Category: Blogs

NWV Blown from all Angles(ey)

A large contingent of the club were in action at the annual Tour De Mon sportive on Anglesey at the weekend. A strong showing of 14 riders (despite 2 DNS’s) turned up early on Sunday morning for the 106 miles Mawr event, with winds gusting up to 40 mph for the whole day.

Despite an overly enthusiastic pace set early on, the club stayed together (mainly) for the whole ride. However, we lost two riders at Beaumaris who were suffering, one from illness, one from a back injury. Fortunately a team car was on hand to pick them up and get them back to base.

A superbly organised event by Aim High Events on a very scenic course circumnavigating the entire island of Anglesey. The sun shone for the whole day (despite the horrific weather forecasts earlier in the week) which made it all the more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Below are a few pics from the event, thanks to Andy Chung for his contribution as club’s action photographer.

Mike Shows True NWV Spirit by Facing His Fears

Mike “The Bollard” Hornsby made his comeback ride on the club’s Tuesday night ride. He had been off the bike for 4 weeks after a collision with a particularly aggressive bollard on the Burton Marsh Greenway (BMG).

To mark the occasion, and as a special treat for him, the ride took to the BMG so the club could remember the “fell-offen” with a minutes silence at the memorial bollard.

Mike makes his peace with the bollard

In a moving speech, Mike thanked the club and his long suffering partner Paula for their support though a very painful episode in his cycling career. Despite the shock of meeting his nemesis face to face again, Mike held his composure and spoke with confidence about the future, and his hopes for being able to ride passed this and all other bollards without being drawn in to photograph them at speed before ploughing head long into them. He also thanked Cheshire County Council for erecting the plaque in his honour.

The boys, along with Mike, remember that terrible day and give thanks for not being as daft as him.

The sombre mood was further lifted by the usual stop at the “Thatch” on the way back for a round bought by Mike himself. He really is a team player.

Chapeau Mike, and hope the bruising clears up soon (but not the swelling) and you can launch your Speedos modelling career.

Ride safe!

Scott

Ps Send us your selfie with the memorial bollard on the BMG to be entered into our competition, “Who’s the biggest bollard on the road”. First prize will get two tickets to the NWV annual club dinner and prize presentation in November. Remember to use the #mikethebollard hashtag and follow @nwvcc to qualify.

The touching tribute from the Cheshire CC

Meanwhile, in France

After the recent spell of fantastically hot weather in the UK, the weekend, for the North West at least, was a wash out. Some of the braver members of the club got an early ride in on Saturday, missing the worst of the weather. The rest (and yours truly included) wimped out in case we melted.

Many will have used the free time to watch the Tour De France closing stages and marvel at the cycling talent seen on our TV screens competing in the biggest and arguably toughest race in the world.

What a lot of people won’t have been aware of is that a group of women, called the Internationelles, completed the entire 3,400 kms tour route one day ahead of the race to promote equality in sport. They wanted to, and indeed did, show the world that women deserve such multi stage grand tours and deserve equality in race coverage and prize money.

The Internationelles

One of those brilliantly talented cyclists was Helen Bridgman, honorary NWV member and married to Will who flies the NWV flag down south in that there London.

Helen and Will on top of the legendary climb of the Galibier pass

Will was lucky enough to be able to go out to France to support his wife and the rest of the ladies for their last few days in the Alps and triumphant ride into Paris.

The end of a grueling three weeks for Helen

On behalf of the North Wirral Velo (and many, many others I’m sure) we would like to say a massive WELL DONE!! A tremendous achievement for a very worthy cause.

A Grand Day Out

The North Wirral Velo turned out on mass for the recent Sigma Sports West Coast Classic, in the lanes of Lancashire.

A motley crew at the start. Not the Motley Crue (as in the 80’s rock group)

Fourteen from the club made the trip to the start in Preston for a very well organised event. The course was a scenic 97 miles through the Lancashire countryside taking in a couple of tough climbs in the first half of the event.

A line out on a narrow section of the course

With only one puncture to deal with (even though it took 4 punctures worth of time to fix) and a couple of feed stops the ride time was a very respectable 5 and half hours. Official times where in the region of 6 hours 42 minutes which was good enough for the Silver award.

