NWV Club TT Hailed as Great Success

The fast growing North Wirral Velo had their first club TT (this millennium) last Thursday evening.

Expertly organised by TT ace Dave Cuthill with time keeping superbly carried out by the club TT legend Robin Hennessy.

Many of the members who competed had never ridden a time trial before and the 8.2 mile 2 lap course was an excellent introduction to the art of riding against the clock.

Dave had used a complex system of levers and pulleys to work out a handicap time for all riders as to provide a level(ish) playing field.

The handicaps were based on an estimated average speed for each rider. There was a lot of “discussion” about the estimates submitted y some of the riders, leading to a deep analysis of everyone’s Strava accounts by Anthony Statto Denby who was determined to make sure he wasn’t disadvantaged by any skullduggery.

First off were TT virgins Mike Hornsby followed a minute later Mike Hurworth. Next off was meant to be Chris Skinner but he was unable to make due to [insert bogus excuse here]. So it was left to Ian “ooh my back” Lamb to start next.  Another DNS this time from Ant “Sorry lads” Doolan and so the big guns were rolled out in the form of Andy “Rapha Beard” Woodside. Another late DNS from Colin “can’t ride as I got my chemical preparation wrong” Parker. He should have been followed by Scott “so old it hurts” O’Brien but after an altercation on his train from work he was delayed and so was already “racing against the clock” to make it to the start.

Dr LaxSlacks negotiating the tricky downhill right hander after the start.

That left Anthony “Statto, stop looking at my mahoosive calves” Denby to ride down the virtual start ramp and into the fray. Then came Mark “hardened roadman ” Donaghy and Chris “Dr Laxslacks” Redhead.  All that was left now was the man on scratch, the mighty Dave “Aero” Cuthill in full TT mode, TT bike, aero helmet, skinsuit, the works.  He had generously applied an 1 minute 30 penalty against his time due to the 3 minute gain he would enjoy from being super aero.  But just as he was getting off his warm up turbo trainer, and his soigneur was giving him a final rub down, his doctor was injection him with his “asthma” meds and his Director Sportive was giving final instructions before jumping in the following car , a panting Scotty OB1 came in view to be given the final start position after big Dave.

Dave started his effort and Scott was left to be pushed off a minute later, wondering why he had signed up for such nonsense.  Clad in autumnal long sleeves and leg warmers, and very much unable to get on the “hooks” due to his immense belly, he lumbered off whistling his favourite tune of Jump Around by the House of Pain.

Unsurprisingly Dave was quickest overall with an incredibly fast average of almost 25 mph in the blustery conditions. The old master OB1 showed the younger guns a thing or two by getting the second fastest time, and indeed was the moral victor for being fastest on a normal road bike.

However, the race was a handicapped event and with an outstanding victory to the first man off Michael “economical with the truth about speeds” Hornsby, beating another Mike (and lets face we have bloody hundreds of them) Mike “cut me some slack as I’m old and semi retired aka now a semi professional cyclist” Hurworth.  Third was Scotty “lies like a flat fish” O’Brien to complete the podium places.  the full results below:

We approached the winner for an interview after the race but he refused to comment and directed us to contact him through his agent.

Mike telling us where to go after his victory

A great event enjoyed by all, trophies to be presented at the club dinner November 16th Well done to all that rode, the next event is the club hill climb in October.  Full details to follow.

 

The NWV Club Dinner 2018

The 2018 NWV club dinner and prize presentation is on!  The venue is the function suite at the Manor, Greasby, Wirral.  There will be a hot buffet, prize presentation, guest appearance and disco!  So pull on your dancing trousers, and email hello@nwvcycling.club for tickets and more info.

Open to all club members, past and present, and any guests who want a great night out!  Tickets are £25 each, dress code is smart casual.

Hope to see you there!

 

Four go to London

Way back, months and months ago, someone in the club thought it would be a good idea to enter a team into the ballot for the Prudential Ride London 100 mile sportive. It was a pipe dream as the ride is generally oversubscribed.  In fact, it’s cycling’s equivalent to the London Marathon.  And since we were typically disorganised, we only thought about it just before the closing date deadline.

Imagine the shock, thrill and then panic as we got the email to say “Congratulations, you have had a team of 4 accepted to ride”!  So full steam ahead trying to organise a trip to our nation’s capital.

First things, who are the (un)lucky four? After an underwhelming show of hands, the #nwv4 as they will be known were selected.  After a bit of haggling/debating with his other half, Colin managed to secure the use of his own car for the weekend to drive the squad down, so transport was ticked off the list.

