It’s been a while but here posts and here runs.

Everyone who knows me will understand some of the reasons I have been out of circulation but I’m increasingly becoming motivated to get back up to full speed. One example of this is writing a post on my blog and another is the Kinder Dozen fell run which I will be attempting with some very good friends this week. It’s a lovely route of some 35+ km and 3,000 + metres of climbing.  A good link to the route can be found here.

Kinder Dozen

It’s Dozen because that’s how many times we will climb Kinder Scout.  Each climb is then followed by a wonderful looking descent although that feeling will be short lived.  The weather is sounding ok tomorrow although cold and wet but visibility will be crucial to our navigation.  Once again, I’ll be using an OSMAPS generated map to lead me round.  That is one web service I could not do without.

Hemsworth YCF 10TT O10/9

In case you’re an utterly normal human being then you might need some help with translating the Enigma like code above.

Hemsworth – fairly easy, a small town somewhere between Barnsley and Wakefield

YCF – Yorkshire Cycling Federation.  New to me, I didn’t know there was one

10TT – 10 mile time trial, if you know me then you might have worked out that it was going to be time trial or Timothy Taylor, possibly the world’s finest brewery.

O10/9 – this is the really tricky bit. Time trialists, or testers as we’re known because we test and not, definitely NOT, race, use this bizarre coding system that frankly could well be Enigma code.  I can’t explain them at all.  I know that there is the mythical ‘V’ which is actually V718.  This is also a 10TT but it happens to be arguably the fastest.  There are many TTs that start with V but only one V, or so I’m led to believe.  It was made especially famous when Sir Bradley Wiggins attempted t0 break the UK’s 10TT record on it only he didn’t because it was windy.

So now that’s out of the way I can push on with the short story.  In my attempt to rise to #1 in the North Midlands Time Trial league I have to enter at least 6 out of 14 events.  Today was my second.  I’m wondering if anyone has noticed the territorial land-grab that the North Midlands is making on Hemsworth.  Instead of simply driving to Hemsworth I opted to catch the train to Barnsley and ride the 10k or so to the headquarters, HQ to those in the know ;-).  The ticket office couldn’t believe I only wanted a one-way ticket and was planning to ride back to Sheffield after racing, I didn’t want to explain testing to her.  At the station I had my one and only photo check and a caffeine boost.

20170402_081841The ride to Hemsworth was uneventful but very cold.  Once at HQ I quickly signed-on, grabbed my number and deftly inserted it into the new NOPINZ pouch in my VeloViewer skinsuit.  This saved the usual asking around for someone to pin the number on to my skinsuit and invariably stabbing my backside with a safety pin.  I had just enough time to recce the full route which seemed advisable.

o109I had checked out the full route using Veloviewer and Google Streetview from this link but there is no substitute for actually riding it.  I’m glad I did because it was useful to see that the lumps and bumps the VeloViewer profile shows are far from beningn and also there are a few tricky junctions.  I know of several riders who made a wrong turning an lost time.

Turning up at the start was a very friendly and chatty bunch of blokes all getting ready.  I spoke with Dave Carrick, rider 44, who was about to start on his first ever TT.  He picked a great day but a very testing course.  It immediately climbs up a pot-holled hill before heading down to the first of several roundabouts.  The going is continuously up or down for the entire length of the course making it difficult to get into any kind of rhythm.  I’ll not go into all the details of every pedal stroke because I’ll bore myself never mind anyone else reading.  Shortly before turning into the finishing road I could hear the thrumming sound of a powerfully ridden TT machine only to see my friend, rider 66 Keith Ainsworth, overtaking me.

I finished a long-way north of my 10TT PB of 21:32 with what seemed a dissapointing 23:37.  However, back at HQ I saw that it was actually a pretty good time.  I shouldn’t omit my misdemeanour at HQ.  There is a set of steps at the end of the car park just before the way-in.  I rode towards these on complete auto-pilot and then did my most Sven Nys like dismount only to unceremoniously fail to unclip my left foot and come crashing to the ground only inches from the top step.  My only thought was that my Skinsuit was ok and then wondered why the two Holmeforth CC riders weren’t rolling about in laughter.  Bless them, they were actually quite concerned.

