The North Wirral Velo committee is pleased to announce that the almost annual dinner and prize presentation is to be held on November 13th, back at the Nelson in Wallasey.
This year we are pleased to share that the nicest guy in cycling, Mr Matthew Stephens is guest of honour! Matt, who was one of the countries top riders (and national road race champion), is now a pundit on Eurosport amongst others covering top flight races around the globe. Coincidentally, he is also a former North Wirral Velo member!
He is coming along to share a few stories from his career on and off the bike and present the prizes to the club’s champions.
Tickets are now on sale, email email@example.com for further details.
I have been trying to write this latest installment for a while but getting my head around another lockdown and the challenges this brings to family and work has made it a little tough. Coupling this with the recent weather has meant most rides have been in the shed and that does not bring too many funny anecdotes, but I have done approximately 45 hours training since the last update. Over Christmas I let myself switch off for a while as in previous years I have just kept working and working all throughout the year until the inevitable collapse or loss of interest.
Obviously, I did not start to put double cream on my Weetabix or anything too decadent, but I did let myself eat and drink what I wanted and just switch off mentally. I now realise that this is not going to be disastrous to the work I have already put in. By switching back on in January I can lose those few extra pounds I put on and just accept some of the goals may shift to the right a little, after all this is for fun not my job! ‘Switching off’ for a week will probably help in the long run.
Christmas also brought about a change in training focus from Cardio work and shifting to increasing power/FTP. Before this change in focus though I had a couple of tests to complete.
First up was the dreaded FTP test. I was quite looking forward to this though and actually did it ‘blind’ for the first time. My thinking was if I could not see power I could ride off feel and not necessarily chase a number and rode to HR/cadence only. I was actually a little surprised it went down slightly from my best ever in March as I have been feeling great on the longer Saturday rides. In hindsight I possibly could have gone a git deeper but with a heart rate hitting 186 bpm I was not exactly taking it easy.
The second test I completed was a Sub Threshold test. This basically is completing 4 x 20 minute blocks at 90% FTP and seeing what happens to the heart rate during the blocks. The results of this were really positive as it showed that I am capable of putting out the same power after 90 mins as after 10 mins without a great increase on my internal system (I can still breathe basically). This shows that the work I have done September to December has been successful.
Being me, I let the FTP test bother me slightly as I could not understand how I could feel stronger on the bike but the evidence seemed to show overwise. This leads nicely into how Scott has helped me in a major way.
Being bothered and dressed for a rare venture outside!
As mentioned at the start I would previously let this eat away at me and start trying to smash myself every minute I was on the bike. Scott has made me realise that this is a process and by having set goals I can measure how I am going and train smart. He also pointed out that even though I have not been trying to increase power at this stage, both 60 and 90 min powers have significantly increased and for the first time ever I have the foundations to really build on. One of the problems I have faced previously is that I have had power but suffered in the middle of races when I have just dropped off and hopefully that is one issue I have addressed with the CV work.
I have finally got around to ordering more kit as promised, hopefully I will be modelling my new Nopinz tights for when the big freeze finishes in my next blog. You never know but I might actually ride with people again before I am 40 and make use of the new skinsuit I have ordered that will probably now have its first outing in the shed as we are locked down untill 2022!
The Cause and the Challenge
If anyone wishes to find out more information about the Yorshire Beast or help me support DimentiaUk and the MS Society please see the links below.
6 weeks and over 43 training hours after signing up for the Beast I though it was time for a little update. As we have been through another lockdown and the weather has been rather dank (A word that came to me as being very appropriate on a cold wet Sunday riding through Cheshire) riding with anyone or anywhere interesting has been out of the question, but this has allowed me to really concentrate on myself and the workouts planned by Scott. Below shows a typical ‘dank’ day and that even having mudguards does not save your feet!
Most of my midweek work has been done on the turbo but with Christmas in full effect in the Cuthill household I have been kicked out of the conservatory to make way for the ‘Grotto’ and moved into the shed. Apart from being slightly self-conscious about the grunts and groans emanating from the bottom of the garden to the neighbours ears I do quite like it and being freezing in there seems to have some advantages for temperature control. As the pictures show I reckon it worked out well.
Obviously, we have the Strava enthusiasts stating only outside miles count and all that rubbish, but the indoor work seems to be paying off for me. I am only a couple of pounds off my target weight and my zone 2 and 3 power levels seem to be going in the right direction compared to heart rate, Scott must know what he is doing! (Scott is a fountain of knowledge) One thing we are finding is that sprinting is not mine or my cheap turbo’s forte however as my 5-30 second power is not too great.
I still have not got around to ordering any new kit as I was looking forward too but the MS Society has sent me this this cycling jersey that will match my Orange bike perfectly when the weather picks up in the Spring. For now, my Christmas jersey is back out so look out for me on the roads (At the weekends)!
Keeping riding, training indoors but mainly stay safe and have a great Christmas!
If you would like to support me and donate for either Dementia UK or the MS Society please follow the link below as any donations will be shared between the 2 charities.
2020, I got fit, raced twice (did ok), then the world fell apart. The END! Roll on 2021.