Now they say it’s not what you know but who you know, and with the mother of all luck, one of the club’s numbers has a weekend residence in Worcester Park on the outer rim of that there big city.  So after much pleading, promising to pay for any damage, etc etc Will and his lovely wife Helen agreed to house four reprobates over the night before the big ride.

So the #nwv4 set off at stupid o’clock for a Saturday morning to head “dern serrrrf” to the Old Smoke.

We packed light for the trip, taking little to no hair with us.  After a furious rock, paper, scissors tournament, we settled on Chris and Scott having there bikes strapped precariously to the dodgy looking bike rack on the back of Colin’s executive people carrier.

Several hours, multiple comfort breaks (for Chris who has the bladder of a child) and numerous fast food intakes later we arrived at our destination.  It must be noted that despite Scott being in charge of navigation, we only made 4 u-turns en route.

Once we had set up camp at Chez Bridgman, we set off into the city and out to the Excel centre to sign on.  Several train journeys and circular walks later we arrived and signed on to receive our ride numbers etc and to have a nosey round the bike expo there (aka looking to scab as many freebies as possible).

After an hour of trying free samples of energy bars and gels, and determining that the majority of the “show bargains” is stuff that the companies couldn’t push at full price, we made our way back to our digs.

After a warm night’s sleep (and some uncomfortable spooning for Chris and Colin) we got up at even stupider o’clock for the “short” ride to the start.

After agreeing that “we won’t need rain jackets, it’s warm, gillets will be fine” we set off.

Twenty (20), yes twenty(!) miles later we arrived at the start (having missed our official start time). It was about then that the rain began to fall, a lot.  The wind was blowing a gale and the temperature was struggling to get about 15 or 16 degrees C. So the gillets instead of rain jackets was a perfect choice….!

Eventually, after much shuffling along we got to the start line and set off for the first of the 100 miles ahead of us.  35,000 other riders were joining us on the roads so it was crowded to begin with.

After making good progress in the first 30 miles, Col decided it would be a jolly jape to defy the laws of physics and has three punctures in two wheels requiring three replacement tubes.  Twenty mins later and 10 degrees cooler we were back on the road.  A few food stops along the way kept us going and despite all the attempts by Chris to lose us we finished together with an official time of just under 6 hours 50 mins.

Here’s a short summary film for those with really nothing better to do.

North Wirral Velo at Ride London

Thanks to all who supported us, Will and Helen in particular!

Ride safe

OB1

 

 

One Year On!

It is a year to the day that I organised the first meeting to gather some interest in reforming the North Wirral Velo.  It was a nervously taken first step that I was dreading.  The fear of no one turning up was what was holding me back.  Fortunately, we had a decent turn out and there was lots of enthusiasm in the room for a new (old) club on the Wirral.  About 15 people turned up at that initial meeting and apart from a few of the En Velo CC members who turned up to support it (aka trying to get tips on how a real cycling club would work 😉 ) most of the those people went on to join.

The now reinvigorated NWV would need a reinvigorated  jersey design.  I wanted the jersey to represent the club from the (first) era I was a member, the 1980’s when it was green/yellow/black and so I based the colours on the design from then, but with (I hope) a more modern look .

 

 

From August 2017 onwards the club started to attract more attention and it gathered more and more recruits along the way.  Club runs were starting to take place and even though it was a difficult time over the winter months to get people of regularly (myself included!) the club burst into the new year with an increased membership of about 25.  As the year progressed, we grew bigger and the NWV racing section was also reborn.  The club has a long and glorious history of racing successes and I’m sure the current riders will continue that tradition.  To date we have got 5 members who have raced this year.  I am immensely proud of all of them and it’s fantastic to see North Wirral Velo listed on a start sheet once more.

 

Today membership stands at 42 paid up members, and because we include a jersey in the first years subs, we get a great turn out in club colours for every ride.  We are starting to look like a club again!  This year we are hoping to have our first club dinner this winter and want to include more social events to get members together off the bike as well as on.  We have some exciting plans for next year so we hope that more cyclists will join us and enjoy being part of what is a legendary cycling club!

 

 

I only hope that in another year’s time I can report back with news of another big increase in club membership and more racing successes.  Thanks to all who have shared the enthusiasm and supported the club so far, long may it continue!

 

Ride safe

 

Scotty

Top Tips for a Successful Mixed Ability Club Ride

In this brave new cycling world where proper cyclists, MAMILs, choppers, ex golfers and Rapha fan boys come together for the occasion ride (and even join the same cycling club) here are some tips for a enjoyable and harmonious club ride.
Please note this is in reference to a CLUB ride, NOT a TRAINING ride which is something different all together.

