It’s been an interesting 2 weeks of ‘Crit Racing’. I use the inverted commas as the races have consisted of me racing myself for some long periods! (This seems to happen more often than I would like but I always say I like cycling as it clears my head.)
I have also had to contend with a monsoon last week that due to poor clothing choices led to my hands going numb and 50mph winds this week. I can’t really explain my thought process in seeing the BBC weather warnings the night before that I thought the deep aero rims for the (Not so) Sunny Rhyl Cup were the correct call. Driving over the snow covered Halkyns at 7:30 on a Sunday morning to go racing also had me doubting my sanity.
Truthfully I am disappointed in my 5th and 11th places but the step up to E/1/2/3 racing has been massive. I am definitely stronger but so is everyone else, coupled with me forgetting everything I learnt last year has led to 2 long training rides around the Marsh Tracks.
I am writing this after spending 2 hours trying to come up with ways to Froome myself in the next few weeks. So far I have 3 options;
Neglect wife and kids
Cheat (Seems to be frowned upon in cycling though and I can’t find that bloody motor!)
As appealing as option 1 is and the fact I actually like the people in option 2 I will probably carry on as I am. I am Dave the Husband, Father and Engineer who cycles not a pro cyclist. The challenges will be successes at some point over the next few months and the sun will shine to make it more enjoyable when I do finish with the others. You never know I might even go for option 4.
A few days off, have a lie in until 7:10, do a jigsaw with the kids and just visit the bike shop to keep my eye in. Cold turkey is no good for the body, shock and all that.
By Wednesday I will be desperate to ride again and be convinced that i am the ‘greatest undiscovered talent’ in all of Moreton. I am also pretty pleased with myself for clapping loudest when the winners were being presented on the podium today, I was average but they were awesome!
This weekend the Velo had 3 riders in the Chester Road Club hilly 14 mile time trial, near Broxton, Cheshire.
Robin Hennessy, Dave Cuthill and Mike Stanley were in action on an unseasonably mild Feb afternoon.
Dave was off first of the team and recorded a superb 33:49, good enough for 18th overall in the event, but more importantly a massive 3 minute improvement on last year. A winter of hard work is paying off!
Next off was Robin, looking ever the pro, and got round in a blistering 32:38, which placed him 8th overall. He was closely followed by Mike who recorded a very respectable 36:39, a good 3 minutes better than his veterans standard time. Overall three great rides at the start of a great season to come! Thanks to the Chester RC for a brilliantly organised and run event.
First race of the season was on Saturday and
it went pretty well except for the pesky NWV ‘Legend in the Making’ getting the
better of me again! (Great ride Robin, 33:12 is a top effort – 2nd)
After a few months of training it was time to
strap the new improved TT bike to the back of the Fiat 500 and head off to the
dogging capital of the world, Broxton roundabout and its infamous car park.
Robin pulled in 5 mins later (Also in a Fiat 500 – new team car?) in the
tightest pair of jeans i have ever seen, I assumed the car park has a dress
code I didn’t know about! Soon after we started our warm ups, my methodical
approach compared to Robin rolling down the main road a couple of times. Each
to their own and either way we were ready and set off with numbers 4 and 5 on
I went flying down the A41, avoided being
killed, falling down cavernous pot holes, climbed a few hills, overtook a
couple of people and was generally having a good if painful time. That was
until Robin came flying past in his ‘relaxed’ fit Lycra but even this couldn’t
dampen my happiness at the finish line when I finished in 34:17. I had gone
2:38 faster than last year and as a bonus eventually finished 6th. (ELATION)
The week leading up to this had seen me go
through a number of emotions that racing gives you. I had planned in 2 practice
runs on the same training runs I had done the previous year. The first was
destroyed when after putting in a massive effort into a headwind i was stopped
by traffic going for Sunday dinner. (FRUSTRATION) The second attempt nothing
went wrong except me being slower than the previous year! (DESPAIR) Rebekah
rightfully suggested this could be down to wind speed and many other variables
but what did she know, I had wasted the last 4 months and that was that!