One fixing it, many observers…

Overall it was a great day and the NWV train devoured all in it’s wake, despite missing two of the clubs key rouleurs (one through injury, one through beer)

Cruising through Lancashire

The next big day out at an organised event for the NWV is the Tour De Mon in Angelsey on Sunday 18th August, although there will be a lot of miles put in by the guys before then!

The NWV meet every Sunday at 8am at the Glegg Arms and every Tuesday at 7pm at the Red Cat. If you are looking for a friendly group to ride with, then please come along and join us!

Ride safe!

Emotional Tributes to Mike and his Bollard

Following on from last week’s post about the traumatic bollard related incident involving one of members, tributes have been pouring in from around the cycling world.

The Wirral section of the VCUK cycling club made a stop at “Mike’s Bollard” as it’s now formally known to show their support for such a good cause.

VCUK members moved by at the sight of the incident involving Mike’s left bollard

Other members of the cycling community simply left anonymous tributes on social media, some with flowers

A touching tribute of some weeds at Mike’s bollard.

The NWV had it’s usual Sunday club run last week, and even though Mike is well on the road to recovery, he was not well enough to participate. So the club paid it’s own tribute. It was an emotional moment, some of the lads moved to tears when they thought of how close Mike was to losing a boll**k on the bollard.

Members of the NWV remember their idiotic friend and his bollard

The biggest suprise came from the Grand Depart in this years Tour De France. At the start of the opening stage the great Eddy Merckx appeared out of the roof of the lead car to start the race and produced a replica of Mike’s Bollard to stick on the roof in a show of solidarity.

Eddy Merckx along with Mikes bollard start the 2019 Tour De France.

Hopefully Mike will be out again next week and be back to steering AROUND bollards and other stationary objects.

Ride safe!

#mikethebollard

Racing through April

Dave Cuthill’s journey to racing glory continues as he recalls his experiences in April…

The last month has been my most active racing yet with many 2 race weeks. I have certainly been operating out of my comfort zone and even though results have not been matching my pre-season ‘dreams’ I am doing alright.

Strangely enough the month started with me learning a valuable lesson about not resting enough. After my Road Race debut (See previous blog) I decided that seeing as though I was not racing the week after I would literally blow myself apart to then come into the busy schedule flying for the Oakenclough RR 0n the 14th with a lighter week beforehand. In reality fatigue kicked in, training results were terrible and then I got ill by being run down. Lesson learnt!

10/04/19          Litherland Crit (20th out of 29)

https://www.strava.com/activities/2280303119

The 10th was my birthday so my pre-race build up consisted of visiting Knowsley Safari Park and eating lots of……..everything basically, then a mad dash home to get the bike, drop the family off and get to Litherland for round 1 of the new Cat 2/3/4 50 min race. Unsurprisingly this shambolic preparation led for a great birthday but rubbish race that saw me dropped after 10 laps. I TT’d around after that so I at least earnt the crackers and cheese supper but basically one to forget.

14/04/19    Oakenclough Cat 3/4 Road Race (30th out of 62)

https://www.strava.com/activities/2289857758

This I was looking forward to, hills I can do and the first half of each 10.5 mile lap was indeed uphill and into a headwind just for good measure. After waiting around for the ambulance to clear the remains of the earlier cat E/1/2 race we rolled out behind the lead car for the neutralised rolling start, then BOOM! The race started and immediately the attacks started, the race was blown to bits inside the 1st 5 miles. 1 group of strong riders went up the road, 1 group went backwards very quickly and me not being positioned properly was stuck in a middle group. The majority of the 3rd group was pulled out on safety grounds by the commissaire at the end of the 1st lap and the rest went at the end of lap 2 for being too far back.

I was left slightly frustrated at this stage by my group as the majority did not want to work but eventually a small group formed who would and this saved our race whilst the others were dropped and eventually pulled/dropped out. We worked together and kept a decent pace and either passed or recruited members dropping off the lead group and for 1 lap were the fastest on the road (According to the commissaire in the safety car). Unfortunately, we were too far back from main group after the initial time wasted getting organised to effect the race but we finished when half the field did not. Even though I may never see my 2 ‘mates’ again it was a great feeling of camaraderie working together.