The Basic Rules

This is a club ride.  It involves club riders of various abilities.  Therefore there are no such things as Strava segments.  They simply don’t exist, so stop looking for them and enjoy the company instead.  Talk to the rider next to you instead of worrying about your average speed.   Average speed is irrelevant as you are NOT TRAINING! This is a club ride, remember?  Everyone looks out for everyone else in the group.  That’s how it works.  If someone has a mechanical, physical, emotional or mental problem, then we all do what’s needed to sort it out (that includes recommending a good therapist and stronger medication where appropriate). Be like NASA, leave no one behind (unless the whole shooting match explodes).

Group Riding Etiquette

When you are on the front:
  1. Ride at a pace that suits ALL riders in the group (it’s a CLUB RUN NOT a training ride)
  2. If you have to look over your shoulder to talk the person next to you, you are “half wheeling”! This is illegal in every other civilised cycling country.
  3. Point out potholes, any other obstacles and oncoming traffic if the road is narrow.
  4. Make clear signals, visually and orally when making a turn into another road in plenty of time.
  5. If you find yourself slightly behind the guy next to you and when you try to speed up, they speed up too so remain slightly behind them, then you are being “half wheeled”. A new law comes into force one we have left the EU allowing you to claim a free coffee off of said half wheeler if they persist for more than 200 yards.
  6. Keep in a group as much as possible – be mindful sprinting away from junctions or corners and make sure the whole group is with you (it’s a CLUB RUN NOT a criterium)
  7. Wave at oncoming cyclists, in a friendly, yet enthusiastic manner.
  8. Chat to the person next next to you.  You never know, they may have the answer to the meaning of life.
When you are in the middle of a group:
  1. Pass the info on potholes, obstructions and direction changes down the line to those behind you.
  2. Don’t make sudden movements like swerving violently around potholes or drifting over when looking at your Rapha kit in your reflection when passing a shop window.
  3. Pass info forward from those behind you like “car up” or  “ease up Rob, you’ve dropped everyone again!”
  4. Keep in line (or close to) the rider in front when riding in pairs or single file.  If you ride too much to the outside, for example, the rider behind may do the same and it will look like you are riding 3 or more abreast to motorists approaching from behind.
  5. Chat to the person next next to you.  You never know, they may have the answer to the meaning of life.

When you are at the back of a group:
  1. Pass info on to the riders in front of you like “car up” or “FFS Rob ease off we’ve lost 3 riders again!”
  2. Stay in line with the riders in front of you.  You do not want to look like you are riding 3 or more abreast from behind and inhibit traffic flow.
  3. Chat to the person next next to you.  You never know, they may have the answer to the meaning of life.

In conclusion, ride safely, communicate well and look after your fellow rider, that way everyone can enjoy the ride.

Riding LeTour? It’s a fantasy for some…

The Tour De France starts on 8th July, and if you are still a bit sour over not being selected for this year’s edition then you can do the next best thing*

Join the NWV’s fantasy TdF league!  This year we have chosen Velo Games to facilitate this outlet to combat TdF frustrations .  It’s free to join and really low maintenance for the lazy Director Sportive types as no changes are permitted after the race starts.

To join our league simply enter your team here 

and then join our league number 770046227  Good luck to all you budding DS’s out there!

 

*Probably not as good as riding the E’tape du Tour or equivalent sportive on the roads the Tour uses

NWV Not Taking the Michael (anymore)

Not Taking the Mike

The North Wirral Velo Committee have issued an official statement to the press as follows:

“Following on from the recent increase of new members called Michael, the Committee have deemed it too impractical to let anyone else join the club who is called Michael.  

This follows on from from a ride last week where 3 of the participants were referred to as ‘Mike’.  It was all very confusing, especially when we got to the coffee and stop and ordered food/drinks and were asked to give a name.  It was incredibly difficult for the lady serving us to get her head round why so many of these good looking lycra clad gents are all called Mike.

Furthermore, the club is almost full of people called ‘Chris’ and we want to mitigate any future issues with there being a plethora of Chris’s too. Therefore, it is to be written into the club constitution that any prospective member of the club who happens to be called Michael or indeed Chris, must come up with a suitable pseudonym that they are happy to be referred to.  At the time of writing we have openings for the folliowing names:

Frank
Kevin
Nigel
Jeremy
Bernard
Anakin
Barry
Qui-Gon Jinn

Please understand that the North Wirral Velo does not and will no discriminate against any name, it just confuses the hell out of the senior members of the club.

