Tag: blue steel

Two Weeks to Go!

Forget Christmas, ignore all the decorations going up everywhere, you can’t possibly think about it until after the next big event of the year.

 

The first (reformed) North Wirral Velo  Club Dinner and prize Presentation is just two weeks away!  It’s going to be a fantastic night of eating, drinking, dancing and celebrating the success of the club in the past year. The venue this year is The Manor in Greasby.

 

 

A guest speaker has been confirmed for the event, and the evening will also feature the world premier of “NWV – the Movie” (imagine the Hangover meets Dodgeball but with bikes).

 

So, if you fancy a great night of food and entertainment for just £25, email hello@nwvcycling.club for info on buying tickets*

 

Hope to see you there!

 

OB1

 

*Subject to availability, terms and conditions apply (see absolutely nowhere else for more details).  North Wirral Velo isn’t a trading name, it a cycling club. Not buying tickets could reduce the amount of fun you have before Christmas.  Drinks go down but can come back up.  Please drink responsibly. And dance responsibly if you have drunk responsibly, or dance like nobody is watching if you haven’t drunk responsibly. Please remember that if you’re not living on the edge, you take up too much room.

 

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

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!

 

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

April Roundup

April was a busy month for lots of members of the club. More racing adventures and epic rides across North Wales and Cheshire.

Flanders

The start of the month saw Will, one of our now Southern based contingent hop across the Channel with his lovely wife Helen and friends to ride the Tour of Flanders course the day before the pros raced it.  A 229km sportif over the famous roads ridden by many cycling legends over the years.  Will (and Helen) have now added themselves to that list!

Will and co at the Tour of Flanders

Drinking

A sudden upturn in the temperature saw the first pub visit towards the end of a midweek ride. A quick pint in the evening sunshine at the Wheatsheaf in Raby was a very pleasant end to a warm Wednesday night ride.  We would also like to welcome back Mark D. into the fold, who has been absent for the last few months.  His poxy excuse was that his wife had their second child.  Nice to see you back Mark, and congrats to you and your wife, great to hear the family is doing well!

Racing

Robin Hennessy
Pro TT style of Rob Hennessy!

Great results for the racing squad including 2 sub 23 minute rides in 10 mile time trials by Robin, looking every bit the pro time trialist.

Finishing in the top 15 in both events run on the Rainford bypass course, Robin managed a 22.38, the fastest club 10 time this millenium!

Meanwhile in another racing discipline, Dave Cuthill was widening his racing experience with the evening circuit races at Litherland. Getting into the top half of the results, it’s a steep learning curve riding such events without experience and Dave is doing the club proud with his enthusiasm and can do attitude.

Dave Cuthill in action at Litherland

We are sure both lads will go on to great things this season, and we look forward to increasing the numbers of club members racing in these types of events very soon.

Retiring

But it’s not all about the racing, lots of the members were riding all over the place through April.

In Majorca, our club secretary (who recently retired) was enjoying the big climbs in warmer climates! Mike, pictured after his successful* “grimp” up and over to the port of Sa Calobra.  Anyone who has attempted that route on a bike will know just how challenging it is.

*we are still awaiting official confirmation of this achievement as he looks to fresh to have ridden there.  We think it’s either a very good Photoshop or he got the bus.  We will let you know once Strava have verified the ride 😉

Mike looking oh so cool in Majorca

Will returned to ‘Blighty to give the Surrey countryside the benefit of seeing the NWV jersey in all it’s glory out in the sunshine.

Will in the sunshine

Ups and Downs (and offs)

While Dave and Gary were climbing mahoosive climbs in deepest North Wales, Phil, Ian and Anthony were tackling a majorly hilly sportive in the form of the Wirral Wheelers Church Hill Challenge. Some big and nasty climbs but the lads enjoyed it nonetheless.  Anthony, it seems was the only one who got the “dress like a pirate” memo.

Phil, Captain Pugwash and Ian

Unfortunately, April was also a first for official “offs”.  One on a club run and a couple due to large but well hidden pot holes in the road.  I can report that everyone involved lives to ride another day!

New Member

Can we also welcome our newest member, the enigma that in “Dr Laxslacks”.  You’ll know him if you see him, he’s like a young Peter Sagan.

More Drinking

This month sees the NWV Spring Social event, where we get together (away from the bikes) and those of us who have any left, let our hair down.  If you want to join us, please get in touch through out social media channels or via email hello@nwvcycling.club New members are always welcome, and membership includes a free jersey, so what are you waiting for? Cheers!

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

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