Weekend Roundup 10th and 11th March

Some epic rides this weekend and some epic coffee stops!

The hardcore section went on the “Road to Hell” to find themselves up at Llyn Brenig in the snow!  A challenging 72 mile loop in the best conditions, quite a ride when there is still snow on the ground!

 

Whilst the main of the club’s committee where on a more sedate route with the Chairman and Secretary enjoying the fantastic cuisine and hospitality at Cleopatra’s Coffee Shop in Holt.

 

The Social Sec was further afield, not cycling but enjoying the local delights on a mountainside in France…
Whichever flavour of cycling you enjoy, just get out and enjoy it!  But most of all…
Ride safe!

From Couch ‘tater to Bike Racer

Cycling and I have not always travelled along a smooth road, there has been many a pot hole to disrupt my progress. As a kid my adventures were cut short by having the same bike stolen twice (yes, twice!) and its replacement also stolen the first night I forgot to lock it up. After this, my parents gave up and gave me a football to save money!  This may have been a blessing as the week before I missed a 90° bend coming downhill way too fast and had to be peeled off a wall by my friends and patched up by an older sister, maybe not a terrible experience for a 14 year old.

My next foray into the cycling world was commuting the five miles to Birkenhead a few times a week but even this had issues. I proudly went and bought one of JD Sports finest but by the end of the first week I had one cassette shear off and a frame snap in half. The latter resulting in me and my bike being delivered home in the back of a Hackney!

The start of my ‘serious’ cycling was in bed one night when I decided I needed a challenge and signed up for a Coast to Coast (C2C) bike ride from Morecombe to Bridlington called Way of the Roses (WOTR). Basically this decision was based on me getting fat and making strange ‘ooh’ noises putting my shoes on etc, after being active in many sports clubs kids (2 girls, so I now know all the Disney princesses!) and marriage had curtailed any of these activities. Somehow, I also managed to get my old school mates to join in this ride and one of them suggested we join Strava to help motivate each other through the training, thanks for creating that monster Trout!

The next day (30/11/14 – I checked Strava) I put on baggy board shorts, tracksuit top & my converse beach shoes and braved the back of the shed to dig out the Hybrid. I rode all the way to Upton (6.1 miles at 13.7mph) and back and survived. The next day Strava tells me I was ‘Getting Practice on Hills Now’, which included the Alpine Climb of Blackhorse Hill (10 miles at 14.5mph)! After a few months and many miles around the Wirral I decided I was ready for a proper ride and decided on the Horseshoe Pass as my destination, 88 miles door to door.

I was now armed with padded shorts worn under my baggies (Eternally grateful to my wife Rebekah for this present), a cycling top, helmet and a new cyclocross bike as we all know a road bike is made of paper and I wanted one to last with me.  That was it, I set off at 6:00am and actually made it to the Ponderosa Café pretty much unscathed. Unfortunately, on the way back I found out why it is important to eat on a ride and I had my first ‘bonk’! I literally ended up crawling into the ice cream parlour at Parkgate and practically inhaled a litre of ice cream. This fuelled me home where I perfected my new found crawling technique into the house. Rebekah checked I was not going to die and then proceeded to call me an idiot and laugh quite a lot.  Any pain I felt was forgotten when I proudly/smugly uploaded to Strava, you all know that feeling!

Somehow this did not put me off but did make me realise I needed to be better prepared and going out with one water bottle, £10 and a phone wasn’t wise. Luckily at this point I had never had a puncture otherwise it would have been a 40 mile walk back from the top of ‘The Shoe’!  Safe to say I now carry the food, water and a mini cycling survival kit on any ride.

Next up was the actual WOTR that we all completed in 3 days and can honestly say was one of the best weekends I have ever had, 6 friends, 6 bikes completing 180 miles including ‘The Hill out of Settle!’  Anyone who has done the ride knows what I am talking about with its 20% gradient. As a starter challenge I would highly recommend a C2C as they are a stiff but not impossible challenge. You feel immense pride and satisfaction dipping your wheel in both seas and ‘that’ feeling uploading to Strava. The only downside is finishing at Bridlington or Sunderland but it can’t all be roses. After this, I followed up with my first century at the Manchester 100m (13/9/15), not too hard as it is mainly flat if you remember to eat. By this point, my confidence had soared and I purchased ‘100 Hardest Climbs’ by Simon Warren.  If I could climb ‘The Hill out of Settle’ I could climb anything! With this in mind, I selected the Hellfire Pass (Bwlch-y-Groes) in Wales, rated 10/10 but no match for me and my CAADX!

