal in Switzerland at  the World Masters Cyclo Cross Championships John today stepped up to the top of the podium at Abergavenny in the British Cycling National Championships. Congratulations John from all your club mates.

Sunday 11th Jan
Meet 9am Denholmgate or 9.30 Keighley. I was going to suggest Waddington for lunch but lets keep options open pending the weather.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Ride Report

The above septenary of Condors met at Keighley roundabout today for our inaugural Sunday run of 2015. In bright sunshine, with a nip in the air, we were joined by Keith Lambert for a reasonably steady ride up to Kettlewell. Tradition dictates that from Kettlewell we return down the valley on the singletrack lane to the east of the river but for once caution won the day. Steve & Robin were keen to chance their luck on the ice but Keith and Mel (who had joined us just before Kettlewell) won the day and we retraced out route as far as Threshfield and then went down to Burnsall to spend an hour relaxing in the welcoming atmosphere of the Wharfe View Tea Rooms (along with Alistair Brownlee and his mates including a triathlete from Hungary).

From the café the pace increased as Robin and Mel hit the front and drove the train down to Bolton Abbey and Addingham. Again the preferred route over Addingham Moorside was avoided in favour of the safer and busier Cringles. Mel said goodbye and turned off towards his home but Robin had caught the speed bug, setting a lively pace over to Silsden which saw off Ian (too much holidaying over the holiday period) and  Damien eventually succumbed to lack of miles in December.
There was no stopping Robin though, he was last seen darting through traffic in Silsden. This left Chris (who had been keeping a low profile and keeping out of Keiths way) on the front with Keith. They took us through Keighley and to the foot of Ingrow, we singled out for the bends, Chris went to the front alone with Keith locked to his wheel, I went off the back, and so eventually did the 2 Steve's.
Another great day out - and home for 2.30.

Friday, January 02, 2015

NYD and Sunday 4th

Windy Hill

Good to see Paul D and Richard back on their bikes yesterday joining myself, Brian, Chris, Phil Haigh, Neil King & Steve T, plus a great turn out from 3RT, several young guns from Kirklees Cycling Academy and representing the Imps, Hoppy.  In an attempt not to get dropped before Fixby Roundabout Brian and I led the 20+ peloton out of Brighouse, being joined by several more riders before we adjourned for breakfast at 3 seperate cafe's in Holmfirth.

The next leg of the journey over the Isle of Skye tested not only strength and fitness but with a strong and blustery cross headwinds, bike handling skills were at a premium. Once down into Saddleworth we were treated to tail winds and refreshing rain for the rest of the journey to The Works at Sowerby Bridge where Mr Gower was waiting to relieve us of £6 for the 2014 club subs (£5 off 1st jersey for new members).

Only 6 weeks to the North West Passage so training begins this coming Sunday, 9am Denholmgate or 9.30 Keighley.  The cyclist formally known as Padiham Chris has suggested we follow the same route as last year - Kettlewell and back down the eastern side of the valley to the café at Hebden, then home over Addingham Moorside - sounds like a good plan to me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New YearsDay

Numbers were down for last Sundays club run with regulars like Paul D, Damien and Oakworth Steve all falling by the wayside it was left to tough guy's, Padiham Chris, Turbo Steve, with me as a bit of a tag along to fly the Condor colours. We were joined by Aire Valley's Tim Small and, due to the temperature being minus 4 decided to stick to more travelled roads.

We headed straight up to Skipton and over to Wharfedale, surprised to see that north of Skipton the snow disappeared and the dale was looking magnificent bathed in bright winter sunshine. At Threshfield we caught a guy on a mountain bike, we were keeping up a good average speed and by Kilnsey Crag I was impressed that the MTBer was still sat in and looking very comfortable. I dropped back to have a chat, asking him where he was going, and as I did so I noticed a pair of Walshes (fell running shoes) strapped to his Camelbak. He told me that he was on his way up to the White Lion at Cray from where he was going to run up Buckden Pike before meeting his mates back at Cray the having a pint a every pub on the way back down the dale - he made me feel like we were having a lazy day.

