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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
On an unseasonably warm Wednesday evening in October, the North Wirral Velo re-established the annual club hill climb champs.
More than 50 years separated the youngest to the most senior of riders, with a vast range of abilities in between. As such, the event organiser and TT legend Robin Hennessy had used some ancient Chinese magic to work out a handicap system to level the hill climbing up hill playing field. Otherwise known as Strava segments, Robin calculated the handicap times on the Thurstaston Hill segment that nearly all riders in the event had a time up. This, as usual caused a lot of debate, particularly the ones who had used a moped to record their Strava segments.
To the race, and first off was Monsieur Denby, a self proclaimed pre race favourite, having ridden the course 46 times in the last month in preparation. However, he sportingly wore 17 layers of clothes to slow himself down in the warmer than normal weather. He was closely (actually a minute) followed by the real race favourite (on actual time) Dave “The Racing Leg End” Cuthill. His carefully prepared starting effort was interrupted by paparazzi in a car in front of him trying to get the front cover for next months “Take a Break”. The car in question soon sped up and Dave maliciously drafted behind it to turn any time lost into a good 24 second gain.
Next to start was Mike “Dark Horse” Hurworth who was still reeling after losing the club TT to Mike Hornsby and was hoping to go one better. Unfortunately Robin was onto his previous generous handicap and so penalised Mike to give him little chance of an easy victory. Following Mike was Jon “carefully edited my Strava segment to ensure victory” Doyle, who, given a massive handicap had time to ride the climb without breaking a sweat, and as such still looked cool and composed at the finish line.
However, the big guns had not all rolled out as yet and first of those was Pete “I don’t think 10k for a bike is excessive” Clarke who flew out of the start looking for a fast time to show all the young upstarts how it’s done. Following Pete was Anthony “I’m rubbish at this, no actually I’m ok” Doolan who started like a bullet from a gun. Let’s just say that pacing himself is not one of his strongest suits. Then, as the flash bulbs popped, Scott “I haven’t coughed like this since 1993” O’Brien rolled to the start line. He set off in true TT style, only to have to ease up round the corner and ride sensibly the rest of the way.
Then one of our international club stars made a surprise appearance, having flown in especially from New Zealand, chasing the dream of gaining the massive kudos as club hill climb champion. Whether it was the jet lag, the extremely retro steel LLoydy bike or vast quantities of pizza eaten just 20 minutes before, Russ Jones fell short, but not very short of his goal. Last man off was the one everyone else feared when he rolled up to the start. Henry “H” Timewell, son of former club member Steve, decided to give everyone reason to go as hard as possible up the climb. Despite riding a mountain bike with full knobbly tyres, H, only 12 years old shot up the climb to claim the first Junior prize.
It was a superb event, well organised, especially the post race analysis in the Anchor pub, Irby. Thanks to Robin for organising it, Steve Timewell for the pushing off and to guest timekeeper, Mrs Nicola O’Brien. But more over thank you and well done to the riders. See you next year!
As the North Wirral Velo is officially into the start of it’s second year “back in the saddle”, tonight sees the Annual General Meeting being held at the Velo’s new club rooms in Pensby.
It is planned that the club will meet regularly over the winter months for various fun activities, plus turbo training, Zwifting, circuit training etc We are also hoping to have some coaching sessions for our aspiring new racers, so that they can build on the success we have enjoyed this year.
The club hill climb champs is fast approaching in October, swiftly followed by a night of celebration, drinking and eating at the Annual Club Dinner.
The dinner takes place on Friday 16th November at the Manor in Greasby. Tickets have sold well but we do have a few places left if you want to come and see us in our dancing pants instead of Lycra (unless your dancing pants are actually made of Lycra(don’t knock it until you have tried it)). The dinner will also consist of a prize presentation for achievements through the year and be the official premier of “North Wirral Velo – the movie”, so lots to look forward to!
The fast growing North Wirral Velo had their first club TT (this millennium) last Thursday evening.
Expertly organised by TT ace Dave Cuthill with time keeping superbly carried out by the club TT legend Robin Hennessy.
Many of the members who competed had never ridden a time trial before and the 8.2 mile 2 lap course was an excellent introduction to the art of riding against the clock.
Dave had used a complex system of levers and pulleys to work out a handicap time for all riders as to provide a level(ish) playing field.
The handicaps were based on an estimated average speed for each rider. There was a lot of “discussion” about the estimates submitted y some of the riders, leading to a deep analysis of everyone’s Strava accounts by Anthony Statto Denby who was determined to make sure he wasn’t disadvantaged by any skullduggery.