The North Wirral Velo Committee
1st July 2018″

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Adventures in May…

May saw an increase in membership and more adventures in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Bank Holiday at the start of May saw some of the chaps trying to look high brow by visiting “posh looking” places

Ant and Dec, er no, sorry, Dave

and they saw the punishment for not wearing club kit

Punctures

Yorkshire

The Tour De Yorkshire was on this month, and even though it took a couple of attempts (unlucky Mike) we managed to shoehorn a Velo jersey onto the TV coverage. Well done Mark, true dedication to the cause (and blind luck)

Zoom in and you can just see it!

Dragon’s

Mid May saw the Chairman lead an intrepid band of followers on a magical mystery tour in the foothills of North Wales, with a stop at the Dragons Rest.  Anthony finally caught the dog that eat his club jersey, hopefully the dog will replace it for him soon.

The ride was featured in the first NWV movie, which can been seen here.  More to follow if you are really bad.

The lads loving the Chairman’s route

Haggis

In Scotland one of our elite was representing the club in the Etape Caledonia  a gruelling 85 mile sportive starting and finishing in Pitlochry.  Andy Woodside smashed round the mountainous course in just over 4 hours 40 minutes, a fantastic time for such a tough event.

Andy dishing out pain on a climb like a Columbian pro

Fred

Meanwhile in another (hillier) part of the UK, our super “grimpeur” Dave Cuthill (and bro) were ripping up the Fred Whitton challenge course, see this post for more details. Well done Dave and Simon, a great effort and a huge amount raised for charity in the process.

Wilma

May was busy on the racing scene too.  Robin was back smashing PB’s on the Rainford 10 course, now well under 22 minutes and looking more and more like Tony Martin with every ride!

A big shout out to our newest member of the Velo racing squad, Mark Donaghy who rode his first race at Oulton Park.  A true ambassador for the club, Mark maintained his composure and “Blue Steel” look for the entire event…

Well done Mark, more to come I think (racing, not model poses, I hope)

Dave C was back in action at Litherland, still trying to work out how to get in the right place at the right time.  (Don’t worry DC it comes with practice!) Showing his strength, it’s only a matter of time before he’s on the podium

Bambam

The month was finished off with a big turnout for a Thursday evening spin (and pint).  Two new members amongst the attendees.  The membership has increased by 5 in May alone! Here’s hoping to do the same or better in June!

Onwards and upwards and ride safe!

Surviving the Fred Whitton 2018

“Dave, I want to do the Fred!”, the statement from my brother Simon as I picked up the phone, “Nah, don’t fancy all that winter training its meant to be a real grind……………..oh, go on then!” was in keeping with my general attitude when someone gives me a bike related challenge (Scott is responsible for my racing adventure after a similar conversation). With that we signed up for the 112m, 13000ft Fred Whitton Challenge (Fred) via the charity entry to bypass the ballot.

It is impossible to write about the Fred without mentioning the training as it is a major commitment that in my mind will make or break your day. Without it the ride will break you or at best you will survive it rather than enjoy. The training itself was a torturous mix of turbo, commutes and wet weekends for me with racing and TT’s coming later. As all this is completed December-May it is not always easy disappearing into the conservatory for the turbo or venturing out into the winter. One particular wet early morning commute had me naming the strava upload; F*@k Fred, F*@k Racing, F*@k cycling! I don’t really think it matters what training you partake as long as it pushes you, Simon was forced into many hours on his smart trainer as the weather in Macclesfield was particular bad.

Finally all the training, weight loss and hours of watching utube videos of people not riding Hardknott Pass were completed and the weekend was finally here. We had managed to get in a hostel in Grassmere a mile from the start so I met Simon there to sign on the day before the ride before he drove us over to Keswick for a little warm up ride. This involved Honister as we did it the wrong way on the Fred to tick off on our 100 climbs list and much to my surprise riding up Newlands Pass for, I don’t really know why but I am going to pay more attention when Simon asks me to check a route! (25 miles, 2800ft approx). Tea and bed followed so we were ready for the 5:00am get up.

As it turns out stopping in a -5* hostel has its benefits for getting up at this time but not necessarily the sleeping part. Up we got and stomached as much porridge, lucozade and coffee as you can at that time to roll down to the start for 6:00. A few pictures, a broken saddle bag and off we set in the cold morning with the rest of the victims/riders. We didn’t really have a time in mind to complete the ride as we just wanted to enjoy the day and Iwould take this attitude again, after all the training it seems to be a waste to just smash round and not take it all in. With this in mind we were aiming to ride the ‘flats’ around 18-20mph and then take the climbs as they come and regroup as needed.

