Monday, September 15, 2014

Blackstone Edge Hill Climb(s)

My Sunday ride took me over Cowling Hill, Black Lane Ends, Blacko, Barley, Burnley and Bacup en-route to Blackstone Edge to give Chris a cheer in stage 2 of the East Lancs Road Club Hill Climbs.

Stage 1 had been run off up the shorter but steeper contours of the old Blackstone Edge Road in the morning with Chris taking 7th fastest time with 1min 59.6secs to the winners 1.44.2.
Stage 2 was on the longer A58 to just short of The White House. With a head wind blowing I expected this stage to be more suited to Chris' undoubted endurance but he lost out a little finishing 11th fastest in 9m 50.9secs giving him an overall 10th place from the 40 finishers. The climb was won overall by Ilkley CC's Henry King.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Holme Valley MTB

Well done to Paul who finished 6th fastest in todays Holme Valley Scouts MTB Challenge from a large field of riders. He's obviously got better powers of recovery than me, I still had 'Hardnott Legs' and suffered just trying to keep up to Chris and Steve as we made our way over there to spectate.

Or perhaps it was the temperature which was down to 7 degrees as we descended down to Saddleworth although it improved once we returned to Yorkshire over the Isle of Skye.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Sunday 7th Sept

If anyone fancy's joining us I'm meeting Chris at Elland Bridge at 8am for Buckstones, Isle of Skye and Hade Edge to give Paul a shout of encouragement in the Holme Valley Scouts MTB Challenge.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Fred, Wednesday 3rd Sept

We had a successful day out in the Lake District yesterday, dry and mild with just a gentle breeze, it was a welcome contrast to last years circuit around the classic Fred Whitton route when heavy rain turned the roads into rivers compelling us to walk down some of the passes.

Grimpy, Richard, Paul and myself left the car park round the back of Wheelbase at Staveley just after 8am and it was Grimpy, just 3 days after celebrating his 72nd birthday with a category win in the latest round of the Percy Stallard National Road Race Series somewhere in the midlands, who set a lively pace up through Troutbeck and over Kirkstone.

Ullswater was looking picture postcard perfect in the morning sun and I could have easily been tempted to loiter on the banks soaking up the tranquil serenity so freely offered but Paul had other ideas and we had all on just staying on his wheel. We soon turned our backs on the allure of Ullswater to climb over Matterdale End and enjoyed grand views of Blencathra and Skiddaw on the descent to the one less attractive feature of the ride, the A66. A pleasure to cycle on it may not be, but fast it is and we were soon enjoying carrot cake and buckets of Caffe Americano at the Keswick Costa.

The road surface down to Borrowdale was as bad as ever and it was a relief to get onto Honister Pass and have something else to think about. It is a beautiful view down to the Buttermere valley, one of the best in Lakeland but you really do need to concentrate on your riding on the uneven tarmac.
We had been in danger of being hypnotised by the sight of an ever expanding bulge in Pauls back tyre. He was on his 'cross bike but had abandoned his faithful and reliable old Landcruiser (on which he'd been setting Strava segment KoM's) in favour of an old but lighter tyre he'd found abandoned in a corner of his garage.
When we stopped to re-group at the top of Newlands (my favorite Lakes Pass with its open views across Sail Beck to Whiteless Pike and Cragg Hill) and he happened to glance at the tyre himself, what he saw was not good, no rubber left on two areas and the threads on the casing fraying where the bulge was growing - even Paul looked concerned!   Fortunately we found the excellent bike shop at Whinlatter Visitor Centre and despite having no money he became the proud owner of a Conty Gatorskin, inflated personally by the proprietor of Cyclewise.

I was tempted to have a cafe stop at the smart looking cafe at the Centre but was out-voted in favor of pressing on over Loweswater and Cold Fell to Gosforth. Unfortunately the cafe there was closed, we went to the local bistro where they were kind enough to supply hot drinks and scones but something was still missing, something that only a pork pie from the local grocers satisfied.
After a leisurely break it was down to Eskdale and the serious stuff, Hardnott and Wrynose. Modesty forbids me from saying who was the only one to ride all the Passes but I have to concede that Paul, despite walking short sections was the 1st to the summits.

