Tag: cycling

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

Club Meeting

Club Meeting

General club meeting open to all, incorporating a bike safety and riding position check clinic!

Make sure you bring your bike so our club experts can check everything over and offer practical advise on anything that could be improved.  This is the first meeting of what we will set out as monthly meeting through the year.  There will be a bike mechanics section in most meetings to cover a range of topics.

More details to follow!

Fund Raiser Quiz Night

Attention Quizzers!

A quiz, and fish and chips supper to raise money towards the hut maintenance.

Organised by the 3rd Heswall Scout Troop to help maintain the scout hut.

Tickets are £10 to include a fish/chip supper and a drink, there will be a cheap bar on the night!

Location is The Scout Hut, Marksway, Pensby, start time 7:30pm (TBC)

All welcome!

For more info and tickets email hello@nwvcycling.club

Getting ‘Crit’ical of the Rain

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;

  • Quit work
  • 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!

Stay safe and enjoy the ride!

Dave

Racing Roundup 23/24 Feb

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!

Dave Cuthill cornering at speed in the Chester RC Hilly 14

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.

Robin Hennessy in full flight

2019 Race Season

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 our backs.

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!

The Start of a New Season

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.

Panoramic view of the velodrome in Manchester

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 hello@nwvcycling.club for more info, or say hello when you see us out!

Ho Ho H..wow! Nice Jumpers

The annual NWV Christmas jumper ride returns this Sunday to one of our favourite cafe stops Cleopatras in Holt.  We are hoping for an even bigger turn out and a lot better weather than last year!

This year the competition for “Most Festive Effort” is also on and the winner, who will be determined by an independent panel of experts, will receive their coffee/cake/beans on for free!

So, get decorating your bike, get on your best Christmas jumper and good luck for Sunday!

Oh What a Night!

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 trophies awarded to the winning club members

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 ChampDave Cuthill, promoted to 3rd cat in his first year of racing

Dave Cuthill, Club Road Race Champion

Time Trial ChampionRobin Hennessy, sub 21 minute 10 mile TT 

Robin Hennessy
Robin receiving his award for Time Trial Champion

Club TT Event ChampionMike Hornsby, put his fake claim of a wooden leg to good use

Mike Hornsby
“How much handicap did you get?”

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

Jon Doyle
Jon receiving his Hill Climb Champion Award from Pete Matthews

Junior Hill Climb ChampionHenry Timewell, the future of cycling and, as Louis Walsh commented, “he reminds me of a young Marco Pantani”

Henry Timewell
Henry receiving his Junior Hill Climb Champion Award from Pete Matthews

Mike Walsh Memorial Club Spirit AwardMike Hurworth, for fantastic enthusiasm, determination and supporting all the other members, Mike was an easy choice for the award this year.

 

Mike Hurworth
Mike receiving the Mike Walsh Memorial NWV Club Spirit Award from Cath Walsh

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…

The NWV Movie

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