Month: October 2018

Pedalin’ a Cycle Better than Penicillin?

As I try to justify my latest cycling purchase I thought I would look back on my last year. It feels I have not much until I write it down and realise I completed;

 

  • The Fred Whitton
  • A full crit race season winning Litherlands 4th Cat series
  • Raced TT’s
  • Climbed up Asterton Bank (Thanks Simon – Ridiculously hard!)
  • Organised a TT & was active with North Wirral Velo (NWV)
  • Ride London
  • Bowland Sportive
  • Won a bet with Mr D for actual money!

 

All that I have bored people with throughout the year though so thought I might look into why a bike that I have rode 6000 miles on is now too big for me. My earth shattering conclusion is; quite simply I want to buy a new bike!

 

What I have done this year is found new ways to love cycling and potentially bankrupt myself. I once said to Rebekah that we actually had cheap hobbies but then found out how expensive crafting actually is, I bought her the Di2 of Die Cutters for her birthday. Back to cycling and racing this year was my new thing. Crits are a strange business, hurtling around at 20-30mph 30cm away from complete strangers is a great buzz, incredibly hard but very rewarding when you finish. Finishing is not always with everyone else though as switch off for a few seconds and when you switch back on the race has gone, actually sometimes this happens when you don’t switch off and just do not have the legs!  TT’s are just pain but really appeal to my competitive streak. These I really enjoyed even when I was chasing the ‘NWV Legend in the making’ around Rainford (Great ride Robin).

 

Through all this what really stood out is the people. Cycling feels like something of a throwback to when people were kind and actually spoke to each other rather than text. Yes, the tech is there but riding a bike makes people nice and friendly 99% of the time. Puncture on a bike and you will be offered help from other cyclists, puncture in a car and you better get walking pal!

 

Whether it is a NWV club run, TT’s with seriously good riders, crits with young and old alike it simply does not matter, riders are just nice and friendly. I turned up to some car park (famous as a dogging site on google) in March for my first TT and was confronted with full on TT bikes, pointy helmets, disc wheels, and skin suits (basically very, very tight Lycra!). Immediately I was thinking the worst but 5 mins later people were talking to me and wishing me luck. There was even a very excited, crazy guy that turned up and used some Jedi like skills to take pictures of me in my best Lycra at several different parts of the course, said crazy man has also helped me incredibly this year.

Basically cycling costs a lot, effort (We have all thought we might die rolling up a hill), money (This new purchase will (not) make me faster!), time (The better you get the further you go) but it gives you so much back. Cycling actually makes you a better person and my year proves that. I go to the cafe/pub and strangers ignore me and I them, add a bike and all that changes.

 

So whatever your challenge over the next 12 months, mountain or mole hill, fast or slow, long or short just remember cycling might occasionally win the battle but it will make you healthier, happier and a more confident person (If you can go out in public wearing Lycra you can do anything!). Just remember to wave at fellow cyclists and ask if they need anything when you see an upside down bike. Do this and you too could actually take £10 off Ant or even find Chris!

 

Ride Safe and pedal like f*$k – Dave

Night Crawlers, errr Climbers!

On an unseasonably warm Wednesday evening in October, the North Wirral Velo re-established the annual club hill climb champs.

 

More than 50 years separated the youngest to the most senior of riders, with a vast range of abilities in between.  As such, the event organiser and TT legend Robin Hennessy had used some ancient Chinese magic to work out a handicap system to level the hill climbing up hill playing field.  Otherwise known as Strava segments, Robin calculated the handicap times on the Thurstaston Hill segment that nearly all riders in the event had a time up.  This, as usual caused a lot of debate, particularly the ones who had used a moped to record their Strava segments.

 

To the race, and first off was Monsieur Denby, a self proclaimed pre race favourite, having ridden the course 46 times in the last month in preparation.  However, he sportingly wore 17 layers of clothes to slow himself down in the warmer than normal weather.  He was closely (actually a minute) followed by the real race favourite (on actual time) Dave “The Racing Leg End” Cuthill.  His carefully prepared starting effort was interrupted by paparazzi in a car in front of him trying to get the front cover for next months “Take a Break”. The car in question soon sped up and Dave maliciously drafted behind it to turn any time lost into a good 24 second gain.

 

Next to start was Mike “Dark Horse” Hurworth who was still reeling after losing the club TT to Mike Hornsby and was hoping to go one better.  Unfortunately Robin was onto his previous generous handicap and so penalised Mike to give him little chance of an easy victory.  Following Mike was Jon “carefully edited my Strava segment to ensure victory” Doyle, who, given a massive handicap had time to ride the climb without breaking a sweat, and as such still looked cool and composed at the finish line.

 

However, the big guns had not all rolled out as yet and first of those was Pete “I don’t think 10k for a bike is excessive” Clarke who flew out of the start looking for a fast time to show all the young upstarts how it’s done.  Following Pete was Anthony “I’m rubbish at this, no actually I’m ok” Doolan who started like a bullet from a gun.  Let’s just say that pacing himself is not one of his strongest suits. Then, as the flash bulbs popped, Scott “I haven’t coughed like this since 1993” O’Brien rolled to the start line.  He set off in true TT style, only to have to ease up round the corner and ride sensibly the rest of the way.

 

Then one of our international club stars made a surprise appearance, having flown in especially from New Zealand, chasing the dream of gaining the massive kudos as club hill climb champion.  Whether it was the jet lag, the extremely retro steel LLoydy bike or vast quantities of pizza eaten just 20 minutes before, Russ Jones fell short, but not very short of his goal.  Last man  off was the one everyone else feared when he rolled up to the start.  Henry “H” Timewell, son of former club member Steve, decided to give everyone reason to go as hard as possible up the climb.  Despite riding a mountain bike with full knobbly tyres, H, only 12 years old shot up the climb to claim the first Junior prize.

 

 

It was a superb event, well organised, especially the post race analysis  in the Anchor pub, Irby.  Thanks to Robin for organising it, Steve Timewell for the pushing off and to guest timekeeper, Mrs Nicola O’Brien.  But more over thank you and well done to the riders.  See you next year!