Monday, 28 March 2011

Cobbled Classics

Well Tom Boonen silenced all his critics yesterday by taking this years Gent-Wevelgem Classic Race. In my view just behind the Hell of the North and the Tour of Flanders in terms of prestige. It sets up the big two races nicely as Fabian Cancellara took the E3 Harelbeke race the day before by simply riding away from the rest of the field.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Wolfs Pit Fell Race

See a Wolf and a Super Moon. Well we had a huge moon this week but I didnt see a wolf at the Wolfs Pit Fell Race on Sunday. This was a very fast race and some class runners up at the front. I managed to have a good race on what was a slightly altered route to the last time I raced this one.
Its very well organised and a race thats fast becoming very popular indeed. Lots of Pennine Runners there as it was a championship race for us. The race has a very tough first steep climb but after that its very runnable. There is another steady climb towards the finish before dropping back down to the village of Shatton. You cross a little Fjord before entering the finish field. Plenty of Soup at the end as well.

Monday, 21 March 2011

The start

The start of a fell race can be a frantic affair. Runners will scramble for position for the first few hundred yards before a natural order is restored and everyone sets a there own pace. at the Ian Roberts Fell Race it was no different. The Holmfirth runner who I am trying to keep up with is Katie Walshaw who won the womens race. We had a good chat after and we have had a few battles in the past. A very worthy winner and it took a good effort to keep up with her.
I think the picture shows the urgency that a fast start brings.


I was asked yesterday whereabouts the cover picture on my blog was taken. well for the person who asked me, who isnt a fell runner.. The Ben Nevis Fell Race.
And yes its the one where I had a bad fall.

Milan San Remo

This years edition of the Milan San Remo was a cracker. The Peloton split and the breakaway group containing some big names literally hammered it to the Poggio climb and then the top riders just took off to the finish. This is a huge race for a rider to win and Matthew Goss of HTC just pipped Fabian Cancellara of Trek Leopard to the line. It took them 6hrs 51 seconds to cover 298km. Unreal !!!!.
I think a lot of pressure was put on Mark Cavendish but it was obvious that when the group split it was all over.
This race is one of the most historic of classics. Tom Simpson won in 1964, the 55th edition when he outsprinted Raymond Poulidor. His prize then was £400 which he gave away to his team. Winning the Milan San Remo though literally makes a riders career. Have this one on your palmares and you are made for life.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Sometimes words just are not enough

Ive had a few tough days this last week. A very busy work schedule and a lot of training and a race as well left me feeling a bit tired and low. This morning I was a bit weary and tonight I didnt want to go training. I put the TV on earlier though and watched some more of the pictures of the disaster that is happening in Japan. I mean its unreal. You think your having a bad day but my heart goes out to all those people that have been affected. I really cannot put any words together to describe it.

So if you think your having a bit of a bad day or are having a moan at work like we all sometimes do. Just spare a thought for those people in Japan.
Needless to say I went training and just said Darren get on with it, what have you to grumble at.

A good start

A quick mention for Brad Wiggins. A good solid 3rd place at Paris-Nice was really impressive. He looked very good and Team Sky went okay. He had his critics last year did Brad especially at the Tour De France but as far as I am concerned what he achieved at the Tour in 09 was amazing. He looks in good shape and Ive been a fan for many years.Lets hope he doesnt peak to early though. I think its going to be a good year for him. Team Sky are much much stronger this year and if Brad can get his form peaking just right it could be interesting.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Ian Roberts Fell Race

The last time I was in Marsden was at the Tankies Trog fell race last year. The Ian Roberts Fell race is one I have missed but not this time around. Brilliantly organised by Holmfirth Harriers its a belter and starts at the Cricket club nr Marsden town centre. A very tough and fast start into the wind made it feel very difficult and the sheer amount of tussocks to run over made this race seem much harder than it said it was in the calendar. It felt more than the stated 900ft of climb.
I was going well until I fell whilst coming down the final descent but managed to recover and after a bit of a detour from the correct route I managed to just about run up the final steep climb and run in for 3rd at the finish. The spread laid on at the finish was superb. The two coffee ladies kept us all refreshed and I must admit to a couple of flapjacks and a cup cake. I stopped on the way home to give Badger a run out and he was filthy when he jumped back in the van. Alas I then spent 2 hrs clippin him because a long haired collie and wet peat dont go with laminate flooring. More pictures of Badger the now smooth haired border collie to follow as I have not quite finished the job yet.
A very good race and highly recommended.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

BG Training

This years Bob Graham hopefulls will be starting to train and recce the route and going through all the ups and downs that go with it. The last two years have seen snow well into February and beyond in the Lake District. Recceing has not been easy. Ive helped out on a number of attempts and in years gone by have done a lot of early recces with friends that I have met within this great sport of fellrunning.
The snow recces are ones to remember.
This picture was taken on Helvellyn with Badger and after probably more hours than I remember trudging through the snow a light hearted moment was required. So yes I started dancing on the trig point. I find that helps after 8 hrs running in deep snow.
So all of you contenders, pacers, helpers, cajoulers etc dont take it to serious and have some light hearted moments. The Bg recces will be some of the best days of your life. Enjoy them.

Badger wondering if we are doing Leg 3 as well today

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Cloud 9 Fell Race

I did this race a few years ago and thought I would have another crack at it. After doing a hundred miles on my roadbike the previous day I was aching a little bit and on the start line was wondering if I had made the correct decision. There was nearly 400 runners packed into the little track that leads you to Bosely Cloud. The weather was cold but sunny unlike the day before on the bike when I froze coming back down the A6 from Buxton. So we started and the leading ten pulled away. There isnt much fell terrain in this race and it really does help the road runners. I was catching the runners in front of me going up the cloud and even passed two on the short technical descent but then you have 3 or 4 miles to run to the finish and it is really a road race back. The guys in front pulled away and I was stranded on my own just hanging on really. I pulled a little bit back over the muddy fields but by the time we reached the disused railway track my legs were saying hang on Darren steady up. I didnt quite manage to go under the hour but was pleased with 12th place. A very large field of runners and not quite my type of route. The views ( all be it 3 seconds) from the top of the Cloud was amazing. You could see the dishes at Jodrell Bank and the whole of the Cheshire Plains.
Well organised and a nice bit of Soup and Flapjack at the finish. The flapjack being absolutely fantastic. I did try a muffin but that didnt quite hit the spot.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


This is the time of year when the friends of the Paris/Roubaix try to do a bit of housekeeping on the cobbled tracks that the famous race crosses on its way to the velodrome at Roubaix.
Each year they tender a little bit more on the various sections. Its a never ending job but a must if the race is to maintain its famous cobbled sections