A great day out, 111 miles with about 11,000 ft of climbing, every mile and every foot being a pleasure.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday 31st - Crazy Climbing

We were down to 4 for today's Hill Climb Recce' ride but were soon into the spirit of the day honking up the gradients from Holywell Brook to Old Lindley, through Outlane and over Scapegoat Hill.

A super descent or the best road surface of the day took us down to Slaithwaite from where we took the less popular route over to Meltham up to Blackmoorfoot Reservoir. From Meltham it was over to Holmfirth via Upperthong then up over Cartworth Moor to Hade Edge before dropping down through Hepworth to enjoy the climb up Jackson Bridge - stage 1 of the HSW Hill Climb.
We stayed on the tops then before dropping down to Stocksbridge, stopping part way for refreshments at the Windmills Cafe.

Our target for the day, the Pea Royd Lane climb, the venue for this years National Hill Climb Championship, was enjoyed by all, with some of us enjoying it for longer than others.

We then meandered back to Calderdale via Silkstone and Cannon Hall (where afternoon tea was taken) before taking in a bit of culture at Bretton Sculpture Park.  A really pleasant day out - this will have to stop!

Three Condors have signed up so far for Wednesdays trip round the Fred Whitton, Paul, Ricard and myself. Don't put it off, JUST DO IT

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sunday 31st August & Weds 3rd September

This coming Sunday a few of us are meeting at Elland Bridge at 8.30am for a potter around 'Summer Wine Country'. Incorporated into this ride will be a recce' of Pea Royd Lane at Stocksbridge, the venue for this years National Championship Hill Climb on the 26th of October.

Next Wednesday, with good weather forecast some of the Wednesday club are planning a bit of a change, we're meeting at the car park round the back of Wheelbase at Staveley for an amble around the Fred Whitton route. We're planning to be on the bikes for 8am; its a group ride so no-one will be attempting to set any records and at least 2, possibly 3 cafe stops will be taken. Let me know and I'll arrange car sharing 07549 821349 or

There will of course also be the usual meet, Shelf Roundabout 10am.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Racing round up

Congratulations to Brian who made the weekends trip down to Newmarket worthwhile by taking the bronze medal in a very strong field, in Sundays Veterans 25mile Time Trial National Championships. On a morning when temperatures were more like March than August he produced a great time of 54 minutes 33 seconds; only about 10 seconds short of the British record for his age group.

Meanwhile in the depths of Buckinghamshire, Grimpy continued the great form he has shown this season with a win in the North Bucks Road Club LVRC road race.

In action nearer home was Chris Smith who began his preparation for the hill climb season last Wednesday evening with a great 2nd place in the North Lancs Road Club event on the Close Brow climb at Rushton. Chris' time of 2 minutes dead was 10 seconds behind the winner Andrew Laycock of Clitheroe Bike Club.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Six go to the Seaside

We were blessed with clear sunny weather for todays trip to Morecambe although there was a nip in the air, the early temperatures over the hill dropping down to 8 degrees, which for August felt pretty chilly.

Five of us met at King Cross and Paul set a blistering pace down to Hebden Bridge - he would probably deny this but looking at his Strava, a PB on just about every segment tells the true tale. I suggested to the others that there was no reason why we should chase after him but my suggestion fell on deaf ears. Steve was waiting to join us at HB and will never know how lucky he was getting there the easier way, over Cock Hill from Oakworth.
It wasn't really the best preparation for the next challenge, Mytholm Steeps - just ask Richard if you doubt this observation. Anyway once we got to Blackshaw Head the pace settled and the ride over Kebs was a delight in the early morning sun. We followed the Seasons of Mists route to Fence. Sabden and over the Nick o' Pendle and before we knew it were sat in Waddington Cafe enjoying and excellent bacon & egg sandwich and numerous cups of tea.
From Waddington we turned left from the Newton road along some delightful lanes to Cow Ark and Dunsop Bridge to the next classic climb, the Trough of Bowland - never as difficult as its reputation would have you believe, and we were soon enjoying the descent. The next climb, up to Jubilee Tower had Chris rather excited as he's entered a hill-climb from Quernmore up to the Tower in a few weeks time and was keen to look at the road. The views from the top alone were worth our days efforts, you could almost reach out and touch the Lakeland Fells to the far side of the Morecambe Bay, then a glance south gave you views of North Wales and Snowdonia.
It was plain sailing from there to Lancaster where we joined the cycleway from the Millennium Bridge to the centre of Morecambe which was looking splendid.