Coffee and cake later and a peruse of the leaderboard I then got on the bike to head back through the newly expanded North Midlands to home.  A great day out with around 90k of cycling in the spring sun.  A big thank you to the various clubs that put the event on.  It was extremely well marshalled at all the critical junctions.  I know just how much work goes into running events like this and really appreciate the dedication of all the volunteers.

No formal results yet, just this link to a photo of the results board.


Edale Skyline

Sounds like we had a very similar race. It was my third time on the Skyline and was annoyed for setting off way to fast…..again. next year maybe I’ll be a little wiser but I seriously doubt it.


The Edale Skyline is one of those iconic races in the Peak District, one that is on the hit list of many local fell runners. Renowned for being tough at 21 miles with around 4500ft of ascent over heath, bog, rocky outcrops, grassy paths and woodland trails.  Being held in March weather conditions are notoriously challenging.  Rain, fog and freezing conditions often lead to many dnf’s and tales of hypothermia from a couple of years ago were now infamous.  Henceforth after entering this year’s race I was feeling somewhat apprehensive.

Upon waking on the morning of the race, weather conditions couldn’t have been better. Clear blue skies and sunshine graced our drive over to Edale and race HQ.  We parked up and collected our numbers and chips and walked up to the start field and the other assembled Harriers and runners.  As with every fell race, the atmosphere was relaxed…

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Junction Malfunction and a New Dawn

Some good insights on improving the safety of cycling. “Don’t look at the eyes” being a new one for me, check the wheels instead.

WMP Traffic

Despite the first part of this blog being about collisions and keeping safe at the most vulnerable parts of our cycling journeys, hopefully you will come out the other side of this edition of the Safer Cycling blog with a large amount of positivity, so grab a coffee, and maybe even a slice of cake and read on. Oh this blog is a little on the large side, we tried to make it smaller but I’m sure you’ll agree everything that’s in there is necessary, there’s no padding for effect, so in hindsight might want to make it two slices of cake……

red-fiesta-2 Yet another near miss as a driver pulls across the path of the cyclist

Junction Malfunction

When we started the Safer Cycling concept we needed some direction, something on which we could concentrate our efforts to best see results for the work we wanted to do, our core…

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Round Sheffield Run 2016? Neigh Worries!

I also took part in the Round Sheffield Run for my second time this year. It’s an excellent event, perhaps the best sporting even on the calendar because the social side of it is massive. If you haven’t done it then you really should consider having a go in 2017. I’m quite certain I’ll be back. Anyway, here is an excellent, funny and honest account of the run from Lucy Marris.

Running Scared

Reading this is optional.  Could be a time-vampire, but then again, so is daytime TV.  Scrolling down to look at photos also an option.  If you are hardcore, then this account is a bit like a TV box set binge, just so you know.  Maybe get some Pringles in just to be on the safe side.

Digested read:  I like the RSR.  It is even more fun in fancy dress.

RSR 2016 logo

Magic Realism I think it’s called.  That is, the acceptance that magic can exist in a rational world (not that the world feels particularly rational right now, but let’s not go there).  It might of course be false memory syndrome or just general common or garden personal delusion, but when I think of the Round Sheffield Run (RSR) I just feel a little warm wave of happiness pass through me as I take the opportunity to indulge in some temporary…

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Burbage Skyline 2016

I wasn’t running it this time but managed to get up and spectate.  We went up to Burbage North by which time the runners had done around 2/3 of the route and almost all the climbing.  This meant that they were looking suitably worn-out/in and there were some big splits in the field.  I reckon the first runner came through 40 minutes before the sweeping pair from Dark Peak Fell Runners.  However long the runners took to get there they are all heroes for taking part and they were rewarded with an excellent night and a stunning sun set to warm their backs as they headed back towards the finish.

I did take a bucket load of photos and here they all are:

Burbage Skyline 2016 photos


Tour of the Abberleys race report

I wanted to be brief but failed, sorry. There’s lots more non-racing bits that I have left out but needless to say we have had a cracking three day holiday.
I guess we all love cycling and the thought of three days cycling in a new part of the country is going to be a thrill. If you layer 4 stages of tough racing over the top of that then you have pretty much the perfect bank holiday imaginable, if you happen to be in the Black Country, and a cyclist. This is exactly what I have just been through along with Andrew Sedgewick (Langsett Cycles RT) and Rob Fowler (Rutland CC).