We said goodbye to him just short of Cray when we turned left towards Hubberholme to complete the Buckden Triangle. This little road confirmed to us that we had been sensible keeping to the busier highways as an icy surface was very evident.

Travelling back down the dale we enjoyed a slight tail wind. We stopped at the café opposite the car park in Kettlewell (Zarina's being closed) and had very ordinary bacon & sausage sandwiches, tea and a bun; at £10 odd we were not at all impressed.

From there we flew down the back road to Grassinton - Linton - Cracoe - Gargrave - Cononley B..tard and home. As usual Chris was on top form and Steve also showed us he has been kissed by the god of speed. Tim behaved himself (as expected from a guest rider on his 1st outing) and I clocked up 90 miles or so towards the Strava 500 Challenge.

                        Brian Sunter and the late Phil Smithies plus 3RT member

Which brings me to the subject of the blog entry - don't forget 10am Brighouse, New Years Day for breakfast at Holmfirth and afternoon refreshments at Sowerby Bridge

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sunday 28th and New Years Day

A grand day out was had on Christmas Eve, despite my new tyres feeling as if they were sticking to the road we made the 45 miles into a stiff head wind to get to Elaines Tea Rooms at Feizor by 11.15, and the effort was more than worthwhile when a short time later we were tucking in to the best bacon, sausage and egg sandwiches in the world washed down with a limitless supply of strong tea.

The calories went straight to our legs and by just turned mid day we were hurtling down Bucca' Brow with a tail wind, the momentum taking us up Langcliffe Scar and over to Malham from where Chris and Steve set a relentless pace back to Keighley with me having all on to sit-in.

Sunday 28th December,  meet 9am Denholmgate/9.30 Keighley. 40 or 50 miles en route to Neil's Christmas Pie & Pints Do.

New Years Day,  meet Sainsburys Roundabout, Brighouse, 10am for Holmfirth and Isle of Skye and a pint at Sowerby Bridge.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Eve

Not a bad forecast for Wednesday and as a few of us need to be home in reasonable time I'm meeting Paul D at Denholmgate at 8.30 and Chris at Keighley at 9am for a potter up to Feizor and, time permitting, a return over Langcliffe.  All welcome.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Whats On & Whats Been On

34 attended todays Wednesday Club Christmas Lunch and I think everyone was in agreement that the Robin Hood at Cragg Vale was an excellent venue - its a pity that the photographer did such a shoddy job - his excuse was that he couldn't get the flash to work on his camera (when he got home he realised why it was because the camera was set on 'burst' mode which disables the flash).

Sorry I didn't capture everyone, I just gave up because of the flash problem.
A very enjoyable ride out over Tadcaster way last Sunday with plenty of miles in the bag in dry conditions until we were almost home.
This coming weekend we've scrapped plans to ride the Winter Solstice Audax in favour of taking part in Jonathon Emberton's Cragg Vale Spiral on Saturday (9am at the Robin Hood). It promises to be a good turnout from the Condor with not just the usual suspects but also Brian, Lumby, Mick White and one or two more pledging their selves (although admittedly they had drunk a few pints when they declared their intention) 
This also leaves Sunday free to pop into the Robin Hood at Pecket Well to take a look at Rileys Treat, 9am Denholmegate or 9.30 Keighley so we can get a few steady miles and a café stop in before getting to the Robin.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sunday 14th and a few other bits

How's about a change of direction this Sunday with a ride out east - Fairburn - Tadcaster etc. Meet Sainsburys roundabout, Brighouse  9am,

Since Damien got his new Whyte a few weeks ago there has been much talk (or grumbling) about the weight of winter bikes. In order to put an end to speculation Oakworth Steve came equipped with his weighing scales on last Sundays ride with the results being -
1.  Padiham Chris   14.5 kg
2.  Damien   13.5 kg
3.  Oakworth Steve  12.5 kg
4.  Tauranga Bay Paul  12.5  kg
5.  Pete H  11 kg
6.  Nigel  10.5 kg
7.  Ian  10  kg
8.  Richard  9.8  kg
With a couple exceptions the speed of the bikes follow an identifiable pattern - the heavier they are the faster they go.