All in all I was happy with my form as I proved fairly strong for the whole race and could now swallow gels faster than the addicts in NWV! (Thank you Scott for making me rethink the no fuel strategy, I would have been found in a ditch otherwise singing about Pink Fluffy Unicorns dancing on Rainbows!) Speaking with people at the end of the race the general feeling was if I learned how to position I would do alright going forward and I had completed one of the hardest races on the calendar.

17/04/19          Litherland Crit (18th out of 24)

https://www.strava.com/activities/2297661596

This time I managed to hang on for 14 laps after a proper warm up and eating properly. Not much to report though except I need to improve my race craft, hanging on the back of these fast lads just increases the effort required until the inevitable drop happens. My biggest achievement tonight was catching up the people who had dropped me as part of the group when I was putting a decent TT training effort in after being dropped.

19/04/19          BNECC Hilly 22 (24th out of 85)

https://www.strava.com/activities/2301341061

This was another chance to see how much I had improved from last year when I completed event in 56:46. I had a late start so the NWV support crew gave me a very enthusiastic wave on my warm up to the start as they were heading for syrup covered waffles. (With their usual pinpoint planning they managed to miss Robin and Mike as well but at least the thought was there boys!) The race itself went reasonably well for me, I managed to hold my HR at 180 bpm as planned and a cadence of 85+ rpm. I have been working on increasing my cadence since riding the 2 Up with Robin last year and am starting to feel the benefit as I can now hold a constant higher power for longer. When I got back to the HQ I was given an initial time of 54:00 so I was a little disappointed as I had absolutely emptied myself, got a dedicated TT bike and only finished 1:46 better off. On my way home I realised a mistake had been made, contacted the organisers’ and it was changed to 52:00. An improvement of nearly 4 mins had me feeling much better about life and the wrack of PB’s on my Strava was nice. On the TT’s I am climbing well but need to improve on the long flat sections to really start getting somewhere, event though my power and position have improved more work is needed.

24/04/19          Litherland Crit (15th out of 15, due to the crash)

https://www.strava.com/activities/2316280710

A different Litherland tonight as it was wet and cold but initially saw a big turnaround in my fortunes. I not only held on to the main bunch, I was right in the thick of the action and doing well. Unfortunately, 2nd to last lap I overcooked the hairpin and lost the back wheel when racing for 7th. This was very frustrating as I had been particularly good on the hairpin all night and had just got a little gap to take into the last lap that would have boded well for the sprint. On the plus side it was a massive improvement and I had managed to jump up and unsuccessfully tried to catch up meaning me and my bike escaped unscathed. This felt like somewhat of a turning point even though I was dead last. One comment from my fellow racers also made me smile, “You looked like you were circling the plug hole with a bike attached to your feet!”

28/04/19          Fibrax Wrexham RC Horseshoe Pass Mountain TT (24th out of 47)

https://www.strava.com/activities/2324959456

My entry into this was met with some surprise by Robin and Scott, Robin in particular with his “Are you mad?” This race was very tough, starting from slightly lower down than the Britannia Inn this was straight up the ‘Shoe’, over to and down the Nant Y Garth towards Corwen before heading back to Llandegla and back up the ‘Shoe’ to finish at the cafe. In reality this means 32 miles of pain. I actually climbed well with 12th best time up the main climb on the day and descended bravely but was slightly apprehensive on the wet roads after sliding on Wednesday, next time the Nant Y Garth is being given full gas all the way! Never having done this long a TT (or this hilly) I was not completely sure how to pace this and also next time I will probably race with pockets so I can neck a few gels. Again, the flatter rolling sections of the course were where I lost time. This is not lack of effort as HR shows but I need to find power from somewhere, possibly just more riding in the TT position. Next year I want to improve on my 1:35:20 (I was quicker than my official time as I got to the start late like a T*T!) but will have some practice runs on what is actually a really nice route. Afterwards I said this was one of the hardest things I have done on a bike, but I am keen to do again and not sure it was as hard as the Oakenclough in hindsight. What I definitely do know is I need a different saddle!