Stage 1 is a 5k prologue which starts straight up a pretty tough hill. A prologue of this length is a bit like a hill climb and you have to attack all of it from the beginning. Andy was the first Rutlander to go assuring us that he hates prologues. Admitting that he free-wheeled on some of the descents gave us a clue why a normally awesome rider finished mid table with Rob and me not too far behind. The winner of stage 1 was Kris Zentek from Team Chronomaster with a stunning time of 6:44.
Once the results were in and we’d had some food it was straight into stage 2. This was 66k of rolling countryside with some tough digs, rain and hail. Andy punctured early on and was then given a defective replacement wheel which he then had to swap. This meant he was too far back to get back on the group. Terrible bit of bad luck for Andy but he remained positive. A break got away which the yellow jersey holder, Rob and I failed to get in and they stayed away to the end. Rob finished the best of us in 10th with me a couple of places behind and losing a second to him. Stage 2 winner was Craig Battersby from Team Chronomaster.
Day 2 presented us with stage 3 and the longest 88km stage with 1,300 metres of climbing. Both Rob and I were active in attacks and spending time at the sharp end of the field. Andy was climbing well and picked up 9 points in the KOM competition which led him to make a long break with Martin Smith for the final but he was still feeling the after-effects of a recent illness and couldn’t quite get there. Once again, Rob showed his strength and pulled up the final climb and took yet more seconds off me. Stage 3 meant another change in the yellow jersey and this time it went to local club rider Mark Corbett from Worcester St John who had soloed away and had a 2 second margin over Craig.
When the third and final day started the field had shrunk from 39 to 31 with a whole bunch of riders packing in. Rutland never pack and we all left the hotel bright eyed and bushy trailed and eager to start. Well, not really – we were all exhausted but we were ready to race. Andy’s exuberance to score in the KOM competition caught the eyes of some of his competitors and he had been reported for crossing a double white line on stage 3. This seemed most un-sporting and those of you who know Andy will vouch for his riding ability and race craft. Anyway, undaunted we pulled up to the start and once out of the neutralised zone everything got up to race pace with Worcester St John looking in trouble. Andy got away on the first big loop and with Martin Smith and was then joined by Rob. They sped away from the bunch and got on to the first climb. This put Andy into some difficulty and nobody was more surprised than me when I saw him ahead being caught by the bunch. Rob stayed away and must have been pushing the pedals hard because it wasn’t until the 3rd climb before he was caught by the yellow jersey holder whereas I had been spat out the back, as predicted by my team mates earlier in the race. The overall winner was Craig Battersby who, with his team, managed to get back in charge and took a well-deserved win.  Rob picked up 5 KOM points and finished 15 in stage 4 and 14th overall.

It felt a privilege to race and ride with this great bunch of vets and Rutland CC riders. Rutland CC has had winners in this race before with Simon Keeton and Darren Otter and I am sure Rutland riders will be collecting a trophies again in Great Whitley.

Winning streak?

Running Scared

The implausible and seemingly impossible delights of running continue.  Believe it or not, I wasn’t going to do a post this week.  Thought my reader might be bored and have something better to do, but then you know how it is.  ‘Events, my friend, events…

Glorious Graves, providing a perfect parkrun party for their fourth anniversary.  Despite a week horribilis, parkrun will party on, possibly even newly appreciated and newly reborn!   Well, we can live in hope…

accessible parkrun

The forecast for today was actually snow at one point.  However, on waking, no snow was in evidence, in fact it was looking nice out.  Deceptively so.  I broke with tradition and decided that my luminous lime green Sheffield half marathon finishers T-shirt should get an outing.  Just so you know, this will for sure be its only ever outing, as it is profoundly unflattering even by my standards!  I was…

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Disc brakes – to use or not

As the cyclocross season draws to an end there is a lot being said and written about the inevitability of disc brakes coming to everyone.  Part of the problem, for me, is that I have seen no evidence to show that disc brakes are superior to rim brakes.  There is, perhaps, just one argument that holds water and that is “frame clearance”.  After struggling in a couple of CX races towards the end of this season I realise that part of my problem was the gathering of lots of mud around the canti brakes and the frame.  This didn’t seem to be a problem to those riding discs.  However, the rest of the season I was just fine with my braking setup.  This is an excellent article on the subject

It goes deeper into what seems the inevitability that disc brakes are fast becoming the bike industry standard.  They’re coming if we want them or not.