After sauntering along the Pier and up and down the Promenade we indulged ourselves with a fish butty before hitting the return road, well the return tracks. We returned to Lancaster on the cycleway then picked up the splendid old railway track down to Glasson Dock. A helping breeze softened the contours as we followed the Good Companions route to Chipping from where we took on the severe gradients of Longridge Fell, the views on this ascent helping counterbalance the pain in the legs.
We then included a little detour round the magnificent grounds of Stoneyhurst College before enjoying Americano's and calories in Whalley. With the tail wind light work was made of the remaining miles and we were home in time to watch the TTT at the Vuelta.
A super day - next away day on the list is a potter round the 'Fred' - watch this space!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Updates and next Saturday

It was good to hear that our supervets road racing team were both back on the podium at the LVRC race in the Lincolnshire Wolds last Sunday. With Brian baulked by a car close to the finish it was left to Grimpy to sprint to victory, placing 'Rocket Ron' Bennett in 2nd place with Brian recovering to take 3rd.
Brian travels down to the Home Counties this Sunday for the Vets National 25 Champs whilst John will be in the Midlands road racing.

Also last Sunday a quartet of Condors battled head winds and frequent showers on the club run. Paul D, The Vicar, Oakworth Steve and myself, undeterred by the adverse conditions, stuck to the plan battling strong winds funneling down Littondale to Halton Gill then having sharp heavy showers added to the gusting head winds over Silverdale. It was good to have some proper weather again after weeks of bland blue skies and sunshine. We made our way to Feizor from Stainforth on the lane to the west side of the Ribble and then on the Pennine Bridleway from the Austwick Road over Feizor Wood.
Our morning efforts were more than rewarded at Feizor Cafe where we loitered for a good hour drinking tea and watching the rain. Our homeward route brought us home via Lawkland, Wham and Long Gill, helping winds making the miles pass swiftly and Paul doing a sterling job as gate monitor.

This Saturday, the 23rd, we're having a trip to the seaside, its a decent forecast so why not join us at 7.30am at King Cross lights, you may have guessed from the above photo that the destination is Morecome. Breakfast will be taken at Waddington with lunch - fish & chips and a stick of rock, on the sands; and there's a possibility that it may be another 3 cafe day.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Worth a look.

Monday, August 11, 2014

LVRC National Champs - Sunday 10th August

With enthusiasm undimmed by Hurricane Bertha Grimpy and Brian made the long trip down to Napton in Warwickshire to compete in the 2014 National Road Race Championships.

Grimpy took bronze behind former National Professional Road Race Champion Geoff Wiles and another former pro, Tony Woodcock.

Brian finished one place behind John despite only returning from a 2 week cruising holiday on the Friday.

This news has been brought to you from somewhere in the Cotswolds.
Thanks to mikeadamsphotography for the excellent images.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

No one took up our invitation to join us for a Wednesday saunter over the Bowland Fells so I was left to cope with Paul alone.

In reality, with the lack of anyone foolishly attempting to challenge him on the hills, he did behave himself and apart from losing him for a while in Slaidburn, we rode together very well, the highlight for me being the scenic climb up Tatham Fell to Cross of Greet. We did have a bit of rain on the descent to Bentham but it was warm summer type rain and once we'd removed our rain jackets at the cafe in Ingleton we had no need of them again.

From Ingleton we went over Cold Cotes, down to Clapham and on to Austwick, Lawkland and Otterburn. By Bell Busk Paul was growing bored with tarmac and seeing a signpost saying 'Public Bridleway' we left the black stuff and had an entertaining few miles to Gargrave.

From there we had a quiet potter back to Calderdale with just a few deviations up Thwaites Brow (Paul being a little disappointed - 'Not as steep as he thought it would be!' - a bit more off-road up Sandy Banks from Harden to Wilsden and rounding the day off along the Great Northern Trail and the climb up Station Road to Queensbury.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Wednesday 6th July

If anyone's interested in getting in a few extra miles this Wednesday I've arranged to meet Paul D at Denholmgate at 8.30am. We're planning to lunch at Ingleton, making our way there via Laneshaw Bridge, Bolton by Bowland, Slaidburn and Tatham Fells.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Delightful Derbyshire (& Staffordshire & Cheshire)

With Damien being a late withdrawal we were down to three for Saturdays Tour of the Peaks. With so much choice of quiet lanes and classic climbs it wasn't easy to decide on a route and with a poor weather forecast I was keen not to overdo the distance so we settled on the above mix - 85.4 miles with 7841 ft of climbing according to Paul's Garmin.