02/05/19          Halton 10 (10th out of 44)

https://www.strava.com/activities/2336938188

Still feeling the effects of the Shoe TT, I gave Litherland a miss to allow another day of recovery and did the Hatton TT hosted by Runcorn CC and Frodsham Wheelers with Mike Stanley. This was a great little course with some technical parts that made it interesting. Apart from being a bit too brave (Stupid) on the first corner and nearly ending up in a forest I had a good run to finish 10th with a time of 23:55 and HR 183 bpm to prove I left it all out there. Anyone thinking of giving TT a go should have a go on this event, a well organised and enjoyable night. Special mention to Dougie Turndodger for a very impressive debut even though the upstart beat me!

05/05/19          Aughton Road Race (33rd out of 42)

https://www.strava.com/activities/2343507048

This race saw me completing 8 laps of a 6.3 mile course above the Lune Valley, a simply stunning part of the world. Leading up to the race I was still struggling with a hamstring injury so was feeling very apprehensive as even walking was causing me pain. After much stretching Friday/Saturday I decided to dose up on painkillers and hope for the best, I have a week off racing afterwards so can deal with the consequences then. 7:00am Sunday, car was loaded, both breakfasts consumed, and I was off.

Signed and numbered up I decided a lap recce and few sprints were more worthwhile than the turbo before the rider briefing and the views alone where vindication of this. The recce of a slightly hillier course than I was expecting also had me thinking ‘What am I doing?!’ with Oakenclough still fresh in the mind! Having learnt a little about position I got straight behind the lead car for the neutralised start and despite the drivers’ best efforts we set off safely.

From the off I felt much better in this race, the pace was high but even though I was working hard on the flats I felt alright and as soon as it kicked up, I naturally started to move up. My pre-race apprehension dissipated until shooting pains started down the hamstring. This had me thinking I might pull out after lap 1 but like a hero I pushed through (Mainly as it was a 90 min drive to get there) and amazingly the pain went completely after me really kicking up a hill in a last ditch effort to test it! Pain free and feeling like I belonged I got more aggressive and tried a few attacks and followed any that went off the front when I needed. My ‘attacks’ really only succeeded in tiring me out, but one had potential when I bridged a break. I got over but then sat up as no one else looked interesting in going on, in hindsight I could and should have gone again but caution got the better of me. With how I felt even if it had failed, I would have been able to recover in the bunch.

The rest of the race was pretty straightforward with all moves covered until one slipped away on the 45 mph descent of the 2nd to last lap. I had chased another break straight before and missed the one that stuck annoyingly. Even though I missed it I was starting to read the race a little more. Eventually, I rolled over the line at the back of the main bunch after attacking too early on the last lap (I got my hills mixed up) but it was a good if mistimed move that if done 2 hills later would have had me finishing much higher than my eventual 33rd. 33rd sounds rubbish but when it was obvious I had blown my chance of top 10 I sat up in the last 50m to stay safe and with better timing I would have been properly up there. The legs were definitely up to the job if the brain is somewhat lagging behind!

Overall, I am pretty happy with how my racing is going, alright the results do not look great written down but I feel I am definitely moving forward and am really enjoying the TT’s and Road Races. Road Races in particular feel like a proper event so I will be looking to do as many as possible the next few years, I might even be able to string a complete race together in that time so that podium better watch out!

TT’s I have to find more power on the long drags to catch ‘Robin and the Hitters’ but the great thing here is it is as much competing against myself so there is always something to aim for.

The new format at Litherland is not helping my results in the Crits as it is generally a Cat 2 race, the lads racing have a lot of racing under their belts and are very strong. I may have a decision to make of whether saving £15 a week and fitting another training ride in is better than racing or even TT instead each week. I will see how I feel as the season progresses, but it has also made me realise I need to work harder/smarter to get to be a true Cat 2 whilst still ensuring it stays enjoyable as that is the real reason we all ride the bike!

Anyway, today I got an email from Barnsley Road Club asking all competitors if they are fit enough to ride their race in the Holme Valley in 2 weeks’ time that I have entered, guess that will be another easy one for me if I make the field!

Stay safe, tarmac down and get those miles in!