2021 is going to be a pretty big year for me as I turn 40 in April. I know you all thought my grey beard was premature, but I really am that old!
Having got myself fit and with my race specific goals shifted to 2021 I started thinking of a cycling related challenge to mark my 40th year and was drawn to the Yorkshire Beast (Again). I have looked at this previously but have been put off by people’s reactions to riding 200 miles in 1 day with 16,000 ft of climbing, over 100 times up West Kirby hill! No more being put off though, 2021 is the year and I am signed up for the 19th June. Please see link below for more info.
Obviously, this is going to take some planning and hard work to complete as you must complete the ride in 16 hours or be captured by the ‘BEAST’, a fancily painted van! To help me with this and my Cat 2 racing ‘dreams’ I have enlisted the services of Scott Maclean at Kinetic365 to plan my training and keep me focussed. Scott will also stop me from reading about training when I am not training so I do not completely neglect me family and grinding myself into an angry, fatigued mess like I turned myself into in 2019.
One advantage of making this crazy decision is that I will have to get (unfortunately not another bike but I will have to get my carbon frame fixed after finding a very untimely crack in it), some more quality gear from Blake Pond and team at Nopinz, look how happy it made me last time.
On a more sombre note I also want to use the ride to raise awareness (Possibly some money too!) for charities supporting MS & Dementia. My wife Rebekah and I have both had family members effected by these conditions and both are truly devastating.
My plan is to document my journey to the Beast as well as the day itself so hopefully it will not be too bumpy a ride and supply some good stories/pictures along the way.
Last Sunday saw the NW Velo ride out in 3 groups, tailored to different abilities and distances.
The A group of big hitters went out into Wales to smash the climbs and generally hurt each other.
Group B also ventured into Wales and had a scenic ride up the Horseshoe Pass from Llangollen. A tough ride, but kept together at a generally sensible pace.
The C group took a more sensibly flatter route out through the Cheshire lanes to Tarpoley with a coffee stop at the Old Fire Station cafe.
During the week, the evening rides were similar, Tuesday was the social spin, a steady 25 miles around the lanes ending up at the @thethatchraby for a welcome pint and a natter in the outside courtyard. Fantastic service as ever!
Also on Tuesday 4 of our members entered the BNECC evening 5 mile TT on the Clatterbridge Road. All turned in excellent times: Mike Stanley 12:22 Mark Donaghy 12:57 Andy Chung 12:55 Robin Hennessy 11:17
Well done to the TT lads, we hope to see a few more trying it next week!
Thursday was the “chaingang” ride, with a great workout for those looking to improve fitness and hone bunch riding skills. A bit of tractor drafting went on but generally it was a well drilled squad flying around an 8 mile circuit averaging mid 20’s mph.
If you are interested in joining us on any of these rides, then please get in touch!
Today was a pretty memorable day for NWV with 4 people entered into the Liverpool Phoenix 10. Club ‘Dad’ Michael Hurworth has inspired a new wave of Testers to hit the road and today Andrew ‘It definitely is a TT bike’ Woodside, Lee ‘Wire showing through tyres is ok, right?’ Holmes and Pete ‘Doesn’t like roundabouts’ Clarke took the plunge with him.
All four of them threw themselves into it and loved the experience.
Lee was first off for us and smashed the road bike category by finishing 2nd. Just over 25 mins was a superb ride on the ‘roadie’. Lee looked super strong and shows climbing all those mountains is great training! I can see another Canyon being added to the stable!
Next up was Pete and surprisingly he was the first finisher of the whole day! Unfortunately for Pete his 17 min course record wouldn’t stand for long as some confusion on a roundabout meant he had missed a few miles off the course. A predicted time of 25 mins shows he was going well and I must admit it was very funny to witness (Sorry Pete).
Andy then came on flying down the start on his 999th and newest ‘definitely a TT’ bike. After seeing him ride off strongly into the distance it was somewhat of a surprise his minute and 2 minute man beat him to the halfway point. Just as the crowd where deciding whether to go and investigate a possible puncture he appeared and was going well, finishing strongly with a 26:32 official time. When the press caught up with him he sheepishly admitted to a detour along the M58! Robin, i really am not making this up!
Last up was Mike on his new TT machine. Looking more and more the TT expert every time I see him he put in a solid ride to finish just over 27 mins in the strong headwinds. Knowing Mike he is going to dial that position in over the winter and that time is coming down in chunks next season.
With the OB1 magic mystery tour for probable syrup covered waffles on Sunday (this statement is unverifed at the time of print) it is a great weekend for the NWV.
Latest reports of Mike Hornsby dancing on tables in Hoylake to celebrate the spotlight moving from him and his bollard to Pete/Andy and their roundabouts are again unconfirmed.
The summer months may be behind us for the year, but there is still plenty of action happening in the North Wirral Velo!
The past few weeks have seen the club in several different sportives and loads of time trials and the beginning of the hill climb season.