How wrong was I? There are really no words to describe the pain this climb puts you through, it is simply horrendous and how my heart didn’t explode I will never know.  What really hurt me though was I had to stop and put my foot down and then to rub it in I got a speeding ticket driving home. On the way home I was put through the torture of my ride partner proudly describing how he got up in one, not being smug as he was understandably proud but every descriptive word was like a stab in the eye. It was on this drive home I vowed ‘Never to Walk Again’ and cycling got serious.

The next day I threw away the baggy shorts, bought a new helmet (marginal gains and all), banned the lower gears and basically set about riding up any hills I could find in as high a gear as possible. This included completing the ‘Whole Hog’ sportive that was immense. Just short of 90 miles and 9000 feet of climbing. By now, I had a shiny new carbon road bike, a Giant TCR that is my pride and joy (turns out road bikes are not made of paper!)  What I remember of this ride is that everyone set off like a train, I was riding through Glossop thinking how can I keep this up for 90 miles but it all calmed down and my training came through for me. Turns out, I am a pretty strong climber and the descent off Holme Moss in bright sunshine is something every cyclist has to experience.

After 8 months of hill training and charging around the Wirral as fast as I could I judged I was ready to settle my score. I plotted the route on Strava, found a willing victim to keep me company and set the date.  Eight months after my initial failure all my training paid off and in 18 glorious minutes conquered Hellfire. It was still as hard but now I was mentally as well as physically armed to keep going and after 5 inglorious minutes recovering in the car park recovering we took some celebratory photos and set off home. If you ever collapse in a car park in the middle of nowhere do not expect help from the old couple eating a picnic in the car, from my experience checking on a lycra clad cyclist lying in sheep poo is not worth delaying the eating of a cheese sandwich!

The following 18 months has seen me cycle through wonderful parts of England and Wales including the Forest of Bowland, large parts of Yorkshire and Snowdonia.  Bowland and the Electric Mountain outside of Llanberis are particular highlights.  I also completed another C2C with my brothers this time and my eldest brother Simon is now a fully fledged convert as well.  Him and the two Anthonys (also NWVCC members) have all been roped into my ‘adventure cycling’ rides that currently totals 29 of the 100 hardest climbs. Beware, more are coming fellas!

The end of 2017 has seen me join the North Wirral Velo Cycling Club and what is my newest challenge, RACING! My above training meant I was now decent on a bike but racing had never crossed my mind. I was certainly no slouch but as my youngest Thea would say I was no where near rocket speed!  The first time Scott mentioned it I needed convincing but after a little research I found out he knew a little about it (his story to tell) and thought I would try. It was crazy, I had gone from the Alpine Climb of Blackhorse Hill to signing up to a hilly 14 mile TT in what felt no time at all.

At this stage it would be great to say I romped to victory on the 24/02/18 in true Hollywood style but the reality was I was overtaken after 5 mins by the fastest thing I have ever seen on a bike whilst I was travelling at 32mph! This just spurred me on however and Scott’s words came back to me about riding my race and don’t worry about anyone else.  I did and completed the course in 36:55, 23.1mph average over the 14 miles.  I am incredibly proud of this as my target was 40 mins and I had beaten it by over 3 mins. It did hurt but again that pain was forgotten by pressing ‘upload to Strava’! (I did mention earlier it was the start of a monster).  The whole event had been brilliant and one I will not forget, everyone there was so supportive including the other riders and were happy to chat and offer encouragement. I have already signed up for another so that sums up my feelings, if in doubt give it a try!

My only cycling regret is not starting earlier. I am fitter, healthier and happier all through cycling (probably should mention Rebekah, Grace & Thea too). I have also met new friends and found the whole ‘cycling community’ to be a great set of people that will always help when needed, especially out on the road. I have seen many great things including a riderless horse and cart charging through north wales and hope to see many more. I implore all to set yourself a goal, work hard and reap the rewards cycling can give.

Ride safe

Dave Cuthill

Now we are REALLY back!

It’s been a long time since a North Wirral Velo jersey had a number pinned on it’s back.  But Saturday 24th February 2018 will go down as a momentous occasion in the club’s history.

Two members of the club, Robin Hennessy and David Cuthill both raced in the Chester RC Hilly 14 mile time trial from Broxton.  It was a cold, sunny afternoon and a field of 90 riders raced against the clock over the undulating circular course.

David Cuthill

For David it was his first ever race, I walked up to him during his warm up on the turbo trainer and asked how he was feeling.  “Nervous” was the response.  I would have been disappointed if he’d said anything else.  He did fantastically well, recording a time of 36:55.  For a first time trial he rode a very even, well paced ride.  I am sure there is lots more to come.  David rides his first mass start race in a few weeks.