Dave

NWV’s first trip to MARS

The North Wirral Velo’s first meeting of the bicycle Maintenance And Repair Section (MARS… see what I did there?) was well attended last week. Led by club dad Michael Hurworth, the group went through the basic “M” check that all riders taking to the road should do on a regular basis.

The M Safety Check List for your Bike

Session 1 Wednesday 03/04/2019

The M Safety Check List for your bike is a nose to tail series of checks that follow the form of the letter M.  Most checks should be carried out prior to any ride but especially a club ride to ensure not only your own safety but that of the others you are riding with.  If you are riding more than 100 miles per week then all checks should be carried out at least once per week, this can be done as part of your cleaning and maintenance routine.  Like all repetitive tasks, the more you carry the task out the faster and more proficient that you become at completing the task so this should not be seen as a chore but rather as a demonstration of concern for your own and fellow riders safety and well being.

The beauty of this method of checking your bike is that the only thing you have to remember is the M, you methodically follow the letter (or imaginary orange lines!) checking everything that you come across.  No part of the M-check is very technical, you are looking for obvious signs of damage or wear so don’t worry or overcomplicate it.

In this first instalment I shall list the 25 checks* that should be carried out with a basic instructions on what to check and how to perform the check, more detailed instructions for the more complicated adjustment processes will be provided as a separate topic at a later date.

  1. Front Quick Release Skewer – Quick-releases must be firmly closed and the lever not exposed.
  2. Hub Bearings – Grasp each rim and rock it from side to side to check for play in the bearings.
  3. Front Wheel Spokes – Check al the spokes for tension by flexing them in pairs.
  4. Front Rim – Spin the wheel to check that the rim is true and centred in the forks.  Check the Rim Wear Indicator on bikes with rim brakes.
  5. Front Tyre – Check the tyre pressure and adjust to manufacturer recommended pressure.  Ensure the valve is closed and the dust cap is secure. Check the Tread Wear Indicator (TWI if the manufacturer provides). Check the tyre walls for splits.
  6. Front Brake (Calliper or Disc) – Apply the front brake.  Brakes must make contact with the rim before the lever is pulled back more than one third of its travel.  Ensure that the brake blocks/pads are not rubbing on the rim/disc when the brake is not applied.  Check the blocks/pads are not excessively worn. Adjust or replace if required. Check for any signs of wear or fraying to the cable, or excessive “sponginess” if hydraulic.
  7. Front Forks – Check for any damage to the front forks.
  8. Headset – Check if there is any rocking or clicking in the headset. Grasp the head tube with one hand and apply the front brake with the other hand. This will steady the front of the bike so that you can rock the bike back and forth to establish any rocking or clicking in the bearings.  Adjust if required.
  9. Handlebars – Check that your front wheel and stem do not move independently, and that your handlebar clamp bolts are tight. Perform this check by standing in front of the bike, holding the front wheel between your knees, and twisting the handlebars. You can prevent any movement by tightening the stem bolts and the handlebar clamp with a torque wrench tightening to the recommend torque setting.
  10. Bottom Bracket – Check by trying to rock the cranks from side to side to see if there is any play in the bearings.
  11. Crankset – Check that both crack arms are tight on the bottom bracket axle.
  12. Chain Rings –  Check for loose bolts, that the rings run true and for any wear on teeth.
  13. Pedals – Check that the pedals are complete: no missing screws, no excessive wear.  Check they are fastened tightly to the cranks.
  14. Front Dérailleur – Check that the gears shift correctly between the chain rings. Adjust if required. Check for any signs of wear or fraying to the cable.
  15. Frame Triangle –  Check the frame triangle looking for obvious defects including wrinkled paint around where the top tube and down tube meet the head tube.
  16. Seat Post Pin – Check that the pin is secured and adjusted to the correct torque setting.
  17. Saddle – Grasp each end of the saddle and try and rock it.  It should not move, either up and down or side to side and it should be in line with the top tube.
  18. Rear Brake (Calliper or Disc) – Apply the rear brake.  Brakes must make contact with the rim before the lever is pulled back more than one third of its travel.  Ensure that the brake blocks/pads are not rubbing on the rim/disc when the brake is not applied.  Check the blocks/pads are not excessively worn.  Adjust or replace if required.
    Check for any signs of wear or fraying to the cable, or excessive “sponginess” if hydraulic.
  19. Rear Tyre –  Check the tyre pressure and adjust to manufacturer recommended pressure.  Ensure the valve is closed and the dust cap is secure. Check the Tread Wear Indicator (TWI if the manufacturer provides). Check the tyre walls for splits.
  20. Rear Rim – Spin the wheel to check that the rim is true and centred in the forks.  Check the Rim Wear Indicator on bikes with rim brakes.
  21. Rear Wheel Spokes –  Check al the spokes for tension by flexing them in pairs.
  22. Rear Hub Bearings –  Grasp each rim and rock it from side to side to check for play in the bearings.
  23. Rear Quick Release Skewer –  Quick-releases must be firmly closed and the lever not exposed.
  24. Rear Triangle –  Check for any damage to the rear chain stays and seat stays (the rear triangle of the frame).
  25. Rear Derailleur –  Check that the gears shift correctly up and down the cassette when in either of  the chain rings. Adjust if required. Check for any signs of wear or fraying to the cable.

