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!
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!
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.