The morning of the race was also a bit of a
roller coaster. I woke up NERVOUS and ANXIOUS that i would be worse than last
year. I was prepared, had worked hard, lost weight and improved all my
equipment (Pointy helmet and everything!) but I still might actually be slower.
However, this all changed when my 2 daughters
surprised me with a good luck card they had secretly made. Below is my Facebook
post that sums up this best, but fellow racers please remember this is meant to
be FUN so ENJOY it and be happy for other people’s success!
First day of the race season for me today and the girls surprised me with a card they sneakily made. It has taken me back a little as I do feel guilty missing time with them to train but it has also made me realise I have been working hard and it’s now time to just ‘enjoy’ it and whatever happens, happens. Good luck and stay safe to all the other racers.
Stay safe, ride hard and don’t be afraid to step out of
your comfort zone!
As January grinds by we look forward to the season ahead, lighter nights and better weather.
The North Wirral Velo’s racing team members have been working hard over the winter so far and are looking forward to the challenges the new racing year.
Meanwhile the rest of the Velo are still enjoying themselves with a few pints and a curry! A very well supported and enjoyable evening was had at the Mak Syed in Wallasey Village. As well as putting the world to rights, plans were discussed for more club rides (and more social events).
The end of January saw a club trip to the National Track Champs in Manchester. The first visit to the velodrome for some of the members, and the night was enjoyed by all.
The club website has had an upgrade too. We have changed hosts to a more stable platform and we have added a forum and events calendar to help club organisation of rides and social events.
In summary, we are looking forward to the coming year, the racing, the riding, the socialising and the banter!
If you want to join us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info, or say hello when you see us out!
Just as the memory of Frankie Valli lives on, so does the North Wirral Velo! And what a night we had at the first (reformed) Annual Club Prize Presentation and Dinner.
A fantastic event, attended by over 60 members and guests, it was a night of drinking, eating, more drinking, awards, more drinking, speeches, more drinking, dancing and more drinking.
The evening started with a lovely hot buffet, although the some found the lack of beans on toast a bit disappointing. Next was the prize presentation. The awards were for the club champions in various disciplines throughout the year. The Champions are:
Road Race Champ – Dave Cuthill, promoted to 3rd cat in his first year of racing
Time Trial Champion – Robin Hennessy, sub 21 minute 10 mile TT
Club TT Event Champion – Mike Hornsby, put his fake claim of a wooden leg to good use
Hill Climb Champion – Jon Doyle, no sign of the iron lung he said he had to use to justify the amount of handicap he got
Junior Hill Climb Champion – Henry Timewell, the future of cycling and, as Louis Walsh commented, “he reminds me of a young Marco Pantani”
Mike Walsh Memorial Club Spirit Award – Mike Hurworth, for fantastic enthusiasm, determination and supporting all the other members, Mike was an easy choice for the award this year.
Most of the awards were presented by our guest of honour Pete Matthews, who went on to give us a great speech about the history of the club and some of the colourful characters that were involved over the years.
The last award, the Mike Walsh Memorial Award, was presented by Mike’s sister Cath. She gave a heartwarming speech about Mike’s time in the club and the tragic event when a careless driver took his life. Mike was 19 at the time, and Cath marked the 30th anniversary of his death last year by riding 68 miles (as he was born in 1968).
After all the formalities were over, it was onto the long awaited, and much anticipated, world premier of “The History of the NWV – a Ride Through Time” the movie. It looked like a simple thing to organise. The room was kitted out with super 1990’s multimedia technology, what could possibly go wrong? The short answer was “everything”. After a lot of crying, spitting, swearing and crossing the white line by the creator of said film, it started to play.
However, just as the film was getting to the “good bit” another technical disaster and everything stopped. Frustrated and angry, the restless crowd started brandishing pitch forks and burning torches, looking to hunt down and torture those responsible for this travesty.
Fortunately, negotiations for the film to be released online in the near future averted any rioting from the gathering.