If you enjoy Audaxing and the Scottish landscapes you will enjoy this episode of The Adventure Show from BBC Scotland

Force GB have kindly prepared the above artwork for me for a jersey (any sort of jersey from a skinsuit through to a heavyweight winter thermal), based on our old 60's/70's club kit. If you fancy one let me know and I will put an order together - already got several names on the list.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Few Updates

Thanks to Ian for last Sundays ride report, but I still believe that the B E & S sandwiches at Feizor are better than Airton, but never mind, it was another good day out and the tail wind up Cowling Pinnacle made the early soaking all worth while.

It was decided at the AGM that this winter we would hold our awards ceremony as a  ride out lunch rather than an evening dinner/dance. Early January was mooted as a suitable time of year for the event and the Robin Hood at Cragg Vale have agreed to host the event with a Bernard Hinault style buffet on a Saturday or Sunday of our choosing. However a January date is problematic with several prominent members being away for the month cruising the Southern Hemisphere (as prominent members do) and another engrossed in preparation for assaults on National and World Cyclo-Cross we're looking at early February instead.

Its back - the 2nd running of this event, promoted by Cragg Velo's Jonathan Emberton.

Saturday 20th December

Second Running of ...
'The Round Robin Cragg Spiral'
75/50/25km and never more than 5 from the Robin Hood.
3 climbs of Cragg on the full route with 3 different return routes through the Sowerby Lanes.
9am start - Robin Hood, Cragg Vale
Food and social at the Robin after. 


More information from
Jonathan Emberton

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The shower and the lost sheep

Short version: we got wet at the start and lost the vicar at the end. A reduced group went to the Bay Horse in Oxenhope. 

Long version: Setting off from home the sun was breaking though nicely and the day was full of promise. Then I got to Fly Flats and saw the wall of black cloud (Pete will tell you that it was just a light shower) headed my way and I enjoyed a 'refreshing' descent into Keighley. Sadly I wasn't the only rider at the start so had to continue with the club ride. Padiham Chris, Richard, Nigel, Oakworth Steve, Paul 'rides every' Daly, Damien were all present and correct. Feizor was mentioned, and so was the fact that its December so we're not chuffing going there. A democratic decision was taken to head for Gargrave first and hope the Cononley-Carleton back road would get some warmth back in our fingers. It didn't. So we went over from Broughton to Gargrave too, with Airton being mooted as a suitable breakfast venue with only moderate dissent (Feizor was mentioned again I believe but the wind was quite strong so pretending not to hear worked adequately here).

Riding along with sodden gloves, frozen feet and a chill headwind I was looking forward to reaching the cafe and mis-using a state of the art patented hot air hand dryer. Paper towels! Never been so disappointed to see them. But then a posh joint like Airton has under-floor heating so the bacon and egg butties were dispatched slowly while at least getting some warmth into the toes.

The return route took us  nearly over Attermire until Pete could be redirected on the right road to Otterburn instead. I was all for the long way round via Gisburn but el capitains directed us instead on a reverse of Spring into the Dales and then via Elslack over Cowling pinnacle avoiding all main roads or heavy traffic - especially Keighley. Or at least it does unless you are a certain club member with limited directional recall facilities and head straight on when you should be turning right next to Oakworth cemetery. Your clubmates could then stand around for a while, or go looking for you, thinking that you might be in a heap by the side of the road, but find nothing. By the point contact was eventually established (by one of those new-fangled pocket telephone devices) the group had split up and the day was done. Pete kindly sent me a text from the pub about the time that I was cresting the radio mast on Nab Water Lane (av. 17%). Being disinclined to acquiesce to his suggestion that we backtrack to the bar, I carried on home for a warm shower before taking ale in the Caty wearing more suitable clothing (lycra in public houses hasn't been banned yet but possibly should be).

Finally a couple of pictures. The first is an 'outtake' from last week - its basically the same chaps standing around but I like the informality of this unposed snap. The second is to illustrate the horrors of riding in California. I had to suffer down this quiet and pretty coastal road with a howling tailwind for about 25 miles (its a short part of highway 1 which runs from San Francisco all the way down to LA).