As planned we parked in the lay-by at Ladybower, were on the road for 8.30 and on unclassified singletrack lanes within half a mile. Thankfully it was dry if somewhat overcast and, as you would expect for August, mild. We were soon winding our way up between the towering limestone pinnacles of the giant collapsed cavern that is Winnats Pass with Chris and Paul romping off ahead of me I was feeling strong and full of anticipation for the day ahead. From the summit we headed south through Tideswell to the banks of the River Wye before attacking the 2nd classic of the day, Monsal Head. Being keen to include the splendid old railway tunnels on the Monsal Trail into the days jaunt we did a circuit around the western edges of the Chatsworth Estate taking us to the old Bakewell rail station where we joined the said trail and just couldn't resist stopping for morning coffee at the old Hassop Station, now a coffee shop a mile down the line.

After leaving the Trail at Millersdale it was south through quiet lanes to lunch at the renowned  Old Smithy Tearooms at Monyash, an excellent cafe where Chris was in his element looking at ancient horseshoes and rusty chisels. It had been necessary to don rain jackets en-route to Monyash and it did, as forecast rain quite hard whilst we were having lunch but was bating by the time we hit the road again and within half an hour our waterproofs were taken off and not needed again.

The Roaches were looking magnificent as we made way round the north eastern edges of Staffordshire and in to the eastern edges of Cheshire via the highest village in Britain, Flash. Then over Axe Edge; down the wonderful winding descent to Errwood Reservoir in the Goyt Valley and up to Oldgate Nick and on to Whaley Bridge and Eccles Pike. From Chapel-en-le-Frith Paul and Chris nursed me up Rushup Edge and down Mam Nick to Edale where tea was taken at the National Trust's Penny Pot Cafe (3 cafe stops in one outing - we must be getting soft !).  From there it was a short sprint back to Ladybower with clear blue skies and the sun on our backs.

Saturday, August 02, 2014


Meet 09.00 at Keighley roundabout for a jaunt into Nidderdale. Local hardman Mel has offered to be our guide to this rarely visited valley.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Great Dun Fell 2 - a report from't Fath'er

Hi Pete, anything you can do we can do slower, Darkie and me scaled Great Dun Fell after searching for it for 10 years.

On Monday we caught the train to Appleby and rode to Knock via Brampton. About 10 years ago we rode the Pennine Cycleway and stopped at the pub in Dufton to ask for directions to the access road but the locals reckoned they did'nt know.

You don't realise how steep it is untill you're descending, it was cloudy at the top and got cold standing around but it was warm and sunny again at the bottom.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Saturday 2nd August - Tour of the Peak

The Condor Road Club World Tour continues on Saturday with a tour of the Peak. We should be setting off at about 8.30am from the lay-by at the south side of the Ladybower dam. The distance is once again 80 odd miles and the mouth watering route includes Winnats, Monsal Head, the Monsal Trail, Monyash cafe, Axe Edge, Cat & Fiddle (2nd highest pub in England) and Goyt Valley - ride it now before you get too old.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Touring Section ride report, Sat 26/7/14

Sunday 27th - MTB

The upper valley section are set for a mountain bike ride tomorrow (Sunday 27th) starting 9am from the Co-Op in Hebden Bridge. The route will be made up as we go along but the outline is Wragley, Long Causeway, Widdop, Wycoller, Stanbury, Hebden Bridge.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I'm not around this weekend but I thought I'd mention that we have 2 or 3 riders taking part in the Bronte Sportive tomorrow. Looks like a great route and I'm led to believe that no one as yet has ever achieved the Gold Standard. You can enter on the day, at the start at Leeds Uni. Annex (close to the railway station) in Keighley before 8.30.