First off were TT virgins Mike Hornsby followed a minute later Mike Hurworth. Next off was meant to be Chris Skinner but he was unable to make due to [insert bogus excuse here]. So it was left to Ian “ooh my back” Lamb to start next. Another DNS this time from Ant “Sorry lads” Doolan and so the big guns were rolled out in the form of Andy “Rapha Beard” Woodside. Another late DNS from Colin “can’t ride as I got my chemical preparation wrong” Parker. He should have been followed by Scott “so old it hurts” O’Brien but after an altercation on his train from work he was delayed and so was already “racing against the clock” to make it to the start.
That left Anthony “Statto, stop looking at my mahoosive calves” Denby to ride down the virtual start ramp and into the fray. Then came Mark “hardened roadman ” Donaghy and Chris “Dr Laxslacks” Redhead. All that was left now was the man on scratch, the mighty Dave “Aero” Cuthill in full TT mode, TT bike, aero helmet, skinsuit, the works. He had generously applied an 1 minute 30 penalty against his time due to the 3 minute gain he would enjoy from being super aero. But just as he was getting off his warm up turbo trainer, and his soigneur was giving him a final rub down, his doctor was injection him with his “asthma” meds and his Director Sportive was giving final instructions before jumping in the following car , a panting Scotty OB1 came in view to be given the final start position after big Dave.
Dave started his effort and Scott was left to be pushed off a minute later, wondering why he had signed up for such nonsense. Clad in autumnal long sleeves and leg warmers, and very much unable to get on the “hooks” due to his immense belly, he lumbered off whistling his favourite tune of Jump Around by the House of Pain.
Unsurprisingly Dave was quickest overall with an incredibly fast average of almost 25 mph in the blustery conditions. The old master OB1 showed the younger guns a thing or two by getting the second fastest time, and indeed was the moral victor for being fastest on a normal road bike.
However, the race was a handicapped event and with an outstanding victory to the first man off Michael “economical with the truth about speeds” Hornsby, beating another Mike (and lets face we have bloody hundreds of them) Mike “cut me some slack as I’m old and semi retired aka now a semi professional cyclist” Hurworth. Third was Scotty “lies like a flat fish” O’Brien to complete the podium places. the full results below:
We approached the winner for an interview after the race but he refused to comment and directed us to contact him through his agent.
A great event enjoyed by all, trophies to be presented at the club dinner November 16th. Well done to all that rode, the next event is the club hill climb in October. Full details to follow.
It is a year to the day that I organised the first meeting to gather some interest in reforming the North Wirral Velo. It was a nervously taken first step that I was dreading. The fear of no one turning up was what was holding me back. Fortunately, we had a decent turn out and there was lots of enthusiasm in the room for a new (old) club on the Wirral. About 15 people turned up at that initial meeting and apart from a few of the En Velo CC members who turned up to support it (aka trying to get tips on how a real cycling club would work ) most of the those people went on to join.
The now reinvigorated NWV would need a reinvigorated jersey design. I wanted the jersey to represent the club from the (first) era I was a member, the 1980’s when it was green/yellow/black and so I based the colours on the design from then, but with (I hope) a more modern look .
From August 2017 onwards the club started to attract more attention and it gathered more and more recruits along the way. Club runs were starting to take place and even though it was a difficult time over the winter months to get people of regularly (myself included!) the club burst into the new year with an increased membership of about 25. As the year progressed, we grew bigger and the NWV racing section was also reborn. The club has a long and glorious history of racing successes and I’m sure the current riders will continue that tradition. To date we have got 5 members who have raced this year. I am immensely proud of all of them and it’s fantastic to see North Wirral Velo listed on a start sheet once more.
Today membership stands at 42 paid up members, and because we include a jersey in the first years subs, we get a great turn out in club colours for every ride. We are starting to look like a club again! This year we are hoping to have our first club dinner this winter and want to include more social events to get members together off the bike as well as on. We have some exciting plans for next year so we hope that more cyclists will join us and enjoy being part of what is a legendary cycling club!
I only hope that in another year’s time I can report back with news of another big increase in club membership and more racing successes. Thanks to all who have shared the enthusiasm and supported the club so far, long may it continue!
The Tour De France starts on 8th July, and if you are still a bit sour over not being selected for this year’s edition then you can do the next best thing*
Join the NWV’s fantasy TdF league! This year we have chosen Velo Games to facilitate this outlet to combat TdF frustrations . It’s free to join and really low maintenance for the lazy Director Sportive types as no changes are permitted after the race starts.