Tag: club

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.

 

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!

Onwards and Upwards

As the North Wirral Velo is officially into the start of it’s second year “back in the saddle”, tonight sees the Annual General Meeting being held at the Velo’s new club rooms in Pensby.

It is planned that the club will meet regularly over the winter months for various fun activities, plus turbo training, Zwifting, circuit training etc  We are also hoping to have some coaching sessions for our aspiring new racers, so that they can build on the success we have enjoyed this year.

 

The club hill climb champs is fast approaching in October, swiftly followed by a night of celebration, drinking and eating at the Annual Club Dinner.

 

The dinner takes place on Friday 16th November at the Manor in Greasby.  Tickets have sold well but we do have a few places left if you want to come and see us in our dancing pants instead of Lycra (unless your dancing pants are actually made of Lycra(don’t knock it until you have tried it)).   The dinner will also consist of a prize presentation for achievements through the year and be the official premier of “North Wirral Velo – the movie”, so lots to look forward to!

 

Hope to see you there and out on the road…

Ride safe

OB for the NWV

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

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!

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!

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