Next Saturday the touring section (thats me and Chris so far) are having an away day with a Tour of the North York Moors, we're intending meeting at the top of Sutton Bank at 8.30am for a circuit including Blakey Bank, Rosedale Chimney and White Horse Bank to finish with a cup of tea at the Gliding Club cafe.
Here's a write up from Simon Warren -

Rosedale Chimney, Rosedale Abbey, North York Moors

Rosedale Chimney, North Yorkshire Moors Warning sign near the Rosedale Chimney in North Yorkshire Photograph: Mark Sunderland/Alamy

Few climbs have such a fearsome reputation as Rosedale Chimney, and rightly so. I snapped my chain not once but twice in my attempt to conquer this vicious stretch of tarmac. Leaving Rosedale Abbey, a sign warns you of the one-in-three – yes, one-in-three – gradient to come. This climb isn't for the faint-hearted. The surface is rough at first and steep from the outset, but improves as you pass over a cattlegrid and approach the double hairpin. The second bend here is so steep on the inside that it forces you far right, so take care. Now straightening up, the next stretch is ridiculously hard, the main problem here being just staying upright while either side of the road, sheep wait to see if yet another rider falls victim to the Chimney. Stick with it, as eventually the one-in-three does turn into a relatively gentle one-in-six, allowing you to build a little momentum to drag your bike up on to the moor.
Where From the bottom left corner of Rosedale Abbey leave the main road and turn south east on to Gill Lane, pass the giant warning sign, and head up. Grid Ref: SE 720 945 (OS94)
Length 1430m
Height gain 179m
Approx climb time 9 mins

Thursday, July 17, 2014


A great weekend for our racing lads with Brian smashing the British age record for the 50 mile time trial with his time of 1hr 52min 13secs in the Yorkshire Road Club event whilst Grimpy was riding to glory in the LVRC 'Omloop van der Drie Dorpen' , an unusual 'road race' in that 40percent of the course was on unsurficed roads.

Whilst the racing lads were earning their prize money the touring section were flying the colours in the North Pennines with a 60 miles warm-up over Long Grain, Yad Moss and Hartside before attacking the great Great Dun Fell, the highest metalled road in the UK. A great day out with superb views over the Eden Valley and the Lakes.

Thanks to Simon Warren & The Guardian for the following write-up -
'This is the greatest climb in England, this is our Mont Ventoux, it has no peers, there is no comparison: Great Dun Fell is simply unique. I'd waited a long time to ride this road, initially put off by its "private" status. I was to discover that there is absolutely no objection to cyclists riding it, although few would be mad enough. Approaching from either direction you see the radar station's "golf ball" glowing like a beacon on the top of the ridge. Turn away from the village of Knock and begin opposite a farm gate. The climb is tough right away, then gets tougher still as you bend right into what is a small taste of things to come. Get through this, the first of many brutal stretches, and things back off for a while before ramping up to the first of two gates. Through the gate, straight over a cattle grid and into more hard work, the road bending left past a stone shelter, a sure-fire signal – although you are nowhere near the top yet – that you're heading into truly hostile country. Up and up, and then mercifully dipping, or is it just levelling? Whatever it is, it makes the stretch of climbing ahead look terrifying. Approaching 20%, you crawl through harsh, boulder-littered scenery, a massive slog to the briefest of levels where the classification of the road changes – public cars are allowed no further. Now very narrow and lined with snow poles, the climb is so well surfaced it resembles a two-metre-wide carpet. And it's so steep, close to 25% at the point where the tall valley walls disappear and the radar slowly rises over the horizon to sit above you, tracking the remainder of your progress. Through a second gate it's easy for a while then bending right once again it's leg-breakingly tough to the finish at the station, where, looking around you, you might as well be on top of the world.'

An adventuous day out on the Wednesday Run today with Grimpy taking us to Tadcaster for lunch via the Greenway to Ossett and Fairburn Ings with Mr Gower just missing out on the honours at the Tadcaster sign.  Paul D then came to grief he was leading us through fields of ripening corn in Bramham Park when his rear derailleur hanger snapped off the frame. Unperturbed he quickly converted to single speed and drove the peloton on to Eccup Reservoir where we were delayed for a short time by 8' high barriers. After a lecture on the dangers of going near heavy plant the friendly workmen allowed access but the delays meant we finished the ride off on the busy but quicker Bradford ring road.