The night was then dedicated to dancing and Scott got down (as is tradition when he’s had a pint) to Jump Around by House of Pain (now are you wishing you went?)
So finally, onto the full version of the video, enjoy…
Forget Christmas, ignore all the decorations going up everywhere, you can’t possibly think about it until after the next big event of the year.
The first (reformed) North Wirral Velo Club Dinner and prize Presentation is just two weeks away! It’s going to be a fantastic night of eating, drinking, dancing and celebrating the success of the club in the past year. The venue this year is The Manor in Greasby.
A guest speaker has been confirmed for the event, and the evening will also feature the world premier of “NWV – the Movie” (imagine the Hangover meets Dodgeball but with bikes).
So, if you fancy a great night of food and entertainment for just £25, email email@example.com for info on buying tickets*
Hope to see you there!
*Subject to availability, terms and conditions apply (see absolutely nowhere else for more details). North Wirral Velo isn’t a trading name, it a cycling club. Not buying tickets could reduce the amount of fun you have before Christmas. Drinks go down but can come back up. Please drink responsibly. And dance responsibly if you have drunk responsibly, or dance like nobody is watching if you haven’t drunk responsibly. Please remember that if you’re not living on the edge, you take up too much room.
As I try to justify my latest cycling purchase I thought I would look back on my last year. It feels I have not much until I write it down and realise I completed;
The Fred Whitton
A full crit race season winning Litherlands 4th Cat series
Climbed up Asterton Bank (Thanks Simon – Ridiculously hard!)
Organised a TT & was active with North Wirral Velo (NWV)
Won a bet with Mr D for actual money!
All that I have bored people with throughout the year though so thought I might look into why a bike that I have rode 6000 miles on is now too big for me. My earth shattering conclusion is; quite simply I want to buy a new bike!
What I have done this year is found new ways to love cycling and potentially bankrupt myself. I once said to Rebekah that we actually had cheap hobbies but then found out how expensive crafting actually is, I bought her the Di2 of Die Cutters for her birthday. Back to cycling and racing this year was my new thing. Crits are a strange business, hurtling around at 20-30mph 30cm away from complete strangers is a great buzz, incredibly hard but very rewarding when you finish. Finishing is not always with everyone else though as switch off for a few seconds and when you switch back on the race has gone, actually sometimes this happens when you don’t switch off and just do not have the legs! TT’s are just pain but really appeal to my competitive streak. These I really enjoyed even when I was chasing the ‘NWV Legend in the making’ around Rainford (Great ride Robin).
Through all this what really stood out is the people. Cycling feels like something of a throwback to when people were kind and actually spoke to each other rather than text. Yes, the tech is there but riding a bike makes people nice and friendly 99% of the time. Puncture on a bike and you will be offered help from other cyclists, puncture in a car and you better get walking pal!
Whether it is a NWV club run, TT’s with seriously good riders, crits with young and old alike it simply does not matter, riders are just nice and friendly. I turned up to some car park (famous as a dogging site on google) in March for my first TT and was confronted with full on TT bikes, pointy helmets, disc wheels, and skin suits (basically very, very tight Lycra!). Immediately I was thinking the worst but 5 mins later people were talking to me and wishing me luck. There was even a very excited, crazy guy that turned up and used some Jedi like skills to take pictures of me in my best Lycra at several different parts of the course, said crazy man has also helped me incredibly this year.
Basically cycling costs a lot, effort (We have all thought we might die rolling up a hill), money (This new purchase will (not) make me faster!), time (The better you get the further you go) but it gives you so much back. Cycling actually makes you a better person and my year proves that. I go to the cafe/pub and strangers ignore me and I them, add a bike and all that changes.
So whatever your challenge over the next 12 months, mountain or mole hill, fast or slow, long or short just remember cycling might occasionally win the battle but it will make you healthier, happier and a more confident person (If you can go out in public wearing Lycra you can do anything!). Just remember to wave at fellow cyclists and ask if they need anything when you see an upside down bike. Do this and you too could actually take £10 off Ant or even find Chris!