*This list is for guidance only. If you have any doubt as to the condition or performance of any part of your bike and don’t know how to fix/replace it, please seek professional help from your local bike shop, or find a local cycle club with a wealth of cycling knowledge and experience to join and ask the club dad. Please get in touch to learn more about the club and meetings.

And finally, “hey, let’s stay safe out there”

Michael Hurworth
(NWV Club Dad)

Pullar Cycling 3-4 Road Race – A Cuthill out of his comfort Zone!

After another frustrating trip to Halfords the bike is loaded on the car and kit is being packed for my first road race. All the usual kit questions go through my mind, skinsuit, winter gear, jersey, shorts, tights, whatever happened to those baggy shorts I regularly ask myself? Throw in whether i should use my new Velo coloured helmet or the trusty battle scarred one, prizm lenses in the glasses or photochromic, its enough to make a certain old pro shake his head in disgust or Rebekah (my Wife) for that matter. I decided to take all my summer kit and none of my winter kit for racing in March, yes I have made this mistake before.

This time I had also managed to get the family involved to make a weekend of it so as well as packing my 2 course pre race breakfast I had to make room for luxuries, clothes, swimming costumes, barbies, children etc. Luckily for them the turbo folds pretty small otherwise toys would have been kept to a minimum.

Finally after some M6 Friday afternoon action we get to the stonker of a hotel I have booked. Rebekah says I have finally realised what the required standards are and we are living large. Family stuff takes precedence over the next 24 hours with just an hour course recce for me on Saturday morning to see how flat and windy it’s going to be, very to both but I am happy. I also have to go and buy better gloves as it turns out Cockerham is bloody freezing and my fingers were numb after 1 lap never mind 4. This is one lesson I may never learn but there may be some good kit on offer every so often.

Race day sees me up at 6am for my 2 course breakfast, Weetabix, Honey and Banana followed by Beans on Toast. I normally spread this over a whole morning pre race but with a 9am start time, needs must with me not trusting myself to mess with gels/bars mid race. I had to eat fast though as i was breaking the 3 hour digestion rule but prioritised sleep this time. I then chilled out until getting on the turbo at 7:20.

Turns out a turbo and cleats on a wooden floor in a first storey apartment makes a fair bit of noise but hopefully the presumably delighted people downstairs thought it was just Rebekah walking around in high heels and doing the washing. Warm up done, sweat cleaned off the floor and i said bye to everyone and rolled down to Cockerham to meet ‘Mr I love a Puncture’ Will. The kids ran after me to give me one last hug as i was leaving and left me hoping their 6th sense was off and we didn’t need such a big goodbye but it was nice. It really helped having them there as it took away the guilt of missing time with them to race.

After finding Will at HQ and his last minute puncture repair (And panic he had the short valve inner tubes for deep wheels) we got numbered up, completed warm ups, attended the riders briefing and were ushered into the starters pen – aka the car park for the rolling start. I was a little back after toilet stop 931 of the morning but spotted Will further up and managed to sneak in behind him. This was it, a rolling start behind a lead car with motorbikes and everything. I was properly racing and this was going to be great was what was going through my head as the peloton rolled down to the start!