Robin has ridden many races previously but thus was the inaugural outing on his new TT machine.  It certainly looked the part and it did the business for him as he recorded an impressive time of 35:59.

Robin Hennessy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well done to both lads, you’ve done the club proud! We look forward to seeing you in more races and hopefully you will be joined by a few more team mates in the near future!
(by on the spot reporter OB1)

What do cyclists look like WITH their clothes on?

Ever wondered what we look like when not clad in Lycra? Well, next week is your chance to find just that, and lots more about the club.

Thursday 1st March, 7.30pm at the Red Cat in Greasby, Wirral for the North Wirral Velo club meeting.  If you want to find out more about us (not just about our tastes in fashion) then come along and see if you would like to ride with us in the future.  We are a friendly lot and would love to see some new faces in the Velo.  All abilities welcome.  We are more carbon fibre than “blue steel” these days but welcome the retro trends as much as the modern!

 

Hope to see you there, or out on the road very soon – Scotty

ps Good look to Robin (pictured) and Dave who are both racing in NWV colours on Saturday (24th) in a hilly 14 mile time trial.  The first time a number has been pinned onto a Velo jersey in a fair while! #GoVelo

Weekend Roudup 17/18th February

Last weekend saw the first “decent” weather of the year, particularly for those of us that have a fair weather inclination to our cycling preference.

Lots of the club out and about covering a total of over 700 miles.  While most the runs were to Cheshire, one of our number decided to get a few hills in.  Training hard for his first races in the coming weeks, David Cuthill took in some of the toughest climbs in North Wales, including “The Shelf”, the Horseshoe Pass, “World’s End”, Hope Mountain and the Panorama Walk.

David is also training for the 112 miles Fred Whitton Challenge on May 13th, which he is riding for Macmillan Cancer Support.  If you would like to show your support for a worthy cause then follow the link to his Just Giving Page and make a donation.  All donations are appreciated and raising a big total will give David the lift he needs on those big climbs!

 If you would like to join us on a ride, then please get in touch with us, either through our social media channels or email hello@nwvcycling.club

We have a club meeting on 1st March 7:30pm at the Red Cat pub in Greasby.  If you want to find out more about the club, please come along, all are welcome.

It’s a good day when…

It’s a Friday, and,

NEW KIT ARRIVES!

Nothing major, just some club “buffs”!  Thanks to Giraffe UK for the prompt turnaround time.

And we are lucky to have it modelled by none other than Peter Sagan…

 

Free Prize Draw

Hands up who likes free stuff?

Well if that’s you then get yourselves over to with that there Twitter or Facebook and follow/like/share Irvings Law’s post to be in with a chance of a free gilet and water bottles.

Free stuff
Free stuff from Irvings Law

Fred Whitton Challenge for Macmillan Cancer Support

David Cuthill from the club, along with his brother Simon, are riding the Fred Whitton Challenge on May 13th. 

The Fred Whitton Challenge is one of the most popular sportives in the UK and is also famed as being particularly difficult. Riders rank it alongside European events such as the Marmotte in terms of difficulty.  It consists of a 112 mile sportive around the Lake District, starting at Grasmere and taking in climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott & Wrynose passes.  The challenge has raised over £1million for Macmillan Cancer Support over the past few years and David is raising money to add to that impressive total.

We want to wish David and Simon the best of luck for the ride and if you would like to show your support then please visit his JustGiving page and make a donation, it’s a worthy cause and the boys will value your support when they are facing some of the tougher climbs of the course! The profile of the course is below (not for the fainthearted!)

Good luck fellas!

 

Always good to have someone watching out for you…

The North Wirral Velo has been very lucky with the support given to its rebirth by Tim Ryan and Irvings Law.  They have helped out with the start up costs and have allowed the club to make sure every member can start off with a club jersey to truly feel part of it!

Irvings law has been helping cyclists (amongst others) for the last 35 years or more by fighting the corner of those who have found themselves injured from another parties negligence.

Irvings Law is a strong campaigner in the support of cyclist safety.  Their recent giveaways on Twitter have just been one of the campaigns to highlight the dangers cyclists face from close passes by inconsiderate motorists. To be in with a chance of winning the gilet and bottles just retweet the competition tweet and follow @irvingslaw on Twitter

A New Home!

Due to our previous web host providers closing down, we have now moved to a new host (we keep the same web address) and, as such, have had to rebuild the site from the ground up.
Jarvo
As ever with these things its a work in progress and the purpose of this site is to increase our presence in the world (outside of Facebook).

Please add comments to any of the posts or contact the club via email hello@nwvcycling.club. We look forward to seeing you out on the road and hope you enjoy the ride!