The first 40 miles are all relatively civilised with just the climb of Kirkstone Pass being of any real note and even this is just a steady grind with nothing too severe. You then head back down and take the A66 to Keswick, box clever here and draft a group that will be smashing along looking for a time. It is a major road but it’s worth keeping your head up to look around as the scenery is stunning. It’s also worth tagging a few faces for later. After you pass though Keswick and Seatoller things get serious with Honister Pass the ‘wrong way’! It might not be the pretty side to ride up but crikey the first section is tough with 25% for an age. People are walking, swerving and generally in a world of pain but it does make you smile when the dude shouting GO, GO, GO on the A66 is now pushing his £10k Dogma up the hill! After this first half a mile or so it ‘flattens’ to about 12% and you can grind your way to the top for the first treacherous descent of the day.

Unfortunately one fella missed the 9999 warnings before and during the event to end his day in an ambulance at this point so the ride was halted whilst he was sorted out and is now hopefully healing well. Once off again and after negotiating the 25% downhill (Nearly as hard as ascending) we then rode through the valley that is truly magnificent and onto the madness of the first feed station, it was rammed and it really isn’t that easy to eat cheese savoury sandwiches at 9:30 in the morning but the big lad I gave them to seemed to enjoy them.

Newlands followed straight after this and for my money is the best hill of the lot to climb. You hug the side of a hill with mighty drop one side and it never really gets over 20% so you don’t really suffer. There is still the dodging of gradient challenged riders to negotiate with Mr Dogma now shouting No, No, No but it is simply magnificent. It was also here I saw the biggest sprocket I have ever seen on a bike and think the bloke might still be spinning his way up!

After completing the double whammy of these my confidence soared and the North Western section of the ride was completed relatively pain free with the aid of a decent tail wind and the untouched beauty of the Western side of the Lake District. Spectacular views, no serious hills to contend with (I big ringed Cold Fell), good company and locals cheering you along. I cannot ever really remember being happier on a bike than I was at this stage. I even said to Simon, ‘I want Hardknott now, I am flying and if I don’t mess up my eating I am completely fine.” Simon was going well so the Cuthill train was well on track.

After another feed station it was now time to start thinking of Hardknott, there are a couple of smaller hills to contend with but nothing brutal so the training came through to despatch these pretty easily and then the distinctly uneasy feeling of the make or break climb of the ride. I must say my bottle went a little here and I asked Simon 30 times minimum how bad it is as he had already done it. You will be fine, you will fly up it was the constant response that really doesn’t lessen the pressure. After a few miles of twisting prettiness you suddenly take a turn past the phone box and think……………………Oh dear, what have I done! (That is my PG version anyway)

With nothing else for it I got out of the saddle and immediately got stuck behind the larger sprocket brigade, I am not knocking this as we all ride differently but it is hard when you keep getting knocked out of rhythm. I was feeling strong though and was clearing the way through the 25% twist and turns with nice shouts of hold your line, on your left etc. I get around a few corners and am now seriously feeling it and start thinking about this flat bit in the middle of Hardknott people talk about. It really hurts and all I can see is a mountain in front of me that doesn’t seem to be getting any nearer to being behind me. Finally as I reach that point I always do on a tough climb where putting your foot down doesn’t seem so bad Ithink about that wet Monday morning and ‘power’ on with a mental bollocking that I could not possibly put in here but let’s say I will be seeing myself next Tuesday. Thankfully the ‘flat’ 12% is now under the wheels and I pull myself together as the steeper part looms above me. Luckily here I had worked myself some space and just went for it. I attacked the 33% with a vengeance and even though it was ridiculously steep never thought this part would stop me as the worst is done with. Mentally this was massive. I had now caught up other riders and my nice shouts had changed to gasps of ‘MOVE’ whilst being buoyed with shouts of ‘He’s smashing it’ and ‘great climbing’ to finish the climb and literally collapse at the top. This encouragement was a theme of the day and Simon has a similar story of the largest cyclist in the world saying to him ‘You aint stopping now boy!’ when he was in the middle of his Hardknott hell! I saw this bloke at the finish and he was about 7 foot tall.

After grabbing a few pictures of Simon cresting Hardknott we descended on a truly terrifying section of road that I have no idea how they actually managed to Tarmac. It is so steep andone of those times your arms are in bits from pulling the breaks. At the bottom I had a  little wobble so Simon managed to grab me some water and the contents of my pockets were devoured to get me back in the game, people who ride with me know how much I like to eat riding and I was soon back to normal. Thanks Simon!

We now cycled through the valley and with my renewed strength Wynrose and Blea Tarn were dispatched relatively pain free.

The descent of Wynrose is a monster and Simon had our only mechanical of the day with a heat induced puncture that took 2 tubes to fixed, why do valves need to be removable?