BOOM! We crossed the line and this got real! The rolling peloton became a surging animal, speed doubled, space shrank and there were bikes everywhere and my legs had disappeared. I spotted Will moving up through the peloton but I was fighting to hold on and slowly sliding backwards. All those thoughts yesterday doing the recce of possible attacking places were replaced with ‘I am getting dropped 5 mins into my first road race!’ A stern word with myself made me pull up the big boy lycra and I moved up the outside of the bunch with a calculated gamble on the white line to get into some sort of decent position that earned me some shouts from the ‘Mr Play by the rules whilst it suits’ crowd.

Dave near the front of the action

I spotted Will and got in the wheels, realising I had to race smart. Sticking out in the wind had allowed me to move up but had cost a lot of energy. I needed to shelter or the wind would be sending me out the back. Whilst I had been realising this was a race a small break of 3 went and fair play to them as they impressively stayed away all day and smashed it. Halfway around the 12 mile lap we turned and had the first taste of the tailwind, now it would be cruising on the wind. Wrong again as the speed clocked up to 30mph. I was in the game now though and emptied myself when I needed and drafted to recoup energy when that was needed. I also spotted an ‘experienced’ rider drifting around the wheels and followed him and learnt a lot in the next 24 miles, unknowingly to him this was probably my best move all day. The last 3 miles of each lap contain the only lumps in the race with 3 small rises. Everyone was smashing into these and slowing greatly at the top but I kept cadence high and crested each, carrying good momentum through and conserving energy. This formed an ill advised plan in my head whilst we smashed through Cockerham and back into the headwind.

Will following wheels..

Laps 2 and 3 went by pretty smoothly but were still hard work, sprinting, hiding, sprinting, hiding, little panicking and so on. Another small group of 4 got away but i was a little back at the time so unfortunately missed the break without being able to do much about it. By this time I felt like I belonged and I was really racing, even returning a few of the shouts I had been given out just because I could! 

The last lap had me battling to stay up near the front and I followed a few attacks but unfortunately nothing stuck so I finalised my plan for the hills. I was going to hold back slightly and attack over the top to get up near the front with my extra momentum. I knew I had to wait to at least halfway up the last as there was too much road and headwind to go earlier. My plan kind of worked but when it slowed someone completely blew in front of me and as I had not positioned on the outside I had nowhere to go, by the time I had got around the race was gone. I chased for a while but alone in the wind i was not catching the sprint. I sat up and watched the sprint for the line as sprinting for 30th place is not a cool look. Being in the mix for 7th for 49.5 miles will do for my first race though so I am happy.

It was also great to share the experience with a fellow Velo racer. Having a coffee and cake ‘debrief’ (Told you i felt like a real cyclist!) with Will was great, talking all things bike and how the race had gone was a nice ending to the event. After the Time Trials with Robin has felt very similar and brings a real enjoyment and camaraderie into all the hard work.

Looking back now my plan was pretty stupid as i have intervalled School Hill to death and hills are generally a strong point for me. I should have trusted my legs and the work i have put in to ensure i was always right up there and give myself a chance, that is one lesson i will learn!

Overall feeling is that I am very happy, I was at the business end racing for top 10 for all the race, raced pretty smart, matched sprints and did alright. Work is needed to get really in the mix but I will do as much as I can and even if I don’t manage it I am really racing! A great weekend in a fantastic part of the world, I rode my bike really fast (50 miles at 24.3mph and also spent time with the family, PERFECT!

Ride safe and if you fancy giving it a go be brave!

Dave

Two Weeks to Go!

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 hello@nwvcycling.club for info on buying tickets*

 

Hope to see you there!

 

OB1

 

*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.

 

Pedalin’ a Cycle Better than Penicillin?

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
  • Raced TT’s
  • Climbed up Asterton Bank (Thanks Simon – Ridiculously hard!)
  • Organised a TT & was active with North Wirral Velo (NWV)
  • Ride London
  • Bowland Sportive
  • 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!

 

Ride Safe and pedal like f*$k – Dave

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