The bank holiday weekend saw club rouleur and aging hipster Andy Woodside fly the NWV flag in the extremely tough Wild Wales ride, taking in some spectacular, if not tough, climbs around North Wales. As ever, he made it look too easy…
Midweek action in the local 5 mile time trials continued with Robin Hennessy coming back from an enforced lay off (holiday) to record a second place with 10 minutes 49 seconds. Stalwart time trialist Mike Stanley consistently keeps producing great times in the 12 minutes region. He has now switched to hill climbs for the rest of the season and long with Margaret McNelis, our lastest lady member, they are racing long into October with a full hill climb program. Best of luck to the our super climbing duo!
The Clatterbridge Cancer Challenge ride was last on last week too. We have a few members riding and raising money for the worthy cause.
Further a field Lee Holmes has been ticking major French cols off his bucket list, including the Col du Tourmalet, Croix de Fer and the Col De Pyresourde (sticker about to be added). Chapeau Lee, tough terrain in hot conditions!
Next big outing for the NWV will be the Seashell Trust Sportive on September 15th starting and finishing in Cheadle Hulme. It’s a hilly loop through the Peak District for a very worthy cause. Please see their website for more details on how to get involved.
And of course, the lads have enjoyed the spell of hot weather in the last week, no ride is complete without a decent refreshment stop!
Hope you enjoyed the summer and let’s hope the weather stays clement for Autumn (at weekends at least!)
Finally, the NWV Annual Club Dinner and Prize Presentation has been confirmed for Saturday 16th November at the function room, The Nelson, Grove Road, Wallasey. For tickets and info please email firstname.lastname@example.org we would love to see you there!
But before all that hopefully see you out on the road!
As the country is seemingly on course for a no deal Brexit, the Executive Board of the North Wirral Velo have been putting together plans to mitigate any negative impact it may have on it’s members.
With uncertainty as to the flow of imports into the UK, the NWV has been stock piling useless essentials ahead of any potential supply chain interruptions. Items that the club has been panic buying include Spokey Dokeys, handlebar plug tassels, inner tube dust caps and those annoying lock rings that newbies still put on the inner tube instead of throwing them away. There is also a large stock of playing cards and pegs (in case anyone wants to sound like a motorbike).
Of course the ramifications of a no deal Brexit have potentially much graver and far reaching affects on the economy. Major employers may move their operations into the Eurozone, in sections such as finance and manufacturing, causing job losses. Big concerns as to the flow of imports for items as basic as food and medicines have been one of the main talking points of the whole Brexit debacle
In an attempt to try to combat any issues “down the road” the NWV have started bulk buying medical items such as cold and flu remedies, in case anyone get the sniffles, blister plasters for those new heels and hang over cures for after the Tuesday night social ride.
The NWV have also entered into negotiations with various markets outside of Europe to source suppliers of waffles, bacon and syrup in an attempt to keep their favourite cafe, Cleopatra’s in Holt, well stocked for each Sunday ride visit. A spokesman for the club said:
“Cleopatra’s haven’t actually asked for any help, but as a major part of the clubs business is trading in waffles and bacon, we felt duty bound to try and help maintain the high standard of service we receive from the bistro in Holt. We just hope that no other clubs get wind of the stock we have and decide to get in before us and scran it all.”
There have been rumours about border control checks on the Welsh-English border as the Welsh have (the same as a lot of English people) changed their minds about Brexit after the 52% leave vote of the referendum. The issue of a hard border with Wales or “Cafe-Stop” as Brussels have labeled it will affect many cyclists on the Wirral and in Cheshire as they ride in search of a few climbs before going for waffles and bacon.
The NWV Executive Board have been in negotiations with the owners of Cleopatra’s who’s premises are technically in Wales. The Board have proposed an audacious plan to dig a tunnel from the Farndon side of the Dee, under the riverbed, a church, quite a few houses and come up into the back yard of the cafe itself.
Head of projects for the club, Dave Cuthill, has estimated the cost at around £8.3 million and stated, “we may need to put the subs up a bit to cover the cost”.
As we head towards October 31st, nobody knows with absolute certainty what the state of the nation will be after that.
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.
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 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.
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.
It was on this day two years ago when a dozen or so people met above a pub in West Kirby. They were there in response to a few posts on various social media platforms about the crazy idea of reforming the North Wirral Velo. I have to confess that it was a nervous first step. I had no idea at that time if there was any real enthusiasm for such an idea.
Well, after a slowish start, and managing to get through the winter of 2017/2018 (when a lot of prospective members may be less visible) the idea and the club started to grow. Now, two years on, it makes me very proud to see the numbers up around the 50 members mark.
We have a big cross section of abilities and back grounds and I’m proud to say we have gotten people new to cycling involved in their first cycling club and also introduced quite a few to the racing side of the sport.
During this year, we have had 11 members compete in times trials, road races,criteriums, duathlons and triathlons, five of those had never raced before joining the NWV. But this is only the beginning. The club is still growing at a rate of knots, 4 new members in as many weeks just gone by.
We have regular meetings, club runs, social events and the annual club dinner and prize presentation. These events are what bonds us as a club and makes its members more than just a group of cyclist who happen to ride together.
I want to thank everyone who has been involved in the club so far, it has far exceeded my expectation when I first started on this road two years ago. Long may it continue!