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Sunday 7th December

Meet 9am Denholmgate, 9.30 Keighley; where a democratic decision will be made regarding route and refreshments.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Ten Green Bottles - Barley and beer

This week's ride report contains a thank you, an apology and an enquiry.

First the thank you - to the chaps for waiting at the start for a few extra minutes while the last straggler turned up in Keighley (me). I'd loitered through town after seeing Richard Burnham going up Ingrow, and hence was late at the start. However Richard wasn't keeping warm waiting for the Denholme contingent to come through, like I'd thought, but turns out that a major mechanical had befallen our comrade and he'd been forced to retire DNK (Did Not reach Keighley). The first of our 'ten green bottles' had fallen.

Next the apology - to Pete (Smith) and Peter (Whitely), from all of us in the rest of the gang and especially Peter (Horne) - for setting such a furious pace at start which caused our two clubmates to turned for home on Cowling Hill! Please, please shout out next time and we will ease up. This is supposed to be the social season, after all. Two more of the green bottles had gone.

I've found that riding second-row is ideal in order to be sheltered but still within shouting distance of the pace-setters, and that I can slip down a couple of bike lengths over a crest while staying in contact with the group or at least reducing the catch-up work required. So do please try it again chaps. And talk to Peter the map-master general about designing us a route with fewer bleedin hills.

Now the intermission: a picture of Pendle Hill taken en route to our butty stop in Barley. Whilst I enjoyed the view here from the top, you will note that Barley can be reached from Blacko by other routes which involve clocking up fewer ascending meters on Strava, but these routes apparently can be discounted.

Seven of the Ten remain

Finally, the enquiry. I peeled off at Mytholmroyd and headed straight home with Nigel, rather than following the flock to The Cross Keys in Siddal. Having been away for a week recently I thought that putting in an appearance at home might be useful. Meanwhile, did the last 5 green bottles get suitably filled with beer? And who won the Imps freewheeling contest?

Addendum - from the last remaining Peter
There were just 4 green bottles left when Ian and Nigel abandoned us , Steve had taken a left at Hebden Bridge to return to the security of Bronteland via Cock Hill. Once rid of the Wainstalls Whippets, Paul, Chris, Damien and myself settled  into a steady pace for a potter up Scout Road enjoying a superb panorama over the Calder Valley bathed in a late autumn glow, a low sun creating long shadows enhancing the landscape and filling us with an exultation of spirit. So much so that instead of opting for the most direct route to our stated destination of the Cross Keys at Siddal we threw in a right turn and went over the tops to Hubberton and down to Triangle.
Not wishing to arrive at the pub too early we then sprinted up the Stirk Bridge climb to Norland (well Paul and Chris did the sprinting whilst I reminisced about the last time I raced up the hill in anger, whilst  taking part in the Condor RC Hill Climb in 1978) and Damien complained about his new bike being heavy.
We spent an hour with our friends from the Imps who had been well and truly thrashed in their own free-wheeling competition by the Batley CC. Whilst the Lancaster Bomber ale was spot on we soon tired of having our ears assaulted by the live band and tore Chris away from a new best friend to seek  fresh air and peace.
If you are in Siddal and live in Hipperholme the obvious route home is of course up Trooper Lane; Damiens response  showed maturity, and vision beyond his years. He simply responded 'I'm not going up f***ing Trooper Lane,' and headed off in the direction of Exley (sadly this was not the first time on the Sabbath that he had lowered the tone by using that and similar expletives). However, undeterred, I was happy to face the cobbles alone - I should have known Paul and Chris better than  to think they would allow me to enjoy the hill in my own splendid isolation, no, despite it being in totally the opposite direction to their homes they decided to accompany me - or to be more accurate they decided to sprint off like greyhounds from the starting gate and wait for me at the top smiling like Cheshire cats.

On a more serious note, as Ian has said, the early pace up Cowling Hill towards Black Lane Ends was far too fast for the time of year, in future weeks I hope we can show more discipline and ride together.